Reviews

Here you can find reviews both on most recent .WADs and old .WADs. If you want a level of yours or one you like reviewed, then contact me!

In the reviews I consider the playability first of all, then the graphics (architecture, detail, textures alignment, lightness), the skill level and the balance ammo/monsters, the choice of new music and new graphics (if there is a new MIDI, new textures or sprites) and then I write an overall judgement. I'm not a great reviewer, but I want to try to review some levels. I will not be too strict in my judgements and I will try to be diplomatic... hoping you appreciate this!

These are the marks I use:

insufficient 1-3 (!); sufficient 4-5 (try again!); fair 6 (you can do better!); good 7 (OK!); very good 8-9 (good work!); excellent 10 (you can't do better!).


Reviews:

Title and name of the .WAD Author Overall Assessment
116 Drip Feed (dripfeed.wad) Iori 9
115 Abyssion (abyssion.wad) Death-Destiny 7
114 Evil Unleashed (dd_evil.wad) Dutch Devil 7
113 Infernal Venice (infve.wad) UltimateLorenzo a.k.a. Toranaga 8.5
112 The Power Supply [Remake] (jnte_rmk.wad) DoomKnight 9
111 The Power Supply (juente.wad) Eye del Cul 7
110 Cheogsh 2 (cheogsh2.pk3) Shadowman & Guest 9
109 Paradice (prdc.wad) UltimateLorenzo a.k.a. Toranaga 6.5
108 The Support Relay (40ozAC.wad) 40oz 8
107 Pi2 (pi2.wad) Shadowman 8.5
106 Elysion (elysion.wad) Death-Destiny 8
105 Awakening (aaawake.wad) Emil Brundage 9
104 DooM: Assimilation Demo (assi_d.wad) UltimateLorenzo a.k.a. Toranaga 7.5
103 Brood of Hatred (boh666.wad) Christian Lian 8
102 Nightomb (nightomb.wad) Alexander "Eternal" S. a.k.a. Deadall 9.5
101 Disturbia (disturbiaV4.wad) Death-Destiny 8
100 Doom 2 Reloaded (d2reload.wad) Andy Stewart 8
99 Stomping Grounds (stmpgrnd.wad) Morpheus 8
98 Claws of the Enraged Beast (quicky4.wad) James "Phobus" Cresswell 8.5
97 Heartless (heartles.wad) Doomguy93 8
96 Marine's Last Stand (mls.wad) TheeXile 9
95 Freame 2 (freame2.wad) Evil Space Tomato 7
94 Hellcore 2 (hc20.wad) Devon "Darkfyre" West & Robert "Fusion" Babor 8
93 Titan 2 (titan2.wad) Jesper Krag Rasmussen ("Ixnatifual") 9.5
92 Plutonia 2 (pl2.wad) various authors 8
91 Kobal 2 (kobal2.wad) Shadowman 7
90 Final Heretic - Chapter One: The Docks (hrtce1m1.wad) Toranaga 10
89 Full Options (ddoption.wad) Morbid Doomer a.k.a Dutch Devil 9
88 Granite Base (ctmap01.wad) Captain Toenail 7
87 Death Incarnate (deathinc.wad) VeinCrawler 10
86 UAC Outpost 11 (uac-op11.wad) Jeff Ligda a.k.a. Davitch 7
85 Grime (grime.wad) Death-Destiny 9
84 Nordhell (nhell.wad) Alexander "Eternal" S. a.k.a. Deadall 9
83 No Chance (nochance.wad) Death-Destiny 9
82 Exist (exist.wad) Th0r 7
81 Thunderpeak (thunpeak.wad) Björn "Vader" Ostmann 10
80 Genesis of Descent (god_.wad) Hobomaster22 6
79 Sin City 3 (sincity3.wad) Ed Cripps 7.5
78 Knee Deep in ZDoom (kdizd.pk3) various authors (KDiZD team) 8.5
77 Evil Journey - Plan "A" (eviljpa.wad) Arch 6.5
76 Belial's Bad Brain (bbb.wad) Alexander "Eternal" S. a.k.a. Deadall 7
75 Escape from Castle ChezCrea (crea_one.wad) Paul Hiebert a.k.a Creaphis 8
74 Kobal (kobal.wad) Shadowman 9
73 Total Control (total666.wad) Dutch Devil 9
72 The City of the Damned - Apocalypse (tcotd2.pk3) Daniel "Tormentor667" Gimmer 9
71 Epic (epic.wad) Alexander "Eternal" S. a.k.a. Deadall 9
70 Deus Vult II (dvii-1u.wad) Huy Pham 9.5
69 Noob Project Part 4- Space Station Vrack (Nprject4.wad) Lupinx-resurrected 7.5
68 Phobos Reloaded - E1M1 (rel_e1m1.wad) DJShrimpy 9
67 Cheogsh (cheogsh.wad) Shadowman 9.5
66 Hatomo battles the Yomi Demons (yomi.wad) Pablo Dictter and Tobias Münch 9
65 Mansion of time (motime.wad) Damian Lee (a.k.a. Lexus Alyus) 9
64 The Hazard Variation (hzv.wad) Karthik Abhiram 7
63 The Outer Darkness (odark.wad) Varun Abhiram 9
62 Temple of Chaos 2 - Warped Reality (sp_chaos2.wad) Agent Spork 9.5
61 Templed (templed.wad) Chirs "Chopkinsca" Hopinks 8
60 Xexis (xexis.wad) Matt "Mista_T" Tropiano 8
59 The Prometheus Experiment (promex.wad) Toranaga 9.5
58 Zen Dynamics (zendyn_x.wad) Xaser 10
57 Austerity (aust_02.pk3) Daniel "Tormentor667" Gimmer 9
56 Beluga (beluga.wad) Didy 9
55 The Assault on Grinava (grinava.wad) Th0r 9
54 Zero Tolerance (dd1024.wad) Dutch Devil 9
53 Doomed Apartment (vile_apartm.wad) Vile1011 8
52 Enjay's Marine Assault (njma01.wad) Nigel "Enjay" Rowand 9.5
51 Beyond Death (beyond_death.wad) Dan Stefan "AlphaGOD" Oprean 8
50 Enterprise NX01 (nxnave.wad) Toranaga 9
49 Null Junior (nulljnr.wad) Russel Pearson 8.5
48 IC2005 (ic2005.wad) Ian Cunnings 9
47 Hangar27 (hangar27.wad) Dutch Devil 8
46 E of Choas (echaos.wad) Eric "Blue Paladin" Buck 7
45 Suspended in Dusk (sid.wad) Espi 9
44 Yesterday's Nightmare (yestrday.wad) Ray Schmitz 9.5
43 Tanis Base SP (tbasesp.wad) Rodrigo Acevedo and Chris 9
42 Sin City 2: Satan Complex (satanx.wad) Ed Cripps 9
41 Dark Castle (dark_c.wad) Virgil The DOOM Poet 8
40 Realm of the Green Soul (rotgs.wad) Lexus Alyus 9
39 Bloodworks (bludwrks.wad) Bob Larkin 7
38 UAC Nukage Refinery (uacnukrf.wad) BuzzBomber 8
37 Hedrox (hedrox.wad) Rodrigo Acevedo 9
36 Death Is Just The Beginning (djb10.wad) Lorenzo "Toranaga" Davia 7.5
35 Titan (titan.wad) Jesper Krag Rasmussen ("Ixnatifual") 9
34 Denial (sp_deny.wad) Agent Spork 8.5
33 RTC-3057 Blue Hub 1 The "Team Future" 10
32 Geo I (sp_geo.wad) Agemt Spork 9
31 New World 2 (newwrld2.wad) Daniel 8
30 Vile Flesh (vile.wad) Gwyn Williams 7.5
29 Deus Vult (dv.wad) Huy "Converted Doomer" Pham 8.5
28 Phobos: Anomaly Reborn (par.wad) Chris Lutz 10
27 Phocas Island (phocas.wad) Chirs "Chopkinsca" Hopinks 9.5
26 ZDoom Community Map Project Take 1 (zdoomcmp1.wad) various authors 10
25 The Lost Gateway (gate.wad) Nick "Hobomaster22" Laurent 8
24 Tremor: Part I - Genesis (tremor.wad) Ross "Zarkyb" Mathieson 7
23 Void (void.wad) Cyb 9
22 Sin City (ma_sincity.wad) Ed Cripps 9
21 New World (newworld.wad) Daniel 8
20 The City of the Damned (thecityofthedamned.wad) Daniel "Tormentor667" Gimmer 9.5
19 Claustrophobia (claust.wad) Virgil The DOOM Poet 8
18 Crusades (crusades.wad) Richard Wiles 9
17 In A World (inworld.wad) Chris "c-cooper" Hansen 8
16 Reanimated (reanmtd.wad) Karthik and Varun Abhiram 9
15 Their selfish realms (kaiser_4.wad) Samuel "Kaiser" Villareal 7.5
14 Vrack 3 (vrack3.wad) Fredrik Johansson 9
13 Dark 7 (dark7.wad) Bryant Robinson 8.5
12 Doom Resurrection (doomres.wad) Tommie "Fatal" Quick 9
11 A Warm Place (awp.wad) Richo Rosai 8
10 Doom Raider: Crypt of the Vile (dr1-lite.wad) Russel Pearson 8
9 Alien Vendetta (av.wad) various author 8
8 Metamorphism (meta.wad) Brad Spencer and Karthik Abhiram 8.5
7 Helpyourselfish (helpself.wad) Chris "c-cooper" Hansen 8
6 Scythe (scythe.wad) Erik Alm 8
5 Congestion Control 2 (cct2.wad) Karthik Abhiram 9
4 Europa 3: The Dark Side of Vrack (eaeuro3.wad) Erik Alm 8.5
3 Congestion Control (cct.wad) Karthik Abhiram 8
2 Hell Factory (hellfact.wad) Tomi Rayala 9.5
1 Sacrifice in Blood (sac_bld.wad) John Washburn (a.k.a. Gray Lancer) 9

 

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"Drip Feed" by Iori:
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Playability: This .WAD is a large "Doom 2" level (map30) for Boom-compatible ports. The map layout is complex, but gameplay is quite linear and never confusing, in spite of several puzzles with switches. You must also look for three keys, in the following order: Blue Skull Key, Red Skull Key and Yellow Key Card. What makes it simpler than other complex maps is the fact that you can see what a switch does, as it activates something nearby. To sum up: a good level, with gameplay based on action, key hunt and puzzles with switches. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: "Drip Feed" has a particular theme, that is something between hellish, medieval and gothic. As the author states in his .TXT file: "a GSTONE fortress, a red glowing sky, silhouetted bodies writhe on spikes in the distance, fortelling your fate". GSTONE textures are not the only ones the author used, although the colour scheme has a green dominant, due to green stone and marble textures and flats; but there's a lot of brown of wood and metal structures, stone textures and flats, etc. Architecture is great-looking and highly detailed with pillars, columns, arches, windows, battlements, bridges, etc. Lighting is simple, but good. Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: This is a challenging level even on HMP: it is not hard, but it keeps you on your toes. Iori prevents it from being easy with good monster placement: he doesn't use many tricks and traps - the most dangerous being those with Arch-Viles! - but he manages to catch you with ambushes, which do not even use teleporting enemies. Monster population vary with skill level: 319 on the first two skill levels, 364 on HMP, 416 on UV and NM, with the toughest monster being the Baron of Hell. Health is finely balanced, with several Medikits and Stimpaks scattered throughout the whole map. Ammo is well balanced too: you can find shotgun shells and bullets here and there, as well as rockets and cells. As for weapons, you start with a Shotgun and later on you'll find Chaingun, Rocket Launcher and Super Shotgun. There's also a Plasma Gun, but it is not essential. There's even a BFG in a secret area, but again you don't need it. As for secrets, there are other two, but only one can be found with the help of Computer Map: there you'll find a Backpack full of ammo and box of shotgun shells. As for power-ups, there's a well guarded Soul Sphere. Some fights take place in large and open areas, where you can be hit by snipers and surrounded easily; other battles take place in tight rooms or narrow hallways, but architecture never hinder your manoeuvres. The .WAD lacks of an epic battle: a final showdown would have been the icing on the cake. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes some new textures and flats and others from "Doom" and "Plutonia" (waterfalls): they all look good. There's also a new nice red sky. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: So, at the end we can say that "Drip Feed" is an interesting level, with good classic gameplay, great-looking graphics and challenging difficulty. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Abyssion" by Death-Destiny:
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Playability: "Abyssion" is a .WAD for vanilla "Doom 2". Like other levels by the same author, it features a hard difficulty, although not HR-styled like many others. So, it takes you a lot of time, in spite of its size: it is smaller than other Death-Destiny's maps. Also gameplay features a simple two-switch puzzle, that must be solved to take the Blue Skull key, but it based mainly on action. Once you have got the Blue Skull Key, you can take the Red one and then look for the exit. So, the map is quite linear and straightforward. What makes this .WAD different from others is the lack of conventional weapons (Shotgun, Super-Shotgun and Chaingun), counterbalanced by the presence of Berserk, Rocket Launcher, Plasma Gun and, only near the end, BFG. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: This level doesn't have impressive graphics: map layout and architecture are quite simple and detail level is minimum. However the level doesn't look bad, because texture and flats are chosen and used with criterion. The main theme is hellish, as it can be understood from the dominant colour (red) of stone or rock walls and floors. Lighting is good. Assessment: 6!

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Difficulty: As disclosed in the "Playability" section, this level is hard, even in HMP... and it is not even HR-styled like other maps by Death-Destiny! What makes this level so hard is accurate monster placemnts, as well as some deadly traps: they consist mainly in teleporting monsters or enemies behind fake walls. So, you'll face certain death if you do not know them and rush into the first thing in your mind, as you are ambushed! Saving game often is suggested, if you are not an experienced Doomer! Moreover most health is placed in the start area, whereas just few Medikits or Stimpaks are scattered here and there. On the contrary, ammo is more abundant and scattered throughout the whole map. As mentioned before, your only weapons are Rocket Launcher, Plasma Gun, Berserk, that you must use at the beginning until you get one of the former arms, and BFG, that is placed in the final arena. Hitscanners do not appear in this level, whose population includes: Imps, Revenants, Mancubi, Pain Elementals, a few Cacodemons, Hell Knights and Barons of Hell... and not few Arch-Viles and CyberDemons! Monster count varies from 160 to 270, depending on the skill settings. I suggest that average Doomers play it on the 2nd skill level first and try HMP or UV only after the first complete run. Third and fourth skill levels are set for seasoned players and people who played "Abyssion" at least once and want more gore (yours or monsters')! Do not ask for power-ups until the final battle (there's a MegaSphere, replaced by a Soul Sphere on UV, in the final arena), unless you can find secrets. In few words: extremely challenging .WAD! Assessment: 7!

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New music: The background music is from "Doom" and fits the ambience, although it doesn't suit the pace of the game! However, it is not new, so I don not assess it. Assessment: n/a.!

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Overall: To sum up, Death-Destiny made this level in his typical style: basic action-packed gameplay, simple graphics and very hard and challenging difficulty. Assessment: 7!

 
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"Evil unleashed" by Dutch Devil:
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Playability: This is a .WAD for "Ultimate Doom": it requires any limit-removing port - "Doom 95" should be fine, apart from few reported HOMs. In spite of map size and monster count, it will take you around 20 minutes. Gameplay is very simple and linear, with few switches to press and all three keys to find. There's no story provided in the .TXT file. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: There's no fixed theme here: the first half of the map is E1-inspired, with tech-base theme, whereas the other half recalls E2 and E3, as the same author states in the .TXT file. The map has nice layout and good architecture, although most areas consist of hallways and square rooms, apart from outside areas, and detail level is not high, except for few occasions. So, it can be said that graphics is old-school or classic, as it doesn't feature complex structure and lots of details; nevertheless this level is quite good-looking, thanks to good choice and combination of textures and flats, with simple, but pleasant colour schemes (all brown, all grey, green and red...). Lighting is very simple with few variations. To sum up: not a great-looking .WAD, but it is not bad either! Assessment: 7!

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Difficulty: Don't be impressed by the monster count: although it is quite high (204 in the first two skill levels, 241 in HMP and 267 in UV and NM) for a 20-minute .WAD, the level is not so hard. This is because most enemies are Imps and hitscanners. Beware of traps, especially those with teleporting monsters: they can overwhelm you, if you are not careful! These tricks introduce challenging fights, although the monster placement is good enough to keep you on your toes during the whole game. Health is finely balanced and scattered throughout the level; ammo is abundant, especially if you use the Chainsaw and try to exploit infighting. The first secret is easy to find, unlike the others. Average players can try even UV for a nice challenge. In few words: fun and enthralling level, that can be really challenging, if played without caution. Assessment: 8!

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Overall: "Evil Unleashed" is a nice .WAD from Dutch Devil: classic action-packed gameplay, challenging but not hard difficulty and simple but good-looking graphics. Assessment: 7!

 
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"Infernal Venice" by UltimateLorenzo a.k.a. Toranaga:
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Playability: This .WAD is a big level for "Doom 2" and requires an advanced source-port, like ZDoom or GZDoom. In spite of the large map, that can be explored freely with a few limitations, gameplay is quite simple, based both on action and a big puzzle, that consist in switch hunt: after you have found and activated 7 switches, a door to the final arena will open. In order to complete the puzzle, you must find two keys as well: the Red Skull Key and the Yellow one. Apart from the puzzle based on switch hunt, very few ZDoom gameplay features have been exploited. Beware of the water: if you fall into it, you'll die instantly as if it was lava - not a good thing at all! The author didn't provide a story, which can't be even guessed from the level itself. In two words: nothing special. Assessment: 6!

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Graphics: As the title suggests, the author tried to construct an "Infernal Venice", that is an hellish town on water, like one of the most beautiful city in Italy and in the world, Venice... and he succeeds! Moreover the author exploited ZDoom graphic effects, especially slopes, to make this level unique for its graphics. Map layout is complex, but built in a square, as if "Infernal Venice" was an island surrounded by sea. Architecture is top-notch with high detail level: walls are finely carved with lots of details. Look at screenshots: you'll notice lots of windows with different shapes, arches, big and small columns, pillars, balconies, bridges, metal and wooden structures, etc. Also interiors are good-looking and nicely detailed. Textures and flats were chosen and combined to create multicoloured buildings, but always keeping everything good-looking and never clashing. So, there is not a fixed colour scheme, as you'll find almost all colours of Doom without any dominant: blue, green, grey, red and brown. Lighting is not painstaking, but good, with enough contrast between outside and interiors. To sum up: an awesome level without any glitch! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: In spite of the high monster population (279 in the first two skill levels, 288 in HMP and 292 in UV and NM), "Infernal Venice" is not very hard, but it is quite challenging. It is not very difficult because there's lot of ammo, as well as health. Nevertheless, you must watch out for your health, because it is scattered here and there throughout the whole level and you may not find it where you need it! On the contrary, power-ups are located in key points or "hot spots". So, what makes this level challenging? Its large and open layout for sure: it is easy to get surrounded outside, as enemies can shoot and come from different directions! Moreover they often appear in large groups. Try to find cover, when you are outside. The fact that you can explore the map freely means that you can face some challenges without proper equipment (armour, weapons and ammo), so be careful in choosing battlefields, which usually are quite large, apart from a few narrow ones (usually in hallways or staircases). Beware of ambushes and traps, which are nasty, but rarely deadly. Arachnotrons and other snipers can be annoying, if you are too bold and don't exploit cover. Arch-Viles are probably the most dangerous enemies, but you can prevent them from resurrecting dead corpses easily. The final challenge against the boss, the Dark Avatar, is quite easy with BFG; probably it would have been harder and much more interesting, if other monsters had been teleported in the final arena during the battle, instead of later. As you probably noticed, the monster number doesn't vary significantly with skill settings; also there are few variations with them - not a good thing! To sum up: "Infernal Venice" is a very interesting and challenging level. Assessment: 8!

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New monsters: There is just one new DECORATE enemy, the formentioned Dark Avatar, the final boss, that features several diferent attacks. Due to his slow speed and slow attacks, he is quite easy, in spite of his toughness. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes a new TITLEPIC (a nice photo of Venice) and new sprites for the Dark Avatar, the final boss. Assessment: 10!

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New music: There is a new catchy background music, that fits ambience and pace of the map. There are also new title music and final music: they all sound good. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: In conclusion, "Infernal Venice" is a good level: graphically, it features an awesome and great-looking architecture; difficulty-wise, it is challenging (attention: skill levels aren't properly implemented!), although the finale is quite easy; gameplay is quite simple, in spite of the big puzzles based on switch hunt. If you like other levels from this author, you'll surely like "Infernal Venice". Assessment: 8.5!

 
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"The Power Supply [Remake]" by DoomKnight:
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Playability: As the title says, this .WAD is a revamped version of Eye del Cul's "The Power Supply". Gameplay is almost same as the original level, apart from the new start outside the building. So, there is not much to say, except for a few things: it needs ZDoom or any other source port that support translucent textures (this is the only special feature I could find!), but the author didn't exploit any particular gameplay characteristics of ZDoom (ACS Scripts or special actions). Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: This is the only department where DoomKnight improved the original level. He kept the same layout (he just added a nice outside area, where the player starts his game) and map concept and revamped graphics completely by using completely new textures, adding details, modifying architecture slightly to make it better-looking. The theme is the same of course, but the new graphic resources fit it better than the classic "Doom 2" stock textures and flats! The colour pattern is almost the same, in spite of the difference in the choice and combination of textures and flats. Architecture is almost the same, apart from a few differences, but more detailed (compare screenshots). Lighting is more painstaking as well: it has more variations, fading effects, etc. Notice that lighting is changed completely in few rooms. At the end, DoomKnight did a great work: although the map is almost same, it looks like a new great-looking level... unfortunately a flaw with one translucent texture (look at the 6th screenshot) prevents the author to get 10 in this department: what a pity! Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: There are very few differences from the original level in terms of difficulty. Apart from the new start, which forced DoomKnight to add new monsters (mainly Imps and Shotgunners) outside and in the rooms before the start of the original level, there are almost no differences: the author didn't change or move monsters, he just added a few monsters in some spots; so, the difficulty balance is the same as in the original map. Health is finely balanced as in Eye del Cul's map, as well as ammo (i.e. abundant!). Secret ares haven't been varied significantly: so it's easy to find them, if you have found them in the original map. If you want some hints on skill setting, read my review of the original version of "The Power Supply". Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: As mentioned above, the .WAD include new textures by Agent Spork: they are nice and wisely used to make the original level better-looking. The author also included a new blue, starry sky (very nice) and a new colour palette by Agent Spork: its colours are lighter than those in the original "Doom 2" palette. Assessment: 10!

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New music: DoomKnight had the great idea of including a new background music track: it is catchy, fits the ambience of the map and increase the gameplay pace, making it more challenging and interesting. Good choice! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: DoomKnight really made a nice remake "The Power Supply": it has almost the same gameplay and difficulty, but completely revamped graphics: more detailed and better-looking, thanks also to new textures and palette. This and new music really improve your experience in playing "The Power Supply"! Assessment: 9!

 
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"The Power Supply" by Eye del Cul:
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Playability: This is a single-level .WAD for vanilla "Doom 2". It is a medium-sized map, that will take you less than half an hour. Since it doesn't require any particular source port, it features the classic gameplay, based mainly on action and research of two keys (the Yellow Key Card and the Red one) without just one switch hunt (you must find the switch that opens one door). So, gameplay is quite linear with minimum backtracking, that is not boring, because new monsters appear on your path; moreover distances are small. The .TXT file provides a sort of story too. In few words: simple gameplay, nothing special or particularly interesting. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: You may expect a power plant (maybe even a nuclear reactor) from the title, but your expectations are going to be partially disappointed: although the author tried to give a nice look to his level with eye catching colour schemes (with blue and grey dominants), he didn't succeed perfectly in his work, in spite of his efforts. That's because there are few things that recall a power plant: some computers and consoles, other textures "techy" textures (like COMPBLUE) and flats, the brown building in the middle of the lake could be a reactor...! The problem is that there is not enough detail; the map layout is good, but the architecture is too simple, sometimes even bare. Unfortunately choice and combination of textures and flats don't compensate the low level of detail, especially because the basic graphic resources don't fit this theme. Lighting is not bad, thank to some simple effects (mainly blinking of lights) and good variations between dark and lit areas. To sum up: the level is good-looking thanks to nice colour pattern, but architecture is too simple with low detail level; I couldn't see any flaw, so this grants the pass-mark. Assessment: 7!

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Difficulty: This level is quite easy, if handled with care; but if you like rushing (especially if you are a speedrunner), you'll get some challenges. The number of enemies varies with skill settings: 63 on the first two skill levels, 122 on HMP, 142 on UV and Nightmare. Monster placement is simple and rarely threating: monsters never tend to surround you. There are no traps, except for ambushes when backtracking. Ammo is plentiful: you can even waste it! On the cotnrary health is finely balanced, so you should watch out for it: if you are imprudent, you may get seriously hurt and then you may have some problems finding Medikits and Stimpaks to heal your injuries. Secrets are hard to find: they are not essential, but useful (there's a MegaSphere in one of them!), except for the last one (a Backpack full of ammo near the exit: useless)! So, difficulty depends most on the way you play than on skill level: if you are cautious and strategic, you won't have any problem; if you are "rushy", you may find it challenging even on HMP. The average player can try this map on UV, but beware of the lack of green armour; skilled Doomers who don't feel challenged on UV may want to try a speedrunning approach or spice it up on NM or with -fast parameter. In few words: not bad at all, but could have been more challenging with better monster placement and less ammo. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes just few textures from "DooM" - so they don't count as real new textures. Moreover they don't add anything. Assessment: n/a.

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Overall: In conclusion, "The Power Supply" is a "normal" .WAD for vanilla "Doom 2": it doesn't stick out for anything - its gameplay is simple and linear, it has good-looking graphics but detail level is low, difficulty is not very challenging, unless you play like speedrunners. Assessment: 7!

 
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"Cheogsh 2" by Shadowman & Guest:
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Playability: This .WAD is not a sequel to "Cheogsh", but it is a reinterpretation of that level - you will understand it, once you play it. "Cheogsh 2" is a 7-map hub for GZDoom: this means that maps are interconnected in a complex way, like "Hexen" or Tomi Rayala's "Hell Factory"  - you can enter one level from various maps and in different spots, without an intermission screen; you can go back to the previous map, if it is possible, and you'll find it as you left it. But "Chegosh 2" is not the typical "Doom 2" level; on the contrary, it reminds "Hexen" for its puzzles, most of which are based on switch hunt, but some use new items (like Blue Gems and the Blood of the Unnamed). The whole game is based on the research of the Blood of the Unnamed, that you must spill on the altar of the Temple of Seth (map03 - the centre of the hub) in order to gain access to the parallel infernal dimension (Otherside - map07) and fight against Seth himself. Now I'll write a "short" walkthrough of the whole .WAD, so, if you want, you can skip the following SPOILER and go down to the last paragraph of this section.

The game starts in your bedroom in a UAC military base (Installation - map01), your boss calls you and explains your mission: discover what happened to Delta Squad, sent through the usual dimensional gate. You obey, equip yourself and reach the lower level, where your mission will start in a "Doom 3" style! There you find out that some monsters have already come out: after finishing them off, you must activate the dimensional gate and use it to reach an infernal town (Border Village - map02). Here you'll have to explore it, look for the Red Skull Key, find the Blue one in the building locked with Red one, unlock the towers and then the gates of the Temple of Seth (map03). The temple is a very big map and has several puzzles to solve: first of all you must gain access to the inner temple, then take the Red Skull Key and explore the rest of the level, which has entrances to the New City of the Damned (map04) on the Northern side and to Upper Mines (map05); but to open those gates, you need to solve other puzzles. Unfortunately this switch hunt will turn out tedious and boring, especially because switches are not big and you may miss some! Once those gates are open, you can go to map04 or map05, but you can't go far in the former until you have a Blue Gem, that allows you to raise a bridge. So gameplay turns out linear, in spite of its complexity! In map05 you can't explore part of it (north-western area) until you have got another Blue Gem to raise the bridge towards the tower. So, you must proceed towards the Lower Mines (map06), where you'll be deceived by a comrade of yours - you'll have to escape and find 2 Gems. After you accomplish your mission here, you must go back, but some bars block exit/entrance - these bars can be opened with a switch, hidden behind a column in the room locked with the Blue Skull Key! Switch hunt can be fun, but it becomes tiring and boring, when small switches are hidden in this way! Anyway, you have to cross map05 (Underdark - Upper mines), map03 (Temple of Seth) and reach map04 (New City of the Damned). Map04 is antoher very large and complex level, where it is easy to get lost because of darkness, complex puzzles, key hunts (you must find White and Black Skull Keys), boring switch hunts and idiotic silent teleport lines, which make you feel like you were lost, because, as you cross them, you notice that your position is changed, but you still see the same corridor - in this case, don't go forth, but go back and then turn: you'll pass this stupid trick! Once you find the Labyrinth of Bones, you'll discover another entrance to map06 (Underdark - Lower mines). In the northhern part of these mines you'll find the Blood of Unnamed... at last! Then you can go back to the "entrance" of map06: you'll find an open door, that leads to the northern part of map05. You must explore the caves in this area, look for another Blue Gem, that allows you to raise a second bridge towards the tower, and then go back to the Temple of Seth (map03). Once there, you can spill the Blood of the Unnamed on the altar to reach the Otherside (map07): you'll find yourself in a twisted temple, where everything looks surreal. You have to go upstairs and solve a simple switch puzzle to breach the first seal; then you'll have to breach the others until you discover access to the underground, where you'll fight against Seth himself! Once you defeat him, you can go back to your world through Temple (map03), Upper mines (map05) and Installation (map01).

To sum up, a very complex hub-&-puzzle-based gameplay reveals itself quite linear, as you can't explore maps freely, but you always have constraints given by keys, items, puzzles, etc. Although not written in the .TXT file, the story is quite nice and well developed through the game, thanks to the use of cut-scenes, description of items, books, talks with survivors, etc. Those who like pure action won't like it, but credit must be given to the author for the concept behind this .WAD: it is a sort of stand-alone game, finely developed with ACS Scripts and features of GZDoom. Unfortunately, most puzzles are based on switch hunt, that gets boring soon, especially if you get lost and don't understand what to do next - it's easy it happens in map03 and map04 (which features an underground village below the town!), the two largest and complex levels of the whole set; moreover some switches are tiny and easy to miss. In few words: nice game, but few things ruins it - what a pity! Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: This is the department where the author did their best. In fact, all levels look spectacular! They all feature an awesome architecture with great care to detail, even the smallest. Of course GZDoom features have an important role: look at impressive 3D structures, but also slopes, underwater effect, etc. Moreover choice and combination of textures and fltas makes everything even better-looking. Painstaking lighting plays a main role in creating the proper ambience in every level, better in every part of each map! Let's have a look at all levels. Map01 (Installation) looks extremely realistic thanks to the 3D engine of GZDoom: just look at chairs and tables, but also transparent windows and sliding doors make it great-looking. Map02 (Border Village) makes an extensive use of 3D structures, as you can enter buildings and jump on their rooftops. The Temple of Seth (map03), although very symmetric, is simply a grandiose demonic temple with its imposing architecture: look at the two-storey inner temple, pentagrams and trident on its floor, arches, columns, pillars, blood and lava pools, etc. Map04 (New City of the Damned) has a very spooky atmosphere, thanks to proper choice and combination of dark textures and flats, as well as dim lighting. The main theme of map05 (Underdark - Upper Mines) is a brown cave, surrounded by lava, with a tower on an island and a sort of tech-base on the top of a mountain; the level features some interesting 3D structures, like cages hanging on lava, bridges, etc. Map06 (Underdark - Lower Mines) is a brown cave with blue crystals, which monsters want to extract using marines of Delta Squad as slaves; here you'll notice a very detailed architecture: look at wooden beams, metal gates, rail lines, bridges, lava lakes, etc. Map07 features a demonic, hellish theme, with Gothic architecture and a high level of detail: notice that the layout of the inner temple is the same as map03, but textures and flats are changed completely! Lighting plays an important role in making the ambience of this map gloomy and scary - the underground is very dark, except for areas near light sources (torches), and this is part of the final challenge against Seth! To sum up in few words: this .WAD is surely a masterpiece as for graphics with just few glitches (as you can see in some screenshots), like few misaligned textures and sort of HOM effects, especially near 3D structures (but they may be due to engine limitations!?) - just for these it takes 9, but credit must be given to the author for their engagement and their effort in this sector: they would have deserved the highest mark, if the .WAD had been perfect! Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: If played at proper skill levels, "Cheogsh 2" will give you a feasible challenge! Average Doomers should play it on HMP (skill 3), whereas UV (skill 4) is recommended only to seasoned players or those who already played it at least once on lower skill levels. The difficulty curve is finely designed: the .WAD starts nicely with an easy level (map01 with just few simple monsters) and gets harder and harder, as you progress, although you'll surely have nasty moments sometimes. But let's analyze difficulty level by level: real action starts in map02 (Border Village), an open level where you'll be attacked from several directions when you are outside: hitscanners and snipers (in the towers) are the main threat. The fights inside the buildings are quite easy: only cramped room makes them a bit tough! The battle against the Arch-Vile in the cavern is really nasty, but you can deal with him easily, if you have got the Rocket Launcher. The hardest fight is the final one against the sentinels of the temple, the Ghauts, whose psionic rays are very hard to avoid! In map03 (Temple of Seth) you'll be warmly welcomed with an ambush by Satyrs and a Templier, but this is just the beginning: you'll have to face several battles and ambushes! The fight in the inner temple is surely the hardest and one of the most epic of the level, as you have to fight against Hell Knights, Barons of Hell, Satyrs and two Arch-Viles (in HMP)! As for the other battles, they are less difficult, but they must not be understimated: most of them take places in big areas, where you could be surrounded; other battles happen in small rooms, but in these cases you'll face few enemies. Map04 (New City of the Damned) is a hard level with several tough fights, where Arch-Viles have a predominant role. Darkness doesn't help you for sure, as enemies, like Howlers and Shadows (sort of dark, crouching Imps - the latter vanish when not firing) hid in the dark; as it wasn't enough, there are Ghosts, hateful enemies, who appear suddenly and whom you can shoot only when visible: how nasty...! The first fights in map05 (Underdark - Upper Mines) are quite easy, but the next ones in the lowering lift are surely quite hard, but fortunately enough there's lot of health and ammo in it; the others towards the entrance of map06 consist in sniping a thorny race of Imp - nothing hard, just a bit boring! Once back from map06, you'll have to cope with annoying Ghauts on the cliffs: a very dangerous battle, as you can fall into lava: they appear again on the top of the tower, together with some Hell Knights (some are inside as well). The battle inside the tech-base on the mountain is quite challenging, because monsters will surround you from different directions! In map06 (Underdark - Lower Mines) you'll lose all your weapons (including the SSG, that you won't find anymore!) and ammo and you'll be with very low health - this makes things very hard, as you have to kill the first monsters you encounter (Chaingunners, Mauler Demons, Satyrs and a Ghaut, whom you must escape from!) with just your chainsaw; but things will get easier, as you find more health, weapons and ammo! The problems begin when, while exploring mines, you meet ghosts and vanishing dark imps - they are really nasty! As for map07, the fights against the Obsidian Statues are nasty, because they are tough and attack in couples or groups of 4, except for the first battles before the stairs. Fortunately enough, you should have enough ammo and health to cope with them. The final challenge against Seth is extremely hard, as it take places in darkness and he is almost black! Moreover his attacks blacken completely part of the map and suck your health: so, you must avoid them (not easy!) and be quick to shoot him. Fortunately enough there are two useful Soul Spheres and Blue Armour (in HMP), as well as lots of rockets and plasma cells. This ending really fits such a great .WAD, although you have to come back to your world in the style of Lara Croft: you have to cross lava rivers, broken bridges, steep stairs, etc. So, there are different kinds of fights, so you won't get bored; unfortunately some of them are nasty, like those against Ghauts and Ghosts. In general, health is scattered here and there, but there are good provisions where you need it; ammo is abundant and finely balanced for all weapons, so that you are forced to change them according to situations; power-ups are placed in "hot spots". Secret areas are hard to find, but very useful if you find them! To sum up: the whole .WAD provides a very nice and tough challenge with just few annoyances. Assessment: 9!

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New monsters: The .WAD includes several new monsters, which are used extensively together with the original ones, whereas some of these are replaced with the new ones. They spice up the game, making levels harder than normal, because you don't know their behaviour (written in DECORATE lumps). They include: space marines, enslaved marines with drillsaw (traitors), Faust (a guy with rocket launcher), Devil (a sort of dark Imp), Afrit (a flying and flaming Baron of Hell), the forementioned Ghaut (a sort of Cacodemon, that fires a volley of fireballs or a sniping psionic ray), Malevolant (a revised version of the Revenant), Howler and Shadow (sort of crouching dark Imps), Soul Harvester (a grey Imp that fires yellow "souls"), Satyr (a small species of Hell Knight, that can just scratch you), Templier (a sort of orange Baron of Hell that launches yellow fireballs with his paw or green bolts with his shield), Warlord of Hell (another race of Baron of Hell, but more dangerous than the others with his multi-shots), Mauler Demon (very red, fast jumping Demon), Nightmare (a sort of grey Lost Soul, that launches red fireballs), Ghosts and Obsidian Statue (tough race of Satyr, that launches harmful stones). The final boss is Seth or Guardian of Darkness, a tall dark sort of Baron of Hell (it is Vader's Bruiser Demon, modified by Shadowman and Guest): he features three running "mouses" with dark trails, which suck your health rapidly, and shoots a painful black bolt. They are various, good-looking, fun to fight against (apart from Ghosts and Shadows) and enliven the gameplay. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes several new textures and flats, coming from various resources. They are used in place of the original "Doom 2" resources to create completely new settings: they look good and the author used them nicely to create great-looking levels. There are also new sprites for the chainsaw and for new monsters, items and decorations (such as hanged and paled, corpses, trees, mushrooms, etc.): they look great! The .WAD includes also a new TITLEPIC and CREDIT pictures, as well as new menù graphics: they all look good. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are new sounds for new monsters, but also ambient sounds - they all sound good, except for that of the wind, which makes an annyoing periodic buzz! Assessment: 9!

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New music: There are several new background music track, but unfortunately one per each level, plus few ones for particular cases, like the final battle against Seth. This means that, due to the size of the maps, they'll soon become repetitive, monotonous and boring. Authors should have thought of this and could have avoided it with multiple tracks for each level - maybe changing them from time to time, according to battles or situations. It's a pity, because they are not bad and suits ambience and pace of each level. Assessment: 8!

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Overall: At the end of this long review, just few words should be spend on "Cheogsh 2": it is surely a piece of art, especially for its stunning graphics (thanks to new graphic resources too!), but not flawless: there are some visual glitches, gameplay is enthralling with its nice story, but boring with its complex puzzles and switch hunt; difficulty is challenging, not too hard, but it has some nasty situations with few of the new monsters, which could have been omitted; music is catchy, but turns out trivial very soon. In spite of these flaws, it is worth your time: play it! Assessment: 9!

 
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"Paradice" by UltimateLorenzo a.k.a. Toranaga:
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Playability: "This WAD is a patchwork of many wad fragments and incompleted levels" that UltimateLorenzo "did in the last 5 years". He "gathered them all in this wad, connected the various parts, added monsters and ammo". This excerpt from the alleged .TXT file is significant, as it warns players about the quality of this .WAD, designed for ZDoom. As written in the .TXT file, this level is "very big and full of monsters" (410 enemies in all skill levels). It is quite simple, but not linear: in fact, you have to explore the map and look for keys, but there's a lot of backtracking, that becomes tedious because there's no opposition when you backtrack! Theoretically you should find keys in this order: Red Key Card, Blue Skull Key, Red Skull Key, Yellow Key Card, Blue Key Card, but the author forgot locking a door with the Yellow Key Card: so, after you take the Red Key Card, you can look directly for the Blue Key Card and reach the exit... without even killing half monsters and without exploring most of the map! That's really a bad error, that could be avoided with proper beta-testing. This error and tedious backtracking make this ZDoom .WAD, whose gameplay is pretty simle, lose few points in the "playability" department. Assessment: 5!

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Graphics: "Paradice" is a mixed bag, as for graphics: in fact there are good-looking and very detailed areas with interesting layout and architecture, but other parts are too simple, empty, underdetailed, with bare walls, floors and ceiling. You can notice it especially if you compare outside areas (large and rather underdetailed) with those inside buildings (smaller and more detailed). This is probably due to the fact that the author used "fragments" of previous incomplete levels and linked each other with insignificant corridors and large areas. Maybe the author tried to compensate lack of architectural detail with texture and flat choice and combination, but the mix of new and original textures doesn't work nicely. There is not a main colour scheme, although red, grey and brown seem to prevail over the other colours. The fog looks tacky, but other ZDoom effects, such as slopes, coloured lights and water effects, are not bad. Lighting could have been improved. To sum up: the whole level doesn't look bad, but could have been much better, if the author had put more effort in it! Assessment: 6!

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Difficulty: As stated in the .TXT file and at the beginning of this review, this level is "very big and full of monsters", but it is not the typical slaughter-fest with AV- or HR-style difficulty. In fact, monsters usually come in small groups and rarely in few large hordes; also, they are often coming towards you and there are few ambushes, where you are surrounded from behind or other directions. So, monster placement is rarely a problem. Some traps exploit the "surprise effect", but they are not deadly. You'll find all weapons and abundant ammo for all of them; health is provided throughout the whole map, especially where you need it. There are no secrets, but there are power-ups scattered here and there (two Soul Spheres, a MegaSphere, Backpacks full of ammo, etc.). Don't be scared of the first CyberDemon you encounter without any powerful weapon: just run past it and other opposition! You may stumble on a Spider MasterMind too, not far from that CyberDemon: if so, you can provoke infighting and then finish off the survivor easily; you may avoid the big Spider as well, depending on the route you choose after the CyberDemon - in this case, you can kill them later, when you get powerful weapons. There are other two CyberDemon in the map, but they do not pose a serious threat, if you have got the BFG and enough ammo. To sum up: the level should challenge the average player. It is a pity that difficulty skills are not implemented! Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes new sprites for decoration, weapons and almost all monsters (except Chaingunner, Revenant, Spider MasterMind and CyberDemon): they come from "Doom 64" and they are really ugly! Moreover the sprites for the shotgun lack a real animation, so it is hard to say when you finish reloading it, which makes the first battle hard until you get used to it. The chaingun has a strange blue flash, as if it fires plasma bolts! There new textures too: they are mostly from "Quake 2" and, as I wrote above, they don't help making the level better-looking. To sum up: a disaster! Most .WADs get high assessment here, raising their mean mark, but this time it is the opposite. Assessment: 3!

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New sounds: There are some new sounds for monsters, weapons, doors, etc., but they are not very good! Assessment: 7!

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New music: The new music tracks are the good only add-ons! The background music is nice and fits the ambience of the map, whereas the intermission music is catchy. The title music sounds a bit out of place: it would fit an "Heretic" or "Hexen" .WAD better than a "Doom 2" .WAD, nevertheless it is not bad! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: In conclusion, "Paradice" is not a great .WAD because of its simple and bugged gameplay nd its bland graphics. Difficulty is the only sector where the author succeeded and didn't fail. Unfortunately the new sprites ruin this experience, because the ones of the SSG affect even playability! To play, only if you don't mind ugly sprites from "Doom 64" and want a nice challenge. Assessment: 6.5!

 
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"The Support Relay" by 40oz:
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Playbility: This is a Boom-compatible .WAD for "Doom 2". It is a small linear map, that won't take you more than half an hour. There's no story and the gameplay is very simple, based mainly on action and few switches to activate: they open doors, lower lifts or pillars. There's just one key to look for: the Yellow Key, that opens the door to the final arena. In few words: a normal level - good, but nothing extraordinary. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: The level looks like a tech-base and this theme is well executed. Architecture is simple, but good-looking: you won't see any intricate structure and lots of details, yet the map has a good look, thanks to wise choice and combination of textures and flats. The colour scheme has a brown dominant, with some red, green and grey here and there. The main details are: crates, computers and consolles. Lighting is not painstaking, but still good. Again, the level is nothing exceptional, but it is not bad at all. Assessment: 7!

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Difficuty: In this department the author did quite a good job: this level is challenging for all kinds of players, without being extremely hard. Of course difficulty depends on the skill level you choose: the first two (with 82 monsters) are recommended to beginners, the third one (with 120 enemies) is for the average Doomer and UV (monster count: 151) is designed for seasoned players. Monster placement is rarely troublesome, since enemies don't come from unexpected directions and they rarely surround you. Nevertheless there are traps and ambushes, but they are not deadly and health provisions are always there, where you need them. Ammo is plentiful, but alternating chaingun and shotgun is suggested. Secrets are not hard to find, if you have a good eye: one of them hids a Medikit (not very useful, actually), the other hids a useful Rocket Launcher. This one is the most powerful weapon you'll find and is good it to weaken the CyberDemon in the final battle: you won't have enough rockets to kill him with the RL, but you can finish him off with your SSG. This showdown is a fine ending, but it is not very good for all players, because it takes place in a small arena and it can be nasty, if you didn't find the RL. It is surely a good challenge for the experienced Doomer, a tough one for the average, but casual players and beginners will find it hard - that's why I think that the CyberDemon should have been replaced with a horde of monsters in the first two skill levels. As a whole, the level is a good one. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: There are new textures and flats in this .WAD. Most of them are modifications of the original ones. They are good and the author used them in a good way. Assessment: 10!

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New music: Actually the background music track is not new, since it is from "Ultimate DooM". Nevertheless its choice is good, because it really suits the pace and ambience of the map. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: "The Support Relay" is a typical "Doom 2" level, featuring the classical action-based gameplay, good-looking graphics and challenging difficulty. Assessment: 8!

 
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"Pi2" by Shadownman:
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Playability: "Pi2" or maybe "π2" is a small "Doom 2" level for limit-removing ports. I do not know why this name and it is not explained anywhere. There's no story and the setting is unclear as well. However, the level is quite simple and linear, based mostly on action, with only two keys to find (Red and Blue KeyCards) and just two switches, three if you include the exit one. There is not much more to say. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: The level seems to be set in a sort of tech-base with a theme resembling "Quake", mainly because of new textures and flats, which have brown and red dominants, though there is some green, that recalls "Plutonia". Also, the map layout is squared off, but the architecture has a good level of detail, not very high, but still good-looking. Lighting is simple, but not bad. In few words: not an extraordinary level, just an ordinary map. Assessment: 7!

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Difficulty: Although it is a small map, it is not an easy one, if you take it lightly. The monster population (62 in the first two skill levels, 82 in HMP and 99 in UV) consists mainly of hitscanners, plus some Imps and Demons amd just two Revenants (in HMP). Health is finely balanced: Stimpaks and Medikits are scattered here and there, where you need them; ammo is abundant: you'll never run out of ammo, unless you waste it. As for weapons, you'll find Shotguns and Chainguns, but there's also a Rocket Launcher hidden in a secret area: it is not hard to find, whereas the other one (with a Soul Sphere) is not so easy. What makes this .WAD hard is the placement of monsters: hitscanners are always a pain in the neck, when placed properly! Beware of traps: there are three with teleporting monsters and they can be deadly. The only thing this level lacks is a good finale, a great battle. To sum up: "Pi2" is a challenging level for every kind of players; just choose your correct skill level. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes new textures (included a new sky) and flats, as well as some new sprites - for tree and recoloured version of Imps and Demons: their colours are darker, but their behaviour is the same as the original monsters (there's no DECORATE or DEHACKED lump). Assessment: 10!

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New music: There's a new catchy background music track, that fits the pace and ambience of the level. Nice choice! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: In conclusion, "Pi2" is a small, linear, good-looking and challenging level. It is beatable in few minutes. The first two skill settings are suggested to beginners, HMP is designed for the average player, whereas UV is recommended to experienced and skilled Doomers. Assessment: 8.5!

 
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"Elysion" by Death-Destiny:
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Playability: Here we go with another level by Death-Destiny, in the same style as the others. It is a "Doom 2" .WAD and requires any Boom-compatible port. Gameplay is based mostly on action, as usual in Death-Destiny's maps: there are lots of monsters ready to kill you. In spite of lack of a story (in the .TXT file) and ACS Scripts, your mission is clearly outlined: you are in UAC mining facility overrun by monsters and you must use the teleport in the start room to leave this area. Unfortunately you need the Red Skull Key to activate it, so you must shoot the other switch to open the control area and find that key; in order to find that key, located in "Sector C" (a warehouse), you must find the Blue Key Card and then look for the Red and Yellow Key Cards, respectively in "Sector A" and "Sectpr B": you can take them in any order. So, on the whole the map is quite linear and straightforward, with few switch puzzles. In few words: gameplay is simple, but good. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: "Elysion" is a good-looking level, but it doesn't shine out. The start room is imposing and detailed, as well as "Sector A" and "B" (which are very alike, apart from lighting), but the rest is quite bland and uninspired: the main hub is just a big room with lots of crates and low-medium detail level. The map layout is good, but the architecture is not developed. The colour scheme has a strong green dominant, without any eye-catching patterns; choice and usage of textures and flats could have been better. Lighting is simple too. To sum up: the level is not bad at all and I didn't notice any flaw, but it could have been much better - probably the author wasn't very inspired; after all, in the .TXT file he wrote that this is a "speedmap [...] made to combat mapper's block". Assessment: 7!

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Difficulty: As stated above, this large level features the typical style of Death-Destiny, inspired to "Hell Revealed": hundreds of monsters (451 in the first two skill levels, 492 in HMP, 605 in UV), usually coming in big hordes, strategic enemy placement, traps with teleporting enemies, fine balance of health and ammo. Secrets are quite hard to find, but provide useful things; nevertheless some power-ups are provided where you need them (e.g. Berserk and Invulnerability Sphere after the first battle or the Soul Sphere near the Red Key Card, in HMP). Beware of the skill level you choose: HMP is a very hard challenge for the average Doomer, UV is for "Doom gods". I'll give you an example of the difference between these 2 skill settings (it is not just the number of monsters!): you start with Shotgun and Super-Shotgun in HMP and just with Berserk in UV (by the way, the Berserk restores your health to 150%). Unless you have great skills in manoeuvring and punching, you won't survive the first battle against hordes of Imps, Demons, Pain Elementals, Revenants and Hell Knights plus an Arch-Vile! I want to give you an idea of what you must expect from the rest of this level (in HMP!): after the first fight, you'll have to kill several Imps, Barons of Hell and Hell Knights and a CyberDemon. Once the whole room is cleared, you can go forth in a blue corridor, where Revenants, Chaingunners and Imps are defending the access to the main room of the mining station. Once there, you'll be welcomed by a Mancubus and two Revenants; the depot will look empty after their defeat, but it will become full of hitscanners and Imps in an instant. After finding the Blue Key, you can go outside and reach "Sector A" and "B", where the Red and Yellow Key Cards and hidden: be careful there - nasty traps will make you sweat blood! With the Yellow Key Card you can go back to the start room and get the BFG - it is not "necessary" to finish the level, but I defy you to do it! Beware of the trap with BFG: two CyberDemons are ready to teleport and stop you! With the Red and Yellow Keys you can open the door to "Sector C", where snipers, Imps, Pain Elementals, a Mancubus and two Hell Knights are waiting for you. After pressing a switch and killing some other opposition (Imps, Pain Elementals, Revenants and Arch-Viles), you'll  reach the "hazard storage", defended by a bunch of Arachnotrons and a Spider MasterMind. Then you can enter it and take the Red Skull Key: this will make hell break loose! Hordes of various monsters (including two CyberDemons!) will teleport in almost everywhere. If you are quick, you can run through incoming opposition and reach the start room, where the last group of Pain Elementals will teleport in to defend the exit. If you want to kill all monsters, you must be clever and think of a good strategy (one is that I just explained: you can reach the main room and face the great horde with calm). To sum up: this .WAD is very hard and extermely challenging, because of monster placement, tricks and traps. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes few new textures, a new green sky with yellow mountains and some new sprites, used to simulate an acid rain (actually it doesn't hurt you, as well as most of acid pools). There's also a new title for the map (used in the intermission screen). Assessment: 10!

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New music: There's a new background music track, that doesn't fit the pace of the level, because it is too calm; nevertheless it suits the creepy ambience of the map. Assessment: 7!

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Overall: In few words, "Elysion" is a large speedmap for "Doom 2" (Boom-compatible port required!) with action-packed gameplay: it features the typical HR-styled difficulty of Death-Destiny's levels, good-looking graphics, though uninspired. Becaue of its very hard and challenging difficulty, I suggest that you choose skill level wisely! Assessment: 8!

 
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"Awakening" by Emil Brundage:
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Playability: This level is a very big map (E4M1) for "Ultimate DooM", designed for ZDoom, as it uses new DECORATE monsters from Daniel Tormentor667 Gimmer's "Bestiary", although the level itself exploits Boom features above all. The .TXT file provides a nice story, that is nicely developed in the map. Gameplay is peculiar: you start in a room of a big UAC base, that looks empty, abandoned. First of all, you must look for the three Key Cards in the perimeter of the UAC base; after finding all the Key Cards, you can enter the core of the base. Once you reach the centre of the base, you'll be immediately surrounded by hordes of monsters. After surviving this first massive attack, you must explore the whole UAC base again, where now the previously locked areas are unlocked, and find the way to lower the Blue Skull Key, that opens the exit door. Because of the structure of the map, gameplay is not linear and you can explore the level freely, apart from few limitations. To sum up: the gameplay is very good, but could have been even better, if the author had exploited all ZDoom potential and features (like ACS Scripts), to help the player understand what to do. Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: You can say that you don't like gameplay or difficulty of this .WAD, but you can't surely dislike its graphics. "Awakening" is truly a piece of art with its big and complex layout, its imposing architecture (the ring perimeter of the UAC base, the warehouse, the core and all the structures in it), its very high detail level (columns, pillars, pipes, carved walls, windows, light sources, computers, consoles, etc.), its brilliant choice and combination of textures and flats with eye-catching colour schemes. Lighting is painstaking and creates the right ambience. In short, everything is perfect and great-looking. To sum up with just one word: artwork! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: Some players won't like this level for its almost insane difficulty, others will love it for the same reason. I'll try to describe the difficulty as good as possible, so that you can decide if you can beat it or not. However, remember that you can always choose lower skill levels, if UV is not for you, although the easiest skill levels are not implemented and HMP differs from UV for the absence of new enemies, replaced with standard monsters. So... actually there's just one skill level, which is not a good thing! Now let's focus on the level itself. As forementioned, there's no monster to deal with until you reach the inner core of the UAC base; then you'll be welcomed by a giant army of troopers (Rapid Fire Troopers, Zombie Men, Chainsaw Guys), Imps and Devils, who'll be soon reinforced with Demons, Mech-Demons, Cacodemons and Crackodemons. After this slaughterfest, you'll have to explore the areas nearby and lower the pillar with the blue Skull Key on its top. You can explore these areas freely in the order you want. I suggest that you go in the Northern area (in the 4th screenshot) first, so that you can carry more ammo with the Backpacks in there: they are useful, because you don't have to watch for your ammo continuously and look for refill, but you can accumulate it as you progress. The battles you must face there and in the Western area (where you can find a Rocket Launcher) are very hard, because you are literally overwhelmed by large hordes of various monsters. Infighting helps you, but you can't rely just on it, because enemies tend to fill all the area and you can't escape from it, because doors close automatically as you enter the sector. So, "you have to kill to staty alive", as Iron Maiden say in a famous song ("The Mercenary")! The problem is making your way through the monster crowd. I think that you'd better keep moving and never stop, unless you are in a safe place with enough cover (hard to find, actually!). The Southern area is probably the easiest one, although it is not "easy", because you have to face a big troop of Shotgunners, Cacodemons, Cacoliches and Crackodemons in the small tech-base, whereas Barons of Hell and a Lord of Heresy are awaiting you in the underground part of the base. It is easier than the other parts of the map, because there is lot of cover (columns and stairs above all), unlike other areas. If you have got good manoeuvring skills and a good strategy, you won't have many problems there. The sector in the North-Eastern part of the map (sort of nukage refinery) is quite easy, if you understand how to cope with crossfire coming from Vulgars on two sides: remember to exploit cover and be careful when you are on the conveyor belts, since it is easy to fall into acid pits and die! If you have the Rocket Launcher and enough rockets, the fight against the two Archons of Hell should be quite simple. The battle in the South-Eastern sector is probably the hardest: here you must face Demons and Blood Demons coming from three different rooms, where they teleport in, and two Thamuz (dark CyberDemons with multiple attacks). In this area you can activate three crushers, one for each corridor; so, what you have to do is forcing enemies in these corridors and activate the crushers as many times as needed to "kill'em all" (oh... another "metal" quote, from Metallica this time!). After getting the Blue Key, you can go back to the start room and reach the exit... but just after the final challenge against three possessed marines, each one armed with a different weapon: Shotgun, Chaigun and Rocket Launcher. In general health is quite low for average players, whereas ammo is better balanced, but not abundant; armour is finely balanced, with a Green Armour near the core of the base and several helmets scattered here and there. Secrets are hard to find (I found just one, that with the Berserk), but I am sure that they are very useful, if discovered (I caught a glimpes of an Invulnerability Sphere in a room near to the core of the base, for instance). Unfortunately the Computer Map doesn't help much to find them! Saving game often is strongly recommended. To sum up: fights could be better choregraphed and the lack of skill setting is not good; the level is extremely challenging and very hard for the average Doomers, who may not like it, on the contrary seasoned players may be pleased with this HR-styled map. Assessment: 7!

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New monsters: As stated above, the .WAD includes several new enemies, which appear only if you play it in UV, otherwise they are replaced with standard monsters. They all come from Daniel Tormentor667 Gimmer's "Bestiary". There are the Chainsaw Guy, the Rapid Fire Trooper (the names are self-explanatory), the Devil (a darker and tougher Imp with longer claws, that throws two fireballs in a row), the Mech-Demon (a redder and stronger Demon with mechanic legs), the Cacolich (a stronger yellow version of the Cacodemon with two different attacks), the CrackoDemon (a dark Cacodemon with a powerful attack), the Lord of Heresy (a winged yellow version of the Baron of Hell, that can launch one, two or three fireballs at the same time in different directions), the Vulgar (a sort of slimy Imp, that throws a poisonus fireball), the Archon of Hell (a cross of a Baron of Hell and a CyberDemon, that has two different powerful attacks), Thamuz (a dark version of CyberDemon, that can fire a homing quick green bolts, green flames on the floor or a BFG shot, that can kill you instantly), the possessed marines with Shotgun, Chaingun and Rocket Launcher. All of them are good and spice up the level, making it fun, interesting and challenging. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: Of course the .WAD includes the sprites for the new monsters, but also some new textures, most of which are recoloured or modified versions of the original ones. There's no new sky, but the author created a nice sky-box in the map (look at the 8th screenshot). The .WAD includes a new TITLEPIC and a new title for the map: they are not bad, except for the text that has got a background colour and doesn't fit in the picture nicely. Assessment: 9!

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New sounds: There are new .WAV files for the sounds of the new monsters. They are all good. Assessment: 10!

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New music: The new level comes with a new background music track, that is a Metallica's song, that really suits the ambience and pace of the map and never gets monotonous, in spite of the map size! The .WAD includes new title music too. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: In conclusion, "Awakening" is surely an awesome map as fore graphics (top-notch quality!); its gameplay is quite good, unique, open and non-linear; the difficulty is extremely hard for average players, but gives a nice challenge to experienced Doomers. Assessment: 9!

 
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"DooM: Assimilation (Demo)" by UltimateLorenzo a.k.a Toranaga:
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Playability: This is a single level demo of the "DooM: Assmilation" project, that UltimateLorenzo started some years ago. It is designed for ZDoom, but it exploits very few features of this port (DECORATE and MAPINFO lumps) with almost no gameplay enhancement, apart from new monsters! The map is very simple, linear and straightforward: first of all you must find the well guarded Yellow Key Card, then look for the Blue one in another building and gain access to a small structure, where you'll face a mini boss monster, before finishing this small level. This should probably be the first map of a MegaWAD, but it doesn't look promising at all. Assessment: 6!

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Graphics: This is the only department where the author succeeds, although he can't even get the highest assessment. The setting is a sort of tech-base, that shows a nicely detailed architecture, especially inside the buildings (light sources, computer, consoles, etc.). Detail level is not top notch, but quite high. Unfortunately outside the look is quite bland, especially the central building, that features an ugly texturing. As for the rest, the choice of textures and flats is quite good, as they are nicely combined. Lighting is quite simple, without fading, shadowing and special effects. To sum up: the level is quite good-looking, but the author could have done better! Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: In spite of the low monster count (40, 45 and 48 respectively for the first skill levels, HMP and UV/NM), this level is really hard. And it is not challenging, it is frustrating! That's because of new monsters, which are deadly, especially Borgs. Since you do not know them, you'll get killed at least once. Moreover there are nasty traps, which you can't survive, unless you already know them and how to escape! This is not a good way of designing difficulty at all. Ammo is enough to kill all enemies, although you'd better not waste it, whereas health is quite scarce. The final battle against a dangerous CyberBaron takes place in a very narrow room, that makes it quite hard, especially if you do not know it, are low on health and/or wasted all your plasma cells before. And this is not the only fight that takes place at close quarters...! There are no secrets and power-ups, which could have been useful. To sum up: a very hard level, even on low skill levels, which differ from the higher ones for a bit more health and ammo and just fewer enemies. Assessment: 5!

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New monsters: As implicitly stated above, the .WAD includes some new DECORATE monsters, which make this level very hard. There are two different Borgs: one of them fires a rapid series of Arachnotron fireballs, that can kill you instantly, if you don't dodge them; the other one is weaker and fires just one shot at a time. There's also a Tesla Imp, that fires a volley of Imp's fireballs: they are slower than the shots fired by the stronger Borgs, but can be extremely dangerous, when a horde of Tesla Imps attacks you! Blood Demons are quicker and tougher than normal Demons, whereas the forementioned CyberBaron is a tougher Baron of Hell with a rocket launcher in one of his arms, firing just one rocket at a time (instead of 3, like CyberDemon). As forementioned, they ruin the difficulty of the level, because of their usage, as well as the strength and attack speed of stronger Borgs. Assessment: 5!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes new sprites for new monsters, of course. There are some new textures, most of which come from Ultimate Doom, plus few recoloured versions of existing textures. There's also a new orange sky. Everything looks good and is well used. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are also new sounds for new monsters: their quality is really good. Assessment: 10!

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New music: The .WAD includes a new background music for the level and another one for the intermission screen. They are both very good. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: Not a great .WAD. Gameplay is very simple, based mostly on action, and difficulty is very high, without being challenging - on the contrary, it is quite frustrating, because you can't beat it without dying for every new encounter or trap! Graphics is the only department where the author did a good work, apart from few questionable texturing issues. Assessment: 7.5!

 
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"Brood of Hatred" by Christian Lian:
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Playability: You probably haven't ever heard of this author and this .WAD could be his first (released) level. In spite of the premises, this is a fair map for limit-removing ports. Gameplay is quite simple and linear: you need all 3 keys to reach the exit, but there's only one path you can follow and you must look for keys in the order: Red - Blue - Yellow. Considering the map structure, the author could have made it less linear and with two paths to choose, so that you could have searched for the Red key or the Blue one first and then the other. Nevertheless it is not bad and the solution the author adopted avoids confusion in the player, so that it is impossible to get lost, because you always know where to go next. As you probably guessed, this level is basedd mainly on action and key hunt, but there are some simple puzzles with switches too. To sum up: good gameplay from a new author, especially if you consider that the .WAD is for limit-removing ports (no Boom effects, ACS Scripts or such). Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: This level would have been great and would have deserved a very high assessment, if the author and playtesters hadn't missed some serious flaws. In fact, the architecture is very good-looking and often imposing, with a high level of detail (look at columns, pillars, stairs, platforms, carving in walls, floors and ceilings!) and beautiful eye-catching colour schemes (mainly grey-green, brown-green and grey-red), thanks to a wise combination of textures and flats. The author used various themes, which mingle nicely: a natural landscape with rocky mountains and caves, gothic ruins and an hellish land with lava rivers and pools. Lighting is the icing on the cake: it is used effectively to create the proper ambience. So, what described till now would really deserve a 9 or even a 10... but, unfortunately, there are serious flaws, which cannot be neglected: HOM (Hall Of Mirrors) effects, due to missing textures! Errors like these (and I found three! - see screeshots 6, 8 and 12) inevitably lower the assessment, because they shouldn't be there: every .WAD editor warns about missing textures and such glitches shouldn't go unnoticed during playtesting! Assessment: 5!

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Difficulty: The name of this .WAD should make you think about the difficulty level to expect: quite high! The level is quite big and features a relatively high monster count (363, 489 and 556 respectively for the first two skill levels, the third one and last two), but it is different from HR-styled maps, although challenging. What makes this level hard? Monster placement for sure: there are very few hitscanners (Zombie Men, Shotgunners and Chaingunners), but there are several sniping Imps; most of the enemies you encounter tend to ambush or surround you. Various kinds of traps (teleporting monsters, Revenants coming from an acid pool, enemies hiding behind walls, etc.) raise the difficulty level. Not few battles take place in narrow areas and even large rooms can suddenly look small, because of the number of enemies in them! Fortunately enough, ammo is plentiful and you shouldn't ever worry about it. Health is nicely balanced with several Medikits and Stimpaks right where you need them. Nevertheless some fights can be annoying, because of forementioned monster placement and sudden traps, where you can find yourself surrounded by hordes of monsters! You'll get all weapons, so use the most powerful when you think it is necessary: don't let enemies mow you down! Secrets are very hard to find... well, actually you can even see power-ups (like MegaSpheres and Soul Spheres), but understanding how to take them is not easy at all: fortunately they are not necessary to complete the level successfully, although the author could have made some of them a bit easier to discover. One of the best challenges is the showdown against the CyberDemons protecting the Yellow Key: actually the Invulnerability Sphere makes it quite easy, especially for experienced players, who know how to destroy a CyberDemon in few BFG shots. The author could have made it more interesting for seasoned Doomers by removing or replacing the Invulnerability Sphere with another power-up in high skill levels. The final battle against a CyberDemon and a large horde of Revenants is quite annoying. Overall the difficulty is nicely balanced, with some interesting and challenging fights, but also some boring battles. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: There are several new textures and flats, which are extensively used with wisdom to create nice colour patterns and make the level much better-looking. Most of them are recoloured versions of the original "Doom 2" textures and flats, but some come from "The Plutonia Experiment" .WAD. Assessment: 9!

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New music: The .WAD includes a new nice music background, that fits the tense ambience of the map. It gets repetitive, but just because the level is long. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: "Brood of Hatred" seems to be the first .WAD released by Christian Lian, nevertheless it doesn't look like the typical first map from a newbie... apart from few HOMs! In fact, as for graphics, the level features an impressive architecture with fine details, good-looking combination of textures and flats, eye-catching colour schemes and painstaking lighting. Gameplay-wise, it is based on action, key hunt and switch puzzles, but it is almost straightforward. Difficulty is nicely balanced, as it provides nice challenges; unfortunately there are some annoying fights, but they don't ruin the fun. Remember to choose skill level according to your abilities: HMP is challenging enough for average Doomers, but can be very hard for the occasional player. Assessment: 8!

 
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"Nightomb" by Aleander "Eternal" S. a.k.a Deadall:
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Playability: This .WAD is a single level for Boom-compatible limit-removing ports. Gameplay-wise, it is very interesting because it is not based on key hunt, but on puzzles and traps, implemente by the author without using ACS Scripts, but just voodoo dolls and Boom effects. Although the author didn't write a story for this level, it is clear that you have to explore this ancient tomb, eliminate opposition, solve puzzles and find the exit. The map is quite linear, although you can choose between two differents routes at the beginning; but just after solving these first two puzzles, there's a definite path to follow. Keep in mind that there aren't real "switches", so don't look for switch textures, but for peculiar details, like shootable switches carved in walls and wooden or metal poles. To sum up: this .WAD features a very nice and interesting gameplay, based mostly on puzzles and traps; players without intuition and a good eye may not like this. Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: First of all it must be pointed out that this .WAD is part of the "2x2 series", whose idea comes from iddqd.ru: the main concept is creating a level with only 2 textures and 2 flats from the original IWAD. The author chose BRICK7 and BIGDOOR7 as for textures and CRATOP1 and FLOOR7_1 as for flats. In spite of such a limited graphic resource, Eternal created a great-looking map, that never gets repetitive or boring, although he uses always the same textures and flats: this is because he was clever enough to choose one of the most varied textures, BIGDOOR7, that has got wood, metal and the characteristic demonic symbol. Thanks to the wise use of this texture and to a very detailed architecture (pedestals, columns, niches, arches, etc.), the author succeeded in making an impressive level. The painstaking lighting is another important characteristic of this .WAD: it creates a very tense ambience, that perfectly fits theme and setting (an ancient, maybe Egyptian tomb). To sum up: an awesome level made with very limited graphics resource! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: As forementioned, "Nightomb" is based mostly on puzzles and traps. Unlike HR-styled levels, like Death-Destiny's "Disturbia" or other slaughter maps, this .WAD has a relatively low monster count (121 on HMP) and you usually fight against a single monster or a small group of enemies. Nevertheless it is a hard and challenging map, not only for monster placement, but also because of several ambushes and traps, that will catch you most of the time when you first play it, because you don't know them... though you sometimes know that something is going to happen, but you can't foresee what! Traps include teleporting monsters, crushing ceilings, closing doors or bars and even an instant-death trick, that fortunately is properly signalled! The very scarce amount of health makes this level even harder - forget Medikits and Stimpaks: after all you wouldn't find them in a real ancient tomb... although there are armour helmets here and there, as well as some health potions and ammo. By the way ammo balance is pretty good. If you have a good eye, you will find all or most secrets, although one of them requires very good speed-running skills! There are 3 secret areas: one with a useful Soul Sphere, another one with a Computer Map and the last one with a MegaSphere (speed-running skills required here). You'll find another MegaSphere in the arena, where the final showdown against the CyberDemon takes place. Even if you missed BFG and Plasma Gun, this challenge should be quite easy for most players, because the arena is quite big and there are 4 columns for cover. The author could have removed the MegaSphere in Ultra-Violence or changed it with a Soul Sphere, in order to make the final battle more interesting and challenging, especially for skilled players. To sum up: this .WAD is very tense and challenging with a lot of traps and ambushes, low health and fights in both narrow and large rooms; average players may not like shortage of health and some kinds of trap, but after all it is a good level. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: The author replaced some sprites with new ones: they are two new light sources, that fit the setting, and a full moon, that appears at the end of the map. The .WAD includes also a new nice TITLEPIC, a new INTERPIC with big brown bricks and a new map title. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: The .WAD includes new sounds too: mind that they are not ambient sounds, but replace some monster sounds; nevertheless the author exploited some tricks to use them as ambient sounds, to make the atmosphere more frightening. Unfortunately they are not so good, but sound a bit "squeaky"! Assessment: 8!

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New music: There is a new background music, that fits the creepy ambience of the level. The .WAD includes new title and intermission music too. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: "Nightomb" is another great map by Alexander Eternal S. a.k.a. Deadall. It has interesting gameplay, based mainly on puzzles, and challenging difficulty, founded on ambushes and traps. Graphically it is an art-work: it features an awesome, great-looking and very detailed architecture, in spite of a very limited graphic resource (just 2 textures and 2 flats from doom2.WAD!). Have a look at the screenshots in the relative section and download it! Assessment: 9.5!

 
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"Disturbia" by Death-Destiny:
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Playability: Like previously reviewed Death-Destiny's .WADs (Crimson Horizon, Grime and No Chance), this Boom-compatible single-map .WAD features the typical author's HR style in gameplay and difficulty. It stems out from his work for the lack of Shotgun, Super-Shotgun and shells. There are no Shotgunners as well. In this way the author forces the player to use only an enhanced version of the Chiagun. Actually this is an original idea, that is rarely seen in .WADs, where usually Shotgun and SSG are the first weapons to appear and the most used. Of course this affect the difficulty of this slaughter fest. As for gameplay, the level is quite linear and straightforward: you have to look for keys in the order Blue - Red - Yellow and find switches that lower portals, that let you go forth till you reach the main UAC computer, that opens the mouth you see at the beginning; you'll reach the bowels of Hell, where you can finally  stop the invasion, after challenging several Arch-Viles adn CyberDemons. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: The setting is unclear: it looks  like a mountain landscape with sort of tech-bases and the mouth-like entrance of Hell. This level doesn't show a particularly awesome architecture: in fact, in spite of map size and height of buildings, the detail level is not high, apart from few things like the forementioned hellish mouth and main UAC computer. Nevertheless the map is quite good-looking, thanks to a wise choice and a good combination of textures and flats. Lighting is simple, but features some nice effects, like the power-off after activating the main UAC computer: that's an artwork, especially considering that this level is Boom-compatible (so, the author didn't use ACS-Scripts!). To sum up: the author focused mainly on gameplay and difficulty, but you can't blame him, because he did a good job and the level doesn't look bad at all. Assessment: 7!

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Difficulty: As mentioned above, this map features a difficulty level like that of "Hell Revealed" with a very high monster count (more than 1100 monsters!). Ammo and health are not scattered throughout the level, but they are concentrated in the start area and in other rooms, usually locked with keys, so that you must be careful in managing your ammo... and health! This is where the difficulty of this .WAD lies. It is not just monster placement, but also ammo and health balance, that is up to you. If you are cautious, you can make your provision of Medikits and Stimpaks last till you find the next "infirmary".  As you go forth and find a new key, remember to go back to the switches and doors locked with it, so that you can get more health, ammo and - above all - new weapons (the Plasma Gun with the Blue Key, the Rocket Launcher with the Red one and the BFG with the Yellow one). Ammo isn't as troublesome as health, provided that you don't waste it. In fact you'll notice that there are several snipers (mainly Imps, but also Arch-Viles, Arachnotrons and even a CyberDemon and a Spider MasteMind), that are continuously replaced as you try to kill them. So... forget it or you'll waste all your ammo in vain! You must live with them: just try to avoid their attack and focus on real fights. Those replacements make the overall monster count high; actually you must kills fewer enemies. You can solve the problem only near the end: there's a secret area, where an important UAC computer is hidden. If you find and use it, you'll kill all replacements and make your last battles a bit easier. As you may have guessed, monster placement is quite tricky, since you are continuously attacked from snipers from almost all directions, as well as the incoming hordes of enemies. Fortunately enough most battle take place in large open areas, except for few ones. Beware of traps: most of them can be deadly, if you aren't careful enough. The hardest fights are those in the high buildings, where keys and switches are located. Once you find the main UAC computer, things get easier: you'll just have to face big hordes of monsters with your RL, PG and BFG. But after that slaughter fest, you must enter the mouth and face the hardest challenges in the bowels of Hell: a lot of Arch-Viles and CyberDemons are waiting for you! Some secrets are easy to find and will save you time, thanks to useful teleporters, which bring you back to the start area, where most health and ammo is placed. But other secret areas are hard to find! To sum up: this .WAD is hard, but features a lot of interesting challenges; forget to beat it without saving, especially on the first attempt. Maybe you can try it, after you finish the level once, because you need knowledge of the whole map; but maybe only "Doom gods" can do it. So I suggest that average players save the game often to avoid frustration: you'll need to resort to "trial and error" technique, especially if you are a bold player and not a cautious one. The lack of SG and SSG may be a problem for less experienced Doomers, but after all it makes everything more interesting and challenging!  Assessment: 8!

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New weapons: As forementioned, the .WAD includes a new powerful version of the Chaingun, that has got a 50% faster rate than the original one. Moreover you can carry double ammo than usual (i.e. up to 800 bullets, with the backpack). In this way the author tried to compensate the lack of Shotgun and SSG... and he succeeded. Graphically it is just a darker and longer version of the original Chaingun and this is a bit annoying at the beginning, because it covers a good part of your screen and can be dangerous when some monsters are throwing fireballs or rockets against you, since you may miss them! You'll just have to be more careful than usual and you should get used to it after some time. I'd like to give some hints to those Doomers who don't use Chaingun often: it is useful to snipe by pressing rythmically the fire button, so that you avoid "spread fire" and the shots are always aimed on the target; on the contrary, when fighting against tough monsters, just press the fire button, while adjusting your aim if necessary - in this way you won't give them little chance to attack you; it is incredible powerful to mow down big hordes of weak monsters (like Imps). Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes new sprites for the Chaingun and also for Pistol, Plasma Gun and Chainsaw, because the author wanted to give black gloves to our beloved marine: they all look good! There's a new sprite for the Box of Bullets: now it is grey instead of green. There are also some new computer screens with peculiar messages, a red version of COMPBLUE and LITE5 textures and a new green sky (quite odd!). Assessment: 9!

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New sounds: There's a new sound for the Chaingun: it is nothing great, but it is quite good. Assessment: 9!

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New music: Although the new background music track has a much slower pace than that of the game, it fits the tense ambience. Maybe it doesn't give you adrenaline, but it helps you keep calm even during intense fights! Assessment: 8!

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Overall: "Disturbia" is a big level by Death-Destiny: it features a linear gameplay like Grime, simple but good-looking graphics and HR-styled difficulty. The lack of Shotgun and SuperShotgun, compensated by a faster Chaingun, makes it a unique .WAD. This map is recommended to skilled Doomers for its very hard and challenging slaughter fest. Average and occasional players may want to try it on low skill levels (not higher than HMP), at least on the first run; seasoned Doomers may want to try UV on the first run for a tough and intense challenge. Assessment: 8!

 
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"Doom 2 Reloaded" by Andy Stewart:
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Playability: As the title suggest, this is a MegaWAD for vanilla "Doom 2" (though a limit-removing port is recommended, because of possible VPOs, HOMs and such) and it is a sort of remake of the original game by Id Software, although map names and settings are different. According to the .TXT file, the author tried to "make something that would follow a similar story to the original Doom / Doom 2 / Doom 3" and he succeeded. The author created a story, that is a mix of those of three games by Id Software, and developed it nicely throughout the levels, exploiting the same screen messages of the original "Doom 2". Moreover all the levels are linked each other, so that you have the feel to go forth really. In addition a good amount of levels (the first 20 or so) are designed so that you feel like you are accomplishing some missions (and it is so, if you read the .TXT file), but without any ACS scripts or special ZDoom effects: for instance you have to find and press switches, which raise antennas, power pumps, activate force fields, etc. As for real gameplay, almost all maps features a simple and classic one, based mostly on action and key hunt with very few simple puzzles with switches. Particularly most of the first 20 levels are very linear, nearly straightforward, since they are "close", i.e. the exploration of the level is very limited and you just have to follow a path, a route towards the exit; in few cases the maps are so linear, that the keys are useless, because you find a key and the door locked with it nearby; In other cases there's no key to look for or switch to press. The only exceptions are map11, 15, 16, 17 and 19: although they are quite big and open, exploration is limited by keys, that you must find in a certain order. In map19 there's a sort of switch puzzle to solve and it is not so easy to find two switches! map07 is the typical remake of "Dead Simple". Most of the hellish maps, i.e. the last 10, are non-linear: they are quite large, open, free to explore, apart from the areas (usually just the final part, where the exit is located) locked with keys, that you can find in the order you want. The only hellish levels with linear gameplay are map23, 24, 28 and 30. In map23 and 28 you just  have to find the Blue Skull Key and look for the exit. map30 is the typical final level of every MegaWAD with the Icon of Sin to defeat at the end, after pushing your way through last resistance and solving a simple switch puzzle to activate the lift and then use it to fill its brain with rockets! map24 is probably the most linear, straightforward and boring level of "Doom 2 Reloaded"; there's no gameplay, except for action: you just have to follow the path though a sort of labyrinth towards the exit! This map looks like a "fill-in", as if the author didn't know how to fill this mapslot. On the contrary, the level with the most interesting gameplay is map18, that is unique: you haven't to shoot at all till you activate the "security field", otherwise you'll be overwhelmed by the "sentinels" (some Arch-Viles), that hide somwhere in the warehouse and are ready to kill you; once you turn on the switch of the "security field", you can start your killing spree! However the level is quite linear: you must explore the level, find the Blue and Yellow keys (in this order), secure the area, take the Red Key and proceed to the exit. To sum up: the whole mapset has good story, a nice flow, that gives you a sense of progression between levels, and it is fun. Gameplay-wise it has pros and cons; most of the first levels are designed as if you were supposed to accomplish a mission, but they are also very linear; there are few puzzle switches and almost all levels have a classic gameplay, based on action and key hunt. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: Aesthetically this MegaWAD is quite good, if you consider that it is designed for vanilla "Doom 2", apart from few bugs listed in the .TXT file. Most maps are good-looking, featuring a nicely crafted architecture, medium detail level (it is never too low, but it rarely gets very high), painstaking lighting, that creates the right atmosphere, thanks also to some nice effects (such as columns that cast shadows in a lit room). Sometimes map layout and architecture are a bit squared and some rooms look even empty, with bare walls and plain floors and ceilings, but you'll find also spiral staircases and other round architectonic elements. Although architecture is often simple and not very detailed, almost all levels look good and even realistic thanks to wise choice and combination of textures and flats, which sometimes strike pleasantly your attention for eye-catching colour schemes. Moreover there are several new graphic resources, that are well used and mixed with the original ones. The bridges in map08, 09 and 20 are nice examples of clever usage of textures, that make things realistic, in spite of simple architecture. The first 11 levels are set on Mars and its moon Phobos: the main theme is tech-base with variations - for instance: map01 is a water processing station; map05 looks like a delivery station with its conveyor belts, cranes and depots; map06 is a communication station with a tower and an antenna to raise on its top; map07 is a revised and more detailed version of "Dead Simple"; map08 is a waste processing facility; map11 is set in Phobos laboratories. The next 9 maps are set on Earth and feature a realistic look: map12 is a large train/metro station, complete with gardens, waiting rooms, control room, ticket office, toilets, etc.; map13 is set in a sewer system, characterized by dark tunnels, slime falls (actually nukage/acid falls!), green brick walls, pumps, etc.; map14, 15 and 17 have a cityscape theme; map16 is a research facility; the setting of map18 is set in a warehouse, a sort of crate maze actually; map19 and 20 are set in a tech-base and in the UAC headquarters respectively. The last 10 levels are set in hell, consequently they feature a hellish theme, with a strong Gothic touch - just look at architecture and texture and flat combination: marble, wood and metal are the main textures and flats used, together with some red rocky textures, blood rivers and lava pools. map22 is a castle at the shores of the River Styx; map23 is set in a sort of cemetery and catacombs; map25 looks like an hellish fortress; the second part of map28, beyond the door locked with the Blue Skull Key, reminds "The Living End" (map29 of "Doom 2"); whereas map29 vaguely reminds "The Spirit World" (map28 of "Doom 2"), but it is probably bigger and more detailed - like the inspiration source, it is set in hellish rocky caverns with lava rivers and strange building nearby and the map layout is quite intricated. map31 "Entriway Reloaded" is a nice remake of the original map01 of "Doom 2". In the .TXT file the author wrote a long list of .WADs as inspiration sources, so you may find similarities with them here and there. The ugliest level is also the same with the worst gameplay, map23: architecture is not-existant and detail level is almost zero, except for a pool of lava, cracks on the floor and the exit room; fortunately enough textures vary here and there, but it is still a boring map. It is difficult to say which is the best map, but it is surely among the first 20, one of those with the tech-base theme. To sum up: the author showed his talent, making good-looking levels without the help of special effects (like those that ZDoom and GZDoom feature), but exploiting the potentials of the engine of "Doom 2"; the architecture is usually simple, but realistic and effective, thanks also to a good combination of textures and flats; the levels are not as detailed as the most recent ones, but they are good-looking anyway. I couldn't find any flaw, apart from a misaligned texture in map04, visibile in the 3rd screenshot. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: All the levels of "Doom 2 Reloaded" can be played in sequence or from scratch, i.e. from pistol start. The problem of this design is that ammo will always exceed, if you play levels in sequence, but it is finely balanced for games starting from scratch in almost every level; only the hellish map can be troublesome, if played from pistol start, especially because you have to fight against tough monsters without powerful weapons (like SuperShotgun and Rocket Launcher) at the beginning. As for the health balance, it is quite good: it is not excessive, but you'll always find Medikits and Stimpaks scatterd through the level, especially where you (may) need them. The difficulty increases as you go forth, though monster count tends to be constant throughout the .WAD (around 100 enemies for map) and tough monsters appear very soon (Cacodemons and Hell Knights in map01, Mancubi in map02, Arachnotrons in map03, Arch-Viles in map06 and so on). Nevertheless the levels are never difficult, mainly because the enemy placement is rarely threatening - only sniping hitscanners (Zombie Men, Shotgunners and Chaingunners) are relatively troublesome, if you don't get rid of them immediately. Moreover you don't face big hordes of monsters very often and most fights take place in open and large spaces. The hardest battles are those against tough monsters (like Revenants and Barons of Hell) in tight rooms. Almost every map has got ambushes and traps, which make levels a bit more challenging: they aren't very dangerous, but some of them can be deadly, especially in the last 10 hellish maps: so, remember to save from time to time! As for secrets, there are around 5 per map, but most of them are quite hard to find and require good eye or intuition. The entrance to the secret level in map15 is really hard to find: it is complex to reach it, because you have to sovle a puzzle with switches, hidden in secret areas; the author could have helped players by hiding a Computer Map somewhere. You would expect that hellish levels are hard... on the contrary they are quite easy, except for the very last ones. In particular map28 and 29 are those with the highest monster population, with more than 200 and 300 enemies in HMP respectively. In map29 CyberDemons make their appearance since the beginning: there are 3 (one for each key) guarding the caverns, where the keys are hidden. You are supposed to run away from them at the beginning, especially if you play this map from pistol start: only after taking Rocket Launcher or the Plasma Gun and the BFG, you can get rid of them. The peculiar gameplay of map18 influences its difficulty: you must avoid to encounter monsters or to shoot them, if they see you! As you try to shoot, a group of Arch-Vile will teleport in and hunt you... and it's impossible to survive! Taking keys can be troublesome, since they are guarded by various monsters that you can kill until you activate the "security field". Fortunately enough, there are some "devices" (such as a lowering platform and doors), that will help you: just press the right switches at the right moment - in this way you can make those "guards" inoffensive. To sum up: the whole .WAD isn't hard at all; in the .TXT file the author stated that he wanted his MegaWAD "to be more fun than a challenge"... and actually the levels are rarely challenging... and that is not so good. Nevertheless the .WAD is qutie enjoyable. I suggest UV to average players, if they want a real challenge; skilled and seasoned player may want to try beating UV-max par times or finsihing levels in UV-speed gamestyle (I think that a good amout of maps are designed for speedrunners)... maybe NM-speed is possible in some maps. The -fast parameter could be a nice idea to spice difficulty. Assessment: 7!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes a lot of new graphic resources, especially textures and flats. Some textures are modified or recoloured versions of the original ones; others are new. Most flats are taken from original "Doom 2" textures. All these new textures and flats are wisely used and mix nicely with the original one, creating nice combinations, that make levels good-looking in spite of their simple and not very detailed architecture. There are also a black & white version of the original TTILEPIC of "Doom 2" with the text "Reloaded" coloured (nice!), a modified version of the CREDIT picture with a yellow border and the author name below it, a new INTERPIC (a red screen with a grey skull in the centre, enclosed in black hexagons), a new brown BOSSBACK; there's even a new menu title. They all look good. Good job! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: All in all, this MegaWAD is quite interesting: first of all, it was entirely made by just one person... and that is not easy. Although the gameplay of single maps is quite simple and very linear, that of the whole .WAD is good, since you have the impression to go forth, once you finish a map and start the next one. Graphically the levels are nice and good-looking, in spite of simple architecture and medium level of detail. As for difficulty, all the maps are quite easy, with just few exceptions; they are rarely challenging or hard, but most of them are enjoyable and fun. Assessment: 8!

 
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"Stomping Grounds" by Morpheus:
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Playability: In the .TXT file the author claims that this .WAD is for any limit-removing source port, but actually it requires a Boom-compatible port, since it uses some specific Boom features, such as voodoo dolls, transparent textures and generalized doors. Moreover you can skip the outdoor area, unless you want to get maximum kills and items: that's quite strange; the author could have forced the player to visit it by putting Yellow Key there and locking a door with it. There is also a bug in the fake, that hides the only secret room (it can be opened only in ZDoom-compatible ports, because it is a switch-activated door without a tag) lower the assessment! Now let's have a look to what is left: "Stomping Grounds" is a small single map, that will make you busy for just few minutes. Gameplay is simple and based on action and key hunt: you must look for the Red Key and then for the Blue one. There are very few switches to use. It is a bit non-linear, but never confusing, because, after you take the keys, you must go back to open the locked doors with the Red Key or with a remote swtich, requiring the Blue one. To sum up: "Stomping Grounds" is not a bad level, apart from few bugs. Assessment: 6!

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Graphics: As the appearance suggest, this level is set in a tech-base. Architecture is very nice and features significant height variations and a high level of detail: almost all walls, floors and ceilings are crafted, so that no room looks plain or bare; some rooms may look a bit empty, because of their large size, but they look awesome, thanks to their impressive and grand architectural structure (just look at screenshots n. 3 and 4). Lighting is painstaking too: you can notice lights fading from light sources, that are carved in walls or ceilings. Unfortunately there's a glitch in the fake wall hiding the secret room: as you open it, the texture will raise like a curtain, meaning that it is wrongly upper unpegged! Apart from this flaw, all the level shows great-looking graphics and deserves a high assessment. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: The author wrote in the .TXT file that he implemented skill levels, but only the first 2 differ from the other ones, since ITYTD (I'm Too Young To Die) and HNTR (Hey, Not Too Rough) feature 65 monsters versus 96 for HMP (Hurt Me Plenty) and 97 for UV (Ultra-Violence); moreover there isn't even any difference in health, armour and ammo balance between skill levels. If you are not too bold, this level will never be too difficult, since most enemies are Zombie Men, Shotgunners, Chaingunners, Imps and Demons; the strongest monsters are two Mancubi, four Barons of Hell and an Arch-Vile in HMP/UV. The weapons you find in the map are all conventional: Shotgun, Super-Shotgun and Chaingun. Ammo is plentiful for both kinds of weapon. Health is finely balanced too: there are Stimpaks and Medikits scattered throughout the level, together with few Heal Potions. There are 2 Green Armours, but actually one is enough. In the only secret room there is just a SSG. To sum up: it is not a challenging map, but neither easy. Assessment: 7!

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New music: The new background music track is a very catchy .MIDI by Lexus Alyus: it fits the ambience of the level and gives you a nice adrenaline charge! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: Gameplay suffers few flaws, but is quite good after all. Graphically the level is great-looking, thanks to imposing and very detailed architecture, painstaking lighting and good choice and combination of textures and flats. Difficulty-wise, the map is not challenging, but neither easy. Mind you that this .WAD is the third one released by Morpheus: he surely has talent in the graphics department, but he must learn how to implement different skill levels and how to make more challenging maps. Assessment: 8!

 

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"Claws of the Enraged Beast" by James "Phobus" Cresswell:
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Playability: This .WAD a big "Doom 2" single level for ZDoom. Although you need this source port to play this level, the author didn't use any particular ZDoom feature, apart from few ACS Scripts, that are used to make traps and few other things. In fact gameplay is classic, based mainly on action and search for the Blue KeyCard. It is also non-linear, because you can explore it freely as you want, without any limitation; in fact you need the Blue Key only to open the exit door and you'll find it while exploring the map. The few switches in the map open doors and/or activate traps, but there's no switch puzzle. In spite of its non-linearity, the level is not complex and never confusing: you can't get lost, because every area is different from the other ones. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: The setting of this map is a UAC tech-base: this theme is finely developed with some nice variations. Architecture is very good and crafted with a lot of details: just look at borders, stairs, computers, consoles, etc. Detail level is really high and ZDoom graphic effects (mainly slopes) enhance it. The combination of textures and flats, as well as colour schemes, make the level great-looking. Lighting is good, but not painstaking: in fact, there are nice transitions from lit to dark areas, but there's no particular effect. To sum up: an awesome level without any imperfection. Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: The author changed the skill levels. In fact, in this .WAD you can choose just among 2 skill levels, instead of 5: "Tough" and "Slaughter!". The fiormer is good for the average Doomer or for your first run; the latter is designed for seasoned players or for a second run, if you want a real challenge. These two skill levels don't differ just for the number of enemies (182 vs. 414), but also for different health, armour, ammo, weapon and power-up distribution. However, health and ammo are finely balanced in both skill levels. What makes the "Slaughter!" difficulty level much harder than "Tough" is mainly the higher monster count, but also the enemy placement: you are surrounded by enemies and it's quite easy to be overwhelmed! Fortunately there's enough health scattered throughout the map and there are also a Soul Sphere and a Mega Sphere in the "hottest" spots. "Slaughter!" is characterized by two showdowns, that are not included in "Tough": a battle against the Spider MasterMind defending the Blue KeyCard and the final challenge against the CyberDemon. Some secrets are qutie easy to find, such as the one with the Backpack of ammo, the one with the Invisibility Sphere and the Berserk, the one with the Computer Map, that doesn't help very much in discovering the other secret areas, which are hard to discover. Fortunately enough they are not important at all! To sum up: this .WAD is very challenging and fun! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: The .WAD doesn't include any new graphic resource, apart from a new TITLEPIC, that is a screenshot of a part of the main area of the level, full of monster corpses, with the the name of the .WAD and the logo/signature of the author: it is not bad, neither exceptional. Assessment: 8!

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New music: There's a new music track (a .WAV file), that really fits ambience and pace of the level, but its quality is not high... a pity! Assessment: 8!

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Overall: To sum up, "Claws of the Enraged Beast" is a very interesting .WAD for its awesome graphics, challenging difficulty and catchy music. Play it now! Assessment: 8.5!

 
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"Heartless" by Doomguy93:
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Playability: This is the first and only map published by the author in the archives, but probably it is not the first map he made, because of its quality. "Heartless" is a Boom-compatible level for "Doom". It features a simple gameplay, based entirely on action and key hunt, with just few switches to press. The level is quite linear, apart from the necessity to backtrack in few occasions. There is no story behind this map, but it is a sort of remake of E2M4 after all. To sum up: the gameplay is not bad, but could have been made less linear and improved with more puzzles. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: Doomguy93's map is inspired by the original E2M4 of "Doom" and you can notice it while playing. Several parts are reminiscent of that level, but in general the style is much better. The first part of the map looks quite bland: it features long and high hallways, with almost plain walls and very few details. But the rest of the map is really good, featuring a medium-high detail level: walls, floor and ceilings are nicely crafted with borders, niches and other decorations, computers, consoles, etc. The combination of textures and flats is nice and helps to make this level good-looking, thanks also to eye-catchting colour schemes (e.g. grey and blue or brown and green). Lighting is quite good too: the map is mainly dark (but not pitch black!) with light sources, that enhances the ambience! To sum up: architecture is not top-notch, but the level of detail is quite high in almsot every area, except for the first part of the map. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: It is a challening map for the average Doomer: since it is for "Doom", you have no SSG, but on the other side there aren't tough enemies, like Chaingunners, Hell Knights, Arachnotrons, Mancubi and Arch-Viles. This doesn't mean that the level is easy, so prepare to face troops of Zombies and Shotgunners and hordes of Imp, Demons and Spectres. Traps make this level challening. Moreover ammo is finely balanced, so that you shouldn't waste it, especially at the beginning, when you must use the pistol too, though you are provided with a Shotgun in the start room. Health balance is good too, with scattered Stimpaks and a lot of potions, whereas Medikits are placed only where necessary. Armour is also nicely balanced: you can find several helmets throughout the whole level, as well as some Green Armours and a Blue one. Secrets are not easy to find: only players with a good eye can discover them. The first one can be helpful at the beginnig, because there are several shells! The others are less important. The showdown against the CyberDemon and a teleporting horde of various monsters is probably the most challenging part and probably one of the best moments, but it is not hard, because there are lots of Medikits in that room. To sum up with few words: finely tuned difficulty! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: "Heartless" is a fun and enthralling level for "Doom" with classic gameplay, good-looking graphics and challenging difficulty. Don't miss it! Assessment: 8!

 
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"Marine's Last Stand" by TheeXile:
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Playability: "Marine's Last Stand" is completely different from the usual "Doom 2" level. It is a sort of "survival level", i.e. you must survive fights against hordes and hordes of monsters, coming in on a fixed schedule, till the exit door opens after 30 minutes from the beginning! So its gameplay is based entirely on pure action: there's no key to look for, there's no puzzle with switches, it is just a massacre - it is a "slaughter map", as the author defines his own work in the .TXT file. This .WAD exploits voodoo dolls, so you need ports supporting them (like Boom, ZDoom, etc.). The author exploited them to schedule events on fixed times, making an interesting gameplay, without using ACS Scripts, but just Boom features. There's even a story in the .TXT file, if you mind it in a "slaughter map"! Note that, when you teleport for the first time, you have to use the Chainsaw you find to chop down some pillars, on the top of which are placed Invulnerability Spheres (the author and I recommend to chop down this pillar first!), a BFG and Plasma provisions and the teleport leading to the main room. To sum up: completely new kind of gameplay for a single-player .WAD (as far as I know!), based on pure action and HR-styled difficulty, with events scheduled on fixed times to provide an intense challenge to the player; maybe key hunt or some switch puzzle could have been added to spice up the gameplay. Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: Unfortunately the author didn't spend as much attention on graphics as he spent on gameplay and difficulty. In fact, this map features a very basic architecture, with low detail level, simple texturing and only a bit of care on lighting, that is used to make the fights in the eastern part of the map more challenging and in the main room only towards the end, when almost all lights turn off. After all, you must consider that a highly detailed architecture could have been dangerous in such a "slaughter map": architectonic elements could have hindered your movements, though they could have been used for cover! To sum up: very simple graphics, but not bad, after all; at least, I could not find any bug! Assessment: 7!

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Difficulty: As forementioned, this is a "slaughter map", with HR-styled difficulty, because you have to face several hordes of various monsters. So this is not a level for beginners, because it requires experience and skills in manoeuvring and managing various battlefronts. At the beginning you have to face a big horde of Imps and a Baron of Hell with only your pistol, but the columns in the main room will lower, while you are fighting, and then you can take health provisions and powerful and powerful weapons, as you resist: Shotgun, Rocket Launcher and Plasma Gun, with relative ammo! As you go forth more ammo, health and power-ups (mainly Invulnerability Spheres) will appear, but only a wise timing in taking these power-ups can allow you to survive till the exit door opens. The monster population, including the number of boos shooter (and so the spawning speed of enemies), changes with the skill level, whereas the power-ups are always the same. HMP gives you a fair challenge, if you are quite good; UV is designed for seasoned players. Forget to beat it on the first run; on the contrary you'll have to save often. You can think to win without saving, only after beating it for the first time and learning when scheduled events happen and where power-ups, health and ammo are placed. In fact, this level can be beaten only with a good plan and a clever strategy. The nastiest part is probably the fight against the wave of Pain Elemantals. To sum up: very challenging level, with finely balanced ammo, health and number of power-ups. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: The .ZIP file contains two .WADs, one with the level itself, the other with a black flat and few new black textures with the initial messages. Nothing special, but well made. Assessment: 10!

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 Overall: This .WAD is a different level than usual, with its simple "survival" gameplay based on pure action and timed events; the HR-styled difficulty makes it a hard, but challenging "slaughter map". Graphics is simple, but good. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Freame 2" by Evil Space Tomato:
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Playability: After some map sets, this time we deal with a single level .WAD, that is designed for "Heretic" and requires ZDoom. Like Toranaga (see my review of his "Final Heretic - Chapter One: The Docks"), Evil Space Tomato tried to enhance the gameplay of his "Heretic" .WAD by exploiting ZDoom features, like ACS Scripts, new DECORATE weapons and monsters, as well as graphic special effects. Unfortunately he is not quite successful. Let's see why. First of all, he gives a very short and simple story in the .TXT file and actually he could have written a better one, giving an explanation of what to do through the level. In fact the map is very big and not so linear, contains 789 monsters and requires a very long long time to finish. The concept behind this level is not bad at all, but it is badly developed, because what you have to do is unclear and you understand it slowly, as you explore the map, whose size and complexity makes your adventure very long and tedious. If the author had implemented missions and objectives, the game flow could have been much better and less confusing. You have to explore this giant fortress in the middle of a lava lake, surrounded by mountains, and look for and kill the Heresiarch (your primary mission). But to reach him you must accomplish secondary objectives, necessary to complete your mission: solving puzzles with switches and take keys. So, after all, the gameplay is not so innovative! As for complexity, fortunately enough there are cameras, that let you see what's the action the switches do, so that you know where to go and what to do next. But there's an error: when you press the switch in the very southern part of the map (that locked with the Red Key), you see the central courtyard of the fortress, but the switch makes the bridge appear in the western area of the map. Another error, even more serious than the previous one, could make the level impossible to finish, because the door locked with the Blue Key is not set as "repeatable". In fact, you can't reach the final arena, without leaving the D'Sparil's Staff where it was; so, if you don't do this, open the door locked with the Blue Key and then go back to leave the D'Spail's Staff, you won't be able to open that door again and you will be stuck! To sum up: the concept is nice, but badly developed; the map is too big and complex, though gameplay is linear, after all, and classic with few innovations. Unfortunately some errors, especially the serious one, mentioned above, makes my final assessment even lower than it would have been! Assessment: 5!

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Graphics: As forementioned, the level is set in a sort of fortress in the middle of a lava lake, surrounded by mountains. The map layout and the concept behind it is quite good, but not well executed, like gameplay. In fact, architecture is quite simple and with a medium detail level: there are some nice ideas, like crypts and sort of small houses, a library and so on... but most areas look very simple, with plain walls. Nevertheless the level is good-looking, thanks to the choice and combination of textures and flats, with nice colour schemes. Look at the central courtyard of the fortress, for instance: it is nice, if you look at it from the battlements, but the walls surrounding it are plain; surely it could have been made much better by adding lots of detail. Look at the blue room on the northern side of the courtyard: it looks good with the contrast of blue textures and flats against the white ones of the surrounding corridor and lighting enhances the ambience, but again it looks also a bit empty. There are many areas like these, featuring nice ideas, but not well developed, especially as for detail. It is a pity: with more work, the author could have made an impressive level, with great-looking architecture. Unfortunately there are some flaws, mainly misaligned textures, noticeable here and there: they don't strike out, but they are there! The author wrote about them in the .TXT file... but if he knows that there are such bugs, why don't he fix them?! However, I don't want to give a low assessment to the author, because of his effort on this big map, but he could have done a much better work. Assessment: 6!

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Difficulty: In spite of the very high monster count (789), this .WAD is quite easy, mainly because health is plentiful: there are Crystal Vials almost everywhere and Quartz Flasks are scattered here and there. So you can even play without worrying about your health, because you know you can heal yourself whenever you want with your Quartz Flasks or with nearby Crystal Vials. Ammo is abundant too, but a bit better balanced than health, so that alternating weapons is recommended. As for items, Quartz Flasks apart, they are well-balanced: Time Bombs can be found here and there and are useful when facing groups of enemies, to save a bit of ammo; Tomes of Power are few and are useful when you fight against boss monsters or big hordes of enemies; there are also some Rings of Invulnerability and Invisibility Spheres, but you rarely need them. Monster placement is quite simple: the author didn't place enemies to scare or ambush you, no... he just puts monsters in front of you, so that there is almost no difficulty in facing them, even if they come in hordes! That's because most times they come in front of you. Moreover there are few traps and only two are deadly. One is that on the eastern side of the fortress, near the library: after crossing a mazy corridor populated with Weredragons, once you arrive in a big room, Saberclaws and Disciples of D'Sparil suddenly appear and surround you - you'd better use an Invulnerability Sphere and a Tome of Power to get rid of this great horde of monsters! The other deadly trap is that with almost invisible Saberclaws, appearing from nowhere, when you take the Green Key (in the western part of the map): they are extremely tough, because that room is dark and you can hardly see them; moreover they also seem to be invulnerable! I tried to mow them down using an Invulnerability Sphere, a Tome of Power, the Sun Staff and the Hell Staff, but I couldn't even kill one, though I wasted a good amount of my ammo! So, once you take the Green Key, you'd better leave that room immediately. To sum up: easy level, where battles are not choreographed and monsters are placed just to be slaughtered, not to provide challenges. The only showdown is the .WAD is the finale with the Heresiarch, but it is not hard, although you haven't got the D'Sparil's Staff any more: that's because you can mow him down easily with an Invulnerability Ring and the Sun Staff (don't use the Tome of Power or you'll waste all your ammo without killing hm!). Moreover, just before the battle, you take the Soul Sphere (yes, the same from "Doom 2"), that gives you 200% health! Assessment: 7!

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New monsters: The .WAD includes some new DECORATE monsters, though actually most of them are just modified versions of "Heretic" monsters or inspired by the "Hexen" enemies. There's the Crisp, a flaming version of the Wendigo ("Hexen"). There's a new kind of Disciple of D'Sparil, but a bit more resistant and tougher, with its spiral fire-shot: he is similar to the Dark Bishop of "Hexen". There are two new kinds of Saberclaws: the forementioned invisible (and invulnerable?) one and the blue one that can teleport himself quickly in front of you. The final boss monster is the Evil Sorcerer, actually a sort of Heresiarch, very alike the one of "Hexen": he has several attacks and can teleport himself (almost like D'Sparil). They all are quite good, apart from the tough invisible (and invulnerable?) Saberclaw, and make the .WAD funnier and more interesting! Assessment: 8!

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New weapons: In the level you can find 3 new weapons, which makes enemies' life more painful: the Ice Wand, that is very alike the one in "Hexen" and can freeze your enemies with some shots; the Sun Staff replaces the Phoenix Rod, from which it differs for graphics, but has got the same behaviour, unless you use the Tome of Power (in this case, it "burns" ammo much faster... he, he!); the third weapon is... D'Sparil's Staff, yes the same weapon D'Sparil used against you in E3M8 of "Heretic": you can launch lightnings with it and burn instantly almost every monsters with just one shot, except for Ironliches and Maulotaurs. You can try its great power on the hordes of enemies defending the Blue Key, but unfortunately you can't take it with you for the last challenge! After all, it is a bit too powerful and doesn't use any kind of ammo, making the last part of the level a bit too easy: it is just a massacre! The author could have balanced this weapon better, if he had set it up to use ammo, to collect while exploring the map. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: The .WAD contains new textures, but most of them are modified versions of "Heretic" textures, new sprites for new monsters, weapons and decorations (trees and slime bubbles). Statues are made in DECORATE, not with new sprites, so that they have a real 3D appearance. As for credits: Eriance made the Ice Wand sprites, NeoWorm those for the Sun Staff, whereas the D'Sparil's Staff comes from Cult.WAD. Notice that credits are not in the .TXT file, but in a lump inside the .WAD! However, everything looks really good! Assessment: 10!

punto elenco

New sounds: There are new sounds for new weapons and monsters: they sounds good and I am quite sure that they all come from "Hexen". Assessment: 10!

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New music: Actually, there's no music... "So what is to be judged?" you may ask! Well... keep in mind that this is a very long level, as forementioned, so surely one music track wouldn't have been enough, because it would have become repetitive and monotonous quite soon. Nevertheless it is boring playing a level without background music, unless there is a good variety of ambient sounds to justify the lack of music; unfortunately this is not the case, since the autho didn't exploit them at all! Then the best solution is to use several music tracks: for instance the level starts with one track, but when entering a new area the music changes, maybe accordingly to the new ambience, and so on... So I must give the lowest assessment for the first time! Assessment: 1!

punto elenco

Overall: "Freame 2" is based on a nice concept as for gameplay and map layout, but unfortunately this concept is not well developed in both department. In fact, although this .WAD is designed for ZDoom and contains ACS Scripts and other nice features of this port, the gameplay is simple and classic, based mainly on action (789 monsters!), key hunt and some puzzles with switches; the big size of the map and the low difficulty level (for the average player - with few challenging moments) make your adventure a bit boring! The lack of music makes it even more boring!! As for graphics, the level has got some nice ideas and this proves that the author has talent, but he didn't exploit it, because architecture lacks details, though some areas are great-looking, but just because of a good choice and combination of textures and flats (creating eye-catching colour patterns). New monsters and weapons make the .WAD more enthralling than it is. Please, note that skill levels are not implemented! Play "Freame 2" only if you have a whole afternoon of free time, since it requires hours and hours of exploration and massacre. Assessment: 8!

 
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"Hellcore 2" by Devon "Darkfyre" West & Robert "Fusion" Babor:
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Playability: First of all, "Hellcore 2" is not a sequel to "Hellcore", but it is a sort of new revamped version, where all bad maps, as well as some good ones by other authors (like Chris Hansen, Brad Spencer and me), are removed; some of the maps by Darkfyre and Fusion are revamped versions of those in "Hellcore", other ones are completely new. So this 12-level set seems to be a collection of revamped levels and new ones (map02, 06, 09 and 12) by the project leaders of "Hellcore", but actually the .WAD has a game flow, though there is not a story in the .TXT file: in fact, almost every map starts where the previous one ended or is the continuation of the last map you played. The .WAD is Boom-compatible, but requires a good limit removing port, such as ZDoom and GZDoom, but the level does not contain any special effects for these ports. In fact, the gameplay of every map is classic, based on action, key hunt and few simple puzzles with switches. Almost every level is simple and linear, though not straightforward, because you often have to retrace your steps. The only level with a unique gameplay is map07, where you have to detonate dynamite placed near doors and walls of a wrecked UAC office to find your way to exit. On the contrary, there's no gameplay in map06: it is a sort of transition level, where you just have to look at monsters crossing a gate, while you wait for bars to open... and then cross yourself the gate. It is pretty stupid! Well... actually the idea is not bad, but the author could have put some fights in it, at least! Why don't make a real level, instead of a sort of "cut scene"? If map06 is the smallest level, map04 is the biggest one and has also the highest monster count (between 400 and 500, depending on the skill level). Most level are large, but never complex or confusing. If you don't understand what to do, just look at the automap: this is useful in map02, for instance. In some levels automap is completely absent (like in map12) or some linedefs or even areas are missing (like in map03)! The last level (map12) doesn't have an exit! To sum up: nice game flow through levels, classic and simple gameplay (maybe too simple!), but with few flaws or bugs, such as the lack of any kind of gameplay in map06, incomplete automaps in few levels and the missing exit in map12! Assessment: 6!

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Graphics: This is the department where the authors did their best! In fact, all levels are great-looking, feature an awesome architecture with a very high level of detail, have got good combination of textures and flats, that makes most levels look realistic, thanks also the wise choice of new graphic resource; colour schemes makes all details, even the smallest, eye-catching! Lighting is always painstaking and enhances the ambience of levels, making them creepy and gloomy; some effects are really good! Every level deservers a mention:

  • the main theme of map01 is a sort of military warehouse or UAC storage base; the most striking parts are the prisons, the simple, but nice crane and at railways near the dock... but the real masterpiece is the ship, but the lighthouse is good too!

  • The title of map02 is "Baron Streets" and its setting is a town, with several buildings, nicely rendered with various textures. The landscape is really awesome, but also the few buildings you can visit are finely crafted inside: just look at computers, chairs, lifts, etc. That's because the authors used several new textures and flats, which make everything look almost real! Lighting is painstaking, with nice effects and enhances the ambience of the map.

  • The architecture of map03 isn't as good as that of previous level, but has several details, like borders along corridors, pipes, windows, the tech base on rocky mountains with waterfalls (probably the best-looking part of the level) and so on...

  • Map04 is set in a sort of military base; architecture is finely crafted with a very high level of detail both outside and inside. Outside you can notice a nice dam in the background, a river and various buildings on a rocky mountain. Inside everything is nicely detailed: chairs, tables, computers, consolles, etc. Parts with fleshy and hellish textures and flats mixed with the tech ones give you a good idea about how the invasion spread out!

  • Map05 is another infested UAC base with a good and realistic architecture architecture, , thanks to a high detail level and a wise combination of new and old textures and flats, that create also some nice colour patterns; the flesh that covers part of the tech-base gives a good idea of the infested base.

  • There's not much to say on map06: it is a nice level with a hellish theme;

  • The setting of map07 is quite strange: it looks like a wrecked UAC office in the middle of a valley, between red rocky mountains with a very hellish feel.

  • The setting of map08 looks like a UAC base on a rocky mountain with caverns: there's a dig with a maze (eastern part of the map), a sort of toxin refinery (western part) and a tech-base, protected with mines around it (southern part); only the northern part is quite bland.

  • Authors like levels set on the streets of a town and they show that they can create very realistic map with this theme, with highly detailed architecture and great-looking landscape, thanks also to the usage of new textures and flats. The clock tower is probably the masterpiece of map09, but look to houses too: they are nicely crafted! The interior of the hotel, where to search for the Red Key, is very good too!

  • The setting of map10 is an unholy cathedral and its hellish catacombs, featuring a Gothic dark style. In fact most of the catacombs are dark, but with a very nice and painstaking lighting: torches lit feebly corridors and rooms and create a spooky atmosphere! Architecture is awesome, great-looking and highly-detailed, with borders, columns, niches, coffins, ruined walls and floors, etc. The choice and combination of textures and flats is good, though the predominant colour is grey.

  • The main theme of map11 is hell, as you can understand from dark red corridors, caverns and such. The demonic buildings have a sort of Gothic style and a nicely detailed architecture, enhanced by the choice and combination of textures and flats, making this level great-looking.

  • Map12 features several themes: the first part is hellish, the second one is a toxin refinery, the thid one is Gothic/hellish, the forth one is unclear (it is a small courtyard), the fifth and sixth one are very hellish, whereas the last one is a sort of prison/dungeon.

To sump, all levels are impressive and I couldn't find any glitch, apart from few slime-trails, due to the very high detail level, but this problem is mentioned in the .TXT file, so I can give full marks to "Hellcore 2" as for graphics! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: Unfortunately, the authors didn't pay on difficulty as much attention as on graphics. In fact, "Hellcore 2" is a sort of mixed bag as for difficulty and it hard to judge it in the whole. So, let's examine maps one by one and then try to sum up!

  • Unless you find secrets, map01 can be very hard! In fact you have to face several Barons and big hordes of Zombie Men, Imps and Demons only with your pistol; you find the Shotgun and the Chaingun only at half level, in the area locked with the Blue Key... if you have survived Barons protecting the Blue Key and the hordes of Zombie Men, Imps and Demons appearing after taking this key! Moreover health is very scarce with few Stimpacks and even fewer Medikits! Fortunately ammo is better balanced than health, but tight! Almost all secrets are hard to find, except for that with the Shotgun on the pillar (fortunately enough!) and that with a Soul Sphere inside (in the whereabouts of the same area). Looking at wide open areas of this map, it would have been a nice slaughter level, if it had been later in the .WAD and if it had been filled with lots of monsters! - 3

  • Map02 would have been really fun, if it had contained lots of monsters to kill along roads, especially as a later map. Unfortunately it is just the second one and it contains few monsters (around 70). Moreover, if you play this map from pistol start, you must kill with your pistol and shotgun various groups of Imps and Demons... and there's a very scarce amount of shells, meaning that you have to kill most of them with your pistol... what a fun! But that is not all: after taking the Yellow Key, you must face an Arch-Vile with just your pistol... and shotgun, if you have enough shells after the first battle to take it. Take note that there's not even one Stimpak in that room: so nice! After taking the Yellow Key, you must unlock the passage to the second part of the map... and then a CyberDemon and a horde of Hell Knights and Barons of Hell appear: exploit infighting, if you want to reach a high kill score... but don't think to get max kills! You must save ammo for the rest of the map, where other hordes of Imps are waiting for you, if you want to finish it. - 5

  • If you play map03 from pistol start, you'll have some problems with ammo at the beginning: so try to be very neat with your shotgun and if one shell is not enough for an Imp, finish it with a bullet! But as you go forth, ammo becomes nicely balanced. Health balance if very fine, so that you must be really careful and avoid serious injuries! As for secrets, that with Green Armour is really trivial... the others are much harder to discover and you must have a good eye to find them! - 6

  • Map04 gives you a very good challenge at last, with its very high monster population: between 400 and 500, depending on the skill level you choose. Get ready to fight against armies of Zombie Men and Shotgunners, against hordes of Revenants and Imps and against various tough monsters. Some traps (mostly with teleporting monsters) can be deadly, so always watch your back! Ammo is really plentiful and never a problem, even if you play this map from pistol start; health is finely balanced, with not many Medikits and Stimpacks scattered throughout the level, but with two Soul Spheres in the southern area of the map. If you are curious and/or have got a good eye, secrets are not hard to find. - 9

  • Unlike previous maps, map05 is a relatively easy level, maybe because of the low monster population, but surely because most fights are against single monsters of small groups of enemies instead of big hordes of monsters, like in map04. Ammo is finely balanced and, if you play this map from scratch, you can't waste it; health isn't well balanced, because there are just few Medikits and Stimpacks scattered throghout the level. Secrets are hard to find. - 8

  • Nothing to say about map06. - ?

  • Map07 is a very hard level, because, after detonating the first dynamite, you have to deal with a great horde of Demons, that immediately teleport in and occupy all the room: take your SSG and fight or take the Berserk and start punching, if you feel like Tyson! After this bloody battle, you must find the other detonator and use it: after the explosion, a large horde of Revenants will hunt you. To deal with them, I suggest that you take immediately the Rocket Launcher nearby, kill a good amount of skeletons with it and then finish the rest of the horde with the SSG. Beware to sniping Imps, that you can easily kill with your Shotgun. Then enter the gate, take some ammo and prepare for your last battle against Arachnotrons and Mancubi, defending the exit door...! I suggest that you save your game between waves of monsters. - 8

  • Like the previous level, map08 is very hard, mainly because of very deadly traps, some of which are very nasty, even annoying sometimes. In fact some of them are extremely hard to survive the first time you fall in them: the trap with Chaingunners, when taking the Shotgun; the one with Arch-Vile and Barons of Hell, when taking the Red Key. Also the part of the map beyond the gate on the south-western side is pretty nasty, because you have to face several Imps in a cramped corridor, with a sniping Chaingunner! Moreover there's not much health near these "hot spots", whereas ammo is fortunately better balanced. Secrects are very hard to find! - 6

  • Map09 is a very fun action-packed level, though it doesn't seems so at the beginning. In fact, after arriving in this gloomy town with a jeep, you don't encounter any monster, till you arrive at the villa, where some Imps welcome you at last. But the fun starts when you leave the villa with the Red Key: Demons suddenly appear from nowhere and start hunting you, while sniping Imps fire at you from the roof of a house and one or two CyberDemons (depending on the chosen skill level) defend the entrance of the railway station. Be sure that you have taken all weapons and a part of the ammo scattered through the town: in this way the fight won't be difficult, if you have a good strategy You can let the CyberDemons kill all the Demons for you, if you are good in avoiding their rockets: in this way, you can save a lot of ammo! Suggestion for seasoned players, who want a nice challenge against CyberDemons: duel against them with only the SSG! Secrets are quite easy to find: there's one with plasma provisions, that can be found looking at the automap; the other one contains a very useful Soul Sphere (there are no health provisions in this map - not a good thing!) and can be found in the villa by the players with good eye and mind! - 8

  • If you consider the map10 as a whole, it is not hard, but it surely has its difficult battles and challenging fights. The catacombs are infested mainly by Arch-Viles, Arachnotrons and Imps, but most fights against Arch-Viles are quite easy, if you know how to deal with them ("hide & seek" strategy), apart from the battles against more Arch-Viles at once. The challenge against the Spider MasterMinds defending the Red Key in the arena with the "fire pentagram" is great, but simple: just exploit infighting, if you haven't enough ammo to kill them (i.e. if you play from pistol start). Another dangerous fight is that against the Arch-Vile and the horde of various monstes (Hell Knights, Barons of Hell and Mancubi) defending the Yellow Key in the red hellish part of the map. The final challenge against various teleporting monsters (including a CyberDemon) is nice, but simple, if you exploit infighting. Ammo is abundant, but not enough to kill all monsters, if you play from pistol start, even if you exploit infighting (for instance you can't kill the CyberDemon at the beginning!). Health isn't well-balanced: Medikits and Stimpaks aren't many, even in the deadliest traps, but there are two Soul Spheres. Secrets are hard to find: you must have a very good eye to find them! - 8

  • As for map11, you must have good skills to finish this HR-styled level: in fact, you always have to face hordes of monsters surrounding you and this requires a very good strategy. So prepare for a blood bath! If you are not an experienced Doomer, I suggest that you save often. Health is finely balanced, with a good amount of Medikits placed in the arenas, where the most important fights take place, and few power-ups (armours, Soul Spheres). Ammo is plentiful and you are supposed to use BFG extensively, since plasma provisions are scattered throughout the whole map, but Rocket Launcher and Super Shotgun can be useful in duels with few tough monsters (Barons of Hell, Revenants, Arch-Viles). Infighting can be exploited only in few battles, to save ammo (though it is abundant) and health (if you are good enough to avoid crossfire). - 8

  • All the difficulty of map12 lies on the tough marines, placed throughout the map: they are extremely hard, because they are very fast and fire plasma shots and rockets. It is almost impossible to avoid their first attack, when you encounter them, making this level really nasty; so, save often! Moreover health is scarce, whereas ammo is better balanced. So, to sum up: this map is very difficult, especially if you play it from pistol start; if you come from map11 you can exploit BFG to kill quickly those bastard marines! - 6

To sum up, the first two levels are almsot impossible to finish, because of bad balance of health and ammo; fortunately enough the other maps are better balanced, especially as for ammo, though their difficulty level is challenging and inspired by "Hell Revealed" in some occasions. Assessment: 7!

punto elenco

New monsters: There's just one new enemy, made with DeHackEd: a very tough Zombie Marine, who can fire Arachnotron's plasma bolts and rockets and he has the same appearance as the Doom marine. He appears only  in the last level and, as forementioned, he is very fast: in fact, as soon as he hears you, he starts firing, unlike other enemies; moreover he moves quickly and his fire rate is higher than Arachnotron's. This makes all fights against him very difficulty, because you must shoot at him when he is firing, so that he is still and an easy target; the problem is that you must avoid its shots, in the meanwhile! Assessment: 6!

punto elenco

New graphics: The .WAD includes textures and flats from "Doom" and "Plutonia" and a lot of new textures and flats by the authors, Esa Espi Repo and Steven Dark Knight Reimer: the usage of this new big graphic resource makes level great-looking! There are also new nice sky textures: a red one with yellow clouds, a starry one and a red hellish one. The new titlepic is simple, all red, but nice. There's also a new nice bloody menù title. New map titles are made with grey letters, with the author names in red small letters. The new interpic is a real piece of art! There's also a new grey BOSSBACK picture, but it is not used. The sprites of the Zombie Marine are made by Bouncy. Assessment: 10!

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New music: The new background music tracks are very nice and fits perfectly the various kinds of ambience of the maps. The .WAD includes also new interesting title music and intermission music. Assessment: 10!

punto elenco

Overall: "Hellcore 2" is a very fine 12 map-set as for graphics, with very realistic levels. As for difficulty, it is a mixed bag: the first two levels are very hard, because of bad health and ammo balance, the other ones are better balanced as for ammo and challenging, but health is always a bit low. As for gameplay, it is quite good, based mainly on action and key hunt, but always the same, apart from the unique map07; moreover there are some bugs here and there (the lack of any kind of gameplay in map06, incomplete automaps in few levels and the missing exit in map12). Assessment: 8!

 
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"Titan 2" by Jesper Krag Rasmussen ("Ixnatifual"):
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Playability: As the name suggests, this .WAD is the sequel to "Titan" by the same author and continues its story in a different setting: Hell instead of Titan. It is a 9 map-set, like its prequel, plus a secret level (map10), that you can reach from the sixth map. It requires GZDoom 1.1.6+, but it doesn't contain any particular effect as for gameplay (such as messages, cameras, etc.), except for the new monsters in DECORATE and few simple ACS Scripts, which are used to make traps or change music during important fights. In fact, gameplay is classic, based mostly on action, key hunt and just few simple puzzles with switches. Apart from the first map and the last one, all the maps are big or, if smaller than others, long because of the high monster count (like map07 with more than 1000 monsters!). Most of the levels are non-linear, but not complex: that's because they are wide and you can explore a large portion of the maps freely, following various routes, with the only limitations of areas locked with keys. To sum up: gameplay is good, but doesn't exploit GZDoom features very much, as one would expect from such a .WAD! Assessment: 9!

punto elenco

Graphics: This is the strongest point of "Titan 2": in fact, all maps features a very good-looking architecture with a high detail level, enhanced with GZDoom special effects, like real 3D bridges and floors, skyboxes, etc.! Texture and flat combinations are well chosen, usually to get nice colour patterns. Lighting is painstaking and improved by GZDoom features, such as glowing lights. The dominant theme in all levels is hell, though it is not so clear in few maps, where a demonic/hellish feel stands out only in some parts (see map02 and 04 for instance).

  • Architecture of map01 is good and nicely detailed with rocky caverns, borders along all corridors, metal columns... everything improved by GZDoom features, like a 3D gate!

  • In map02 the setting isn't clear, but the theme is nice, with a mix of brick, metal and wood textures and flats plus a hellish-themed part, with lots of lava and red rocks and a real 3D bridge!

  • The setting of map03 is a sort of hellish rocky mountain with a tower in the middle of a lava lake.

  • In map04 the theme isn't clear, but looks hellish, with metal and wooden structures built around blood and lava lakes.

  • In map05 architecture is good, but less detailed than previous map. In fact there's just a simple 3D bridge and few eye-catching things, like the "fleshy" part of the map; the theme isn't clear again, but still sort of hell.

  • The main theme of map06 is a sort of hellish city with a Gothic style too.

  • Map07 has a strong demonic/hellish theme, with a Gothic touch, deriving from the use of marble and from the finely crafted architecture, with a lot of great columns, arches, carved walls, floors and ceilings, etc.

  • The main theme of map08 is hellish and resembles that of map29 of "DooM 2": it features a rocky landscape with a lava sea, a lot of brown and some grey stone textures, but also columns with red and yellow rocks, whereas imposing demonic structures are made of marble, wood and metal. Architecture is imposing and nicely detailed: walls are finely crafted and carved.

  • In map09 architecture is initially simple, but then it becomes greater and great, with a good detail level; the final arena is really imposing and great-looking, with a very high structure.

  • Map10 stands out for its different theme, that is tech-base, with a lot crates, some computers and consoles plus few hellish touches, but architecture features a medium detail level, lower than usual.

Everything looks good and this .WAD would have deserved full marks, if I hadn't noticed some misalinged textures, like that in map08 (look at the 9th shot). Sometimes misaligned textures are even used as hints for secrets: a questionable choice! Assessment: 9!

punto elenco

Difficulty: The .WAD is nicely designed as for difficulty too. In fact, it features an increasing difficulty curve on the whole: as you go forth in each map and in the level-set, you encounter harder and harder fights; but in map04, 06 and 08 there's a break in the positive slope of the difficulty curve. Health balance is always good and ammo is plentiful. All levels (except for map09) have several secret areas, containing useful items (health, armour, ammo, power-ups): they are usually quite easy to discover, even if you haven't got a very good eye, but some are pretty hard to find out! What makes this .WAD hard isn't monster placement, that is rarely threatening, but traps with ambushing monsters, that teleport in or appear behind walls. Moreover you often have to face hordes of monsters of different size: small, medium, big... and giant in the HR-styled maps. So, let's have a look at each level!

  • Map01 is quite easy, but challenging, because monsters come in hordes and you haven't got the the Super-Shotgun, but you are provided with Shotgun, Chaingun and Rocket Launcher.

  • In map02 difficulty increases: tougher and tougher monsters appear, like Afrits, traps become deadlier and secrets harder to find.

  • Map03 features different kinds of battles: the fights inside caverns and other narrow areas are surely tough, but here you have to face monsters coming from just one or two directions; on the contrary, outside, in the wide open arena you are surrounded by monsters, shooting at you from a lot of directions, making your journey quite nasty. The final challenge against several Pain Elementals is very hard!

  • In map04 the difficulty level is a bit lower than previous levels, because you face single monsters or small groups of enemies: they are tougher (there are several Hell Knights and Barons of Hell), but if you know how to deal with this kind of monsters, you won't have many problems; moreover there are not many sniping hitscanner. The only hard fight is the final showdown against Bruiser Demons and other monsters, descending into the arena, as you kill one of the boss monsters. Health is well-balanced, but in this arena health is quite low! A Berserk would have been great here... and if you have already taken the Berserk and almost all Medikits and Stimpaks in the map, you can end it with very low health!

  • Unlike the previous level, map05 features several battles against hordes of monsters, especially Cacodemons, which most of the time come out from alcoves hidden by walls, in order to ambush you. They can force you to fight in narrow areas, so be careful! Watch your ammo too and try to switch weapons while fighting against these waves of Cacodemons, since ammo is finely balanced for all weapons. Health is well-balanced too. Secrets can be found only by players with good eye and can be very useful, because they contain ammo, a BFG and power-ups (a Soul Sphere too!).

  • In map06 you have to face single toguh monsters and small groups of enemies, placed throughout the level, and also big horders of monsters, that are hidden behind walls, which you open with the switches scattered through the map. The hardest fights are the ones with these hordes of enemies, whereas the rest of the map isn't hard. Secrets are quite hard to find, unless you find the computer map. In one of these secret areas there's the Yellow Key Card you need to get access to the passage to the secret level (map10), that is of course well hidden!

  • The difficulty of map07 is HR-styled and inspired by Huy Pham's "Deus Vult": you have to face giant hordes of enemies almost since the beginning. After a relatively simple start, you go up to a large arena, where lots of Imps, Cacodemons, Hell Kinghts and Barons of Hell come in: this is proabably the hardest part of the map, where you have to kill half of the monsters population. To survive this long challenge, it is important to take the three Invulnerability Spheres, two of which can be taken only lowering two pillars with two switches. After this epic showdown, the difficulty goes down and the hordes of monsters you have to fight are smaller, but tough anyway. Fortunately health is well balanced with some power-ups scattered here and there, whereas ammo is abundant!

  •  The difficulty level of map08 isn't as high as that of map07, because here you have to face smaller waves of monsters, but traps make your journey risky! Fortunately most fights are simple, not hard. Moreover you'll find enough ammo for all your weapons.

  • Map09 is probably the second level with the highest monster population after map07: almost 600 monsters in HMP and 800 in UV! Like map07, this is a HR-styled level, since you have to face hordes of monsters from the beginning. In fact, you start surrounded by more than one hundred Imps; after killing them all, you have to descend with a sort of lift and face various kind of monsters at every "floor". After a "zombie parade", you enter a big arena, where the final showdown takes place: you are hunted by a Spider MasterMind and surrounded by Hell Knights and Barons of Hell, firing at you from the higher floor; after a while, various kind of enemies start teleporting in... and the slaughter fest begins! In spite of the high monster count (that includes several tough monsters - even the CyberDemon!), this is not the hardest part, because you can take advantage from infigthing: so, if you are good in manoeuvring through enemies, you can get rid of several hundreds of them without even firing one shot or using the Invulnerability Spheres you are provided with. Of course, you must be quite good and take the MegaSpheres or the Invulnerability Spheres at the right moments. After this incredible battle and solving the simple switch puzzle, you have to face the final challenge against the boss (the Supreme Fiend): but it is simple and quite easy, if you are clever enough to keep an Invulnerability Sphere and a MegaSphere for this battle. Just few BFG shots (6, if accurate) and the Supreme Fiend will be defeated! The average Doomers will be satisfied and pleased by the final showdown, whereas the experienced players will find it a bit easy and could be disappointed, because of the presence of so many power-ups even at UV! Maybe the challenges in the lift are even harder than final showdown, because you have to fight against tough monsters in a narrow area!

To sum up, "Titan 2" is a very challenging .WAD from the beginning of the first level to the end of the last map. Average players will be challenged especially by the HR-styled fights, which take inspiration also from the well choreographed battle in "Deus Vult" and "Deus Vult 2"; seasoned players will find this map-set more interesting in UV than in HMP, though the power-ups aren't finely balanced as in Huy Pham's .WADs. At least, this time the final showdown is beatable without using cheats, unlike the last level of "Titan". Assessment: 9!

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New monsters: This .WAD is fun and enthralling thanks to several new monsters, that make levels harder and more challenging. The Lord of Heresy (courtesy of Vader and Bouncy) resembles a Baron of Hell with wings, but a bit tougher (it requires 7 rockets) and stronger, with its 3 attacks: it can fire a single fireballs, 3 in your direction or several fireballs all around him! The Afrit (courtesy of Nanami, Keksdose, Espi and Ebola) is a sort of red floating Baron of Hell, who lost his legs and whose chest is always burning: he is as resistant as the Baron of Hell, but his flaming attacks are more dangerous. The Zombie Marine fire plasma against you: he is a bit tougher than Shotgunners and Chaingunners, not only for its fast and powerful weapon, but also because you need to fire a SSG shot to kill him. The Bruiser Demon (courtesy of Vader, Ghastly Dragon and Keksdose) is an evil bastard, whose arms and feet are always on fire and can launch 3 different attacks: a fire-ball with a burning tail, a fan of several smaller fire-balls or exploding mines on the floor, probably the deadliest attack; you'll have to spend at least 17 rockets or 2 BFG shots to mow it down! The Hectebus (courtesy of TheDarkArchon) is a grey and bigger version of the Mancubus, firing blue explosive orbs, one of which can kill you instantly; 4 accurate BFG shots are required to destroy it. It is a pity that it appears only at the end of the secret level. The final boss monster is the Supreme Fiend (courtesy of Raz and Ghastly Dragon), a sort of flying head of the Spider MasterMind, that fires Arachnotron's plasma bolts and BFG shots: it is tough, but not too hard - just shoot it with your BFG, while running to avoid its plasma bolts, and look for cover when it is firing BFG shots. To sum up: all new monsters (made with the DECORATE lump) are very good-looking as for graphics and fun to fight with, making this .WAD more interesting and entertaining; they are all wisely used, but the Hectebus could have been used in other levels (not just in map10) and the Supreme Fiend isn't as epic as expected. Assessment: 9!

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New weapons: Yeah... there's even a new weapon: the Mini-Gun, that comes from SkullTag (notice the pun in the message, when you take it for the first time!). It is just a long chaingun with a higher fire-rate, but is very useful for its incredible firepower: you can mow down great hordes of monsters (such as Zombies, Imps or Cacodemons) very quickly with it! The author made some fights for you to use it and provides you with enough bullets. Very good! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes new great-looking sky textures, few new textures and several textures from "Doom" and, of course, the sprites for the new monsters and the Mini-Gun. Notice that the TITLEPIC is replaced with a map, where a camera moves around the title ("Titan II") written on the floor: nice idea! Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: The new weapon and monsters come with their own sounds of course: they all sound good! Moreover there's also a new sound for the Berserk: a sort of howl of anger - quite good! There are also some new nice terrain sounds, like those you or enemies make after a splash in lava or blood. Assessment: 10!

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New music: The .WAD includes new background music tracks (courtesy of Lexus Alyus) for all the levels plus another one playing during important fights and that for the intermission screens. They all sound good, sometimes even catchy, and fit the pace and ambience of maps, with few exceptions: the music tracks of map02 and map10, suit the ambience, but not the pace of these levels: nevertheless they are nice. The background music of map08 isn't properly new (I've already heard it before!), but good anyway. The epic music track of the last level fits perfectly its granduer. To sum up: good choices, but something better could have been chosen for map02 and map10, to fit their pace. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: It is hard to sum up this .WAD in few words. It is an enjoyable and fun map-set, with classic gameplay, based mostly on action and key hunt. Graphically it is very nice, with awesome and highly detailed architecture, great-looking texture and flat combinations, eye-catching colour schemes, painstaking lighting and good special GZDoom effects (like 3D floors and glowing lights). Difficulty-wise it features several challenging fights and hard battles, with balanced health and ammo provisions and a good amount of power-ups (maybe too many in map09 for experienced Doomers!). The new weapon and new monsters make the game more interesting, whereas new graphics and music enhance the atmosphere! Assessment: 9.5!

 
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"Plutonia 2" by various authors:
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Playability: "Plutonia 2" is the unofficial sequel to Casali brothers' "Final Doom: Plutonia Experiment". As written in the .TXT file, "It emulates Plutonia's design and gameplay styles and follows from where it left off". In fact, the gameplay is very alike that of "Plutonia", i.e. classic, based mostly on action and key hunt with some simple switch puzzles. Most maps are also linear and simple, but there are some non-linear maps (like map02, 03, 04, 05, 13, 17, 29). Unlike "Plutonia", several maps are quite big and require a long time to finish; only the first maps are relatively short: I am referring both to map size and monster count. Mind that the mean monster population is around 200 at HMP ("Hurt Me Plenty", 3rd skill level)! The longest level is map29, where you'll spend a really long time. In some big maps (such as map05, 09, 16, 17, 22, 29) the player can explore most of them freely with just few limitations, imposed by switches and keys, that in some cases you can look for in the order you want. However, in most cases gameplay is simple, linear and straightforward; even in the big maps it is difficult to get lost, because their layout is well designed. The only flaws are few monsters stuck in architectural elements or decorations and some annyoing issues in map21, like the doors that must be opened with switches and close after few moments, so that you must open these doors a lot of times, if you don't enter new areas immediately and prefer to kill monsters from your side... but actually pass doors and fight against several strong monster isn't a good idea! Map11, map31 and map32 deserve a special mention, because of their particular gameplay. The eleventh level inspired by map11 of Casali brother's "Plutonia": in fact it has the same gameplay, i.e. you are chased by severl Arch-Viles and you must find your way in a bloody maze, looking for keys and then for exit. The secret level is a revised version of the original map31 of "Plutonia": gameplay is very similar to that, apart from few novelties, that improve it, making it a little bit longer and more interesting; there are no keys to look for, but switches, that open doors and lower platforms with CyberDemons on them. Map32 is inspired too by the same map of "Plutonia": it based a lot on action and key hunt, with a switch puzzle in the finale... but I won't spoil you the surprise at the end! To sum up: "Plutonia 2" keeps the same gameplay as the original IWADs ("DooM", "DooM 2" and "Plutonia") with just few novelties and very few flaws and no bugs! Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: Most of the 32 levels feature a medium detail level, some times it is medium-high, other times medium-low. Nevertheless most of them have a nice architecture, that looks great and imposing in big maps: that's true especially as for outside areas, whereas inside the building the detail level usually is lower. It's the good choice and combination of textures and flats that makes all levels good-looking, though some of them haven't a detaied or finely crafted architecture! In some maps there are some eye-catching colour schemes, that improve their beauty. As for lighting, some authors didn't exploit this means to enhance the ambience of levels, whereas in some maps it is very painstaking. The main theme of the first half of this MegaWAD is jungle and military base/outpost, whereas the predominant style in the second half of "Plutonia 2" is hellish, though it is not a truly hellish theme. However most levels are themed like those of "Plutonia". There are some maps, which deserve a particular mention, because of some nice ideas. Map10 features a very original one, a space ship lifting up from the ground, and a part very alike map10 ("Refueling Base") of "Doom 2": after all, according to what the author wrote in the .TXT file, the level is a "refueling base for space ships". Map11 has a mazy layout alike that of the original 11th map of "Plutonia". Map25 is very different from the others, because of its unique snowy and icy theme, where black wall textures nicely contrast with white textures and flats. Map26 and 29 are probably the best ones for their awesome architecture, high detail level and hellish theme: map26 is set in a sort of castle with a very hellish feeling, with a lot of blood and flesh; map29 is not as hellish as map26, because of its varied colour pattern, but features some great ideas, like a sort of hellish mouth (where's the exit) and a tower with a "more than 360 degrees staircase", as it is called in the .TXT file! Map31 layout resembles that of the secret map of "Plutonia": but also architecture and texture and flat combination of these two secret levels are alike. Map32 ("Go 4 It") is inspired by Casali brother's "Go 2 It" as well: in fact, layout and architecture are similar, but there is a mix of different levels from various IWAD: map01 of "Doom 2", E1M1 of "Doom", map01 of "Dwango 5" and map23 of "Requiem". The worst levels are map21 (quite plain architecture) and map04, that features a very simple architecture with a low detail level and a brown-ish theme isn't very good-looking - it's strange for Frederik, the author of the "Vrack" series! Unfortunately there are several flaws and visual glitches scattered through the levels: a box of bullets suspended in the air near the space ship lifting up from the ground and a "slime trail" in a corridor in map10; some slime-trails in map13, 22, 24, 26, probably due to badly built nodes; in map24 the door locked with the Blue Key is upper-unpegged and this affects the gameplay, because it covers two Revenants hiding behind it till the doors is wide open; in map25 two Hell-Knights appear below the floor level; in map29 there are few misaligned textures. To sum up: there are just few maps that strike your attention for their beautiful graphics and finely crafted architecture, whereas most of them are medium-detailed; unfortunately the several bugs and flaws scattered through the levels lower my not-so-high assessment! Assessment: 7!

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Difficulty: "Plutonia 2" is not a cakewalk! On the contrary it is challenging from the beginning till the end, because tough monsters (like Revenants, Mancubi and Hell Knights) appear since the first map. So don't expect for a "crescendo" in difficulty level: in fact it is almost constant, all levels are medium-hard. Surely the first third of the MegaWAD is a bit easier than the rest and the last third is the toughest, but wait for nasty moments in all maps. Some levels have an "Hell Revealed"-like difficulty level, with hordes and hordes of monsters to face, but you are usually provided with proper weapons and enough ammo, as well as health. Moreover, if you play at skill levels lower than UV, you can find several power-ups, like Berserks and Soul Spheres, near key points, where important battles take place; in few occasions, you can find also Invulnerability and Invisibility Spheres. So health and ammo are usually well-balanced, but also armour is finely distributed in maps. What make most levels hard are tricks and traps (especially with teleporting monsters!), but also fights taking place in very large and open areas, where you are surrounded and attacked by enemies from every direction, especially sniping Chaingunners and Revenants, that sometimes can be annoying and even hateful. Not few levels have a very nasty start, that is quite annoying, especially if you begin every map from scratch (i.e. "pistol start"). map21 is one of these and probably the worst level of "Plutonia 2": you have to kill monsters through doors, that close continuously and you must open and open and again with a switch in another room; sniping Chaingunners and Shotgunners make your journey quite disturbing; there are also some HR-styled moments, when you have to kill a horde of Revenants, surrounded by Imps, Chaingunners, Mancubi and two Arachnotrons: you must face this challenge with a high amount of health and armour... and even this couldn't be enough, if you haven't got enough experience with such challenges! An odd flaw is in map23: some parts of the blood lake don't hurt, others do - quite stupid! As for secret levels (map31 and 32), they have higher difficulty level than "Plutonia" secret maps, but they feature the same kind of challenges. If you don't like HR-styled maps (map32 is a slaughter-fest!), don't look for the secret exit in map15. Also map11 is inspired to Casali brother's level in "Plutonia", since you are hunted by Arch-Viles in a mazy map. To sum up: "Plutonia 2" is not bad as for difficulty, on the contrary it is challenging, though it can get quite boring for the large monster count; the only flaws are the nasty start in some maps and the annoying snipers! Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes also new graphic resources: first of all there are new textures and flats, some of which come from "Doom", whereas the others are modified vesion of original "Doom" or "Plutonia" textures or completely new ones: they all look good. There are also new titlepic, interpic, credit, help and bossback picture, as well as a new menù and its relative graphics: they all present the same nice style; the new status bar is quite good (if you like playing with it) and the new level names (with authors too!) are pretty good too! Assessment: 10!

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New music: The majority of the levels features completely new background music tracks, most of which are quite good, sometimes even catch and fit the ambience/mood of the maps or the pace of the gameplay, with some exceptions: in map02 the new background music is quite bland and doesn't fit well the ambience of the map; in map10 the Arabian theme is catchy but out-of-place; in map20 and 21 the new music tracks aren't good and they soon get monotonous and boring. Only map04, 06, 13, 22, 23 aren't new, since they come from "Ultimate Doom" or other .WADs. The background music of "Go 4 It" (map32) is a sort of remixed version of "Go 2 It": it is not bad at all and suits pace and ambience of the level. The new music tracks of map26 and map27 deserve a special mention, because they are unique, with peculiar styles. As for the new title music, it is the music track of some levels of "Doom": not proper as title music; something more epic would have been better! The new intermission music is a relatively short, but nice track. Assessment: 8!

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Overall: To sum up in few words this long review... "Plutonia 2" is a nice sequel to Casali's "Final DooM: Plutonia Experiment": they share the same classic gamplay, based mainly on action and key hunt, and the same difficulty, though a bit harder; as for graphics, "Plutonia 2" is inspired by Casali brother's IWAD too, although with some licenses and new graphic resources, that actually are well used together with the original one; the new music is generally good, apart from few choices. With some more extensive play-testing, some flaws and bugs could have been avoided and I would have given this .WAD a higher assessment! Assessment: 8!

 
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"Kobal 2" by Shadowman:
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Playability: This .WAD is the sequel of "Kobal". Like its predecessor, it is designed for prBoom and doesn't feature any story, but unlike its prequel it conatins two new maps instead of one. The first is quite linear and easy, compared to the second level. Gameplay of both maps is based on action as well as finding keys and solving simple puzzles with switches, which open doors or lower crates (uh? Yes, that's it!). The first map is short, linear and simple to solve; on the contrary, the second is longer, non-linear and mazy: it can be even frustrating, if you don't have good eye to find small switches carved in the wall, previously hidden by crates! To sum up: Shadowman exceeded in non-linearity, losing points in this department! Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: Shadowman is really good at making a fine architecture with a high detail level: he already showed it in "Kobal" as well as "Cheogsh", but he uses again the same geometric scheme and simmetric layout as the prequel of this .WAD - somebody may not like it, but I don't find it bad at all, though it's quite clear that he used quite extensively "copy and paste"... but who doesn't use it? Moreover everything looks good and never trivial! The main theme of the first map is a bit unclear, but still nice: it is a mix of Gothic (with metal and wooden touches), tech-base and grassy landscape. The main themes of the second map are sewer system and warehouse. Lighting is painstaking with some nice fading effects, but a bit too dark in the second map, affecting difficulty! I would have said "bravo" to Shadowman, if I didn't notice a visual glitch: a "slime trail" or sort of HOM effect in one of the corridors of map02 (look at the last screenshot): I don't know what causes it, but maybe rebuilding nodes could avoid this problem! Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: As I already wrote above, the first map is easier than the next one, but challenging: after a quiet start, you find yourself in a large grassy battlefront with a river separating two grounds, where Imps, Zombies and Shotgunners attack you. You'd better kill Shotgunners first, take their weapons and then kill the other enemies with them. Then you have to activate two switches in the two guard towers in order to raise two bridges and go to the other side of the river. After killing some Cacodemons, you can enter the area where monsters are protecting the Yellow Key: here you'll meet Chaingunners, Revenants and again some Zombies, Shotgunners, Imps and Demons. Then you can reach the exit after killing the last opposition. To sum up the first level: it is challenging and fun with good health and ammo balance. I won't describe the whole second map, but expect for a really hard challenge: though the toughest enemy here is still the Revenant, monster placement, nasty teleporting enemy traps in tight rooms and bad health balance make map02 very hard; moreover darkness makes everything much harder, since some times you must wait for enemies to shoot in order to see them (and this means that they wil hurt you!) or shoot in the dark with the risk of wasting ammo! Last but not least: the Super-Shotgun is hidden in a secret area in map02, meaning that you have to face Demons and especially Revenants with just your Shotgun or Chaingun (not so fair!), if you don't find it.; as for secrets, they are hard to find. To sum up: whereas the first level is good and well balanced, the second is quite bad, because it is too hard... so I must make an average and map02 lowers the assessment of map01! Assessment: 7!

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New graphics: The new .WAD includes several new textures and flats, extensively used in both levels, making them very good-looking! If I am not wrong, most textures come from "Quake", "Final Doom - The Plutonia Experiment", maybe Nick Baker's graphic resource pack and Danie Tormentor667 Gimmer's "Blood" graphic resoure pack. The author doesn't mention the source of the textures and flats he used, nor did he credit their authors: that's bad and I lower my assessment for this! Well... actually he credits just the "Onslaught" team, that I don't know, but I am quite sure about the origin of most textures! The new graphical resources include also new recoloured sprites for Imps and Demons (whose behaviour is still the same!) and new sprites for trees. Assessment: 8!

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New music: Though the background .MIDIs are nice tunes, they don't fit both levels. They are not Doom-ish at all, nor do they suit the mood of the maps. Well... maybe the background music of map02 (by "Death Tormention II" team) suits its creepy ambience, though its initial part seem to be incoherent with the level, but the Russian air doesn't fit map01 at all! Assessment: 6!

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Overall: It's hard to sum up a .WAD that is a "mixed bag": surely both maps are great as for graphics, whereas background music doesn't suit both levels; map01 is much better than map02 as for gameplay and difficult, since it is more linear and easier than ma02, though still challenging. I believe that even seasoned Doomers will have troubles in ma02 because of forementioned flaws (darkness, lack of SSG, monster placement, nasty traps in tight rooms and bad health balance)! Assessment: 7!

 
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"Final Heretic - Chapter One: The Docks" by Toranaga:
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Playability: As the name suggests, this .WAD is for "Heretic", but requires ZDoom, since it uses extensively a lot of its features, which make this level realistic as for graphics and interesting and fun as for gameplay. It is a completely new remake of the original E1M1 of "Heretic", but they share only the name of the map ("The docks"). The level starts with a nice cutscene (thanks ZDoom!), that recalls the story of Heretic: you are sent to the docks of a citadel to look for D'Sparil, the last Serpent Rider (not "Raider", as  the author wrote in the messages!). Then your adventure starts: you have to find the inn and ask the innkeeper for weapons and ammo; he'll give you a Crossbow and a Quiver of Arrows to fight D'Sparil's army and look for the Chalice stolen from Anana's Temple, where you must bring it back. Once you accomplish this mission, you must search for the Yellow Key that opens several doors in the town, among which there's the main one, to fight against the boss, the Death Knight! While completing your objectives, you could find 3 coloured gems, that enhance the powers of the Multi-Wand, a new special weapon. You are quite free to explore the docks as you wish, but it's "recommended" that you follow your missions, so that you don't have to face dangerous fights without proper weapons or ammo. So, the level is "open", but you have to reach some goals in a certain order to go forth, though you are free to explore most of the map as you want. Finding the Multi-Wand and the three coloured gems is not necessary, but the final battle against the boss would be extremely hard without it. To sum up: this kind of gameplay, structured in missions/objectives with some puzzles and new feaetures, make this .WAD really interesting and very pleasant to play! Assessment: 10!

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Graphics: The map is set in the docks of a medieval citadel and the author indeed succeded in making it realistic with wooden structures, boats, ships, a guard tower, an inn, houses with sloped roofs, a market with fishes, pigs and hens and even a temple (the forementioned Anana's Temple)! Everything has a high level of detail and looks realistic, thanks also to ZDoom features, like slopes. You can't understand how realistic this level is, if you don't play it or don't look at screenshots: there are lots of fine details on ships or inside the houses and the architecture of the outside areas or inside the temple is just awesome and great-looking! Lighting is good with lit and dark areas. To sum up in one word: perfect! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: The first time you play this .WAD, especially at the beginning, you will find it quite hard, but after all it is not. What makes the level apparently difficult is the open space: yes, that's because you will find yourself surrounded by enemies everywhere: there are Undead Warriors and Archers on the rooftops, other Archers on boats and ships, Golems and Nitrogolems on other boats and ships, as well as confusing among innocent civilians, and Gargoyles flying in the air! But don't get discouraged: look for cover and kill enemies one by one, while hiding from snipers. Follow your mission, as explained in the intro scene, and you won't have many problems: if you go immediately to the inn, you will be rewarded with a Crossbow and a Quiver of Arrows after defeating two Nitrogolems. Then you can get rid of lots of monsters with it and complete your next objectives. Ammo is never a problem, since there are lots of Arrows and Mana for your Multi-Wand scattered through the whole level. Health is well-balanced: you can always find some Crystal Vials or Quartz Flasks here and there, but save the latter ones for the final battle against the boss. You are also provided with a Silver Shield (armour) in the market. The Anana Chalice will give you 100 extra healh points (like the Soul Sphere in "Doom"). There are two secret areas: in one of them you can find a Torch, in the other one a Silver Shield, Arrows and 4 Time Bombs, protected by Spiders. There aren't other power-ups and that's bad, because they could have been useful: for instance, one or two Mystic Urns would have been great for the final battle. As for the fight against the Death Knight, the Multi-Wand with at least one of the coloured gems is recommended: you'll find the weak version of this weapon while completing your missions, but gems are hidden through the map. But you can find them quite easily if you listen to the prisoner, who gives you the Multi-Wand and follow hints in game. To sum up: the difficulty is quite challenging, but not extremely hard; the fight against the boss is extremely hard, but not impossible! Assessment: 9!

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New monsters: This .WAD includes several new monsters, which make the gameplay much more interesting and funnier: there are the Spider and the Archer from "Hexen 2", the Hell Guard (sort of Ophidian) and the Death Knight (a stronger version of the Undead Warrior). They all are quite good, as graphics and behaviour (they are made with DECORATE). The Spiders are nasty because they are small and spit something like acid, but you can kill them with one Arrow or some shots of the Magic Wand. The Archers require several shots (at least 4) of Crossbow before dying and are good snipers because they throw fast arrows against you. The Death Knight is very hard, because he is fast and has got a lot of health points and different kinds of attack, one of which can kill you instantly, if you are not fast enough to avoid it; moreover he can reflect your shots back with his shield. Killing it with the Crossbow is not a good idea, because the battle can last a good amount of time and a lot of Arrows are necessary to kill him! So the Multi-Wand is strongly suggested with at least one of the coloured gems (I suggest the Blue and the Red). The author would have been better making the boss a bit slower and weaker. Assessment: 9!

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New weapon: As forementioned, one of the most important new things in this .WAD is the Multi-Wand, made in DECORATE: without any gem, it's quite useless, because it is weak, but it doesn't wear out ammo. The Blue Gem allows you to throw icy shots, that can freeze monsters; the Red Gem allows you to fire a fire ball, that bounces on the floor and explodes after few rebounds; the Green Gem allows you to throw 4 or 5 small green fast arrows in quick succession. The Multi-Wand becomes a powerful weapon with these gems! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes several new textures and flats, which make the level great-looiking. It includes also new sprites for new monsters, weapons, ammo and projectiles, of course, as well as new sprites for civilians, monks, rats, pigs, fishes, jar, pots and other decorations. Everything looks good and fits the level. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: Of course there are new sounds for the new monsters and arms, but also for the rats running freely on the docks. They are ok! Assessment: 10!

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New music: There's a new background music, that really fits the mysterious and creepy ambience of the docks: good choice. The new title music is good too! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: In few words, this is a very interesting .WAD for "Heretic" for all the novelties introduced by the author in gameplay, graphics, difficulty, etc. The mission-structured gameplay with puzzles and other enhancements makes this "Heretic" level more enthralling than others; realistic graphics with awesome architecture, fine details and new graphic resources make the rest, together with a challenging difficulty, improved by new monsters and weapons, and a proper background music. It is really worth playing and spending 45 minutes of your life! Assessment: 10!

 
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"Full Options" by Morbid Doomer a.k.a. Dutch Devil:
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Playability: This .WAD is a 2-level set designed for vanilla Doom 2, SP, Coop and DM mode, though only the first mode was tested; actually the maps are a bit too big for a good DM. There's no story behind it, but the levels look like a fortress with a tech-base theme, that you have to clear out as usual. The gameplay has a good flow and it's really to nice to see that the second map starts from where the first map ends; moreover they are actually mingled, i.e. you cross again some parts of the 1st map and explore new ones, without it being a hub. This makes the gameplay really nice and interesting, giving a fine touch, really original. Whereas map01 is quite small, pretty linear and straightforward, map02 is a large and a bit non-linear, but not too complex, since you have to go to and fro various areas, after you take a key or press a switch, that opens a door. So there are some few simple puzzles, based mainly on switches and door; but actually the gameplay is based mostly on action and search for keys. To sum up: a very interesting gameplay with good flow. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: As forementioned, these two maps look like a fortress with a tech-base theme. Why? Because it has good outdoor areas with a rocky and grassy landscape with imposing walls and turrets surrounding the compounds of the base, like in a fortress; whereas the indoor areas recall a tech-base theme with lots of computers, consoles, some teleport pads, etc. Both indoor and outdoor areas are finely detailed and architecture is really great-looking, thanks to the care put by the author on small details, as well as texture and flat combinations and colour schemes. Lighting is wisely used and painstaking, with simple but good fading effects and such. In few ford: just perfect! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: If graphically this .WAD is simply perfect, difficulty-wise there are some imperfections, due mainly to health balance, whereas ammo is finely balanced. Both levels are quite hard, though they are filled with Zombies, Shotgunners, Chaingunners, Imps and Demons and just a Hell Knight! So there are just humans and not so tough monsters, nevertheless they make your journey hellish, because of well crafted traps, mainly with teleporting enemies and monsters in ambush behind walls. These tricks and traps, though sometimes predictable, can be deadly or lower your health considerably. The problem is that health is not well balanced, with just few Stimpaks and even fewer Medikits scattered here and there. It is useful finding the secrets with the following power-ups: a Berserk and a Green Armour in the two secret areas in map01 and a Backpack of ammo, another Berserk, a SuperShotgun and a Computer Map in the four secret areas in map02. To sum up: a challenging .WAD, though there aren't tough monsters, but a bit too hard because of lack of health. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes a new cloudy sky and few new textures and flats, most of which actually are just simple modifications of original "Doom 2" textures and flats. Assessment: 10!

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New music: The first level features a new original background music track, whereas the second one has a .MUS already used in other .WADs. However they are both good and fit the ambience of the maps. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: This .WAD features 2 good maps with nice classical gameplay, great-looking graphics, challenging difficulty (hard, but still beatable, in spite of unbalanced health) and fitting music. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Granite Base" by Captain Toenail:
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Playability: This is a small map, set in a military base on a granite mountain, as the name suggests. It is vanilla Doom 2 compatible and shows a simple and linear gameplay: what you have to do is straightforward: eliminate all monsters along your way, find the Blue Key card and then the exit. Very simple, but effective, since you never rest, you are always surrounded by enemies to kill, keeping a high game pace. To sum up in few words: classic gameplay, based on action. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: The architecture is well defined with a good amount of detail: it is never plain, but neither amazing. Texture and flat choice and combination make the level good-looking, together with some fine details, like metal windows, columns and lintels and few hellish touches. Lighting is quite basic, but not neglected. In few words: good, but not great. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: Being a small map, it is quite easy, though I played small but hard maps. What makes this map so easy is the abundance of health, as well as ammo: you can waste a lot of bullets and shells without any problem and be injured various times, because there are several Stimpacks and Medikits scattered here and there throghout the level. The monsters you have to face are mainly Imps, Zombies, Shotgunners, Demons and few Chaingunners, Cacodemons and Hell Knights... nothing serious actually, though they often come in hordes and the battle against the 2 Hell Knights defending the Blue Key is quite challenging in such a narrow space (but not so tight, after all!). It must be said that the only weapons you find are Shotgun and Chaingun, so the game is not unbalanced. Half secret areas are obvious and easy to find, whereas the other 2 secrets are better hidden and harder to find. All the power-ups (Backpack, Invisibility Sphere, Berserk and Blue Ammo) are placed in these secret areas, but they are not necessary. To sum up: the level could have been better balanced, especially in terms of health and ammo, and maybe some more monsters (perhaps even some tougher ones) could have made this .WAD more challenging... but it is not bad at all. Assessment: 7!

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New graphics: There's just a "new" sky, but actually it's the texture from Episode 1 of "Doom". Assessment: n/a.

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New music: There's also a new background music track, but again it is not new at all, since it comes from "Doom" too, but let me say that it fits the ambience. Assessment: n/a.

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Overall: "Granite base" is a good map, though it is nothing extraordinary. Designed for vanilla "Doom 2", this .WAD feature a classic gameplay, based on action, good-looking graphics with a medium detail level and, difficulty-wise, it is quite easy. Assessment: 7!

 
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"Death Incarnate" by VeinCrawler:
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Playability: This time we deal with a quite long map for ZDoom: it will take around one hour, but you'll enjoy this adventure. In fact, gameplay is interesting, though it doesn't exploit any ZDoom features or ACS Scripts: it is based mostly on action and solving simple puzzles with switches, some of which do complex actions (so I suppose the .WAD is just Boom-compatible); nevertheless the gameplay is never boring, on the contrary it is fun and enthralling. That's because the map is quite "open", i.e. you can explore it as you desire, by choosing various routes; so it is even non-linear, but not in a negative way, because it is never confusing. Of course this helps to increase the life of this .WAD, since you can try to play it again choosing different routes than before and you can even play it on harder skill, to have a more challenging experience. The only limit to non-linearity is that, before entering an area, you need two keys (the Red and the Blue one), that you can look for and take in any order: in this locked area, then you have to find the Yellow Key, that opens the exit room, located near the entrance. To sum up: very nice gameplay, though it doesn't exploit the features of the port required to play it. Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: This is the only (so maybe the first!) .WAD publicly released by the author; nevertheless it shows impressive graphics, with an awesome architecture, high level detail, nice combination of textures and flats, good colour schemes and a very painstaking lighting, that is often disregarded, but makes the difference between a good level and mediocre one. Fine details like borders, windows, balconies, columns, computers, consoles, light sources and other well crafted architectural elements make this level great-looking, without any flaws (at least I couldn't find one!). Notice that the author didn't use any special graphic effects or other features by ZDoom, nevertheless the map shows great graphics! If "UAC Outpost 11", the first .WAD by Davitch, is quite good, "Death Incarnate" by VeinCrawler is just excellent as for graphics and deserves the highest assessment. In the map there is a secret area, that resembles the final one of map11 of "Doom 2" (look at the last screenshot): nice tribute! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: "Death Incarnate" is not just a good-looking level, but it is also a very challenging map... since the beginning! In fact, the game is tense after just few minutes with Zombies, Shotgunners, Chaingunners, Imps, Cacodemons surrouding you. The Super-Shotgun is not so far from the beginning, but you can miss it for some time, though it is not in a secret area, having to kill monsters (even Mancubi and Hell Knights) with just the Shotgun or the Chaingun. On the contrary the Rocket Launcher is hidden in a secret area, not so easy to find, unless you grab the Computer Map near the ending (but then it gets useless, since you should have already killed almost all monsters). The Plasma Gun is near the ending too and is useful to eliminate last monsters, but it is not necessary, since you can exploit all your other weapons and some infighting to take the Yellow Key. There's even the BFG9000, hidden in a secret area, spotted in the automap, but it's exaggerated for this level, because the hardest ones (CyberDemon and Spider MasterMind) aren't used and the toughest enemy in the level is the Baron of Hell; moreover there aren't big hordes of monsters to kill! We can say that hard monsters, like Hell Knights and Mancubi, appear since the beginning, but it's the good placement of monsters as well as several tricks and traps that make this level really challenging! Ammo is well balanced: you should never get out of ammo, since it is quite abundant, but not too much. Health is finely balanced too with Medikits and Stimpaks scattered throughout the level; but if you can find secrets, then you won't have any problems with health, since there are various Soul Spheres and even a MegaSphere. There are also Green and Blue Armours, which are awlays useful. To sum up: very interesting and challenging map for all kinds of player: I suggest the first 2 skill levels (with around 150 monstes) to occasional Doomers, HMP to average players and UV to seasoned Doomers. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There are just few new textures and flats, but they are nice and wisely used in the level together with the original graphics resource. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: "Death Incarnate" is a very nice .WAD in all aspects: enthralling and fun gameplay, great-looking graphics and challenging difficulty. If you consider that it is the first published .WAD by the author, it's simply amazing! Download it and play it now! Assessment: 10!

 
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"UAC Outpost 11" by Jeff Ligda a.k.a. Davitch:
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Playability: This .WAD is a small map for Boom-compatible source ports. As the name suggests, the main theme is tech-base, but quite original. The untold story is always the same: to clear this infested UAC base. Gameplay is quite simple, linear and straightforward: find keys to open doors and go forth to the exit, without any puzzle or sort of. So, gameplay is based just on action. After all, not bad to be the first .WAD released by the author. Assessment: 6!

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Graphics: Of course this map doesn't show impressive architecture or high detail level, but it features some nice ideas, which make the level good-looking, thanks to a wise choice and nice combination of textures and flats, pretty and eye-catching colour schemes, as well as a simple but not bad lighting. In the screenshots in the relative section and playing the .WAD you can notice that the author has a good potential: architecture is nicely crafted and carved and here and there it features some fine details, though somewhere it gets a bit plain. Overall Davitch did a good job! Since I couldn't find any error, I give a high assessment to spur the author. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: Being a small map, it is also quite easy, though we know about small but hard levels! You have to fight against Zombies, Shotgunners, Imps, Demons and Spectres... and Hell Knights in the final battle. Weapons and ammo are proportioned to enemies: Shotgun, Double Shotgun and a Rocket Launcher hidden in a secret area; ammo is well-balanced, so that you have enough to kill everything. Health is well-balanced too with the right amount of Medikits, Stimpaks and also a Berserk hidden in another Secret Area. But mind that secrets are quite hard to find! Near the final area there's even a Blue Armor, that could be useful for the final challenge against the Hell Knights, but I took it after that fight, so it became useless, since I already killed every monster. Altogether difficulty level is quite good, though I think it could have been made a bit harder and more interesting. Assessment: 7!

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Overall: To sum up, "UAC Outpost 11" is a small, but nice level: it is really good to be the author's first released map. Gameplay is simple but good; graphically the map is nice and has got some pretty ideas and finely detailed architecture; difficulty-wise the level should be easy for almost every kind of player. Download and play it now! Assessment: 7!

 
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"Grime" by Death-Destiny:
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Playability: "Grime" is a big HR-styled single map with a hellish theme. Actually the author took inspiration from maps 23-25 of Erik Alm's "Scythe 2", the last 4 maps of "Alien Vendetta", map14 of "Community Chest 1", map32 of "Community Chest 2", and map25 of "Community Chest 3". As for gameplay, you can guess that the map is based mostly on action, killing a huge amount of monsters: it is just a slaughter fest with almost no puzzle. You just have to look for three keys and then use the relative switches to raise a bridge: very basic gameplay, though the author used some special tricks. The map is quite linear, since you have to follow a certain path to go forth. The only non-linearity is the choice of which weapon to take before being teleported to a showdown with Revenants, Hell Knights and a CyberDemon in a long corridor: you can choose between a Rocket Launcher and a Plasma Gun. To sum up: very simple gameplay, but after all it's just a HR-styled level! Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: The main theme is hellish with a lot of red rocky and wall textures, green stone textures and some metal and wood textures. Texture and flat combination is pretty good. Colour scheme is very simple: as mentioned above, red is the predominant colour together with green with some brown touches (metal and wood). Architecture is nice with a high detail level: you can notice borders, columns, windows, arches, etc. Map layout is good too and is characterized by various height variations. Lighting is painstaking and fine light effects make the level a bit more beautiful and interesting. I noticed just few flaws, like a slime trail and some misaligned textures (look at the sky in the 4th screenshot, for instance): these bugs lower the assessment, that would have been higher! Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: As forementioned, this map is HR-styled, i.e. it is based on the massacre of monster hordes: a real slaughter fest! Nevertheless the map is not impossible to finish: it is difficult, but not so much... at least in HMP. Maybe UV is harder and is suggested to seasoned player, who already experienced .WADs like "Hell Revealed" and its sequel, "Alien Vendetta", "Deus Vult" and "Deus Vult II". Average Doomers will have a nice challenge on HMP, whereas less experienced players would better play this map on lower skill levels. Health is finely balanced: Medikits and Stimpacks are counted and placed just where you need them. There are some power-ups which are really useful! Ammo is well balanced too: it is not plentiful, but you have enough ammo to kill all monsters without any problems, but wasting it is not recommended! I suggest that you save ammo of powerful weapons (Rocket Launcher, Plasma Gun and BFG) for the toughest enemies. All the showdowns against CyberDemons are really challenging, but there are other nice fights. To sum up: this level is a well choreographed war! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: This .WAD include a new simple vine texture and a new bloody red sky, that is quite nice and fits the hellish ambience. Assessment: 10!

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New music: The music replacement really fits the tense atmosphere of the level, though it is not as fast-paced as the game. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: As I wrote above, this HR-styled or better AV-styled map isn't just a slaughter fest, but a well choreographed war: I mean that you just don't have to kill monsters, but you must act with strategy, you have to think while fighting, choosing the best tactic to use in a certain battle... like in "Deus Vult" and "Deus Vult II". To sum up: a very challenging level with very nice graphics and basic gameplay! Assessment: 9!

 
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"Nordhell" by Alexander "Eternal" S. a.k.a. Deadall:
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Playability: It is a medium size single map .WAD for limit-removing ports. It is set in a sort of infested old manor house in a village covered by snow and everything let you think to winter and Christmas. The author didn't write a story for it. As for the gameplay itself, it is nice with the classic feel (kill the monsters and look for switches and keys), but touched up with some variations and interesting puzzles: first of all, you can notice that at the beginning you are free to explore the interior of the manor house as you want and take the Blue or Red Key first, but then you have to follow a defined path to go forth; if you play it twice in different ways, you can notice also that some things are locked but not with keys neither switches... that's a nice and hard feature to implement without using ZDoom special effects and actions or ACS Scripts. To sum up: good and interesting gameplay. Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: As forementioned, the author made a winter/Christmas theme, by using new wooden, stone, snowy and icy textures and flats. This gives a nice look to the whole level, different from the usual appearance of hellish, Gothic or tech-ish maps. But the author didn't just choose this set of new resources, but he crafted a detailed and good-looking architecture: just look at the staircase in the big main room of the manor house, at columns, niches, windows, water ponds in frozen lakes and so on! Lighting is not painstaking, but good though. Maybe the level is not astonishing, especially as for detail-level, but it is surely a great-looking map. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: "Nordhell" is not very hard, even because it is not a big map, where the difficulty level can get higher and higher. Nevertheless it is a challenging level, especially because of enemy placement and traps, which can be deadly, if you are not careful and quick. In fact the monster count is not high at all (70-78) and most enemies are just Zombies, Imps, Demons and Shotgun Guys plus some Cacodemons and Hell Knights, few Barons of Hell and Mancubi and just one Revenant. Health is well balanced and there are even two Soul Sphere: one is hidden in a secret area, that is not hard to find, the other one is near the end and is easy to discover. In the other secret areas there are a Computer Map and a Berserk: they are not difficult to find. Ammo is abundant, though at the beginning is tight and you need to use pistol, but just for few fights. There are all weapons, except the BFG, but the Plasma Gun is more than you need here: the Rocket Launcher is enough even in the last battle. Some players could not like the fact that you have to use the Shotgun for half the map and you pick the SuperShotgun only later, but this helps to make the level interesting. A more challenging ending would have made the level much better, but after all the map is quite good! Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: As mentioned above, the author used new graphical resources in his level, especially snowy and icy textures and flats, as well as new wooden, stone and brick ones, some of which have a Gothic look. There's also a nice blue sky. But that is not all: the author has also recoloured some monsters in a winter/Christmas fashion: the Demons now are white, the Imps and Mancubi are grey, Cacodemons and Barons of Hell are white with some green touches... and the Revenant has a funny Santa Claus's hat! This winter/Christmas version of Doom monsters is really amazing: great idea! There are also new recoloured version of torches, candelabra and teleport fog, as well as new trees covered by snow. At last, the author included also new TITLEPIC and CREDIT screens (they are the same picture: a good one!) and a new INTERPIC, that is a photo of a snowy mountain landscape. Great stuff! Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are few new sounds, mainly replacing the door and switch ones and one death sound. They are quite good! Assessment: 10!

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New music: The author included a new background music, that really fits the Christmas mood: it's Haendel's "Joy to the world". There are also two new .MIDIs for title and intermision screens: not bad. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: To sum up, "Nordhell" is a very nice and challenging level with a funny Christmas mood and ambience. The gameplay is good with a classic feel, graphically it is very good-looking, difficulty is well balanced; but what makes this .WAD great is the new graphic resource, as well as the new music background! Assessment: 9!

 
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"No Chance" by Death-Destiny:
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Playability: This is a single map .WAD, designed for Boom-compatible ports. Gameplay is pretty simple, since this is an HR-styled level with big hordes of monsters to kill and just few simple puzzles: the gameplay of the whole level is based mostly on action, of course, and on search for 3 keys: once you got all of them, you can activate the switches in the start area: these will open a passage to the exit area, where the final battle takes place. Notice that you need all 3 keys to open that passage and the author made an interesting puzzle without using any ZDoom feature or ACS Script: that's impressive! Moreover gameplay is a bit non-linear, i.e. you don't have to follow an order to take keys, but it's open, you can choose the route you prefer: of course difficulty will depend on the chosen route. There's no story, but actually you don't need it in a .WAD like this. To sum up: nice gameplay for an HR-styled map, though simple. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: The level is probably set in hell or hellish caverns with red rocks and lava. So graphically it is quite simple too with a low-medium detail level: it is not on a par with the majestic architecture and awesome texturing of "Deus Vult", another HR-styled map. It is not bad at all, on the contrary it is good-looking, but it is nothing special as for architecture, texturing, mixture of texture and flats and colour schemes (it's all red!); but lighting is quite painstaking. I couldn't notice any flaw, so I think this level deserves a high assessment, because it not easy to align this kind of textures, though the map isn't overstanding. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: As forementioned, this level is HR-styled, i.e. inspired by "Hell Revealed", though actually the author states that his main source of inspiration is Erik Alm's eaxt.WAD: this means that "No Chance" is an insanely hard map, extremely challenging, that requires ability in manoeuvring and good strategy. So it is not for casual players and beginners, unless they want to try it on the first 2 skill levels; the average player can beat it on HMP saving game often; experienced and seaoned Doomers, who like this kind of .WADs, should be able to finish it on HMP without saving game so often, whereas Ultra-Violence makes this .WAD really challenging for them. Monster count raises with difficulty level, whereas health and power-ups are already tightly balanced in HMP; ammo is never a problem, since it abundant everywhere. What makes this .WAD very hard and challenging is number and placement of enemies, who tend to sorround and attack you from every side; every fight is well coreographed with deadly traps (especially those with teleporting monsters), which are activated when using a switch or taking keys. The main problem is finding a good tactic at the beginning: once you found it and killed the first hordes of demons, the level gets a bit easier till the final showdown against Barons of Hell and CyberDemons. Exploiting infighting can be a good idea to save health and ammo. There's just one secret area, that is pretty easy to find, especially if you look at automap. A better balance of health would have made this .WAD a bit easier without the need to save so frequently, but still keeping it challenging! Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes a new hellish orange sky and lava fall textures, which are essential for this kind of map set in hell: they are well used together with the original stock of textures and flats. Assessment: 10!

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New music: The .WAD includes a new background music track too: its fast pace fits perfectly ambience and mood of this furious level. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: "No Chance" is a good map for those Doomers who are looking for a serious challenge, but it features simple gameplay, though well crafted, and mild graphics. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Exist" by Th0r:
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Playability: "Exist" is a single map designed for ZDoom, but it just exploits MAPINFO in order to add a special action, that let you finish the level as you kill the Spider MasterMind. This has got a negative effect too, because you can beat the map, without exploring the whole map and killing all monsters, if you have got enough shotgun shells, when you enter the room with it and the Yellow Key Card: I consider this a serious error! Moreover as I mentioned above, this .WAD doesn't exploit any other ZDoom features! Gameplay is quite linear: you have to find keys in the order Blue - Red - Yellow, tracing back your steps from one area to another one and some monsters appear in the middle; moreover it is quite simple, since it doesn't feature any puzzle. The author didn't write any story. To sum up: poor gameplay, based just on action... that is not even challenging and fast-paced! Assessment: 4!

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Graphics: The map layout is simple and consists mostly in rooms interconnected with corridors. Aesthetically it is not bad: the author used a set of textures and flats from Quake, which make the level a bit good-looking, though architecture is quite simple, with a medium-low detai level, in fact most areas look empty and walls plain. Moreover there's no actual colour scheme, since it is all brown. Lighting is quite good, though not so painstaking. To sum up: the map is a "mixed bag" as for graphics, because of simple architecture, plain walls, empty areas with almost no detail, but the graphic resource the author used makes the level better-looking. Assessment: 6!

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Difficulty: In this level easy fights alternate with hard battles, but usually they take place in quite wide areas. What makes this map hard is not monster count or placement, but the bad balance of health. Fortunately enough ammo is better balanced, though it is not plentiful, so do not waste shells and clips and exploit infighting, if it is not risky! There is no secret and no power-up. Actually a higher monster population would have been welcomed, since the pace isn't as fast as the background music. Traps near the keys are good and make the map harder and more interesting than it is actually. As forementioned, if you saved enough shells, you can finish the map by killing the Spider MasterMind with your SuperShotgun, when looking for the Yellow Key Card; but if you keep it alive and take the Yellow Key Card, you can enter a new area and get the Plasma Gun, after a difficult fight against Cacodemons and Hell Knights in a hellish location: with that you can kill the boss at last. To sum up: challenging level, but just for badly balanced health... not so good, actually! I was forgetting that the author didn't implement difficulty settings: quite bad! Assessment: 6!

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New graphics: As already written, the author used a graphic resource pack, that includes textures and flats from Quale: all textures and flats look good and make this level better-looking than it is actually, though the map tends to look too brown! The .WAD includes a new red sky. Assessment: 9!

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New music: I already mentioned a fast-paced background music track, that sounds good and catchy, but actually it doesn't fit perfectly the slower pace of the level, though it is Quakish as the graphics! Assessment: 9!

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Overall: To sum up, this map is worth playing, but just one time. Some player couldn't like the Quakish graphic theme, so this map is not for them; but apart from graphics, it is a challenging level (though its difficulty is due to lack of health in some places); the real problem is gameplay, that actually is very poor, because based just on action (not as fast-paced as the music) and search for keys. Assessment: 7!

 
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"Thunderpeak" by Björn "Vader" Ostmann:
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Playability: This .WAD is a 2-map set for ZDoom, originally designed for the "ZPack" community project. I said it is for ZDoom and, in fact, this .WAD exploits several features of this advanced port: new monsters in DECORATE (more about them later), a special lightning effect with thunder too (very nice, but it can slow down your computer!), polyobjects (like sliding doors and rotating sectors), graphical effects (but we'll see them in the next "department"), etc... but actually there are just few gameplay enhancements, made mostly with ACS Scripts. There is not a story, but you can imagine it easily: you are in a sort of base on a mountain and you must clear it out, as usual! First of all you must find the Yellow Key, in order to enter the reactor and restore power in the southern area: this sort of mission, that actually is not specified, makes the gameplay more interesting and enthralling. After completing the first level (that is medium-big sized), you enter the second one, that is another base, linked to the first one by a long bridge, where you have to kill Terminator! To sum up: nice gameplay, though I expected some more gameplay enhancements (puzzles are few). I noticed only one bug: an unidentified object in the final area (look at thr 4th screenshot in the relative section). Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: "Thunderpeak" isn't just a challenging .WAD with enthralling gameplay: it also features impressive graphics with an awesome architecture with an astonishing detail level: cliffs (where you can fall from and die!), borders, columns, arches, windows, balconies, computers, consoles, light-sources, etc. Everything is improved by the use of ZDoom special graphic effects, such as slopes and polyobjects; coloured lights are missing and I think they could have enhanced ambience, if wisely used. Lighting is painstaking with lots of fading effects. New textures and flats are well mingled with the original ones from "Doom 2"; you can even notice nice colour combinations sometimes, though brown and greay are predominant. I couldn't notice any flaw: it's just perfect: great work! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: As anticipated in the previous "department", this .WAD is pretty challenging, thanks to new monsters, good monster placement, nice tricks and traps (mainly teleporting monsters): prepare to face new monsters while tracing your steps back, after getting the Yellow Key Card or restoring power in the first map! Ammo is abundant (you can even waste it!), health is better balanced with Medikits and Stimpaks scattered throughout the levels and placed especially where you need them; there are even 2 Soul Spheres in the arena of the 2nd map, where the final challenge against Terminator and its Cybruiser fellows: this showdown is quite challenging, but not hard, if you learn quickly how to avoid Terminator's attacks and hurt it. Secret areas are very hard to find, but they are not necessary to complete both levels! To sum up: nice challenging .WAD, never impossible and never boring. Every kind of Doomer (from beginners to seasoned) will like it and have fun. Assessment: 10!

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New monsters: As mentioned above, the .WAD includes some new enemies: Shadow, a crouching dark Imp that hides in darkness and fires a long fire trail; Catharsi, a small demon that launches a series of fire bolts with a cannon; Cybruiser, a sort of cross between a CyberDemon and Baron of Hell: in fact he has head and body like the latter and two tech-ish legs and a cannon firing powerful rockets like the fromer - his strength is intermediate between those two monsters; Terminator, the tough boss monster, that features several attacks: in fact he is provided with a powerful chaingun and a cannon than can launch rapid fire shots and sort of grenades. All these monsters have their own sprites and sounds, which look and sound good, and make gameplay more various and difficulty more challenging! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes several new textures and flats from "Knee Deep in ZDoom" and Nick Baker's resource pack and other textures were made by Eriance (who made the Cybruiser as well): everything looks good and is well used together with original textures and flats from "Doom 2"; there are also new palette and COLORMAP by Tormentor667 and a starry sky. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: Apart from the forementioned sounds for new monsters, the .WAD includes also ambient sounds, which makes both levels more realistic, as well as some sounds replacing the original ones, like those for door, elevators and lifts. Assessment: 10!

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New music: The author chose a nice gloomy music track by Slayer, that perfectly fits the creepy ambience of the first map, and another tense musick track for the 2nd level; when fighting against the boss monster (Terminator) music changes into a fast-paced riff, that suits for the final challenge! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: This .WAD is just the opposite of the previosuly reviewed .WAD: it has got a fun, entertaning and enthralling gameplay with just few flaws (an unidentified object and very few puzzles), enhanced by some ZDoom features and new monsters; great-looking graphics full of details and with several special effects (lightning, slopes, polyobjects, etc.), featuring lots of new textures and flats; challenging, but not too hard difficulty level; new ambient sounds, which makes game more realistic; great music tracks, that suit the atmopshere of both levels. So... download and play it: it is worthwhile! Assessment: 10!

 

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"Genesis of Descent" by Hobomaster22:
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Playability: I already reviewed another .WAD by the same author: it was "The Lost Gateway". This is a 3-level set for "Ultimate DooM", designed for (G)ZDoom. Actually it is a 2-level set, because E1M1 is just an intro scene, whereas the ending scene is included in thee second and last proper map, that is E1M3. E1M2 is the biggest level and has got the highest amount of monsters. Actually I don't understand why the game consists of 3 maps... maybe originally it should have been just one level, then splitted into 3 maps because of editing necessities. The author doesn't explain this in the .TXT file, but actually it doesn't affect gameplay. As for gameplay, it is a bit non-linear, but never complex and it's hard to get lost: at most you can't understand what to do next after pressing a switch, but just look around and you'll find the effect of that switch. Puzzles are few and actually the author didn't take advantage of ZDoom gameplay features, apart from ACS Scripts and cameras, mainly used for the intro and ending scenes. But the author claims that he wanted "to retain classic and fast paced Doom action" (from the .TXT file): so maybe that's why he didn't used so many ZDoom gameplay features; but you'll notice that gameplay isn't fast paced at all! In fact, though monster count is quite high in E1M2, you usually face small groups of enemies, mostly Zombie Men, Imps and Shotgun Guys; moreover some rooms and corridors aren't filled with monster at all and there are some "dead moments" in the levels: I refer to lack of battles and not a high frequence of fights. That's quite boring and bad in "Doom" maps! At last there's also a bad built node tree, that must be rebuilt every time you launch the game or reload your savegame: this is very annoying, especially if you have got an old slow computer (not my case, fortunately!) and you save & load quite often! Moreover mind that health and ammo balance is quite bad here and this forces you to save & load your game quite frequently. Last but not least: there's a console in E1M3 that hurts you, if you walk on it! UH?! If you don't believe it, look at the 5th shot in the relative section. To sum up: I have nothing against classic gameplay (though the map is designed for ZDoom and I expected something better!), but it is not fast-paced at all, as the author claims, on the contrary it's too slow-paced and quite boring; moreover the bugs described above make everything even more annoying! I don't give "insufficient" just because of the well done intro and ending scenes. Assessment: 4!

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Graphics: This is the department where the author did his best work, though he isn't successful. Architecture is just astonishing with imposing element and good-looking combination of textures and flats, though sometimes transitions between different kinds of textures/flats are quite rough. Maybe level detail isn't top-notch, but levels are still great-looking. In some cases colour schemes are eye-catching, other times they are not. ZDoom special effects, such as 3D bridges, slopes, translucent textures, coloured fog, etc. helped the author to create nice architectonic elements (like arches with slopes) and to enhance the ambience. Lighting is painstaking. The main theme is tech-base, but few times it gets hellish too. Till now we dealt with almost good things, but unfortunately there are several flaws and glitches, like misaligned textures and even HOM effects! I took some screenshots of the errors I found and you can look at them in the relative section. Of course I cannot ignore these bugs and I cannot give a high assessment that the map layout would have deserved: the errors are serious and I would give "fair" because of them; I give "good" just because of great architecture, nice map layout and all the author's work and time spent on this .WAD! Assessment: 7!

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Difficulty: Making a .WAD for "Ultimate DooM" isn't easy, mainly because of less kinds of monsters than "Doom 2", but this can't be an excuse. If a .WADster can't design levels for "Ultimate DooM", they shouldn't design them for it. As for this .WAD, it is a mixed bag: I mean that the levels aren't hard, because they are populated mainly with Zombie Men, Imps and Shotgun Guys, just sometimes Demons, Spectres, Cacodemons and Barons of Hell make their appearance. What makes the map harder and, above all, annoying is the bad balance of health and ammo... maybe I'd better say "lack of health and ammo". That's it! Ammo is really tight and you cannot waste a singol shot, otherwise you'll find yourself punching a Baron of Hell! I am not joking, I am serious, really! I found myself several times with few bullets and shells and once had to fight against 2 Barons of Hell, a Cacodemons and some Imps with shortage of ammo: I had to exploit infighting to spare a bit of ammo for next fights, till I found some ammounition at last. I warn you: prepare to bloody fights with Chainsaw, prepare to exploit infighting continuously to save some ammo, prepare to save even your single shots! Let me give you another hint: alternate weapons, even Rocket Launcher with Barons, but save plasma for the final challenge. As for health, maybe it is even less than ammo: several times I had to wander seriously injured looking for Medikits and Stimpaks, badly balanced and scattered here and there. I suggest that you save quite often and reload your game, if you are seriously harmed and can't find health! Armour is nicely balanced (strangely enough!), but power-ups and secrets are hard to find: only few are simple and one - in E1M2 - requires the Red Skull Key, that's near the end: if you find it, I suggest that you go back and look for the door locked with it: there you'll find something you'll need for the final challenge in E1M3. There are few traps and most of them exploit teleporting monsters: some are nice, but other ones are annoying because you need to exploit infighting! Mind that you can't kill all monsters, because of insufficient ammo - I suggest that you don't kill any monster in one of the last traps in E1M3, the one where you are suddenly teleported in a hellish place: just solve the puzzle and grab the Yellow Skull Key. By the way the last map ends with the Yellow Skull Key (again!), that once taken makes you teleport to a sort of hangar, where you'll find a ship that you leave with. I found a bug in this department too (good grief!): a Baron and Spectre in the same postion of the map, hindering each other (see the 4th screenshot of the series in the relative section). To sum up: the levels themselves aren't hard because most enemies aren't tough, but lack of health and ammo makes them annoyingly hard. More ammo and health would have made everything much better; actually a larger number of monster would have fitted big areas, which often look empty, and made the .WAD more interesting; the flaw I discovered compels me to lower my assessment fro "fair" to "sufficient"! Assessment: 5!

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New graphics: There are four new flats (light sources - from Nick Baker's graphic resource .WAD) and also few new textures, most of which are used to form the new sky, that looks really nice. The .WAD includes also a new nice status bar and new TITLEPIC and CREDIT pictures, that actually are the same image, that is quite good. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: The .WAD includes three new sounds, which actually sound exactly like two CyberDemon's sounds and that of the awakening Icon of Sin from "Doom 2", that is used few times without a good reason. How can I give an assessment on original "Doom (2)" sounds?! So... no assessment!

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New music: The .WAD includes also a new music track, that actually sounds like a mix of ambience sounds. I think that it is a bad choice. Why didn't the author used real ambience sounds and also a good music track? The levels really need one, because they are quite boring, as forementioned, and maybe a new music track would have made maps less boring and more interesting! Assessment: 5!

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Overall: If I had to describe this .WAD with just one adjective, I would use "boring" or "annoying", because of boring low-paced gameplay with few puzzles and lack of ammo and health that makes levels annoyingly hard; graphically the maps are nice and it's a pity that some flaws (like misaligned textures and HOM effects) ruin them. Assessment: 6!

 
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"Sin City 3" by Ed Cripps:
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Playbility: The 3rd installment in the "Sin City" series by Ed Cripps keeps the tense ambience of the previous levels, but the style is different. There's a story provided in the .TXT file and in the introduction to the level itself. Infact the author exploited again ACS Scripts, used especially for introduction and ending, and other ZDoom features. Yet the gameplay is classic, based on action, search for keys and just few switch puzzles, which actually aren't real puzzles. That's a bit disappointing, since it is .WAD designed for ZDoom, but its gameplay doesn't fully exploit the port features. Gameplay is quite linear, though sometimes you must trace your steps back, but it is never boring, because new enemies appear in the meanwhile, nor complex. Maybe you could ask what the effect of the switch you used is, but, if you have got a good eye, you'll know that probably some bars raised or a door opened in one of the explored areas; actually the author could have used ZDoom features like cameras and ACS Scripts to show what a switch does or to tell the player what to do next. Anyway the map isn't big, so it's easy to understand what to do next and really hard to get lost. To sum up: nice gameplay, though not very enjoyable. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: Aesthetically the map is quite good, though it is nothing exceptional. Architecture is quite simple, but with some nice ideas, like broken floor, a crane and few other things, but the author made it good-looking with a good choice and combination of textures and flats, as well as nice colour schemes. Lighting is painstaking with simple but good effects. To sum up: detail level isn't high, but the author was clever enough to make the map good-looking with his choices and thanks to new graphic resources too. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: Choose your skill level with care, because this map is quite fair on easy skill levels, but it gets really hard on higher difficulty levels, because of a greater monster population of course, but also because of health balance, that is not good. So I suggest that you save game quite often. Ammo is better balanced than health: it is abundant, but scattered throughout the map; this means that you could run out of shells, especially at the beginning and at high skill levels; so don't waste ammo. There are almost all weapons except for BFG, but actually Plasma Gun is even more than you need, because the toughest monster you'll face is the Baron of Hell and you can get rid of it easily with Rocket Launcher, if you aren't good in SSG duels with it. Enemy placement and traps (mainly with teleporting monsters) are studied to ambush you from every direction; so prepare for open fights. Almost all battles take place in large areas: this makes things a bit easier. There's just one secret, as well as one power-up (a Soul Sphere), probably hidden in that secret area. To sum up: the level is nicely designed as for difficulty, but it suffers bad health balanced, a nasty flaw, especially for those who don't like saving game very often! Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: As mentioned above, new textures and flats were wisely used by the author to make the level better-looking: some of them are taken from "Doom", others are new or maybe ripped from other .WADs (I sadly noticed that the author didn't credit anybody - that's bad and he can't avoid a punishment by me!). The .WAD includes a new TITLEPIC too: it is not excellent, but surely well done. Assessment: 8!

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New sounds: There are several new sounds replacing those of the weapons and monsters, some recorded, some ripped from Resident Evil; most of them don't fit the monster and sound badly or even ridiculous. Bad choice... sorry! The .WAD includes ambient sounds too: these are better than those for the monsters. Assessment: 5!

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New music: The background music is nice... fortunately enough! It is a song named "The Lost", recorded specifically for this map by "Pregnant With Worms", probably the band where Ed Cripps plays. It fits perfectly the tense ambience and atmosphere of this level. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: To sum up, Ed made a good job as for graphics and difficulty, but not so good as for gameplay, though it is not bad at all! New graphic resources and music are nice, but the new sounds were a bad choice and negatively affects the overall assessment. But "Sin City 3" is still a good .WAD to play, though maybe it is not par to its prequels. I suggest 3rd skill level to average players and UV to seasoned Doomers. Assessment: 7.5!

 
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"Knee Deep in ZDoom" by various authors (KDiZD team):
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Playability: "Knee Deep in ZDoom" is probably one of the most hyped and discussed .WADs, but I am going to focus just on the .PK3 to review it objectively. It is a remake of Episode 1 of "(Ultimate) DooM" for (G)ZDoom: the authors reintepreted all the levels, exploiting all the features and special effects of one of the most used ports; they based their work on original level, but still creating maps from scratch and adding new areas, puzzles, monsters, weapons and other novelties. There's a new secret level, added to the classic 9 maps, that you can enter from Z1M7 only if you finish the map with good cumulative statistics! The story is that of "DooM" of course and the game starts with a nice intro scene (if you don't use the -warp parameter), then you can choose the skill level you prefer and your adventure on Phobos starts. Gameplay in all maps is quite different from that in the original levels, because the authors used puzzles made with ZDoom features and ACS Scripts and added more keys; but action never ends and you are always fighting enemies while solving puzzles or looking for keys; most puzzles are based on switches and that's quite simplistic, if you think to modern port features (think to DECORATE items and such): Z1M1 is quite good and the gameplay differs from the original E1M1, that it is based on, because of the search for 2 keys (Red and Yellow in order) and some nice puzzles, like that of the bomb to destroy a wall or that in the nukage area: puzzles in the next levels should have been like these, but on the contrary they are quite simple and mainly based on switches... and this tends to reduce player's expectation. Almost all levels are based on original map of Episode 1 of "DooM", but enhanced with new puzzles and search for more keys; they tend to be less linear than the original ones too, as well as longer, because of enlarged sectors and new areas... but sometimes this makes levels a bit too long and you can get annoyed soon, because you need to go to and fro. Z1M2 is nice and the gameplay, based on several puzzles, make you feel to be really in nuclear plant. In Z1M3 gameplay isn't based just on action and search for keys, but also on several (switch) puzzles, which make the level very complex and non-linear. There's a completely new and big area, the underground mine, that make your adventure much longer... maybe too long, as well as too complex, making it quite boring in a 10-level set! In Z1M4 gameplay is more classic, with few puzzle and a lot of action and search for keys. The level is quite linear, but not straightforward. In Z1M5, like the original map, gameplay is fairy linear, but faster-paced. In Z1M6 gameplay is based mainly on the search for keys and related puzzles, as well as action of course. The level is quite non-linear, but not too complex. warning: once you get all keys (Red, Grey, Blue and Yellow) and get Beta Clearance, don't go too far from the Command Control Room, to look for the switch that disengages the Master Lock: it is very near! I didn't notice it and lost a lot of time. Z1M7 is probably one of the most boring map of the episode. Why? Mainly because it is very non-linear and, even if it's hard to get lost, you have to go to and fro looking for keys: one of the most annoying thing is that once you got Red Key you need to go to the opposite side, then you take Green Key and you need to go to the East part again JUST to take the Blue Key and fight some new monsters! That's really tiring and useless: it's just to make the level longer! The authors could have put more monsters and some puzzles in the Eastern Area to take the Blue Key, at least. Notice that you need all the coloured keys to finish the level! Z1M8 is very different from the original one except for the 5-point-star-shaped arena and the area with the acid pit; gameplay is different too, because you need to complete some simple (switch) puzzles and the 3 keys (Blue, Red and Yellow) to gain access to arenas. After passing this "vestibule", gameplay pace accelerates with increasing difficulty and harder and harder challenges. Some nice scaring special effects with lights and laser force field in the first part make Z1M8 interesting. Now let's try to sum up: globally, gameplay is funny, entertaining, enthralling, interesting thanks to search for keys, puzzles and objectives and mission to complete to go forth and other nice special effects, ZDoom features and ACS Scripts, but also thanks to new enemies and weapons; most maps are quite linear and, when they tend to get non-linear, they never become complex. The problem is that some maps (especially Z1M3 and Z1M8) are too long, with too many puzzles and you need to go to and fro through those maps continuously! This forbids me to give a high assessment. Moreover I found a couple of bugs, which compels me to lower my assessment: 1. in Z1M5 you can get trapped among crates (see 6th screenshot in the relative section); 2. in Z1M/ you can get trapped again in a small room, if you haven't got Green KeyCard because the ladder visible in the 9th screenshot doesn't work - I mean that you can't climb it! Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: This is probably the department where the authors succeeded thanks to their hard and long work, though I can't refrain from pointing out few criticisms, that I'll write about later: they are not bugs, flaws or glitches, apart from the issues mentioned in the .TXT file. Every level is awesome with really great-looking graphics, good choice and combination of textures and flats, eye-catching colour patterns, highly detailed architecture with some nice ideas too, painstaking lighting. Original themes are preserved and developed from the map names. As for map layouts, they are always based on the original ones, but enlarged with new areas; better, in most maps the main areas of the original levels are interconnceted with new areas and corridors or new sections are built around the "old" main ones. We can say that all maps are well made reinterpretations of the original levels. Now let's examine maps one by one: in Z1M1, map layout is much bigger and more complex than the original E1M1, but it still preserves the main areas with the same main theme of the original level: they are enlarged and interconnected with new sectors and corridors. In Z1M2 lighting effects, texturing and detailed architecture make the level very good-looking and you feel to be in a sort of nuclear plant. In Z1M3 the "Toxin Refinery" theme is well executed, thanks also to ZDoom features and special effects; as forementioned, there's also a mine theme, that actually wasn't present in original E1M3, but it doesn't look out of place and it integrates nicely the original main theme; map layout is bigger with two main parts: the one based on the original map and the other new one set in the underground mine. With lots of computers, consoles and such, the main theme (tech base) is preserved in Z1M4, "Command control"; but the layout is completely different from that of E1M4: it is much bigger than the original one, with new large areas; it's a free interpretation of the original map, based on its title: it is not bad, but it's quite hard to find resemblances with the original level. Z1M5 is a very good elaboration of E1M5, with more detailed architecture, nice texturing, eye-catching colour schemes and painstaking lighting, though it is a bit too dark sometimes and some effects annoy player's eyes (like in the original map, after all). In Z1M6 it's a bit difficult to remember the original level from the new detailed architecture, that just sometimes vaguely resembles the original one; several areas are too dark: some more light sources would have made the level less annoying. In Z1M7 architecture is highly detailed... when light is sufficient to admire it; that's another flaw in this map, together with that mentioned in the gameplay department: it's too dark... though there are some painstaking lighting effects; darkness also prevents you from recognizing the areas inspired by the original E1M7, that are enhanced with more detail, better texturing and eye-catching colour schemes. As forementioned in the gameplay department, Z1M8 is pretty different from the original E1M8 apart from few areas, as for map layout; aesthetically it is an art-work thanks to detailed architecture, nice texturing, lighting and special lighting effects; hellish theme in the 2nd part of the level is added to the tech-base theme of the 1st part. To sum up: all levels are awesome as for graphics, with nice atmposhere and tense ambience thanks to good texturing and painstaking lighting and great lighting effects (coloured lights, moving lights, coronas around light sources, etc.); there are lots of details which make architecture very fine, thanks to ZDoom special effects, like slopes, 3D bridges, stacked sectors, translucent textures and floors, real moving fans, etc. My only complaint is about darkness, that tends to be overused as you progress in the episode: if wisely used, it can provides a nice gloomy and creepy ambience, that's true; but it negatively affects gameplay, making it more difficult, when it is abused, so that you can't see even the monster that's one step in front of you! And sometimes architecture details hinder your movements. This forces me to lower assessment again. I noticed only one flaw in the intermission scene: it's hard to describe, so I took a screenshot of it (it's the last one of the series for this .PK3 in the relative section), but authors warned players about this in the .TXT file, so I don't consider it in evaluation. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: In this department authors made quite a good work in almost every level... except for last map, Z1M8, but I am going to deal with it later. First of all let me point out that this .PK3 uses extensively but wisely several new enemies, who make their appearances gradually in the episode; they make all maps challenging and interesting to play, because are tougher than the monsters in the original Episode 1. Monsters aren't placed with care in the first maps, but soon monster placement gets better and can be even deadly (for instance Chainsaw Zombies around the lift to mines in Z1M3). Enemy population increases as you proceed of course. As already stated, unfortunately darkness raises too as you progress and this prevents you from seeing monsters, especially the dark ones like Shadows (dark crouching Imps which fire at higher speed and rate) and Dark Imps, making everything much harder than it would be... too much harder! Most fights take place in areas with enough room manoeuvre, but there are some close combats in narrow rooms too. If you play all levels in sequence, ammo is never tight, though you'd better alternate using your main weapons, i.e. Shotgun and Chaingun, to prevent shells or clips from running out. Health usually isn't ever enough, not well balanced, and scattered throughout levels. As for secrets, some of them are preserved from the original levels, whereas other secrets are removed or used in the "normal" map: finding them can be very useful, because you can find some weapons, before they are placed in next levels without being hidden. Secret areas aren't usually easy to find, most of them can be seen only by patient careful players with good eyes! Now let's examine all maps one by one: Z1M1 is not the same as the original level, but it is still quite easy, since it is populated mainly by Zombies and Imps plus powered Zombies (sort of Rapid Fire Troopers) and Shadows; clips for your pistol are quite abundant, shotgun shells are much fewer, so that you'll have to alternate your weapons; health is scattered everywhere and well balanced; one secret is easy to find, the other two require good eye! Z1M2 is a bit harder than the orignal one, because of better monster placement and traps, as well as new monsters (Satyrs, Stone Imps, Mauler Demons, Soul Harvesters); health and ammo are well balanced; some secrets are easy to find, others aren't so trivial; difficulty level starts to increase in Z1M3, mainly because of raising monster count, better enemy placement and new monsters (Blood Demons, Manticores - sort of Hell Warrior, Chaingunners); ammo is abundant, if you play it in sequence; health is well balanced, whereas most power-ups are hidden in secret areas, which are quite hard to discover: I couldn't find the secret area leading to the secret map (Z1M9), that's why I haven't reviewed it (moreover I can't cheat with IDCLEV, because of map names starting with Z instead of E!), as well as Z1M10, because I hadn't sufficient cumulative stats to enter it from Z1M7. In Z1M4 difficulty keeps increasing of course: you'll encounter more hellish monsters than before (Dark Imps, Hell Knights, etc.), but you'll also be provided with the Rocket Launcher; health is scattered here and there, ammo is abundant, but if you tend to use just one weapon (Shotgun or Chaingun), you'd better use both, in order to avoid to run out of shells or clips; secrets are quite hard to find, but some power-ups like Berserks and armours can be found without looking for secrets. Z1M5 is quite fast-paced with lots of easy and medium-hard enemies and few hard monsters in the "hot area"; ammo and health are balanced perfectly; secrets are quite easy to find, especially if you remember where those of the original map are placed and if you get auto-map: in two of the new secret areas there are the Grenade Launcher and the Super-Shotgun, not present in the original DooM, as well as the Hell Knight! In Z1M6 darkness makes difficulty higher than it is actually, though monster placement is good and increases difficulty too, moreover Hell's Fury will give you some interesting challenges; health is a bit unbalanced and scattered troughout the level, so that, if you need health, you'll have to navigate through the level again to look for it; ammo is better balanced than health and here you can get the Grenade Launcher, if you didn't find it in the secret area in the previous map; most secrets aren't easy to discover. Again what makes Z1M7 difficult isn't just monster population, but darkness, because it prevents you from seeing not much far from your nose: that's really annoying and disturbing - if authors wanted to make levels as dark as "Doom 3" maps, they could have provided the player with a torch at least, like in "Doom 3" - Shadows hiding in darkness and firing at you are very annoying; moreover health is badly placed and balanced: dark areas need more health; fortunately ammo is abundant, if you aren't playing this map from scratch; secrets are hard to find, but if you remember those in the original map, then you may find some of them: there are useful power-ups in secret areas. As for Z1M8, difficulty is the department where the authors failed piteously. Why? Let's exam it step by step. The first part, the so-called "vestibule", is ok, though health isn't well balanced; the first challenge with Demons, Hell Knights and Barons of Hell in the 5-point-star-shaped arena is beatable without many problems; the next challenge in a different hellish arena with Barons of Hell is beatable too and ammo is scattered in the arena; then you come back to the previous arena and get a Soul Sphere (but a MegaSphere would have been better!) and next challenge against Bruiser Demons starts: you must to face them with all the ammo you preserved till now... and, if you didn't save some rockets, this challenge could get quite hard! Another complaint is about the architecture that hinders you during the fight, though it provides some useful covers. At the end you'd think that was the last challenge... unfortunately no! There's a terrible challenge against the Deimos Guardian, the final boss: it is practically impossible, because of several reasons: 1) the previous challenge eated almost all your ammo and, if you don't explore the surrounding areas, you'll miss some shells, as well as Medikits and a Blue Armour; 2) the previous challenge eated a lot of your health too and you aren't provided with any power-up at the end of it; 3) the boss has an incredible amount of health, whereas you aren't provided even with health potions during this final challenge; 4) you are just provided with few shells and some bullets during the fight; 5) even if you preserved a fair amount of rockets, they aren't enough to beat the boss just with Rocket and/or Grenade Launchers and you'll have to mow it down with Shotgun and Chaingun, that's quite crazy! A more powerful weapon, like Plasma Gun or BFG, would have been desirable; maybe the Rifle would have been useful, but unfortunately I couldn't find it, because it is not provided in any level, except for one secret areas in Z1M7 and another in Z1M10 and not hidden in Z1M9; I think that the authours should have put it in Z1M10 without hiding it; 6) as if the boss isn't tough enough, it makes Imps and Lost Soul spawn too, making the battle almost impossible, because you must fight not just the boss, but also the monster it spawns! To sum up this topic about the final showdown: ...it is simply IMPOSSIBLE! I had to cheat by using IDDQD to finish the game. Do the authors know play-testing? If so, didn't play-testers say anything about it?! I can't believe that they said nothing! This together with the darkness that makes levels much harder compels me to lower again the assessment. Assessment: 8!

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New monsters: As you probably understood by reading the Difficulty section of this review, this .PK3 includes several new monsters, made in DECORATE and featuring new graphics of course. They all are well done. I'll just introduce them briefly: Rapid Fire Trooper, that is a powered Zombie; Shadow, a dark crouching Imp that fires at higher speed and rate; Stone Imp, a grey-ish massive and slow Imp that can just punch you; Dark Imp, with some variants, that are tougher than normal Imps and can even fire homing fire-balls, which hurt more then the usual Imps' fire-ball; Soul Harvester, a bit more stronger Imp, that fires "souls" homing you; Satyr, a small monster that can hurt you very much by scratching, if you allow him to get near you; Mauler Demon, a fast, jumping and biting Demon; Blood Demon, that is just a bit faster, but much tougher than the normal Demon; Hell Warrior, that is a sort of Hell Knight, provided with a shield that it uses for defense, and fires a yellow fire-ball and a grey one from the shield; the well-known Hell Knight from "Doom 2", though its sprites look a bit different; Hell's Fury, a monster resembling a Hell Knigt but with the haed like a Lost Soul: it fires a very fast red shot and 3 sort of homing souls (like those of the Soul Harvester); Ghosts, which make their scary appearance in the darkness only in few moments in Z1M8; Demon Cube, a flying cube like those spawned by the Icon of Sin in map30 of "Doom 2", but this one fires strange "electric" yellow things that really hurt; Bruiser Demon, a sort of big orange flaming Baron of Hell with big horns: it resembles CyberDemon and it moves as slow as that... and maybe it is as strong and powerful as the CyberDemon again, but with multiple attacks (horizontal stripe of fire in air, moving rays of fire on the floor and single painful fire-balls); at last there's the infamous boss, the Deimos Guardian, a big ugly (in all meanings, i.e. graphics is not very good!) monster, that hides periodically in a lava pool where it swims, fires homing painful fire-balls and stripes of Imp's fire-balls and can spawn Imps and Lost Soul. I don't give the highest assessment, because the sprites of the boss look quite odd (sort of 2D) and a bit ugly; moreover the authors made the final challenge with this boss unbeatable: I defy the creators of this monster and/or the authors who designed that final battle to beat it and record a demo throughout the whole level, from start to end. Assessment: 9!

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New weapons: If you didn't yet notice it in the previous parts of this review... "KDiZD" comes with new weapons too. The first one you are provided with is the Super Shotgun (SSG) in Z1M6 or in one of the secret areas of Z1M5 (if you can find it): it is not like that in "Doom 2" graphically and maybe in behaviour too - as for graphics, it looks a bit rough (look at 7th screenshot in the relative section) and I would have preferred the original SSG from "Doom 2"! In the same map where you find the hidden SSG there's another secret area with the Grenade Launcher (GL), an effective weapon replacing Plasma Gun, that it's even more powerful than the Rocket Launcher, though it uses rockets too: just try it and you'll notice that you can kill the same monster with less rockets, saving ammo! Again its sprites are quite odd: it looks like a sort of cannon or a single barrel of SSG (look at 10th screenshot in the relative section). If you can't find the GL in Z1M5, you'll find it in Z1M6 for sure. The third new weapon is the Rifle, maybe the most powerful weapon, but the hardest to find, because it is hidden in secret areas in Z1M7 and Z1M9 and it is placed without being hidden in Z1M10: as I already stated, I couldn't find it, so I can't preview it for you... sorry! Don't complain with me, but with the KDiZD Team about having hidden this weapon, that maybe is important for the final challenge against the Deimos Guardian! I give 7 as for this aspect of the .WAD, because I subtracted from 10: one point for the ridiculous graphics of SSG, another one for the odd sprites of GL and the last one for the hidden Rifle! Assessment: 7!

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New graphics: Since I already deal with graphics of weapons and monsters, here I will deal about other graphic resources, mainly new textures and flats, most of which are recoloured or modified versions of original textures and flats from "Doom (2)": most of them probably comes from Nick Baker's famous graphics resource .WAD: they all are good and wisely used in the maps. There are new nice skies too and new decorative sprites, like corpses of dead marines and monsters, new kinds of lamps and torches, columns, barrels, a microscope (!), etc. The .PK3 includes also various pictures used for intro and ending scenes (with credits). Everything is good and well done! I have no complaint in this department. Assessment: 9!

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New sounds: The .PK3 includes several new sounds, mostly ambient sounds (mechanical and electrical sounds mainly), but there are other sounds that make everything more realistic, like those of the clips and shells that hit ground after firing! They all are good, but the .PK3 doesn't include a TERRAIN lump: it's a pity, because in such realistic levels (thanks to great graphics) sounds related to steps on metal, rock or water and other liquids would have made this game an amazing realistic adventure! Assessment: 9!

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New music: Actually there is no new background music track, apart from those playing during the succeeding challenges in Z1M8: they really fit the pace and ambience of those showdowns with their rythms and they are quite catchy too. Good choice! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: Let's try to sum up this long review: "Knee Deep in ZDoom" is surely one of the best work ever made, but not the best one ever, because of some disappointing things that I would have never expected from such a big and experienced team, that even spent a long time on this project! "KDiZD" is a very nice reinterpretation of the original Episode 1 of "DooM" in all departments: it shows amazing graphics, detailed architecture and an awesome ambience thanks to new graphic resource too, its difficulty raises to challenging and even harder levels as you progress, classical gameplay based on action and search for keys is nicely integrated with puzzles, new weapons and monsters enhance gameplay and increase difficulty. Unfortunately there are some gameplay flaws, too long maps because of too many puzzles and non-linear gameplay; darkness, that surely enhances gloomy ambience, negatively affects gameplay and difficulty; the final challenge against the Deimos Guardian ruins what could have been a perfect game in the Difficulty department. So, finally, I suggest that you play it, in spite of these defects: maybe it's the not the masterpiece that you would have awaited because of the hype and discussion about it, but it is surely worth playing. Assessment: 8.5!

 
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"Evil Journey - Plan A" by Arch:
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Playability: This .WAD is a 5 level set, designed for ZDoom, though actually it exploits just few features of this port, mainly ambient sounds, new DECORATE monsters, MAPINFO and terrain effects; so the author didn't use gameplay features of ZDoom, like ACS Scripts, special actions and such; he didn't even take the advantage of graphics effects and visual gimmicks of the port. This means that gameplay is very simple, based on exploration of maps and action: levels almost lack even puzzles, tricks and traps. All levels are very linear and straightforward. There's no story... it's just skecthed out at the end, with a final message... that's quite odd! According to the .TXT file, this is probably Arch's first .WAD; I didn't want to be rude and would have liked to give a 6, that means "you can do (much) butter", but in map04 there's a serious error, that can stop your journey according to your movements: the floor of sector 74 with tag 11 can raise till it traps you in the outer perimeter: unfortunately it happened to me... and I can't ignore it: this means a lower mark. Assessment: 5!

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Graphics: This is a controversial topic, because the author showed talent and good ideas, but almost all levels are graphically simple. Detail level is usually low, though it raises to pretty high levels somewhere: look at screenshots to have an idea: the 1st level is quite plain; the 2nd one set in the airport is nice with good details; the 3rd map is set in rocky landscape with a small village and shows the author's potential though the map is still simple; the 4th one resembles map06 of "Doom 2" as for gameplay, but it's completely different as for graphics with a dark and creepy ambience; the last is probably the best one, with a grand temple sorrounded by a pleasant courtyard with statues, fountain, a fosse filled with water, a bridge over it... moreover it has got an arena inside, whence the title of the 5th level ("Colosseum"). To sum up: Arch has a great potential and shows it with several nice ideas and a fine architecture and high level detail in the last map (though the arena is a bit plain - but what do you want to find in arenas?!); moreover he/she wisely used additional textures and flats from new graphics resources, in good combinations with the original graphic package from "Doom 2", colour schemes makes everything eye-catching and themes are consistent and well developed. Lighting is usually plain, but the author added few special effects (see map02 for instance) which envliven it. Keep up the good work, Arch. I would have liked to give a higher assessment, but I couldn't because of the variety of quality in maps and especially becaus of few glitches (such as misaligned texture in map01: look at the 2nd screenshot in the relative section). Assessment: 6!

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Difficulty: Almost all maps are very easy, mainly because they are filled with few weak monsters (Zombies, Imps, Shotgunners, Demons), which aren't even placed very well, so they rarely surprise you and give troubles. Traps are rare and quite simple. The weapons you are provided with suit the situation: you wonder throughout map01 with just your pistol, then you will be provided with Shotgun and you will face all fights with that; you will find Chaingun and Super Shotgun only in the last map and you really need the latter for the last challenge against the Baron of Hell, maybe the most difficult fight together with that against a horde of demons in the arena in the same level! Health is well balanced, whereas armour and ammo is plentiful. Power-ups? Be serious: you don't need them, really! Some secrets are very trivial, whereas other aren't so easy to find. To sum up: this .WAD is too easy, maybe even for newbies! Average Doomers and seasoned players can try Ultra-Violence and maybe even the -fast option to make levels more challenging and interesting. Assessment: 6!

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New monsters: The author included lots of new DECORATE monsters from the "ZDoom monster pack", but used just few, mainly Rapid Fire Troopers. If the author had used more new enemies extensively, levels could have been more interesting and enthralling. So: monsters themselves are good, but their use is limited and that's a pity! Assessment: 6!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes new textures and flats by Daniel and, of course, sprites for new monsters. There's a new grey sky too. The author also added a TITLEPIC and several INTERPICs, that actually are bad drawings (they change after each level, thanks to MAPINFO). Choice and combination of new textures and flats are good and make levels better-looking. Assessment: 7!

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New sounds: In spite of the statement in the .TXT file, there is no music replacement, though there's a track in the .WAD, but it doesn't work! However this is not a problem, since the author used several ambient sounds, that fit perfectly the various settings of maps, and add a nice touch to the whole .WAD. In combination with the TERRAIN lump, these sounds make everything more realistic: in fact, you can hear your steps when climb stairs or when you walk on water, mud, blood, grass, etc. This deserves the highest assessment! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: If this is first author's work, it is quite good after all! Gameplay is very simple, difficulty is too low, but graphically this .WAD shows author's talent and potential. All the addiotional resources make the .WAD more interesting. Don't discard it: it is worth playing! I wait for the next episode, for "Plan B": the author can learn from his errors and improve his style in all departments. Assessment: 6.5!

 
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"Belial's Bad Brain" by Alexander "Eternal" S. a.k.a. Deadall:
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Playability: "Belial's Bad Brain" is a single map .WAD for limit-removing ports. This is a bit unconventional level because its peculiar gameplay, whose style resemble that of "Hell Revealed" as well as "Deus Vult", but difficulty is not as high as those .WADs. So gameplay is mostly based on action with lots of monsters to deal with, though you still need to look for keys to enter new areas filled with monsters. Simple puzzles with switches let you enter other areas. Since you often come back to main area, we could say that gameplay is non-linear, but not too complex, because you must explore areas in the sequence chosen by the author and take keys in the order: Red, Blue, Yellow. There's no story, but actually you don't need it in such kind of .WADs! To sum up: gameplay is quite poor, because it's just a "massacre level". Assessment: 6!

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Graphics: The main theme of this level is hellish, though the beginning doesn't look so hellish: the author made a great work, because he just used graphic resource of "Doom 2" with originality, wisely choosing and combining textures and flats, carefully creating colour schemes and patterns. Architecture is just awesome and rich with details (columns, niches, borders, etc.), though a bit too geometric, especially at the beginning. Lighting is painstaking with some good effects. Aesthetically it is different from "Deus Vult" and hellish maps of "Deus Vult II", though some parts compete with Huy Pham's levels. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: As stated above, this .WAD is HR-styled, because you have to face almost continuously great hordes of monsters, usually of the same type, since the beginning: in fact, you start in a room with MegaSpheres, BFG and Plasma Gun. In spite of the very high monster count (more than one thousand!), the level isn't hard at all and maybe isn't even so challenging! That's because the battles aren't studied and "designed" as in Huy Pham's .WADs and the author provides much more ammo than necessary, several power-ups (MegaSphere, Soul Spheres, Invulnerability Sphere, etc.), which are located in "hot spots", lots of armour... and health is scattered throughout the map; so you shouldn't have any trouble. You must be really stupid to fail it! Maybe even a newbie could beat it at low skill levels, whereas "Hurt Me Plenty" should be quite easy for most occasional players; maybe "Ultra-Violence" could pose a more serious challenge to average Doomers, but couldn't be challenging enough for seasoned players. Moreover there are just few simple traps, few of which are really effective. To sum up: just a very long pastime, nothing serious or challenging. Assessment: 7!

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New graphics: As mentioned above, the author didn't use any additional graphic resource. He just added a new TITLEPIC, that is a view of one of the biggest areas of the map with the the .WAD title: it is not a beautiful picture, but it's pretty decent. Assessment: 7!

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New music: There's a new background music track, that fits the ambience, but maybe doesn't fit perfectly the pace of the "war". Moreover it soon gets repetitive, but that's because the map itself is long! Assessment: 7!

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Overall: To be honest I was expecting something more challenging and maybe I should have played it on UV instead of HMP, as I usually do. However, the author made a great work in the graphics department, but I can't say the same in the other ones: gameplay is quite plain, based mostly on action, difficulty-wise it isn't challenging at all. I think that the author should learn how to choreograph battles and fights and how to balance gameplay and action from Huy Pham's "Deus Vult" and "Deus Vult II", if he wants to make more challenging .WAD: monster count isn't everything nowadays! Assessment: 7!

 
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"Escape from Castle Chezcrea" by Paul Hiebert a.k.a. Creaphis:
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Playability: This Boom compatible .WAD is a single level that probably took inspiration from the first map of "Return to Castle Wolfenstein", though actually it doesn't look like a castle! The author wrote no story, but I think it's quite obvious from the title and the setting, since you start from dungeons. Creaphis states that the map is very linear, but actually it is not so straightforward, though it's not either complex at all. Unlike most levels, this one doesn't feature any keys and gameplay is mostly based on puzzles, some of which not so obvious, like that of the pickax to break stones in a cell and open a passage: you must press the "Use" key in front of the pickax to "pick" it (see 4th screenshot in the relative section) and then you can use it on the stone wall in that cell by pressing again the "Use" key in front of it. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: In spite of the title, this level doesn't look like a castle, as forementioned. It features dungeons, torture chambers and sewers, but it whole resembles a castle quite vaguely. And this is quite a failure! What impresses player mostly is the great gloomy and dark ambience that permeates all the map, thanks to painstaking light and few lighting effects. The choice and combination of textures and flats, most of which are taken from various resources, make everything creepier. Moreover architecture is good-looking with neat details, such as fake doors with dormer windows, torches, columns, windows (with gratings), torture machinery, a saw and that "infamous" pickax, etc. To sum up: the .WAD could have gotten the highest assessment, but the fact that the main theme (castle) doesn't appear clearly weighs! Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: This level mixes easy parts with hard ones and narrow rooms with large areas. The beginning isn't easy at all, because you start in the dungeon with just the pistol in your hands and Imps, Demons and Zombies coming out from darkness; once you survive the dungeon with a deadly trap near the end, there's a small arena with a Cacodemon and a Hell Knight, but you can get rid of them quite easily if you exploit infighting. Then you could choose two routes, but one is a dead end for now, so you reach torture chambers, full of monsters, but filled with health and ammo too, so it is not so hard. After the battle against an Arch-Vile, that could be troublesome if you don't face it properly, there's a large area with a strange machinery in the middle (don't pass through it: you could die instantly! - On the contrary, exploit it, so that the Baron gets killed): clearing it is quite easy; then take what you need and go back... After opening that "infamous" passage with the "infamous" pickax, you'll think you got it, that your escape is successful... unfortunately ground will fall down under your feet and you'll find yourself in the sewers, a nasty part because it's tight and filled with enemies. The finale with Pain Elementals is a big delusion, after such an adventurous escape. To sum up: good health and ammo balances, good placement of monsters with effective traps, well hidden secret areas, but disappointing ending. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: The author used extensively a lot of new textures and flats from various graphic resources, made by TeamTNT, GothicDM team, Raven Software (some textures and flats from "Heretic") and id Software (the red sky from "Doom"), plus few textures made by Creaphis himself. All these resources help to create the right ambience and make the level great-looking. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: Before the final assessment, I'd like to point out that the level is map30 and exploits original music from "Doom 2", that fits perfectly the dark and gloomy ambience! That said, the .WAD would have deserved a higher mark, but unfortunately there's something in every department that disappoint players and could have been done better. So I'd like to say this to Creaphis: keep up the good work! Assessment: 9!

 
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"Kobal" by Shadowman:
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Playability: Here is another single level .WAD from the same author of "Cheogsh": he shows again very good talent and this level has as high quality as the previous .WAD. There's no story behind it, but gameplay is good, a bit different from the classic one, because the author tends to create several puzzles, mainly based on switches and such, but they are well done. You must find all three keys in the following order: Yellow, Blue, Red, to challenge the final boss, the Spider MasterMind! The map is quite linear, but you can enter some areas from different entrances and explore few rooms in a limited area in different orders. Since it's for prBoom compatible ports, it doesn't feature ACS Scripts or ZDoom tricks, as "Cheogsh" did. So, considering the limits of the port which the .WAD is designed for, "Kobal" gets an higher assessment than the other level. Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: Shadowman has a good eye and good taste in graphics: the architecture and choices he did about texture and flat combinations, colour schemes prove it. The main theme is sort of gothic/ruins and tech-base. Detail level isn't top-notch like "Cheogsh", even because here the author didn't use GZDoom features as he did in the other .WAD, but the map is still good-looking, thanks to new graphical resources too. Maybe layout is a bit simple: if you see automap, you'll notice that most areas are symmetrical, but this doesn't affect my assessment at all, though somebody don't like symmetry. Lighting is quite plain, maybe even a bit too dark, with few variations. I couldn't notice any flaw or glitch, but I can't give the same assessment as in "Cheogsh" because of minor quality. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: "Kobal" is pretty interesting from this point of view: it's always challenging, thanks to sudden traps (with teleporting monsters), like the one at the beginning (but I don't want to spoil it here!), well placed monsters and use of tough monsters quite soon but just with conventional weapons. Zombies, shotgunners and Imps haven't ever been so hard... that' because of their placement; so always watch your back and lean over corners. Expect small hordes of monsters to await you in every room... and if you don't find anybody, be ready to fire after pressing a switch! Fortunately enough, ammo is well balanced (don't waste it!), health is scattered throughout the map and some power-ups are provided too where you (can) need them. Don't be scared by recoloured enemies: they are not new powerful monsters, they are the same as in original "Doom 2", but just recoloured. The final challenge with the Spider MasterMind is quite easy if you know how to get it down. To sum up: difficulty-wise "Kobal" is beter than "Cheogsh", though the final challenge is a bit disappointing and that's a pity after a good challenging level! Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes a new map title and TITLEPIC, that actually isn't so nifty, as well as new sprites for the recoloured monsters (of course!) and new textures and flats, extensively but wisely used to enhance graphics. Assessment: 9!

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New music: There's a new background music, that is nice, but probably doesn't fit entirely the mood and ambience of the level, though quite creepy as the map. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: To sum up, this is a level that won't take much time because of its size, but will prove your skills, because of its challenging difficulty; gameplay-wise it is based mostly on action with some puzzles too and graphically it shows nice things. New graphics and music make the rest. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Total Control" by Dutch Devil:
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Playability: Single level .WAD designed for ZDoom, whose features are exploited to make the map eye-catching, whereas gameplay effects are very limited (few ACS Scripts for coloured lights, sparks and two messages - one is the intro). Gameplay is quite simple, since it is the classic one: look for switches to open close doors and keys to open the locked ones. The map is medium size, requiring around 45 minutes to complete it, and non-linear, but open, i.e. you can choose the route you want since the beginning, but you must take keys in the following order: Red, Blue and Yellow, because the previous one is needed to enter the area where the next one is located. However the map isn't complex at all and you shouldn't get lost... though some more messages would have been useful. There's no story, but it's the usual level set in a tech base that you must take control of. Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: "Total Control" is a very nice level with a perfect dark and gloomy ambience, thanks to author's wise and perfect use of lights: darkness prevails of course, but lighting effects and coloured lights add even a creepy touch. Other useful ZDoom features the author used to enhance graphics are: translucent and scrolling textures, slopes, etc. Detail level is very high: architecture is enhanced with windows (that you can even open and close with switches), light sources on the walls and ceiling, air vents, pipes, wires, consoles, computers, crates... New textures and flats, well arranged, make the level even better-looking. Colour schemes are used to distinguish parts of the map (yellow lights and textures in the Yellow Key area and so on). I couldn't notice any flaw or glitches, though it's difficult to find them with in a dark level. To sum up: graphics is awesome! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: The level is rarely hard, but neither easy. That's because you face enemies like Zombies, Imps, Shotgunners and Chaingunners... you'll encounter just few harder monsters (Cacodemons, Hell Knights, Revenants, etc.); what makes the fight against them harder than it should be is darkness as well as their placement. Actually some traps can be deadly, but if you survive them and are seriously wounded, you can go look for health, that is scattered throughout the map: Medikits and Stimpak are almost everywhere. And power-ups hidden in secret areas, that aren't hard to find, can be very useful and make your dirty job more comfortable. Ammo is quite abundant and you shouldn't even worry about wasting it! The presence of powerful weapons (Rocket Launcher, Plasma Gun and BFG) contrasts with the absence of the strongest monsters: a final challenge with a CyberDemon or another boss like it would have been interesting, but its lack makes the end a bit disappointing! To sum up: not very challenging at 3rd skill level. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: As already mentioned, the author exploited new textures and flats to improve graphics: most of them are just recoloured or modified version of original graphic resources. The author didn't include a new TITLEPIC, that such a good .WAD deserves... that's a pity! Assessment: 9!

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New sounds: The author decided to change most of the original sounds and replaced them with new ones, that actually resemble the old ones. They are quite good, though quality isn't very high! Assessment: 9!

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 New music: Yes, there's a new background music track, though actually it has been already used in other .WADs! But it fits the ambience and mood to perfection and it is never boring. Great choice! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: This is a great map, especially af for graphics, that is top notch! Gameplay is quite simple, though you need ZDoom to play it because of graphic features and effects. Difficulty isn't very challenging, but I think this makes the level last more, i.e. you may want to play it again at higher skill levels, though the lack of a final challenge remains! New graphics, sounds and music makes the .WAD even more interesting. Assessment: 9!

 
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"The City of the Damned - Apocalypse" by Daniel "Tormentor667" Gimmer:
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Playability: This is a single level .WAD for GZDoom, that will make you really busy and will take you a long time to complete it... more than 2 hours! But don't get upset: the level is really enthralling, with an involving ambience... and ACS Scripts and GZDoom features really enhance it. Gameplay is based mainly on action and key or item hunt, but there are some puzzles to solve... and this is done by messages that you must read to gather information and understand what to do next. The map is quite large and gameplay is quite non-linear, but you won't get lost, if you read villagers' messages. The author didn't write any story, but you'll understand it while playing, by reading those messages... and it's quite interesting and a bit unusual! Maybe you'll notice that gameplay resembles that of the prequel, "The City of the Damned". To sum up: gameplay is more adventurous than usual, but still Doom-ish. Very good! Assessment: 10!

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Graphics: The author used only and extensively new graphic resources, without using the old and classic "Doom (2)" textures, flats and sprites. Level detail isn't very high, but not bad: just look at terrain, sidewalks, borders, streetlamps, tombs, columns... So, architecture isn't painstaking, but is surely great-looking thanks to new graphic resources and GZDoom effects. Look at the Church from the outside, just to get an idea! Lighting is wisely used to create gloomy and creepy ambience; dynamic lights and other great effects enhance it: just look at the fire near the start area to have an idea! To sum up: architecture is quite simple, apart from few things, but very good-looking thanks to new graphics resources. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: This level is quite hard, even at 3rd skill level! Why? Because the author didn' use any original "Doom 2" monsters, but used new enemies, which are much stronger and tougher... though it is not easy to say, because you are provided with different weapons. This means that experience doesn't count so much and that seasoned players have got a slight advantage on less experienced players! The problem isn't the monster count, in fact you usually face one or two monsters... rarely you have to fight against groups of enemies; but their placement or their sudden apparition is nasty. You'll need more shots than you'd think to mow down these monsters, so always look for cover while fighting them; moreover their firepower is very high, whereas you initially have to fight them with your bare hands and a fork... then a pistol... and only later with a shotgun. Only toward the end you get a chaingun and just before the final challenge a sort of rocket launcher. Ammo is well balanced: this means that you shouldn't waste it. Health is provided as portable medikits, so that you don't have to look for it, when you need it: some monsters give you "life essence" (that is health) when dying. Some secrets are easy to find, but power-ups are almost non-existent, apart from armour. Beware of traps, some of which can be deadly! I suggest that you save often, especially when you think something strange is going to happen. After some progress, a siren will sound from time to time... the first time you don't have to worry; I am not going to spoil here what happens, but the first time you survive! Next times you'll hardly survive, if you are not in a safe place. Battles take place both in open and wide areas (usually outside) and narrow rooms. The final challenge with Thamuz (a sort of CyberDemon) is nice, though a bit too easy with that powerful sort of rocket launcher. To sum up: maybe it's a bit too challenging... too harsh! Assessment: 8!

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New monsters: As mentioned above, the author used just new DECORATE monsters in this .WAD and no original "Doom 2" monsters, which they are inspired to: there are the shotgun guy, the chaingun one, very fast and dangerous demons, a sort of Imp, etc. Some of them are just modified version of classic "Doom 2" monsters, such as a sort of Lost Soul or Thamuz. They all look good, but they are a bit too strong. Assessment: 9!

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New weapons: To fight against these powerful monsters the author provides you with a new arsenal: you start with just your bare hands, but on the beach there's a pitchfork, that you can even launch towards your enemies with the "alternative fire" key; then you'll get a pistol and later on another one (dual pistol), whereas in the meanwhile you get a powerful shotgun, that can fire two shots in one with the "alternative fire" key; before the final showdown you can take a powerful rocket launcher! All these weapons look quite good, but it's a pity you get the powerful ones only towards the end; actually you can take the shotgun quite soon, but it's heavily guarded, so you need ammo and medikits, before venturing into the cemetery, where the shotgun is hidden: ghosts and zombies won't let you take it so easily! Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: As already stated, the author extensively used new graphic resources, inlcuding several new textures, flats and sprites (decoration, monsters, weapons, etc.), as well as new TITLEPIC, status bar, fonts and other things. Everything looks good! Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are new ambience sounds, that are used to create the right atmosphere, as well as those for new monsters and weapons. Sometimes they are bit too loud, but not bad! Assessment: 9!

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New music: There's a background music throughout the level, that changes according to situation, especially during important battles: it always fits the gloomy and creepy ambience and its pace increases to fit the beat of your heart during crucial fights. Very good! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: This .WAD is not bad at all, though quite hard: graphically it's awesome, thanks to new graphic resources, though architecture doesn't show a painstaking level of detail; gameplay is interesting, enlivened by ACS Scripts and GZDoom features, that helped the author to do some puzzles; difficulty-wise the level is more than challenging, though fighting against new monsters with new weapons is surely interesting; new sounds and music enhance the dark and mysterious ambience. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Epic" by Alexander "Eternal" S. a.k.a. Deadall:
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Playability: This is a 5-level .WAD designed for Boom compatible ports (the author and I suggest GZDoom to play it without any bug). The author exploited Boom features to create some special gameplay effects, though simple, since it is not ZDoom! So gameplay is based mainly on action with some switch puzzles and the constant search for keys. Maybe a mission-based gameplay would have helped the player to find his/her way, but levels aren't too complex, though wide and non-linear; so you shouldn't get lost. The author didn't write any story, though it would have been interesting, since the setting is particular: mainly desert, temples and ruins; moreover it could have been developed through levels. By the way, all levels show almost the same kind of gameplay, whereas variation would have been pleasant. Gameplay-wise the levels resemble "Dark 7", though it uses ZDoom features, and there's also a level set on a train, like map03 of Bryant Robinson's .WAD. To sum up: gameplay is quite good, though a bit plain. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: The author used extensively new graphic resources, that make all maps good-looking, though detail level isn't high. Map layouts are good and architecture is nice and sometimes even imposing. So the author made a good job by choosing the right combination of flats, textures and sprites. Lighting isn't painstaking, but not bad at all. As already stated above, map themes are: desert, temple, ruins plus the level set on the train. I didn't notice any flaw or glitch, so it deserves a high assessment. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: All the levels aren't hard at all... maybe they aren't even challenging, at least if you play it on "Hurt me plenty". Enemy placement isn't a threat in most cases: some monsters are placed behind corners, but if you are cautious, they won't ever hurt you; other ones are placed just behind doors or fake walls, so they can be dangerous. This kind of traps and other tricks can be troublesome and also chaingun snipers are nasty: just watch out for them and kill them as soon as possible! Ammo is plentiful and it won't run out, unless you waste it. Health is abundant too and scattered through maps. Moreover you are provided with power-ups where you need them. Secret can be useful, but they are not easy to find. Most battles take place in wide and open areas and this makes everything easier of course; just few fights are set in narrow rooms. The most interesting fight is the final challenge with 2 CyberDemons in the last level. To sum up: the .WAD is quite easy, but enthralling after all; it should be a cakewalk for seasoned Doomers, a bit more serious for the average player and quite challenging for beginners (with some experience). Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: As mentioned above, this .WAD exploits new graphic resources, including new textures and flats (whose soruce is unknown - I noticed some of them coming from "Gothic DM" .WAD and "Heretic" and "Hexen" IWADs by Raven Software) tree, bush and statue sprites. Moreover several monster have modified and/or recoloured sprites, such as Imp, Zombie, Shotgunner, Chaingunner, Reventants and Lost Souls. There are new skies and the .WAD includes also new TITLEPIC, INTERPIC, mapnames and menu title (M_DOOM). Everything looks good and, as I already stated, new textures, flats and sprites make all the level good-looking. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are two new sounds used for switches and moving ceiling: they are good. Assessment: 10!

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New music: Every level has got its new catchy score, that fits the ambience of the map. Maybe they get a bit repetitive in long levels, like that of the last one, that is really epic, but it soon gets monotonous! Assessment: 9!

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Overall: This is a nice .WAD worth playing once, maybe twice if you want to try higher skill levels. Gameplay-wise it is simple, action-based but with some puzzles with swtiches; graphically it is good-looking thanks to new graphic resources, though architecture isn't very detailed; difficulty isn't challenging, but enthralling and funny; music gives you the right mood, accordng to level ambience. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Deus Vult II" by Huy Pham:
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Playability: Before dealing with this .WAD, please notice that this time I distinguished playability from gameplay! This is the worthy sequel of the same author's "Deus Vult" .WAD, but it differs from it. In fact, first of all, this .WAD is a multiple level set: it contains 10 effective levels + 2 ending levels (they are a surprise I won't spoil here!) + 2 secret levels. The .WAD is Boom-compatible and can be played in various ports (Boom, PrBoom, ZDoom, GZDoom, etc.): this choice surely allows the author to aim to a vast audience, but this means also that the author couldn't exploit features of advanced ports (like (G)ZDoom), such as ACS Scripts, that would have improved the gameplay, as we'll see later on. All the levels can be played in sequence or from scratch (i.e. from pistol start), though unexperienced Doomers would better play the levels in sequence, in order to exploit weapons, health and ammo accumulated previously. Although the .WAD uses just certain map slot and contains some "skip maps", this doesn't affect playability at all, if you play levels in sequence; otherwise, refer to the .TXT file to know which maps have been effectively used by the author. I had nearly no playability problem (no sudden crash or such), apart from a savegame problem in the "Minas Morgul" area (the red one) of map23 ("Hell's Vendetta"): so don't overwrite your previous savegames there! The numerous hordes of monsters in the hellish levels (map21-23) can slow down your frame-rate, especially if using dynamic lights and hardware acceleration in GZDoom (software rendering is suggested in those situations). Assessment: 9!

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Gameplay: Now we deal with real gameplay. The author surely improved his abilities in this department, but not enough. You can see the improvement in the variety of kinds of gameplay in the levels, which are going to be described later. Unfortunately the choice of ensuring compatibility with different ports and that of offering complex gameplay with puzzles determine some problems. I'll make it simple: the player tends to lose in big and complex levels and could not understand what to do next after pressing a switch, that activates something that is not nere the switch; there are some levels with some puzzles, but the player don't know at all how to solve them, he/she has just to go forth activating whatever he/she encounter. This is quite frustrating and this is what happens in several levels, especially map19 "Stargate" and map21 "The Unholy Cathedral". The use of additional features of advanced ports (ZDoom e.g.) could have made everything simple: for instance, messages implemented through ACS Scripts could have explained the various objectives and missions to accomplish in the levels - in this way the player wouldn't get lost! We'll briefly analyse each level - notice that the gameplay of most levels, as well as difficulty, takes inspiration from .WAD like Erik Alm's "Scythe" and "Scythe 2", Fredrik Johansson's "Vrack 3" and classical .WADs like "Alien Vendetta" and "Hell Revealed (2)":

  • map01 "Entryway Pass": gameplay is founded on the assault to a tech-base and is action-packed and fast-paced, thanks to dual pistols and chaingun; it requires just 5-10 minutes.

  • map02 "Mutagen": this level is set in a research facility and provides the player with a longer challange, but less frantic than the first map.

  • map03 "Crouchin Demon, Hidden ArchVile": the setting is an Asian forest, where gameplay is based mostly on the research for the 3 keys, ambushes and surprises.

  • map12 "Minas Morgul": this is a level set in a gree-ish and sinister valley, where groups of Spectres and Hell Knights and then an enormous horde of Imps welcome you outside a sort of temple, then nasty ambushes are awaiting for you inside; here gameplay is based just on action and your abilities to deal with a big number of monsters, without possibility to exploit infighting;

  • map13 "Eagle's Nest": here gameplay is based on a rock climbing, thwarted by your enemies, toward the peak, where a dark castle lies; be careful, because you can fall down to an acid sea and die, if you don't find a teleport spot soon.

  • map19 "Stargate": this is the heavily Vrack-inspired level, that hasn't got just Vrack-ish graphics, but also gameplay, though a bit emptier than the original "Vrack 3" level, nevertheless this is not bad at all, because you'll sigh for it, when you have to face hellish maps, full of monsters; it is a very big and non-linear map, based on the research for keys and switch puzzles, that can be quite frustrating, because it's hard to understand where to go next and you can get lost quite easily: color coding helps a bit and the sector names could have been very useful, if the author would have used ACS Scripts and messages.

  • map20 "Desert Temple": an Egyptian temple, where gameplay lies on puzzles as well as action; finding the way to the exit could be quite frustrating, so... (Warning: SPOILER AHEAD!) ...watch the eyes of all silhouettes in the alcoves of the Revenants;

  • map21 "The Unholy Cathedral": one of the most challenging, but also entertaining levels: it is the first hellish map with more than one thousand monsters, most of which you'll have to face in the final epic battle; in order to enter the "profana profanorum" (I can't say "sancta sanctorum"!) and face the great horde of monsters, firstly you have to solve a puzzle, by navigating through the whole unholy cathedral and pressing every protruding pentagram you find on the floor; this is not clear at all and again ACS Scripts and messages could have made this simpler. Moreover, in the library, you could think you get stuck... just look around... (Warning: SPOILER AHEAD!) ...and look for lit bookshelves... and then for red books, in particular.

  • map22 "You shall not pass!": this level provides the player a unique speedrunning challenge, never implemented; it is inspired by map28 ("Run from it") in Erik Alm's "Scythe" .WAD, but though it is still a race against time, here you won't die for a mysterious reason, but because an unbeatable horde of Balorgs (very strong monsters) reach you and stop your run. As if this is not enough, your run takes place in a sort of hellish cave, where falling down into lava is easy. So here gameplay lies mostly on your running and manoeuvring abilities - remember that you are chased, so don't stop run and don't lose too much time fighting enemies on your way!

  • map23 "Hell's Vendetta": this is your last bloody challenge! Here you'll have to face something between one and three thousands monsters (the number depends on the skill level), which appear in various hordes in different places. Here the gameplay is simple, based on: research of the keys and slaughter fests. Be careful where you go at the beginning: facing the initial horde of monsters from one of the peripheral areas with the ammo in it could bring you to fail the whole level, making it impossible to complete without cheating!

  • map31 "The Manliest Level Yet": a showdown against a horde of several hundreds monsters with just full ammounition from start and no items at all in the map; the access to this secret level is hidden in map29, that I don't describe because it's a nice surprise I don't want to spoil you.

  • map32 "Sauron's Gauntlets": this is the super-secret map with just a special weapon as reward and one monster - Warning: SPOILER AHEAD! - in order to gain access to this level, you must jump on all four Mancubi's platforms in the secret map.

That's it! To sum up: there's a great variety in gameplay among levels, though they are mainly based on action, of course, and partly on search for keys and puzzles; the first levels are pretty linear, whereas the hellish maps are quite non-linear, but not too complex; unfortunately several gameplays flaws have been noticed through most levels. So the assessment in this department is higher than that for "Deus Vult", but I cannot consider all the flaws, so... Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: This .WAD is top notch in graphics: every level is good-looking at least, but some are really awesome with imposing architecture and eye-catching combintaion of textures and flats and colour schemes. Graphic themes vary according to setting of the maps: the first two has got tech-base and lab themes with typical design and details (computers, consoles, biological tanks, lasers, etc.); the third one is an original Asian forest, rendered with a lot of tree sprites, that could slow down old computers; map12 is a sinister valley with a temple characterized by an imposing architecture, where the dominating colour is green; the main theme of map13 is rocky, since it is set on a mountain, but there are also ruins and castle themes; as already said, map19 presents a Vrack-ish style, set on a space station with an Egyptian stargate, here the painstaking level of detail reaches Fredrik Johansson's peak, though the level is maybe more colourful than original "Vrack" levels with some original colour coding, i.e. areas are identified with different colours; map20 is Egyptian-themed with giant architecture, though not very detailed; map21 is the "Unholy Cathedral", that shows awesome architecture with lots of detail (great columns, arches, balconies, windows, libraries, a tower, and great-looking graphics, thanks to the use of hellish colour (red and black mainly), paintings as textures, etc., as well as painstaking lighting, that actually is well used in other levels too - the great organ is maybe the most impressive thing here; map22 is set in a sort of hellish cavern with red rocky cliffs, lava falls and black marble - there's a secret area that is a copy of the so-called "Revenant Curve" of the original "Deus Vult"; map23 hasn't got a main theme, the main area is filled with pictures of bad characters of history, video-games and films, whereas two peripheral sections resemble "Minas Morgul" but red and a part of the original "Deus Vult"; map31 is a sort of fortress on an island (you can see a ship on the distance). To sum up, the author demonstrated to be a very competent WADster, who can range his style from hellish (maybe the best theme he deals with!) to tech-base, from Egyptian to Asian, from space-station to rocky mountains, from castle to ruins... and whatever theme he deals with, he always succeeds and makes great-looking and very detailed maps, thanks also to use of good colour patterns and excellent choices of textures and flats... without any flaw or glitch! Notice that sometimes map layouts resemble something. Huy Pham really deserves the highest assessment here. Assessment: 10! I recommend that you watch screenshots in the relative section: there's one shot for each level.

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Difficulty: Difficulty level varies together with gameplay and graphics in the maps and it increases exponentially while proceeding: it's fast-paced and very easy in the first level; easy but with monsters opponing more resistance in the second one; a bit tougher with several ambushes and traps with teleporting monsters in third map; difficulty gets tougher with "Minas Morgul", that put you against hordes of Spectres, Hell Knights and then Imps in the green valley, then one or two Arch-Viles, three SpiderMasterMind and other hordes of Demons, Imps and Hell Knights led by two CyberDemons await for you inside the green temple; map13 asks for your ability of manoeuvring and your fighting skills in close combats; map19 is a sort of pause of in the increasing difficulty, since this Vrack-ish space-station looks empty (many open areas with few opponents), but hard battles in narrow areas alternate with easy fights in wide sections - here you'll have to face single monsters or small groups of enemis for most of the time, just in few occations you'll have to deal with big hordes, especially toward the end; "Desert Temple" is quite easy if played sequentially, but maybe it's hard if played from pistol start - nevertheless, tricks and traps make your journey a bit hard; difficulty increases very quickly in map21, where the final challenge against a horde of several hundreds of monsters is not impossible, but very hard, in spite of many power-ups in the arena and naffordable fights while navigating the map; map22 isn't hard if you know what to do - just run and don't lose time by killing monsters on your way, unless necessary - but it becomes almost impossible if the horde of chasing Balrogs reach you; map23 is an extremely hard slaughter fest (the number of monster vary from something around 1000 and nearly 3000, according to the chosen skill level), maybe the hardest ever (even harder than the hardest level in "Hell Revealed (2)") - this is no joke - and it will ask for all your skill and abilities; map31 is a showdown against a horde of some hundreds of monsters. You can get powerful weapon already in the first maps, whereas you get BFG in map12: this helps you a lot, if play levels sequentially! After this overview of the difficulty of all maps, let's talk a bit of how the author implemented it. Monster placement usually isn't so dangerous for the player, especially when facing hordes of monsters; the main problem here is the great number of opponents you often have to deal with, as well as suddenly appearing monsters from hidden alcoves in the ground or behind walls or teleporting enemies: it's this kind of tricks and traps, as well as ambushes, the most frequent cause of death. So I suggest that you save quite often. Open battles alternate with close combats in most levels. Ammo is always abundant and it's just plentiful, if you play levels in sequence; of course it is always scattered through the levels and remember to approach ammo reserves when it is running out, especially during fights against hordes of enemies. Health is well balanced: Medikits and Stimpaks are scattered through the maps. Power-ups are placed where you need them, but use them wisely and beware of traps! Some challenges, though very hard, are epic and beautiful. To sum up, every struggle is perfectly coreographed and the author put as much efffort in this department as in graphics... so he deserves again the highest assessment. Please notice that this .WAD is not good at all for beginners and novices, but it is designed to satisfy the blood thirst of very experienced and seasoned players; average Doomers won't have problems in the first three maps, but next level could be a serious threat for them; advanced players shouldn't have problems till hellish maps, where strategy couldn't be enough and experience with slaughter maps is required. Assessment: 10!

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New monsters: The original "Doom 2" monsters aren't enough for the author, who added two new enemies, implemented with DEHACKED: the Hell Cleric, who is quite fast, strong, dangerous in close combats, because of his maces, as well as in distance because of his series of Imp fireballs, that actually can be dodged quite esaily, but they are terrible when they attack in hordes (like in map23, especially in the red area); the Flying Balrog, a very tough but slow monster, whose body can resist to a precise shot of BFG, firing a volley of deadly fireballs. Both these monsters increases difficulty in every level where they are used, but allow the author to create new interesting challenges. Assessment: 10!

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New weapons: The author provided the player with two new weapons: Dual Pistols, which are funnier to use than the original Pistol in "Doom (2)", since they have got a higher fire rate; Sauron's Gauntlets, which are melee weapons that can eliminate tough monsters, like Barons of Hell, in just few seconds... very useful in map22. They are both good weapons. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: This .WAD inclused lots of new graphic resources, mainly textures, flats and sprites (including those for the new monsters and weapons of course) made by the author himself or taken from various sources and used extensively through all the levels: mixed together with original "Doom 2" textures, they help to make everything great-looking. There are also new images, like TITLEPIC, CREDIT, BOSSBACK and some different INTERPICs; there's even a new black status bar with the Doom guy with sunglasses... very cool! Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: The sounds of Double Pistol, Shotgun and Chaingun are replaced with new ones... not bad at all! Also CyberDemon's sounds are replaced with new interesting ones. New monsters are provided with new sounds too, of course. Maybe the quality of these sounds isn't top-notch, but they are quite good. Assessment: 10!

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New music: New background music tracks (in .MP3 format) are included in the .WAD: they all fit nicely the ambience and mood of each level. The music tracks for the first two levels are quite catchy and fit perfectly the pace of gameplay; in the third map, the music enhances the mysterious and creepy ambience of the level; in the next two maps there's a sort of solemn music, that preludes to epic battles; the soundtrack for "Stargate" is the same as "Vrack 3"; in the following level there's an "important" music, with a piece of classical music too, interesting choice for an Egyptian map; the choral music in "The Unholy Cathedral" perfectly fits the place and the moody ambience; a sort of adventure film score is the ideal background of map22; an epic music gives you adrenaline to face the last long challenge, whereas a .MIDI from "Heretic" is the musical background to the secret level. Since most levels are pretty long, music tracks replay and tend to get boring at last; nevertheless the author chose good background music. The .WAD includes also new title music (the background music of the original "Deus Vult"), intermission and bossback music (it's the same - from "Heretic") and message music. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: At last I am near to finish this review... the longest ever... till now! What can I say? Need I say more?! Well... I believe that this .WAD breaks several records: I think that it contains the level with the biggest number of sidedefs ("The Unholy Cathedral": 51000+), the map with the greatest number of monsters ("Hell's Vendetta": 2700+ on UV) and much more... It's a breathtaking .WAD in all aspects: gameplay, for its variety along the levels; graphics, for the awesome detailed architecture of maps; difficulty, for the epic challenges the .WAD contains; not to mention several novelties... I think every Doomer should play this, so... newbies, get experienced and then play "Deus Vult II"! Assessment: 9.5!

 
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"Noob Project Part 4- Space Station Vrack" by Lupinx-resurrected:
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Playability: After a classical .WAD, now it's time to deal with a ZDoom level. In fact, this .WAD requires this source port, because it exploits some of its features, like scripted marines, ACS Scripts, cameras, etc. mainly to create scenes, which enliven the gameplay and provides the player with a story... that is quite strange, to tell truth. Nevertheless gameplay-wise this level is well made, although it is quite linear and puzzles are few, although you'd expect more from such a ZDoom .WAD. Moreover it differs from most .WADs, because it uses only (scripted) marines, apart from the exception of a CyberDemon. The most interesting thing is the "Yellow Key puzzle", when you find that key, but suddenly teleports away and you must look for it and go and grab it outside the space-station, where you have to face low gravity! To sump up: nice gameplay, but it could have been improved. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: When you think to the original "Vrack" series by Fredrik Johansson, you think firstly to grey tech-base theme and very detailed architecture. This map is set in the typical Vrack-ish grey space station, but it hasn't got the same feel and the same super-detailed architecture. In fact, actually the map lacks detail and graphics is quite poor, apart from few original ideas (look at the 3rd screenshot, for instance) and the typical details, like computers, consoles, few crates. So walls, floors and ceilings are quite plain unlike original "Vrack" levels, where every room was filled, better cramped with details. Though ZDoom has a lot of graphical features, the author didn't exploit them at all, apart from few 3D bridges and mirrors, some of which are "buggy" (see the last screenshot)... and this lowers the assessment further on. Only lighting is quite painstaking. To sum up: too simple graphics with some flaws too. Assessment: 5!

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Difficulty: Can you imagine a "Vrack" .WAD without hordes of Cacodemons? Well... now you have got it! As stated above, this level features only (scripted) marines and no monsters, apart from a CyberDemon. But marines are even harder than usual monsters, since they are stronger and have got heavier weaponry than monsters. But there's more: they are placed very wisely, so that they always hurt you: sometimes they are behind doors or around your teleport destination or they teleport in at your sides just in the middle of a narrow room, so that it's impossible to keep your health... and sometimes it's really hard to survive! So you must be very quick and trigger-happy... and remember to save often, though the author implemented auto-save. Health is well balanced at the beginning, but later on it becomes shorter; fortunately enough you are provided with power-ups, such as Soul Spheres, before or after bloody fights! As for weapons, just after few rooms you can take all the conventional weapons, which are located in a room aside that I didn't notice, so I ventured forth with just the shotgun; also the plasma gun is available not too far from the start. Ammo is scattered here and there through the map and is quite abundant. To sum up, the level is surely challenging, but sometimes it gets too hard with deadly ambushes! Assessment: 6!

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New monsters: I don't consider (scripted) marines as new monsters, but there's a new enemy, a special marine, who replaces and acts as the Revenant: he launches strange rockets and punches. Obviously he is much stronger than other marines. You'll have to fight him in the final challenge. It is quite good. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes new textures and flats (taken from the "Vrack" .WADs) and new sprites for the special marine and his rockets, as well as the "sprite of the author" (you can understand this only by playing the .WAD) and the sprite of a chain. All these sprites look good. The author made also new TITLEPIC, INTERPIC, BOSSBACK and M_DOOM by himself: they are quite rough, but not bad. Assessment: 7!

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New sounds: The author added some sounds for the new monster: they are not exceptional, but quite good. Assessment: 9!

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New music: There are three new .MUS files for the background music, so that it changes according to the situation: there's one dominating for most of the map, whereas the other two are used in the challenges with the CyberDemon and with Phobos, who is the special marine. The first one is catchy, but quite loud and it doesn't suit the level so good, whereas the other two tracks suit the challenges. There's also a new nice title music, that is used also in the last part of the map, before the final challenge. Assessment: 8!

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Overall: This .WAD isn't up to modern standard, especially as for graphics, though the author doesn't lack nice ideas; as for gameplay, it is nice and different from the usual levels, but you'd expect something more; difficulty-wise, it is quite hard with nice challenges, but some deadly ambushes are annoying; all the novelties (new enemy, new graphics and music) make the .WAD more interesting. Assessment: 7.5!

 
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"Phobos Reloaded - E1M1" by DJShrimpy:
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Playability: This time we are dealing with a classic: it's a remake of E1M1 for vanilla "DooM", though it requires a port to avoid visplane overflows. So the gameplay is classical, but it is different from that of the original level. In fact the author placed all three keys here and there in the map and you must find them in order to complete the level (actually the Yellow Key is not necessary to reach the exit). The gameplay is very alike the original, apart from this variation, that actually is very good and gives a longer life to the map, and other minor but nice additons, like a trap with teleporting monsters, another trick and few more switches than the original map. Assessment: 10!

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Graphics: The layout of the map is very alike the original one, with few original and interesting variation. Practically the author re-interpreted some parts of the original map and enhanced them also by modifying them, i.e. adding details, improving the ambience with new choices of textures and flats and with simple lighting effects. Only the final part is completely overhauled, whereas the start room looks very alike the original! To sum up, the author made a good and unique work, because he re-interpreted E1M1 without upsetting it. Maybe the best and most unique idea is that of the dark cave linking the interior of the base to outside! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: The level is not much harder than the original level: what makes it a bit harder is mainly the placement of enemies and, in the cave, the darkness tha hides Imps and Demons. Ammo and health are well balanced. There's nothing more to say that you already know... since it's E1M1 after all! Maybe a bit more challening difficulty level would make the level a bit more intersting. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: Although the.TXT file states the contrary, the .WAD contains and uses new textures and flats, adding new touches to the original E1M1... but maybe this alters the classical feel! Assessment: 9!

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Overall: A very nice remake of E1M1, both in gameplay and graphics; too easy for seasoned players, quite normal for average Doomers, nothing serious for beginners. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Cheogsh" by Shadowman:
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Playability: This is a single-level .WAD designed for GZDoom, exploiting lots of this source port features, but mainly the graphic ones. In fact, the map itself is quite linear, though it gets a bit more complicated in the second part, where you must look for keys, and gameplay is based mostly on action, though there are some simple, but interesting puzzles and also a brief, but striking scene. New scary monsters give more than a novelty touch to the .WAD: they look part of the level itself. There's a storyline, although it is not outlined in the .TXT file: you are on a beach, maybe somewhere on Earth, but with red sky and sea; you must enter a hellish fortress to find the temple of Cheogsh, a hellish deity, and defeat him. ACS Scripts make your adventure more enthralling. To sum up: the gameplay is the classical one, but brightened by new monsters in DECORATE, few simple puzzles and ACS Scripts. So, gameplay is not high-level as in other .WADs, but is not bad at all. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: This is what strikes most in this .WAD: it is graphically well-made, thanks to GZDoom features and special effects, such as slopes, 3D floors, room above room effect, lighting. The main theme is hellish with Gothic and Medieval touches. Architecture is very nice, but if you look careful you notice that actually detail level is not so high... nevertheless architecture is great-looking and imposing and just few details are sufficient to make everything look good: this is artwork! Of course new textures and flats and their combination help to make the level look beautiful, as well as special GZDoom lighting effects. The author payed attention to map layout too, in order to get some shapes on the floor or on the ceiling. I couldn't notice any flaw or glitch... everything looks perfect, so the author deserves the highest assessment for his great job. Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: This is a controversial subject. Surely this level is not easy at all, on the contrary it is really challenging, sometimes very hard, especially the part in the Cheogsh's temple, but other times difficulty lowers. Let's say that difficulty varies, according to situations. Health balance isn't bad: Medikits and Stimpaks are scattered here and there, but they are grouped where you need them; ammo isn't so well balanced, especially bullets and shotgun shells, so that you understand that you'd better using heavier weapons (Rocket Launcher and Plasma Gun) just when you are running out of ammo. So don't watch out just for your health, but for your ammo too and don't waste it. Power-ups are placed where you need them, especially Soul Spheres, but try to keep them till the moment you really need them, if possible. Some of the new enemies are easier than the normal ones, but others (such as the bloody red demons or the ghosts and the howlers, when they hid in the dark!) are a bit harder. The final challenge is quite hard, but beatable without cheats; other parts are maybe even harder than the last challenge, for instance the dark maze you have to face to reach the yellow key, not just because it is bleak and it doesn't appear in the map (and this is not a good thing!), but also because it is tight, of course, and it is filled of nasty enemies, like the forementioned ghosts, howlers and revenants, who can be simply deadly! The author could have introduced autosave before the player enters some dangerous area or has to face crucial battles. So I suggest that you save quite often. To sum up, this level is surely a great and funny challenge, but some of the author's choices are not so good. Assessment: 8!

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New monsters: As I already wrote above, the author exploited new monsters to make his .WAD more interesting and challenging. The author made good choices, because they really fit the gloomy ambience of the level. They are the Howler, not so hard to face but frightful in the dark, the Ghost, that can be deadly in the dark maze, the Satyr and the Mauler Demon, inoffensive if you keep them away, and at last Cheogsh, the infernal lord you have to kill in the last fight! They all were made by the KDiZD team: they look and behave good. A serious job from the KDiZD team and a good choice from Shadowman. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: Of course the .WAD includes the sprites of the new monsters, but also new decoration sprites, as well as new textures and flats, which are used in place of the original ones, in order to create a new unique level. There's also a very nice TITLEPIC by Klon -KLBK, a rough but not bad INTERPIC and a new menu title ("Cheogsh" instead of "Doom 2"). Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are several new sounds, mainly for the monsters, but some of them replaces those of switches and doors, and few are used as ambient sounds. There's also Cheogsh's voice! Assessment: 10!

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New music: New music tracks replaces the usual and only one of the first map of "Doom 2": they change according to the situation, better according to the place, so that they fit the ambience. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: This .WAD was probably inspired by Chopkinsca's "Phocas Island" and Cyb's "Void", since there are some resemblances here and there; nevertheless it is a unique .WAD, that stands out for its great-looking graphics, thanks to new graphic resources, classical action-based gameplay, but with some puzzles, and challenging difficulty, that exploits new monsters; new music makes the rest. Every Doomer, novice or experienced, should play it... but get ready for a bloodbath! Assessment: 9.5!

 
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"Hatomo battles the Yomi Demons" by Pablo Dictter and Tobias Münch:
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Playability: This .WAD is a 10 level set designed for "DooM 2": the map slots are 41-50 plus the map53, where you can choose the skill level (easy or hard) by pressing two different switches: these skill levels correspond to the 2nd and 4th of the original game, whereas the other ones (1, 3 and 5) aren't available. After choosing the skill level you prefer, you begin your adventure from the first map. Another interesting feature is the autosave at the beginning of every level, but you may want to save also while playing a level. All these enhancements have been added thanks to the power of ZDoom, that is required just for these characteristics, MAPINFO and few Boom features. In fact the author didn't use other ZDoom features in the levels to improve gameplay (such as ACS Scripts) and graphics (like slopes). Nevertheless the gameplay, mainly based on action, is quite interesting, thanks to some simple puzzles too. Most of the maps are linear, but the last ones get more complex, but they are never confusing. The pace of gameplay is never frantic, but it alternates (apparently) silent and empty areas with fights. Tricks and traps, like suddenly teleporting monsters and ambushes, enliven gameplay. Both authors used the same gameplay in their levels. I noticed a flaw the gameplay: in the last level there is a door that can be opened just once, but if you don't enter it soon, you can't enter it and go on anymore! To sum up, this .WAD presents the classical gameplay, based on action and hunt for keys and switches, apart from few differences. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: The authors state that their levels are inspired by the level design of "DooM 2", but actually they are quite original, especially as for layout and themes, which vary from tech-base to hell, with natural environments, ruins and some Gothic touches too. Textures and flats are chosen and combined with care, in order to make graphics good-looking, although architecture is often simple and not very detailed. Colour schemes make graphics even more eye-catching. Layouts of maps are a bit squared, especially the first ones, whereas the last maps look better and more detailed, featuring borders, columns, niches, arches, terrain effects. Lighting is used wisely to create the right ambience and some fading effects make it painstaking sometimes. The authors' styles are not different from each other, so that it is not easy to distinguish them. To sump up, you can notice an improvement in editing styles, since last levels were maybe created more recently than the first ones; but all levels look good and show some original ideas, although they are never awesome or great-looking. Unfortunately some glitches are noticeable, such as a slime-trail (that probably could be removed rebuilding nodes with a better node-builder) and a wrong flat in the wrong place (see the last but one screenshot in the relative section), and these lower the assessment. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: The 2nd skill level (hard) provides the player a tough challenge: what make the game hard are monsters' placement, ambushes by hidden enemies, traps with suddenly teleporing monsters, balancement of health and ammo, that seem abundant but then you notice that you are quickly running out of ammo or bleeding too much! The best fighting technique is the cautious tactical one, to prevent ambushes and such; the "Rambo technique" is too risky. To sum up, this skill level is not too hard, but it is surely challenging and good for seasoned Doomers. In the other skill level (easy) you have to face less monsters and some enemies are changed with weaker ones, but monsters' placement and traps can be dangerous, whereas health and ammo is better balanced. To sum up, this skill level is good for the average player or for the first try. Secrets are well hidden and hard to find, but they can be useful. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: New graphic resources include new sprites of plasma bolts (now pink instead of blue) and cells, as well as several textures from "Doom" and few from "Gothic DM" and "The Darkening 2": they help to vary graphics of the levels. Everything is good. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: Also the sound of plasma gun is changed with a new nice one. Assessment: 10!

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New music: All new background .MUS tracks are by Damian Lee a.k.a. Lexus Alyus, except for one (that of "The Skill Houses" - the map where you choose the skill level), maybe by Pablo Dictter. They are all good and fit the ambience of each level: they are tense or creepy or mysterious or full of suspence or fast-paced, but always catchy! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: This is a very nice .WAD: levels are quite small and simple, although they get longer and more complex while going on, with action-based gameplay and some puzzles (mainly based on hunt for switches and keys), good-looking but never impressive graphics (with new textures) and challenging difficulty (for both kinds of player: the average one will prefer the easy skill level, whereas the experienced one the hard skill level); always catchy music fits the mood of every level. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Mansion of time" by Damian Lee (a.k.a. Lexus Alyus):
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Playability: This .WAD is another level originally designed for "The Ninth Gate" project and, like the other, it is designed for vanilla "Ultimate Doom": it just needs a limit-removing port. So don't expect any special effect. The map is big and it will take quite a long time to complete it, more than half an hour. But it is really funny, enthralling and challenging. The gameplay relies on action, but there are some interesting puzzles, based on hunt for switches, keys and doors. Level is quite non-linear, but it is not complex at all, so you shouldn't ever get lost. Although it is quite fast-paced, the level is not so frantic, in fact there are some moments when you don't meet any monster, but the creepy and moody ambience preludes to new incoming fights; so wait for surprise effects, like teleporting monsters and other tricks and traps. To sum up, it is a good map, if you consider it is for vanilla Doom. Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: Again this .WAD is E4-themed, with textures of metal, wood, marble and stone, but there are some variations in style, because of the use of other textures. Combinations of textures and flats are quite good, although sometimes textures and flats don't fit each other, such as in some caverns (sse the second screenshot in the relative section), but probably the author didn't use textures of the same colour and pattern as the flats to avoid monotony. Nevertheless the level is really good-looking: architecture is nice, with some Gothic touches, and quite detailed with broken walls, carpets, pillars, columns, arches, a throne, fountains, pools of water and blood, paths on terrain, etc. Lighting effects are few and quite simple. To sum up, th level is really pleasant and good-looking, although it is never awesome, i.e. you can't notice anything spectacular. Since it is for vanilla Doom and doesn't contain any flaw or glitch, it deserve a high assessment. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: This level is really crowded with monsters, but it's rarely hard. In fact, health is well balanced and ammo is plentiful: it's so much, that you can even waste it; maybe it's too much! During the course of the level you are provided with all wepons, except for the BFG9000, as well as you encounter all monsters, apart from the most powerful ones (Spider MasterMind and CyberDemon). Some ambushes and traps can lower your health, but they are never deadly, if you are cautious enough. But sometimes bravery is required. Most of battles take place in medium and large areas, only few times you are forced to fight in narrow and tight rooms. You often fight against few single enemies or small groups of them, but sometimes you have to face bigger hordes of monsters. A final challenge with a CyberDemon or Spider MasterMind would have been nice... and you expect it since the author provides you Plasma Gun and lots of its relative ammo along the map; so it's a bit disappointing. However the level is never boring, on the contrary it's quite challenging for both average and experienced Doomers, but not so hard neither too easy. Assessment: 9!

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New music: There's a new background music track for the level: it is a nice .MIDI made by the author itself. It's good and fits perfectly the ambience. In fact, who can compose a better music that fits the level than the author himself? Assessment: 10!

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Overall: This level would have been one of the best in "The Ninth Level" project, together with Varun's level, "The Outer Darkness": non-linear and action-based gameplay with some puzzles too, challenging difficulty, good-looking graphics and a very nice background .MIDI. Assessment: 9!

 
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"The Hazard Variation" by Karthik Abhiram:
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Playability: Like the previous .WAD, this level was originally designed for "The Ninth Gate" project and it should have been the first map (E4M1), originally entitled "First Gate". The map is quite small and contains just few monsters, nevertheless it is quite fun and challenging too, because it has got few non-linearities (i.e. few puzzles based on switch and key hunt) and some surprise effects, mostly teleporting monsters. So gameplay is quite simple, since it is designed for vanilla Doom (it just requires a limit-removing port), but a bit non-linear. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: As well as his brother's level for "The Ninth Gate", the theme adopted by Karthik is the typical hellish theme of Episode 4 of "Ultimate Doom": so the texture used are metal, wood, marble and stone. Architecture is quite simple with a low level of detail. After all this map was designed back in 2003. Colours vary often in the level an don't mingle to make eye-catching colours combinations. There are some simple lighting effects that enliven the ambience. At last some flaws are noticeable, such as sudden changes of textures and flats (look at the last 3 screenshots in the relative section). Assessment: 6!

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Difficulty: Designed to be the first level of the original project, this .WAD is quite easy: it's populated with Zombies, Shotgunners, Imps, Demons, Spectres and Cacodemons; there's also a Knight of Hell and the fight against him is located in a narrow area, making it quite challenging, but not so hard. Suddenly teleporting monsters can make you jump on your seat, but they never threat you. Beware to lava and acid pools! Health is not a problem (there's even a Berserk!) and ammo is enough to kill all enemies. Average Doomers shouldn't have any problem and seasoned players could use additional parameters (like -fast) to have a more interesting challenge. Assessment: 7!

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New graphics: There are just new title, credit, intermission and ending pictures, which are all the same image, made by the author; but actually it's hard to say what it represents! Assessment: 6!

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New music: There are new title and intermission music ("Aliens, Say your Prayers!" from Duke Nukem 3-D, by Robert Prince), ending music ("The City Streets" from Duke Nukem 3-D, by Robert Prince) as well as a background music track for the level: "Beginning of an End" by Damian Lee, that fits the ambience and mood of the level. Good choices! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: To sum up, this .WAD is quite simple in all aspects: gameplay, graphics and difficulty. It is not surely the best level of Karthik Abhiram, who made better maps. Not bad as a pastime, especially for the average players; seasoned Doomers could try speedrun with this. Assessment: 7!

 
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"The Outer Darkness" by Varun Abhiram:
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Playability: This .WAD was originally designed for "The Ninth Gate" project, now abandoned and that should have replaced all the levels of Episode 4 of "Ultimate Doom": this level should have been E4M7, originally entitled "The Gate to Hell" (but it's E4M1 in the .WAD). Gameplay is linear and pretty straightforward, but probably it should have been more complex, with other routes to follow, in order to avoid lava, that now doesn't hurt. It is designed for vanilla Doom and requires just a limit-removing port, so there's no special effect, apart from few trap with teleporting monsters. So the puzzles are quite simple, mainly switches that open doors or lower floors. The most "puzzling" and also hardest part is the last arena. To sum up, the gameplay is based mostly on action. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: Designed to replace E4M7, this level follows the typical hellish theme of E4, with lots of stone, marble, metal and wood. Architecture is simple, being it designed several years ago, but quite detailed: in fact, you can notice some astonishing details and nice ideas along the level. There are details like metal bars, some of which are broken, cracks on the floor, arches, columns, niches, balconies, etc. Red colours mingle with the brown of wood, the gray of metal and the green of marble, obtaining eye-catching colour combinations. Lighting effects are used wisely to create the right ambience. After all, if you consider the .WAD is for vanilla Doom (it requires just a limit-removing port), it's really nice and great-looking; morever there's no flaw! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: Since it was designed to be the last but one level of the original project, await for a hard challenge! Monsters are placed wisely to give problems... always! Traps with teleporting monsters can be deadly, so save often, especially when entering unguarded and empty areas. Even weak monsters can be troublesome! Health is scarce and placed only where you need it, so be always careful; ammo is neither abundant nor scanty: exploit infighting, if possible, to save some ammo. However changing the weapon you use to fight is required, because ammo of all the weapons are balanced among them. Power-ups are provided where necessary. The challenge against the Cyberdemon is nice and the battle in the same arena, that anticipate it, is interesting too. The ending would have been better wih a last challenge against a Cyberdemon or o Spider MasterMind in the fnal big area, where's no monster. To sum up: a hard and challenging .WAD, oriented towards seasoned players. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: There are just new TITLEPIC, ENDPIC and CREDIT screens, which are all the same, but nice image. Maybe it's just a bit too simple! Assessment: 8!

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New music: There are new music tracks for title, intermission and victory, plus a new one for the background music of the map, that fits nicely the creepy ambience. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: "The Outer Darkness" is surely an interesting level, with simple but great-looking graphics, gameplay based on action, hard and challenging difficulty. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Temple of Chaos 2 - Warped Reality" by Agent Spork:
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Playability: A showdown map for ZDoom: that's how this .WAD can be called. Gameplay-wise, it is quite different from usual "Doom (2)" levels and it exploits ACS Scripts and ZDoom features very well in order to reach incredible special effects. These make you think that the same place (a UAC tech-base) becomes suddenly hellish. Gameplay is linear, but it doesn't matter, because this level is not made of puzzles, but of continuous several medium and small challenges, which make the whole level a big showdown: in fact, the gameplay resembles that of map07 of "Doom 2", since you have to kill all monsters in a room before proceeding, but it's enhanced a lot thanks to ACS Scripts and other ZDoom features. I noticed only one flaw: after the first battle against 3 Demons and 3 couples of Shotgunners, the platfom in the middle doesn't heal you at all, in contrast with the message appearing. Apart from this bug, the author made a great work! Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: The author didn't focus his attention only on gameplay, but also on graphics, so that he made a very good-looking map, with nice architecture, fine details and themes switching alternately from tech-base to hellish and vice versa, according to gameplay: that's made simply just by copying and paste the same areas and retexturing them, but the final product is awesome! The author didn't forget to choose carefully texture, flats and colour schemes... and he also modified a bit the usual Doom palette. ZDoom features, such as slopes, coloured lights and fog, etc. make the level even better-looking. Lighting isn't painstaking, but it is wisely used. To sum up: very good! Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: This .WAD stands out for its gameplay and its difficulty: as stated above, this map has got a different gameplay from usual levels and it's more challenging. Here is what happens: you enter a room of a tech-base, get rid of enemies and then it suddenly becomes hellish and new monsters appear; once you kill them all, you can go on... So it is a sort of a sequence of small and medium fights, whose pace tends to increase together with difficulty and strength of enemies. To make these challenges more interesting, the author exploited new enemies too! Ammo and healing items, but no power-ups, apart from a backpack, are provided during and/or after the battles... and they are quite enough, usually. Room is never tight or narrow, but it is never large, so be careful, because you could even fall in lava, where you instanly die! In few words: it is not easy at all, better it's quite hard, but challenging and fun. Notice that difficulty settings are not implemented, so it could be hard enough for the average player. Assessment: 9!

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New monsters: As mentioned above, there are some new enemies: Plasma Zombie, BFG Zombie and Hectebus, made in DECORATE, which work perfectly and make the level even more challenging and interesting. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: New monsters come with new sprites of course... and there are new textures and flats too. Some of the new textures and flats used come surely from Nick Baker's graphical resources... others could be just modified version of original "Doom 2" textures and flats. Everything looks nice and fits the ambience of the level. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: In contrast with the statement in the .TXT file, there are few new sounds in the .WAD: they are 2 ambient sounds and 4 sounds for the Hectebus, which actually seem to be slightly modified versions of those of the Mancubus... but they are not bad at all! Assessment: 10!

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New music: There's a new background music track, that it is really catchy and fits the ambience and the pace of the level: very good! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: "Temple of Chaos 2 - Warped Reality" is a very beautiful and challenging .WAD, with an innovative gameplay, made up of continuous and fast-paced challenges, that makes the whole level a big showdown, exploiting new graphical resources, new monsters, new sounds and new music, which make it even more interesting! Assessment: 9.5!

 
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"Templed" by Chirs "Chopkinsca" Hopinks:
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Playability: This .WAD is designed for GZDoom, but gameplay-wise it doesn't feature any special effect. In fact, the gameplay is based mainly on the exploration of the level, the search for the Yellow Key, that opens a door that hides an hellish area, where a mysterious object is protected by a strenghtened Arch-Vile. It isn't so full of monsters, so you can't say it is action-packed. The map is open, non-linear, i.e. you can explore it as you want, wihout any restriction, choosing the path you prefer. It's a pastime more than a serious level. Assessment: 6!

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Graphics: Here we come with the best aspect of this level. The author chose a simple, but very interesting theme, that is a mix of nature and ruins, developed along the level with textures like GSTVINE and rocky textures. Combination of green and brown colours make the level good-looking, thanks to the good choice of original textures and flats (the author didn't use additional graphic resources!). Architecture is awesome and improved by the use of GZDoom effects, like slopes, which are used to make real arches and vaults, deep water effect, skybox, etc. Lighting is used wisely, but there's no special effect. I just noticed few glitches, mainy misaligned textures, that only careful eyes can see. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: This is quite a short level: although big, it doesn't require much time to beat it. Monsters are not many, around 70, and they are just Imps, Chaingunners, Cacodemons, Hell Knights, Revenants and few Mancubi, plus a strenghtened Arch-Vile, that is the final boss. Most fights are easy because you have lot of room to manoeuvre, ammo is plentiful, but health is well-balanced and scattered throughout the whole map. There's just one power-up, a MegaSphere, near the area where the final showdown takes place: you really need it! The final challenge with the enhanced Arch-Vile is extremely hard: you must be even faster than him. On the whole, the level is quite easy, but the last fight is nearly impossible. Assessment: 6!

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New monsters: As forementioned, there's a strengthened Arch-Vile, that has got a modified attack: he leaves flames where he walks and can launch flames along the floor towards you, burning you almost instantly! It is made with DECORATE and exploits the same sprites as the original Arch-Vile plus few new sprites for the flames. Too hard to beat! Assessment: 6!

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New graphics: There are new sprites for the flames, left or launched on the floor by the Arch-Vile, and for a mysterious globet, that you must get in order to complete the level. There are also some new hi-res textures for the skybox: very nice! Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There's just one new sound for the crackling flames: it's good and quite realistic. Assessment: 10!

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New music: A new background music, that fits the mysterious ambience, enlivens the simple gameplay. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: To sum up, this .WAD is very beautiful as for graphics, but it has a very simple gameplay and difficulty, with scarce variety of monsters. A good pastime, but the final challenge is hard to beat... even for the seasoned player. Assessment: 8!

 
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"Xexis" by Matt "Mista_T" Tropiano:
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Playability: "Xexis" is a level for ZDoom designed mainly for single player, but designed for cooperative and deathmatch too, although it is too big for deathmatch. Unfortunately there's no story. According to the author's description in the .txt file, it is an "hell-themed floating fortress of pain, anguish and other not-so-friendly things" and actually it is! The author took inspiration from Cyb's "Void", that it share some things with, such as some ZDoom effects (like small floating islands) and a similar ending. And if you fall in the void, you are dead... just like in "Void". But the rest of the gameplay is quite different than Cyb's .WAD; in fact, this level is based mostly on action, with continuous fights and battles, and just few traps, which are mainly monster-based. ZDoom effects and ACS Scripts help to improve gameplay, although they are not used extensively, so that the gameplay is quite classical. Gameplay is enhanced by some battles with a new monster, called Blood Vile: they help to break the monotony of the gameplay. The map is a bit non-linear, but not complex, so that you shouldn't lose yourself; you just have to go back and forth, according to what to do, to the keys you took and the switches you activated. To sum up: the author could have done better in this department, but gameplay isn't bad at all! Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: Graphically "Xexis" has nothing in common with Cyb's "Void", but it sometimes resembles "Deus Vult" and some other hellish .WADs. In fact, it has got a very hellish theme and it sometimes has got Gothic touches. Architecture often is imposing and awesome, although not very detailed, but there are some original ideas, which make the graphics interesting. There are just few colour schemes and the combination of textures and flats is quite simple, in fact the various parts of the level are mostly monochromatic. Nevertheless, the level is always good-looking. Moreover ZDoom effects, like slopes, improve the graphics. Lighting is quite good, because light varies quite often in the level according to ambience and there are various lighting effects. Finally, I couldn't notice any flaw, apart from some misaligned textures in a secret passage. Assessment: 7!

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Difficulty: As for difficulty, this .WAD has got a style similar to that of "Deus Vult" and "Hell Revealed", although it is a bit easier. This doesn't mean the .WAD is easy; on the contrary, it's quite hard and saving often is suggested! You often have to deal with large hordes of monsters or with strong monsters and sometimes these fights take place in narrow room. You have tight space even in the battles against boss monsters, like CyberDemon and Blood Vile, although you usually have some cover. The challenges against the Blood Vile are very nice and interesting, although hard, but beatable, once you understand its weak points. Power-ups are provided when necessary and other ones can be found in secret areas, which are not easy to find. Health is well-balanced, as well as ammo; so be careful and don't waste ammo! When you must retrace your steps back, new monsters appear to stop you. To sump up: a hard and challenging, but it's not designed for the average player. Assessment: 7!

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New monsters: There are some new monsters, made with DECORATE, but exploiting the original sprites of monsters, just recoloured with the DECORATE code: the strongest and most interesting one is the Blood Vile, who "can cast powerful spells, throw Blood Bolts, weave Demons out of blood, and call upon a wave of blood to tear through all that oppose him. He's mean" (from the .txt file). He is really mean! There's a new kind of Demon, that the Blood Vile weaves out of blood, and a new kind of Imp, that fires several small flames. Very nice monsters, which enhance gameplay! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There are some new sprites for the Blood Vile, a new texture, a new hellish red sky and some new flats. Everything is nice. Assessment: 10!

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New music: Actually the background music of the level is the same as the original map28 of "Doom 2", but it fits the ambience, although it becomes repetitive due to the size of the level. It would have been better if the author had used more .MIDIs. Assessment: 7!

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Overall: "Xexis" is a real challenge even for seasoned Doomers, with his difficulty style resembling those of "Deus Vult" and "Hell Revealed"; the hellish theme and the imposing and awesome architecture, although not detailed and quite simple, recalls "DeusVult"; though the .WAD is designed for ZDoom, its gameplay is quite simple, classic, based on switch hunt, search for keys and fights, with some features inspired by Cyb's "Void" and new monsters improving it. To sum up with just one adjective: interesting. Assessment: 8!

 
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"The Prometheus Experiment" by Toranaga:
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Playability: Another 7 level set for ZDoom, divided into 4 levels + preludium, interludium and postludium, which are special maps, containing some short scenes and which make gameplay various and more interesting. In fact, the preludium is a sort of introductive level, quite easy, with an intro scene, but everything get harder with next two levels. Interludium is a completely different level from the others: you are in a rebel marine base, that you have to clear out; so here you see odd experiments going on (ACS Scripts and other special ZDoom effects) and meet enemy marines, that want you dead! Gameplay is more challenging here and it really cuts monotony. Next two levels continue with a more classical gameplay, but they are a bit more difficult, because more populated by monsters. After defeating a new boss monster, called ArchHenius, you come back to first map (postludium) to accomplish your mission... and the ending scene follows the last challenge. All levels are quite non-linear, apart from the preludium, interludium and postludium, which are pretty linear. ACS Scripts and ZDoom effects, like messages, cameras, scenes and such, enhance gameplay. Maybe a gameplay based on missions or more ZDoom-ish would have made this .WAD even better. To sum up: this .WAD is never boring, but very funny and challenging. Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: This .WAD shows how much Toranaga improved his editing style in all these years, since his first release (Death Is Just The Beginning). Here the layout of every mapy is well constructed, with a well structured architecture, that often is detailed and good-looking. Notice details like missing tiles or bricks, borders, columns, niches, windows, balconies, books, papers, consoles and computers, terrain effects, like ponds, etc. Moreover the author mixes hellish and tech-base themes nicely with good results. The first level is clearly a tech-base, whereas the second one looks like an hellish outpost, a sort of vestibule to the next level, that looks really like an imposing library with great details: here the Gothic theme rules. The fourth level is a rebel marine base with the typical tech-ish theme. "Flesh Factory" mixes various themes, mainly tech-base and hellish: in this level you can notice lots of nice ideas. "The ArchHeinous Temple" is a huge valley with an awesome hellish temple in the middle. The last map is the same as the first one. Colour schemes, texture and flat combinations make all levels eye-catching. Lighting isn't painstaking and often is quite plain, apart from few effects. Some big areas look a bit empty and could have been detailed better. Nevertheless, there's no noticeable flaw. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: The first level is quite easy, although you have got just the pistol and the chainsaw, nevertheless this is not a problem, since here you meet just Imps, Zombie Marines an Shotgun Sergeants. In the next two levels, difficulty level raises with well located monsters, some of which are quite strong; sometimes you have to face small hordes of monsters. Interludium has a different gameplay, as already mentioned above, since you have to fight against rebel marines, which often are heavily armed; at last, you have to defeat who rules that place, i.e. a mean marine with a powerful railgun! Maybe you'd better save often in this map. Next level is quite hard, with many more hordes of monsters and strong enemies; in the last but one map there's the final challenge against the 3 guardians of the temple, i.e. three CyberDemons, and the ArchHeinous himself! I won't spoil you what is waiting for you in the last level, that actually is the same as the 1st map. Apart from placement of monsters and traps, what make this .WAD quite hard is the low balancement of health, whereas ammo is quite abundant and is never a problem; fortunately there are some power-ups, some of which are easily available, but others are well hidden in secret areas, although they are not too hard to find. To sum up: challenging but funny difficulty... not too hard! Assessment: 9!

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New monsters: As mentioned before, there's a new boss monster, that is the ArchHeinous: it is an Arch-Vile with multiple attacks and a magic shield, that deviate your shots. It was made in DECORATE by Travis Miller. Moreover the author exploited some ZDoom evil marines, which make gameplay different than usual and a bit funnier and more challenging... maybe a bit too hard! Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: There are several new textures and flats by various author and from different sources: they all are listed in the manual.TXT file. They look good and make graphics better-looking. New graphical resources include obviously the new sprites for the ArchHeinous and also a new nice TITLEPIC (source: Internet!) and new different INTERPICs, which are photos taken by Toranaga himself in an unknown place!  Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are few new sounds, some of which are related to the new boss monster and other ones are ambience sounds, exploited mainly in the "Flesh Factory" level, plus a good take-off sound, used in the final scene in the last map. Everything is really good. Assessment: 10!

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New music: There are new background MIDIs: in the longest levels, i.e. "The Library" and "The Flesh Factory", the author used 2 background MIDIs to break monotony... that is a really good thing! They all fit nicely the ambience of levels. Some MIDIs are used just in some scenes, like the music for the intro scene. Other good MIDIs are used as intermission and title music. All sources or authors are mentioned in the manual.TXT file. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: What to say... everything has been layed out: funny, interesting and innovative gameplay, enhanced by ACS Scripts, ZDoom effects and a new boss monster; challenging difficult, that exploits also ZDoom evil marines; good-looking and detail graphics, improved by new graphical resources; new sounds and music... It is really a good .WAD. Assessment: 9.5!

 
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"Zen Dynamics" by Xaser:
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Playability: This .WAD is a 7 level set for GZDoom/ZDoom + 2 secret maps. The author heavily exploited the special features of the port, making an awesome .WAD, different from the others. Instead of classical TITLEPIC, it features a sort of intro scene and levels are interconnected in a different way than usual. The .WAD has got a nice story, that is introduced as you begin playing by texts, e-mails between some characters and an intro scene and then it is nicely developed along the game; in fact, while playing you will know more. The .WAD features the classic action-packed gameplay, but enhanced by (G)ZDoom features and ACS Scripts, like messages, cameras, scenes and such, which make gameplay more interesting, especially because it is structured in an unusual way with a primary objective and a secondary one to accomplish, but the latter isn't always necessary to complete levels. Secret levels are hard to find, but very interesting, because they have a different gameplay, especially map08, that is non-linear and features a quite hard, but challenging and funny tyson match against several waves of monsters. So the .WAD isn't ever boring, on the contrary it is very funny and enjoyable with challenging difficulty, thanks to new resources, like new monsters and weapons! Moreover it features a double ending: will you find the secret one? Assessment: 10!

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Graphics: Aesthetically the .WAD isn't top-notch, as its gameplay, but all maps are good-looking, in spite of simple architecture and low detail level. In fact, what make levels eye-catching is the combination of textures and flats, ZDoom graphical effects, such as slopes, skyboxes, portals, coloured light and fog, etc., colour schemes, which exploits a new palette. Lighting is simple, but wisely used with some nice effects. To sum up: simple but effective graphics! Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: As stated above, difficulty is interesting and quite challenging. Although ZDoom-oriented, gameplay is still classic and action-packed: so you are continuously fighting against single enemies or hordes of monsters. But you have to face hard bosses too! Battles often take place in large areas, but you'll have to fight in narrow and tight rooms too. Usual difficulty is increased by your need to reload weapons, so that you must calculate correctly your reloading time and have always a cover. Fortunately enough, ammo is not a problem, because is quite abundant, but health is well balanced and it is quite scarce and scattered throughout the levels. Power-ups are well placed and help the player very much; more power-ups can be found in secret areas, which are not easy to find. Some battles are quite hard, so I suggest that you save often, to avoid nuisances. However powerful weapons simplify your life, so dare to use them and remember that ammo is plentiful! To sum up: challenging and quite hard difficulty, but not impossible. Assessment: 9!

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New monsters: There are lots of new enemies, some of which are taken from "Monster Resource .WAD" and "Boss Monster Resource .WAD" or are modified version of them. The author exploited them very much, probably more than original monsters. Most of them are quite strong and powerful, making everything harder and mroe challenging, but the new weapons you are provided with are powerful enough to face them. The final boss monster, Baphomet, is really tough, but it can be defeat! All monsters are good and work well. Assessment: 10!

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New weapons: In this .WAD, you don't use original "Doom 2" weapons, but new DECORATE weapons, most of which have also an alternate fire: a new knife, that can protect yourself from enemy fire; a new powerful pistol but with few shots available; new shotgun and double shotgun; two very fast machine-guns; an an assault rifle; twin plasma guns; a nail shooter; a scorcher; a special uranium cannon and a very powerful cold fusion cannon. And at last, but well hidden in one of the secret levels (map00: "Lost Station"), the Bloodsphere, that shoots your "poisonous" blood against your enemy! Moreover there's also a new type of berserk, called "Zen-Roids", a performance enhancer, that double your strength of melee attacks for some time. All weapons look good, behave nicely, are very interesting and useful! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There are lots of new textures, new flats and, of course, new sprites for new monsters and weapons and some other things. Everything is nice and helps to make maps better-looking! There are also additional graphic resources, which make the .WAD original, unique. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are new sounds for new monsters and weapons of course, but also some ambience sounds, that make levels be more realistic and interesting. Assessment: 10!

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New music: Every level has new background music, that sometimes change according to situation: if you are fighting against a boss or situation get worse... It is always catchy and fits maps and their ambience nicely: just perfect! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: There's nothing left to write. I can just sum up: unique gameplay in its genre, simple but effective and good-looking graphics, challenging difficulty and lots of interesting and nice novelties (monsters, weapons, graphical resources, sounds, music), which make the .WAD itself interesting and nice. Go download and play it now! Assessment: 10!

 
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"Austerity" by Daniel "Tormentor667" Gimmer:
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Playability: This is a 3 level set for GZDoom/ZDoom, so you'd wait for a enthralling and entertaining gameplay; unfortunately the author didn't exploit the gameplay features of these ports, apart from few ACS Scripts and some special but simple effect. In fact, the levels are mainly based on classic Doom gameplay and especially on action-packed gunfights, that is a good thing actually, and there is no story. Apart from the first map, the other ones are pretty linear. Settings vary from tech-base to hellish as you proceed. I also noticed a serious bug in the gameplay of the 1st map: in the room, where the Blue Key Card is placed, if you fall in the courtyard before hitting the switch and taking the key, you are blocked (see screenshot n. 3)! However, in spite of simple gameplay and that bug, the .WAD is quite funny and challenging. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: Although the name of the .WAD could make you think to an austere architecture, all three levels show a very good-looking and detailed architecture, with great care to borders, columns, niches, computers and consoles, windows, balconies, terrain effects, etc. Lighting is painstaking too and the author put attention on combinations of textures and flats, colour schemes, exploiting a new palette. Moreover the author used also some ZDoom graphical effects, like slopes and skyboxes. The author showed off some awesome things too: you can view them in the screenshots in the relative section. I noticed a sort of tribute to map10 of "Doom 2" ("Refueling base") in a section of map02: look at the 6th screenshot. Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: The author stood out in this department too: as written above, this .WAD is really challenging and funny too; boredom doesn't exist here, since you are costantly engaged in hard battles. Strong monsters arrive soon, but as they arrive you are provided with adequate weaponry and ammo. Large hordes of monsters make their appearance quite often; they sometimes appear suddenly by teleporting near you, but you can foresee this kind of traps, because the author exploited them especially in empty and large rooms or when you must go back. But ammo is abundant, whereas health tend to decrease as you proceed and this is bad, because difficulty increases while proceeding! Fortunately enough, the author put useful power-ups in the places where you really need them; but unfortunately secret areas are not easy to find. A suggestion: save often, since you can get in deadly traps. To sum up, this level set is extremely challenging and funny! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There are several new textures and flats, some of which are jsut recoloured versions of original "Doom 2" graphical resources: some of them come from a Nick Baker's resource pack. There are also new wonderful skies, as well as recoloured sprites of the plasma bolts, new titlepic, interpic and other graphical resources. Everything looks perfect! Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are also two new sounds of lights turned on/off: they sound good, but nothing awesome. Assessment: 9!

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New music: The three new background tracks are really catchy and, although they maybe don't fit the ambience, they enliven gameplay. There are also new intermission and ending tracks, which are quite good. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: Inspired by Agent Spork's "Simplicity", this .WAD show great-looking architecture and challenging and funny difficulty for every kind of Doomer, but a simple gameplay, enlivened by catchy music. The author can surely improve in the gameplay department. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Beluga" by Didy:
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Playability: "Beluga" is a single level, based on classic Doom gameplay: swtich and key hunt and gunfight. It doesn't require much time, because it is quite short, but this doesn't mean that the level is easy: on the contrary, it is a non-linear map, although you must proceed in order. The map is quite open, so you can explore it freely, apart from locked areas; this is why it is non-inear and may confuse somebody. There's no story and the setting is a sort of tech-base or factory, invaded by monsters. It requires a Boom compatible port, but special effects are few. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: Although this is the fourth .WAD published by the author, it shows an impressive architecture, high detail level, with great care even to choice and combination of textures and flats, colour schemes, etc. Lighting is used wisely, with most rooms quite dark but with a good amount of light sources; there are just few simple light effects. To sum up, it is a very nice level with good-looking graphics! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: It is the strong point of this .WAD, together with graphics: it is quite challenging, mainly thanks to a perfect health balance, good monster positioning and few traps too. Ammo is quite abundant, but don't waste it! There is also the Plasma Gun, but actually you don't need it, since you can kill the strongest monsters, which are Arch-Vile and Baron of Hell, just with less powerful weapons, like Rocket Launcher and Super Shotgun; it just makes the ending easier. There are also few power-ups: a backpack full of ammo, a Berserk and a Soul Sphere... in case you need them! Secret areas are easy to find. In short, it is a challenging level for the average Doomer, but should be interesting for the seasoned player too. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There are several new textures and flats by Nick Baker, Daniel Tormentor667 Gimmer, Jonathan Rimmer, Pawel Zarczynski; some of the new graphical resources were taken from "Dark Forces" by Lucas Arts and another game by Monolith. The new sky is by Iori. The author used them wisely, making the level really good-looking! Assessment: 10!

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New music: There is a new .MIDI file, that actually contains two tracks: they are catchy, although they don't fit the ambience and the set of the level perfectly. Assessment: 8!

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Overall: It is a good work to be one of the first .WADs published by this author: eye-catching graphics, simple but funny gameplay and challenging difficulty make this level interesting for all kind of players! Assessment: 9!

 
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"The Assault on Grinava" by Th0r:
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Playability: This .WAD consists of a single level, very small, but fun to play! Gameplay is very simple and classic: push your way through monsters and reach the exit. It is so short, that you have to find just one key, the Blue Key Card. Then there are some switch sequence and a nice final part leading to the exit. Don't expect anything peculiar, although you need ZDoom or other ports that support flats used as textures. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: Graphically, this map is not very good, but it is nice somehow. Mainly the use of textures, flats, how the author made them blend and colour themes make the level look nice and detail, although detail level is low and architecture is simple. There are some good lighting effects, but nothing special. Although maybe the author is still a beginner, the level is good-looking and I couldn't notice any flaw! Assessment: 7!

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Difficulty: The .WAD doesn't feature difficulty settings and this is not a good thing, especially for the experienced Doomers, who will probably find this map quite easy. But it's quite a challenge for the average player, especially because ammo and health are balanced perfectly and... but I don't want to spoil any more. Assessment: 7!

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New graphics: There is a new sky, actually borrowed from "Ultimate DooM", and there are also some new textures, although not mentioned in the .txt file: they are from a Nick Baker's resource pack. Assessment: 10!

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New music: There is a new music background too: it fits the ambience and the mood of the level perfectly, so it deserves the highest assessment! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: It is a brief, but nice pastime: it can be a challenge for the average Doomer, but seasoned player should beat it without any problem. Nothing special as for graphics, but good-looking. It is surely a good starting point for the author towards the wonderful world of Doom! Assessment: 9!

 
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"Zero Tolerance" by Dutch Devil:
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Playability: "Zero Tolerance" is a set of 7 maps, originally designed for Lutrov's "Congestion 1024" project: so all maps take place in rooms, included in a 1024x1024 rectangle. So it's a challenge for .WADsters, who have to make playable levels in such a small area; but Dutch Devil succeeded and made even 7 nice levels. Although gameplay is mostly based on pure action, switch hunt and search for keys, all the levels are enjoyable and fun. Don't expect anything exceptional, also because there are no scripts or particular effects, although you need a limit-removing port to play it correctly. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: Every level is a masterpiece of art: each layout is well sketched out in 1024x1024 areas, detail is painstaking, architecture well designed; the author put great attention in texture and flat combination and mixed wisely colours; lighting is good too. I couldn't notice any flaw, glitch or bug: every map is perfect! New .WADsters should take Dutch Devil's maps as their models and sources of inspiration, since there is plenty of ideas! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: All levels are very enjoyable and most Doomers won't have problems with this .WAD: this doesn't mean that this map-set is easy, because health is wisely balanced and ammo is just enough for your needs; there are no power-ups, apart from few Berserks and Backpacks, but there's good amount of armor in each level. Every kind of monster make its appearance, apart from CyberDemon and Spider MasterMind, and this make the .WAD challenging. But it's not just variety of monsters to challenge you, but also their placement; moreover teleporting monsters and some other tricks raise difficulty. Sometimes tight room can be a problem, especially when fighting against big monsters (remember the size of maps!). To sum up, average Doomers could beat this .WAD without many problems, but it is surely a nice challenge! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There are few new textures and flats, most of which are recoloured version of "Doom 2" textures and flats. Anything special! Assessment: 8!

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New music: Every map has got a new background music, each of which seems to fit enough its level. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: A very nice 7-level set, with good gameplay, awesome graphics, challenging difficulty, everything improved by new background music and few new textutres and flats! Every Doomer can beat it and it's a "must" for new .WADsters, who want to learn how to make their own levels. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Doomed Apartment" by Vile1011:
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Playablity: In spite of what the author wrote in the .TXT file, the gameplay of this level is pretty interesting. The map starts with no monster: they appear in various waves just after taking the Skull Keys, scattered in the apartment building. Afer taking all Skull Keys, you have to take the Key Cards, protected by new monsters, in order to leave the building. Once you are out, there are new waves of monsters to deal with. Unfortunately there's no exit or end, that is quite disappointing. Apart from this "bitter ending", gameplay is nice, thank to simple but effective ACS Scripts. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: This is one of the most realistic and detailed level I have ever played, if it's not the most realistic and detailed! The author really succeeded in recreating a real apartment building with a nice creepy ambience too, thanks to painstaking lighting effects: kitchens with sink, cookers, oven, microwaveoven, etc.; bathrooms with showers, washbasin, toilet bowl, etc.; drawing rooms with pictures, televisions, sofa, lamps, etc.; bedrooms with beds of course, carpets, toys, etc. and much more! ZDoom effects, like a skybox, slopes, make architecture even more detailed. So it seems just perfect, but, unfortunately, there are few glitches, lowering assessment! You can notice them in the last two screenshots: one of them is a texture out of place, the other one is a HOM effect, probably due to a missing texture. Assessment: 9! Look at the screenshots in the relative section!

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Difficulty: It is a very hard level on Ultra-Violence: ammo seems to be abundant, but, when you have to fight, you suddenly lack shotgun shells or clips; so, don't waste it! Health is well balanced, but isn't easy to find. There are no power-ups, apart from a Backpack of ammo and a Berserk. There are no monsters more powerful than Baron of Hell; the most powerful you encounter are Hell Knights, Revenants, Arachnotrons and Mancubi. But what makes this .WAD difficult is narrowness of places, so that you have to be quick, quicker than your enemy! Moreover some details make room for manoeuvre even tighter. The places where monsters teleport in are strategic too, so that you must be careful and clever, before proceeding. Before taking a Skull Key, savegame is suggested. Sometimes infighiting is exploitable, so that you can save some ammo and maybe health, but you have to do your dirty job too. To sum up, a good .WAD for seasoned Doomers, not so good for unexperienced; it could be a little problematic for average players! Assessment: 8!

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Overall: There are no new resources and this makes the .WAD even more intersting: it's incredible how the author managed to recreate a real apartment building with Doom 2 engine, using ZDoom port and some of its features (skybox, slopes...), and the original textures and flats. Apart from two flaws, architecture, detail and graphics are great-looking and awesome; gameplay is nice too, "ending disappointment" aside; difficulty is pretty challenging, especially for tight room. Definitevely a "must" for every Doomer, especially those who look for realistic graphics and/or challenging difficulty! Assessment: 8!

 
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"Enjay's Marine Assault" by Nigel "Enjay" Rowand:
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Playability: This is a very enjoyable and funny .WAD, since it has got an interesting and enthralling gameplay. Thanks to DeHackEd, ACS Scripts, ZDoom features and lots of novelties (one new weapon, new monsters and more), this .WAD is a real gem as for gameplay! There's a nice story with an intro scene, that is nicely developed in the level, where you have to accomplish the mission of destroying four power couplings, placed in four different towers. The level is quite linear, but not straightforward. To sum up, a very entertaining .WAD! Assessment: 10!

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Graphics: This level is very good for its graphics too: although architecture is not very detailed, it is quite imposing. The level is good-looking mainly for new graphics: new textures, new flats and new sprites make evertything look nice. Texture and flat combinations and colour schemes improve graphics, thanks to new COLORMAP and PLAYPAL lumps. The layout of the map is pretty good. ZDoom features, such as slopes, a skybox, coloured lighting and such give a fine touch. Lighting should have been better balanced, but it is not bad. Some slime trails in the caves lower the assessment a little. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: The map itself is not so hard, because most enemies are marines, although they are provided with powerful weapons: pistol, shotgun, double shotgun, chaingun, rocket launcher, plasma rifle and railgun. Since they are marines, they have low health points, though they have got heavy weaponry. But there are also strong robots, which can be dangerous, if you are not prudent. Fortunately scientist are cowards! Health balance is good, whereas ammo is quite enough, even because most enemies leave weapons and ammo, when they die. Monster placement is good and you can be caught by well hidden enemies. Moreover you often have to fight in large open areas, so you must be able to manage several battle fornts! Snipers, such as marines with railgun and chaingunners, can be annoying, but you are provided with a good railgun! Secret areas, some of which are easy to find, are full of ammo or power-ups, which can simplify your task. To sum up, it is a challenging level: not easy, but not too hard! Assessment: 10!

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New monsters: Most monsters of "Doom 2" are replaced with new ones, some of which are weaker, other ones are stronger: they are mainly marines, provided with every kind of weapons (pistol, shotgun, double shotgun, chaingun, rocket launcher, plasma rifle and railgun), but there are also new robots to support them. Although they are not made in DECORATE (this .WAD was designed some years ago for ZDoom 2.0.47), but in DeHackEd, they are very good! Their sprites are various and really nice. Assessment: 10!

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New weapons: There is just one new weapon, the Railgun, that is a very useful and accurate snooper rifle! It uses 10 cells of plasma for each shot and, hough it is not  fast, you really need it to accomplish "dirty work". It obivously features new good-looking graphics and is made with DeHackEd (read above to know why it is not DECORATE). Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: As mentioned above, the author used lots of new textures, falts, sprites (for new enemies, weapons, decorative things, such as chairs, trees, mushrooms and so on). But there's more: new titlepic, PFUB1 and PFUB 2 pictures. Everything is really fine! Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: Of course the .WAD contains new sounds for new enemies, the railgun and even ambient sounds, which make the level more realistic! You must hear them to find out how good they are. Assessment: 10!

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New music: Unfortunately the music background is not up to other stuff, mainly because it doesn't fit the right ambience. Maybe it is too calm for an action-packed .WAD like this! The author should have chosen a better .MUS file, something like the background of the finale, that is soldierly and catchy! The music of the intro scene help to create the right suspence, before action takes place. It could have been another 10, if the background music of the level had been better. Assessment: 8!

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Overall: Do you need to know more? Well... there's not much to say after this long review: funny level with great gameplay, challenging difficulty, good-looking graphics, new nice graphics, new good monsters and a new useful weapon, new perfect sounds... everything is near to perfection, apart from background music and some minor glitches. If you are a Doomer, you must play it! Assessment: 9.5!

 
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"Beyond Death" by Dan Stefan "AlphaGOD" Oprean:
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Playability: Actually this level has got no gameplay at all! There is no story and you don't even know where action takes place: maybe a sort of hell, in accordance with title, graphics and difficulty. But you read right: there's really no gameplay! You just have to find a key, press few switches and teleport from an area to another one. The rest is just a terrible showdown with great hordes of monsters. It's incredible that a .WAD, that requires ZDoom, lacks gameplay! Low assessment is inevitable. Assessment: 5!

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Graphics: This is the most impressive thing of this level; it's the best part of the .WAD. In fact, author payed attention in details, fine architecture, using ZDoom features, such as slopes, translucent textures, fog, coloured lighting, phased lights, etc. Lighting is painstaking with nice shading and fading effects. Colour combination is good-looking and texture and flat choices are good. Unfortunately everything is ruined by two little misalignments, one of which is visible in the 2nd screenshot, lowering assessment! Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: Maybe the author focused his attention too much on graphics and difficulty, neglecting gameplay. He overloaded his level with great hordes of monsters, so that this .WAD is extremely hard and very alike "Hell Revealed"! So this is not a fair challenge for the average player, since you really needs great skills. What makes this .WAD very hard is the fact that it is overcrowded by teleporting hordes of big monsters; not small monsters, like Imps or Zombies, but mainly big monsters, like Barons of Hell, Revenants, Mancubi, Arch-Viles and such. You have to deal with such big monsters since the beginning. Fortunately there is a lot of ammo, but health isn't well balanced, although there are 3 MegaSpheres in the hardest area. Savegame is suggested, especially for average players. To sum up, it is just a "Hell Revealed" styled level, that only the most experienced players can beat with no problem. Maybe it is too elite! Assessment: 5!

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New graphics: There are new textures and flats, very nice, which have been used to make the level even better-looking. There are also some new sprites, which make your entrance in water, lava and such more realistic, because they are "splash" sprites! Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: Together with "splash" sprites, there are also "splash" sounds to make everything even more realistic: it's really nice to hear splash when you fall into water or blood or lava or slime! There are few other sounds too. Assessment: 10!

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New music: A very nice background music make the level creepier: it reallt fits the ambience. Good choice! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: A very beautiful but utterly hard level, that has no gameplay: it's a pity that such a nice level isn't very playable. It's not just its "Hell Revealed" styled difficulty, but the lack of gameplay. Moreover there are some nice things apart from detail and architecture, such as realistic sprites and sounds, which make the .WAD interesting. It is suggested to seasoned players, but also for those who love nice architecture and don't bother gameplay and/or difficulty. Assessment: 8!

 
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"Enterprise NX01" by Toranaga:
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Playability: This .WAD is set in the Enterprise NX01 spaceship of Star Trek, invaded by demons during a space anomaly investigation. The author provides a nice story and you have to clear out the infested spaceship, by accomplishing some simple missions, like deactivating a plasma cannon, finding the Dr. Phlox's Blue Padd, creating the Genetic Key, destroying the space anomaly and then killing 5 Arch-Viles. Obviously the author used ZDoom features (MAPINFO, cameras, teleporting monsters, slopes, etc.) and ACS Scripts to make this level, so gameplay is really enthralling and entertaining! Notice that some switches are computers, which are more enlightened than others and the rest of the room and often they are highlighted by arrows of health bonuses. The map is non-linear and sometimes you could lose your way, but fortunately the map helps to understand where you are. To sum up, it is a very interesting and funny .WAD! Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: The level doesn't show a very detailed architecture, but surely it is good-looking, thanks to the good choice of new and old textures and flats, to their combionation and to colour schemes. Obviously it is full of computer and tech stuff, but there are also beds, tables, forms. Lighting is wisely used and sometimes it is quite painstaking: the contras between dark and lit areas is nice. The level is bug free: I couldn't notice any flaw or glitch! Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: This map lacks biggest monsters, i.e. CyberDemon adn Spider MasterMind, but it is very challenging though. In fact room isn't much and you often have to deal with hordes of monsters, so there is even less room to manoeuvre! Sometimes detail become a hindrance. Fortunately enough, health is well balanced, thanks to power-ups too, and ammo is enough to kill every monster, but don't waste it, otherwise you can get into trouble! Secret areas with ammo and health bonuses help the player in his/her adventure. Traps with teleporting monsters can be deadly if you aren't aggressive; sometimes you have to use strategy to get rid of hordes of monsters. Savegame is suggested, if you don't want to die during a battle against a sudden teleporting horde of enemies. Monsters are placed so that they can catch you; so be always careful! To sum up, the level is pretty hard, because of  perfect health and ammo balance, monsters placements, teleporting hordes of enemies and tight room; it is a nice challenge! Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: The .WAD contains lots of new graphic resources, especially tech-ish textures and flats from Bonan17, Lee Walli's, Nick Baker's and NMN's resouce packs, from .WADs by Rick Clark, Roger Ritenaur, Ryan Polczer, Lubumbashi, Dave Humphrey and Claude Martins. There are also new weapon sprites from Ryan Polczer's phasers.WAD, but also new ammo sprites, which are recoloured versions of plasma cell and pack. Notice that weapons behaviour isn't different from the original one! All this new stuff look nice. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are few new sounds for weapons, which fit their new graphics. Assessment: 10!

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New music: There's a new music background in the level and it fits the creepy ambience, although it is short, but it doesn't turn so repetitive. There's also a victorious music background for the final message. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: Star Trek fans must play it; but also average and experienced Doomers, who aren't fans of this saga, should play it, because its gameplay is funny and interesting, althouh hard, but challenging, and it is pretty nice and good-looking. New graphics, new music and "new" weapons make everything more interesting. Download and play it now! Assessment: 9!

 
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"Null Junior" by Russel Pearson:
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Playability: This level, inspired to the same author's "Null Space" .WAD, was originally designed for the "Congestion 1024" project: in fact, action take place in a 1024x1024 area size. This doesn't mean that its gameplay is poor, but on the contrary it is pretty interesting. It is incredible how the author could make a good level in such a small area! Gameplay is mostly based on "switch hunt" and action, providing an intense challenge to every kind of player. Although a limit-removing port is recommended, any special feature is implemented. There's not a story, but the level doesn't need it after all. Its lifetime is longer than you could expect from such a small level! Average players should play it twice or more times to improve their abilities. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: Although detail could reduce room for player's manoeuvring, the author didn't save it. In fact, this small level is nicely detailed, though detail is not abundant, and shows a good-looking Gothic/Medieval architecture. Brown and grey colour schemes and combination of new and old textures and flat make the level eye-catching. The contrast between the dark void and the lit arena adds a hellish touch to the ambience, but the map lacks lighting effects and even light sources! Overall, it is a good-looking level, but not top-notch! Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: The player would expect not much room to manoeuvre, since the level is contained in a 1024x1024 square. But after all there's enough room, especially if you compare this map to .WADs like "Claustrophobia" by Virgil The DOOM Poet. You just have to be careful to go too near to borders, because if you fall in void, you'll die! Obviously hordes of monsters can force you near borders, so you should be quick to kill at least the monsters in front of you. Teleporting monsters is the base of action in this level and always catch you: this makes the level pretty hard; moreover monsters always teleport in hordes! Ammo and health are plentiful, so they make your challenge a little easier. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: The author exploited Heretic and Hexen graphic resoruces, some of which are modified. Their use make the level look detailed ang pretty! The .WAD contains also new titlepic, interpic and credit screens, which show the same perspective of the level; but there is also a new status bar with a new face, when the player dies! Assessment: 9!

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New music: The level features a new background music from "Heretic", that really fit the mood and ambience of the map. Good choice! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: It is a small level that requires about 10 minutes, but it is eye-catching, especially for the wise use of the new graphic resources, and challenging for every kind of player, for unexeperienced, average and seasoned players! It is good to learn how to move and kill in scarce room. Assessment: 8.5!

 
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"IC2005" by Ian Cunnings:
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Playability: This is perhaps one of the most enjoyable and funniest .WAD ever. It is quite simple as for gameplay and it lacks a story; nevertheless it is very entertaining. As you'll notice, it isn't very difficulty, but it is challenging and this make this .WAD a very good one. There are very nice characteristics, which surprisingly are not implented with ACS Scripts, but with simpler Boom effects or even simpler vanilla Doom tricks, such as teleporting monsters, electric and force fields, translucent textures. All these features and simple, but clever puzzles help to create a sort of story in the development of the level. You would say the final battle is made through ACS Scritps for its complexity, but on the contrary the .WAD doesn't contain any BEHAVIOR lump! This means that the author has got a great ability to exploit lots of Boom effects. Moreover the map isn't linear at all, but this doesn't mean that it is complex: on the contrary, you always know what to do next, because switches change something in their neighbourhood. As I wrote before, a challenging, but easy difficulty make this .WAD really amusing. Assessment: 9!

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Graphics:  IC2005 isn't a masterpiece just as for gameplay, but it shows very good-looking graphics too. Actually architecture isn't very detailed, but colour schemes and a wise and clever combination of new and old textures and flats make everything look detailed and nice. The main theme is tech-base with some hellish area too. Lighting is wisely used to create the right ambience. As for graphics, this .WAD is perfect too: it doesn't contain any flaw or glitch! It could have deserved the highest assessment, if architecture had been a little more detailed. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: This is not the usual hard level! On the contrary, its difficulty is within everybody's reach. The first part of the map is populated mostly by Zombie, Shotgunners, Chaingunner and Imps, who threaten you just for their good placement: in fact, they come from every corner and you must be very cautious to avoid their traps. The second part of the level is populated by several Cacodemons, angry Revenants, fat Mancubi, bloody Arachnotrons, Knights and Baron of Hell, which can be very dangerous, if you are too rash! Moreover teleporting monsters compel you to change suddenly your strategy. As for ammo and health balance, it is very good, since the map is plentiful of both ammunition of every weapons, Medikits and Stimpaks, but also power-ups, some of which are hidden in secret areas, that you can find easily with the computer map, that is available in the level. The challenge with the CyberDemon is very nice: it is not too hard, because of available cover. The last battle is a memorable challenge and it is probably the hardest fighting in the level, but power-ups, health and ammo at your disposal make it a little easier: the only bad things is the teleporting Arch-Vile at the end of the massacre...! Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: This .WAD exploits several new resources, taken from id Software and Raven Software games, like Quake, Quake 2, Heretic, Hexen, but also from Blood by Monolith Productions, as well as new textures and flats by NMN, Nick Baker and Owen Lloyd. All these great resources, wisely used by the author, make this level great-looking! There are new titlepic, level name and sky too. Everything look good and perfect. Assessment: 10!

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New music: The new music replacement is a .MIDI sequenced by Jay Reichard, but originally set to music by Sonic Mayhem for Quake II. It is quite catchy and suits nicely the level with its pace, but it is repetitive for the length of the map! Assessment: 9!

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Overall: This .WAD is perfect in every aspect, apart from little things, which could have been improved. The level shows superb gameplay, great-looking graphics (layout, colour schemes, texture and flat combination, lighting, etc.), lots of new graphic resources, a new catchy music background and a challenging but not hard difficulty. You really must play it! Assessment: 9! Look at the screenshots in the relative section.

 
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"Hangar27" by Dutch Devil:
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Playability: This is a very short level. It lasts 5/10 minutes, but it is action-packed! It could be a good base for a bigger level. It's a pity that the author didn't exploit his inspiration here, since everything is good. As for gameplay, you just have to kill some demons in this hangar or tech-base and reach the exit! In few words, it's pure Doom action... anything else! Although you need ZDoom to play it correctly, there are no special ZDoom effects and ACS Scripts! Assessment: 6!

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Graphics: With scarce gameplay, this level is probably a demonstration of nice architecture, fine detail and good graphics. The theme is tech-base and the author used new textures, that make this map extremely good-looking. Detail and lighting are painstaking; texture, flat and colour combinations, but also a wise use of lighting make the ambience of this level very creepy! Fortunately, there's no flaw, that ruins this small, but great-looking map. Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: Apart from monster placement, that catches you and makes you blow up, the level is quite easy: there are just Zombies, Shotgunners, Imps, Demons, Spectres and some Cacodemons. Just watch out and be trigger-happy! Assessment: 6!

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New graphics: The author used extensively and wisely Nick Baker's "Episode 5" textures, which make this .WAD extremely good-looking! There's also a new bloodish sky, that is very nice and gloomy! Assessment: 10!

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New music: Actually, the music replacement isn't new at all, because it is the background music of the 28th level of "Doom 2", "The Spirit World"; but it fits nicely the ambience! Assessment: 9!

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Overall: It is a good pastime for everybody, since it is very easy and short, but also great-looking. Something different than usual to play! Assessment: 8!

 
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"E of Chaos" by Eric "Blue Paladin" Buck:
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Playability: This is an unusual level and its name is self-explanatory: it is a sort of parody of the 11th map of "Doom 2", "O of Destruction" or "Circle of Death". As the title says, the map is a little chaotic: there's no story and the setting is unknown. The level isn't linear and you can navigate the level quite freely; you just have to solve puzzles with switches and find the keys to reaach and open the door, locked with the Red Key. Actually you can finish the level without getting all keys and solving all puzzles, by jumping...! The .txt file doesn't forbid it, so this is a little flaw, as for gameplay. Although this .WAD requires ZDoom, because it contatins some simple effect, like slopes, moving sky, coloured lighting, scrolling textures and flats, gameplay isn't affacted by this choice. The author can do much better. Assessment: 6!

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Graphics:  Obviously the layout of the map resembles an E. The level contains some contradictions, since it shows simple architecture in some places and misalgined textures, but also some nice architectural elements, such as windows, balconies and columns in other places. Lighting is quite simple too, but in some parts, where it is finely designed. Texture and flat combinations are sometimes a little strange. To sum up, the author had got some nice ideas, but didn't develop them; some glitches ruin spoil the beauties of this map. Assessment: 6!

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Difficulty: Annoying sniper chaingunners, monsters hidden behind fake walls, scarce balancement of ammo and scattered health make this level a little too difficulty. The average player will have nasty problems with it and the seasoned Doomer will be challenged! Armor is non-existant and this make everything harder, power-ups are hidden in the secret areas, which are not so obvious. There aren't tricks and traps, apart from some lava or acid pits sideways. Difficulty should have been better balanced! Assessment: 7!

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New graphics: The author exploited Nick Baker's "Nightmare 5" set, but also some textures from "Hexen", if I am not wrong. The new graphic resources are good and are well used, but sometimes a little overused. Assessment: 9!

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New music: The "Simphony of Destruction" .MIDI by "The Asylum of Megadeth" is the soundtrack of this level. It is not bad at all! Assessment: 8!

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Overall: An extremely challenging level for its ammo and health balancements and for the monsters used by its author. As for graphics, there are some nice things, but on the whole is a little disappointing. Gameplay-wise, it based just on action, like classic "Doom 2" level. New graphics and new music make the .WAD more interesting. Assessment: 7!

 
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"Suspended in Dusk" by Espi:
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Playability: This is a set of 4 levels, compatible with vanilla "Doom 2", better it was made for vanilla "Doom 2", so don't expect any special gameplay effects, like ACS Scripts or such. Nevertheless it is a very enjoyable and funny .WAD, with a tense ambience! There is no story, but you can imagine it easily from the setting, that is a UAC base or factory infested by demons. In spite of the lack of story and ACS Scripts, the player has the feeling that he is following some missions or objectives, although puzzles are based mostly on the search of keys. All maps are quite big and each of them can make you busy for half an hour or a whole hour. Levels are quite linear, though you go to and fro often. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: All levels show an impressive architecture and this make you wonder for a .WAD, compatible with vanilla "Doom 2". Here the potentials of the old engine of "Doom 2" are exploited at its limits. There are some nice effects, which you usually see in ZDoom-compatible .WAD or such, but they were made for vanilla "Doom 2" and this is incredible. Just look at screenshots! The main theme of levels is tech-base and factory, with lots of computers, consoles, cables, teleports, cranes, crates, smokestacks, machinery, but also windows, balconies, holes, pits, etc. Every level is detailed and texture, flat and colour combination are studied to reach the perfection. Lighting isn't painstaking, but it is used wisely to create the right ambience. There's no flaw or bug, so the author deserves praise! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: This is a questionable topic: experienced Doomers will find the .WAD quite easy, whereas the average player will find it challenging. Surely it is funny, but probably it is not hard or easy. The most common monsters are Imps, Zombies, Shotgunners and Chaingunner, so the levels are not too hard; stronger monsters, like Knights and Barons of Hell and Revenants appear just sometimes. What make levels a bit harder are balancement of health (just Stimpaks and few Medikits) and placement of monsters, which are behind almost every corner. Ammo balancement is quite good, but you find heavy weapons in secret areas or late: for instance, the Super Shotgun appears late in the 3rd level... and this makes your adventure more interesting. Armor and powerups are few and hidden in secreat areas too. Maps don't lack tricks and traps, which are quite simple, because the .WAD is designed for vanilla "Doom 2". The last battle with the CyberDemon is a very nice challenge. To sum up: not bad, but the author can do better! Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: There are lots of new textures and flats, which are used extensively: they nearly replace the classic ones, but they make every level great-looking! However most textures are modified versions of the original ones. There's also a new sky, a new title and a new intermission picture. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: Three new sounds replace those of pistol, shotgun and exploing barrel. They are not bad, but nor exciting! Assessment: 8!

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New music: Every level has its own background music, that you probably have already listened to in other .WADs. Anyway the music replacements fit all the levels and help to create the right ambience. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: A nice 4-level set, to play just to see how potentials of the original "Doom 2" engine can be pushed to its limits. Good-looking architecture and new graphics make this .WAD a masterpiece, although it is not very challenging, but funny and enjoyable. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Yesterday's Nightmare" by Ray Schmitz:
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Playability: This is a small, but funny map: just more than one hundred monster in the 3rd skill level, but challenging difficulty is assured! The level is mainly based on action with just few really simple puzzles and just one key to find (the Red Skull Key), nevertheless the level doesn't lack fun and there's also a nice "scene": after activating a switch, you see demons exiting from portals of Hell and coming to reach you! So, there is no story, no ACS Script and ZDoom effect, although there is the classic old-school "teleporting monsters" effect. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: At first architecture looks quite simple, but actually it is really impressive and awesome: a fake door with a peep-hole, nice windows and balconies, fine borders, high columns and a strange structure in the sky in the final area, plus what I call the "portals of Hell", which you can see through a window. Everything is perfect: good the choice of textures and flats and their combinations, but also lighting is good with shadows and smart contrast between dim and lit areas, although there are no special lighting effects (like fading lights). There are several nice ideas which really enliven what could have been a rather simple architecture. No flaws: not a single texture misalignment. Great work! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: Although small, this level provides a nice challenge, although seasoned Doomers will prefer playing it on UV. On the 3rd skill level monsters are just more than 120 and the strongest monster is the Baron of Hell, but this doesn't mean the level isn't easy, because the health balance is perfectly weighed out. On the contrary ammo is abundant, but the most powerful weapon you will find is the Rocket Launcher. There is no power-up, apart from those hidden in the secret areas, which only careful players will notice: a Backpack full of ammo and a MegaArmor. What makes this level hard is mainly the "teleporting monsters" effects, but also some tricks will surprise you! Battles happen in both large and narrow places. To sum up, also difficulty is perfect! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There's just a new sky, that is very nice and eye-catching: brown mountains against a grey sky! Assessment: 10!

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New music: A new background music enliven tha ambience up: it is catchy and it fits nicely this action-packed level. Good choice: "Ordinary Story" by InFlames. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: It is a very funny and action-packed .WAD, with challenging difficulty and great-looking architecture and the new music gives a boost to gameplay! It is really worth a second game! Assessment: 9.5! Look at its screenshots in the relative section.

 
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"Tanis Base SP" by Rodrigo Acevedo and Chris:
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Playability: First of all, this .WAD was originally a Deathmatch map, designed by Rodrigo Acevedo, and then modified by Chris for Single Player. So, though the level wasn't designed for Single Player, it is playable in SP and it is quite funny. Since it was a DM map, there's no story. The level is set in an antartic base, whose layout is good, and routes has been created for Single Player, through the search of keys and one switch. The map is small, but non-linear, and this suggested the second author exploiting the ZDoom effect of teleporting monsters, in order to make the level more intense, so that you have to face new monsters, while coming back to a previous area. Actually there are few ZDoom effects (like phantom monsters and slopes) and no ACS Script. Great idea that of converting a DM level in a SP one. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: Architecture is finely designed by the first author with a lot of details. Colours combination are eye-catching, although the grey theme is predominant; textures and flats combinations improve the graphics, thanks to new graphic resources. Few ZDoom effects, like slopes and a mirror, make the architecture even better-looking! Lighting was probably neglected, because it is quite simple and there are few lighting effects and variations. So the level is quite dark, but this is not bad, because it makes the ambience sullen! I couldn't notice any flaw, apart from some little texture misalignments, that darkness hides. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: The level is short, but full of monsters... and more monsters come, as you go forth! Ammo is just enough and I suggest that you don't waste it, whereas health is quite scarce, so that this .WAD is a real challenge. Forget power-ups and powerful weapons: the most powerful firearms are the Chaingun and the Super Shotgun, that will find late. So get ready for a close combat with your Pistol, Shotgun and Chaingun: you'll have to fight mostly in narrow areas! The most frequent monsters are Imps, whereas the strongest ones are Hell Knights and Mancubi; but the most annoying are two Pain Elementals with their Lost Souls, whereas phantom monsters pose a serious threat. A very challenging level for most Doomers. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There are several new texture and flats: some of them are recoloured or modified versions of original "Doom 2" textures, but others are new. They all are nice and well used in the level. Assessment: 10!

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New music: There is a new background music: it is very nice and catchy! It fits the level perfectly and, although it repeats often, it is not monotonous. The .MOD was taken from the "Dark7" project. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: It is a very nice .WAD. It is surprising how perfectly a DM level was converted in a good SP one: funny gameplay, challenging difficulty, good-looking graphics and catchy music, that helps to create the right ambience. Download and play it now! Assessment: 9! Look at its screenshots in the relative section.

 
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"Sin City 2: Satan Complex" by Ed Cripps:
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Playability: Like its prequel, this .WAD is very interesting and contains several ZDoom effects and ACS Scripts, which make the gameplay very funny: an introductory scene and a nice ending, coloured lights, real 3D bridges, explosions, earthquakes and much more. The level opens with an introduction, a sort of story, that actually doesn't explain the link with the prequel; but it is nice. The level is set in a tech complex, infested by demons, that you have to clear out. The map is not linear at all and it is full of simple puzzles, made with ZDoom feature and ACS Scripts. I think something could have been improved, to make the level more realistic, such as fires, which don't damage, but during explosions. However, it is a very enjoyable .WAD! Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: This time the theme is not ruins, but, as I wrote above, tech-base. But the author showed that he can handle different themes without problems. In fact, architecture is nice and doesn't lack details, such as holes in the floor and in walls, windows, balconies, real 3D bridges, columns and a very nice tank! Actually there are few hellish touches too. ZDoom effects, such as slopes, coloured lighting and smoke (!), make graphics much better-looking. Lighting is very simple and plain... but it could have helped to make the ambience more interesting. However there is no flaw! Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: The level is small and enemies are not many, but it is a little difficult because of the good placement of monsters and little surprises with teleporing monsters. Health is not much and you must be careful. On the contrary, ammo is enough and you are provided with conventional weapons: the shotguns, the Chaingun and the Rocket Launcher, but, for that matter, you don't need more powerful weapons, since the level lacks strong monsters, which are usually beaten with Plasma Gun and BFG. There is just one secret and no power-ups, apart from the backpack of ammo, that is hidden there. To sum up, difficulty is finely balanced. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There are some new nice textures and flats, but also new sprites, which mainly deal with explosions. The .WAD includes a new nice titlepic too. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are just few new sounds for explosions and fires. Not bad, but nothing special! Assessment: 8!

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New music: There are some new .MODs, that fit the ambience according to the situation and give player adrenaline. Unfortunately the background music soon turns a little haunting and obsessive, although it changes. On the contrary the music of the introduction is calm and nice. Assessment: 8!

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Overall: It is a small, but funny .WAD, like its "predecessor". ACS Scripts and ZDoom features enliven both gameplay and graphics. Maybe this level is less hard than its prequel, but it is still a nice challenge. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Dark Castle" by Virgil The DOOM Poet:
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Playability: As the title suggests, this .WAD, that contains 3 levels, is set in a castle: the first map deals with the exterior, the second with the interior and the last with a gate to hell. The three maps are interconnected perfectly. The author wrote a nice story in the .txt file, but it is not developed through the .WAD; in fact, it lacks ACS Scripts and ZDoom effects, apart from real 3D bridges, which actually are Boom features. It just needs a limit-removing port. As for gameplay, all maps are quite linear and they lack puzzles: you just have to look for keys and some switches so, the gameplay is quite simple. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: Architecture is the stronghold of the .WAD: it is nicely designed and finely detailed: battlements, windows, slits, bridges, balconies, columns and so on. The author took care of combinations of colours, textures and flats too, so that all the maps are good-looking. Lighting gives a nice touch to ambience, that, as the title says, must be dark and gloomy, but there are no special effects! Unfortunately a graphics glitch ruins the assessment: a sort of HOM effect near the border of hellish island in the third map. That's a pity, because this .WAD would have deserved a higher assessment! Assessment: 8! Look at the screenshots in the relative section (the are two for each levels, but the third one, where I got just one shot, that featuring the forementioned glitch).

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Difficulty: According to the .TXT file, I am a chicken... since I played the .WAD with the 3rd skill, instead of the 4th, as the readme suggests. Nevertheless it was hard: monsters are placed so that they hurt, although they are not very tough. Moreover you have to face big monsters, such as the SpiderDemon, since the beginning... with just the shotgun! Fortunately health and power-ups are well-balanced and ammo is abundant... although ammunition for powerful weapons (such as the Rocket Launcher and the Plasma Gun) is balanced better. By the way, powerful weapons are provided late. There's a part in the second level, that is really annoying and boring: you have to face an Arch-Vile, a Pain Elemental and several Demons and Spectres, just after a lift! I spent about 30 minutes to overcome that tricky nuisance! The last challenges in the third level were easier than that battle. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: There are several new flats and textures, most of which come from GothicDM and Gothic2 .WADs. They all look good and help to make architecture more imposing! There's also a new sky, that looks nice, and new title and credit pictures, which don't look so good! Assessment: 8!

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New music: All new music replacements sound good, but one: the replacement of the .MUS of the third level, that is a little irritating with those cymbals! That's a pity, because the new title and intermission tunes are nice and those of the first two levels are catchy. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: It is a nice set of levels, especially as for graphics: a very fine Medieval theme. Gameplay is simple and based mostly on action, that poses a serious threat even to experienced Doomers. Assessment: 8!

 
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"Realm of the Green Soul" by Lexus Alyus:
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Playability: This .WAD contains just one short level, apart from other various resources (a new monster, new music, etc.), but it is pretty funny and challenging! It exploits some ZDoom features, like slopes, 3D bridges, fog, etc., and ACS Scripts, through which the story is developed. The story is quite simple, but nice, and the level is set in a sort of train station or tube. So gameplay is interesting and nice, although the level is short and there are few monsters. Overall an enjoyable map! Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: Here architecture is quite simple, but the level contains some nice ideas and there are some details, such as slopes, rails, trains, handrails, bridges, tables, chairs, light sources and so on. By the way, lighting is rather simple too, but it is used wisely, so that the author created the right gloomy ambience. So the tube or train station is well recreated and the parking is nice too. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: The hardest thing is the final boss, of course! The monsters you encounter throughout the level are not so hard, apart from some stealth monsters; maybe there's not much room to move, even because exits are closed, while you are fighting against monsters, but monsters are few and pretty easy to kill, if you know how to eliminate them! Ammo is enough: you get most of it at the beginning, but there's some more ammo scattere throughout the map. Health is well-balanced, but don't waste it! There are some nice tricks, made with ZDoom effects, which make the game more interesting, but harder too... and I won't reveal them here! Monsters often teleports in front of you, so open your eyes and put your finger on the trigger. The final boss is hard mainly because the battle takes place in a narrow place, so that you must kill him quickly... I suggest that you have enough ammo, before facing him, especially as for bullets! Overall this is a very challenging level! Assessment: 10!

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New monsters: There's just one new monster: the Green Soul, of course! It is the final boss and it look like a Lost Soul, but his "fire", that is green. Obviously, it is stronger and tougher than a Lost Soul and it also fires Hell Knight's fireballs! It isn't made with a DECORATE lump, but with DeHackEd: nevertheless, it is a good work! Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: Obviously the .WAD contains the new sprites of the Green Soul, but also a new nice sky, new title and intermission pictures and new final screens. Good job! Assessment: 10!

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New music: There is a very nice music, that varies according to the ambience: it is peaceful while exploring the level, whereas it becomes much heavier and furious while fighting. There's a nice final music too! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: A very interesting, funny, enjoyable and challenging .WAD, with lots of novelties: music, gameplay and graphics effects, a new monster, new tricks, etc.! It is suitable both for average and seasoned Doomers! Assessment: 9!

 
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"Bloodworks" by Bob Larkin:
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Playability: The level begins where the story, written in the .txt file, ends. The level is set in a sort of hellish "blood factory", whence you have to escape: it is quite short, but hard, although there are not many monsters and they are not strong. It exploits the potential of ZDoom, but in order to use 3D effects, such as bridges and the "room over room" effect. So don't expect any scripts and other gameplay features of ZDoom. The level is based just on action and can be faced with two strategies: prudent and bold. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: Although this .WAD features some nice graphic effects, made through the use of ZDoom characteristics, architecture is quite simple and plain. Bridges and "room over room" effects stand out from the rest. Obviously blood red catches the eye, together with brown textures. The only lighting effect in this .WAD is the contrast dark areas vs. lit areas. According to modern standard of graphics, this .WAD is quite poor. Assessment: 6!

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Difficulty: Placement of monsters is what makes this .WAD really hard: in fact, the strongest monster is the Baron of Hell, ammo is enough and health is well-balanced. Obviously you are provided with just conventional weapons, apart from the Rocket Launcher. You will always fight in narrow areas and corridors, so be trigger-happy! There's just one trap... that I can't reveal... but it can be useful to save some ammo! It can be an intense challenge for most Doomers. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: In the .ZIP file there's a separate .WAD containing Nick Baker's textures and flats and some modified version of them. They are mostly metallic and brown-ish, but they all are good. I just dislike those "blood shower" textures. Assessment: 8!

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New sounds: There's just one new "hydraulic" sound, that runs continuously and may annoy somebody, but it isn't bad. Assessment: 7!

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New music: There's a new .MIDI, that replaces the background music of the third map: it is metal/techno and makes the level even harsher, so that it gives you more adrenaline! It is not bad at all. Assessment: 8!

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Overall: This .WAD should be a challenging pastime for most Doomers and maybe experienced players would like to play it on UV. As for graphics, don't expect a great-looking level! Assessment: 7!

 
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"UAC Nukage Refinery" by BuzzBomber:
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Playability: Italian Doomers seem to prefer the original "Doom". In fact, this .WAD replaces E1M1 and also resembles it and other levels of the original "Doom". So this is a "must" for those player, who like classic .WADs. Gameplay is good, especially because the map isn't linear at all and you can navigate it quite freely, although keys and switches, which most puzzles are based on, obviously limit your freedom. As the title suggets, the level is set in a UAC Nukage refinery, but it lacks a story and most special effects, which you find in most .WADs nowadays. There are just few simple traps and most of them are quite obvious. Secret areas are well-hidden. Assessment: 8!

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Grahpics: This level is good-looking, although architecture is quite simple, but there are some things, which make graphics nice, such as combination of colours, textures and flats; actually, there are some original ideas and works of art, such as the "teleport machinery" (you can find a screenshot of it in the relative section) and the nearby winding staircase. Probably what makes this .WAD nice is the "movement" of architecture, with its variations of height, windows, balconies, light-sources, stairs, lifts, nukage rivers and so on. Lighting makes this level even better-looking and adds a nice touch to ambience. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: The author didn't exploit all the monsters of the original "Doom", so this level isn't so hard, though the placement of monsters makes it a little trickier. Moreover there are just conventional weapons and the Rocket Launcher is hidden in a secret area (that I couldn't find!). At the beginning ammo is tight, but as you proceed you find more ammnution; on the contrary, health is always scarce, although there's a well-kept Soul Sphere. Although big monsters (and big weapons) are missing, this is a challenging .WAD. Assessment: 8!

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Overall: This .WAD doesn't contain any additional resource (graphics, music, etc.) and it's strange for .WADs of today! However, this level is good as it is: challenging, good-looking and funny! A "must" for beginners, seasoned players and nostalgic Doomers. Assessment: 8!

 
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"Hedrox" by Rodrigo Acevedo:
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Playability: This is a short but challenging level for almost all Doomers. Gameplay is quite classic, i.e. it is based just on action, without story or peculiar "gameplay effects", such as ACS scripts and ZDoom effects. It is set in a sort of tech-base or spaceship, that is shaped wisely with great care of architecture and detail. So the author focused especially on graphics and difficulty, whereas gameplay is very simple. Unfortunately there's a flaw that make me lower the assessment: there are 0-length sidedefs and other problems like that, which make ZDoom waste time fixing them and loading the .WAD correctly; this is a a bother for those player, like me, who save and load often! Assessment: 5!

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Graphics: This .WAD is extraordinary as for graphics: architecture is just awesome, with great care of detail, lighting, flat, texture and colour combinations. Everything is studied to make this level an eye-candy! The theme is UAC tech-base or spaceship and the architecture resembles that of the "Vrack" series. Colours match up very well. Lighting is painstaking and helps to create the right ambience. Just imagine it... or look at the screenshots. There are not enough words to describe how wonderful this level is! I couldn't find any error, bug or flaw: it is perfect! So, it deserves the highest assessment! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: Although short, this level is intense and challenging. Monsters are well-placed and the big ones don't have to wait for you for long time, though the hardest monsters are Arch-Viles, Barons of Hell and Mancubi: CyberDemons and SpiderDemons are missing. Ammo is just enough to kill all monsters, whereas health is well balanced: the Soul Spheres near the beginning is very useful! Watch out, keep your weapon ready, but don't waste ammo! Traps are few: there are just some tricks involving teleporting monsters. Most battles are set in tight and narrow places, mainly because architecture is so detailed that it hampers your movement. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: There's a new impressive sky, that will surely make you catch your breath! Assessment: 10!

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New music: The music replacement is good too: it is from "Duke Nukem 3D" and it sounds good. It helps to fill the map with suspense, making this level quite mysterious! Assessment: 10!

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Overall: You can't miss this .WAD, if the first thing you look at is graphics. It is simply awesome: architecture is great-looking, detail is massive, lighting is painstaking, colours are combined very well, texture and flat combinations are very nice. It is a challenge for every Doomer, although gameplay is simple and based on action. Assessment: 9! See the screenshots in the relative section!

 
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"Death Is Just The Beginning" by Lorenzo "Toranaga" Davia:
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Playability: This is an Episode 1 replacement, but it is not the classic remake, because its story is different and settings vary from UAC bases to hellish places. As the title suggests, you have to die and descend to hell to complete this .WAD. The author didn't use any ZDoom effects, because he wanted it to be playable with every port; anyway, the gameplay isn't bad at all: some map are straightforward and quite linear, whereas some other are a little more complex and you can explore those maps freely, such as "The Five Towers". Since the .WAD doesn't exploit ACS Scripts or ZDoom effects, it is mostly based on action, although there are some trivial "switch puzzle" to solve, in order to open doors and go forth. Few simple tricks liven up some of the maps of the episode. A nice trick I liked is the explosion of monsters in little locked rooms in the second map just by activating a swtich. A serious mistake, that compromises the assessment, is a door hidden along a wall  in the second level, that you can notice only by looking at map! Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: This is one of the first works of the author and doesn't feature a detailed architecture, although he tried to make imposing levels. So architecture is quite plain, although there are some nice ideas, which haven't been exploited, such as switches hanging from the ceiling of a semicolumn, hangars or spaceships, which could have been detailed much more! The first map reminds me of E1M1, especially the start point. Probably the author shows his quality in the Gothic, Medieval, hellish themed levels more than in those set in tech-bases. There are some simple lighting effects, that could have been improved to give a more realistic touch and more ambience, such as that at the beginning of "CyberDemons' Castle"; dim and gloomy areas may annoy some players, but they alternate well with lit areas, so that ambience vary depending on lighting. Darkness is an important factor, that the author used wisely to create suspense. Colour combination is nice, especially in some levels, such as the final one. The only flaw I noticed is a HOM effect in the fourth level (there's a screenshot featuring it) and this is a pity! Assessment: 6!

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Difficulty: This .WAD is not a serious threat for seasoned players, but it surely offers a nice challenge to average players. Health is placed in key points, just where you need it; ammo is enough and it won't ever run out, although there's not enough ammo to kill all monsters, espeically in the third level, where I suggest that you don't kill the CyberDemon! Sometimes you can exploit infighting to save some ammo and health, but beware of crossfire! Power-ups are scattered throughout every level (maybe there are too many!) and secret areas are well-hidden, although some of them can be found with the help of the map. Monster placement is good and some enemies are placed to surprise you; simple traps with monsters are used in most levels. Big monsters, such as CyberDemons, make their appearance quite soon! There are some battles set in narrow places, although most of them occur in large spaces. After all, this is a fun episode for everybody. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: There is a very nice bloody sky, that is simply wonderful: it is ideal for every hellish level! Maybe the author could have replaced the interpic screen, that doesn't suit the story, but this is another question! Assessment: 8!

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New music: There are newe background .MIDIs, taken from Eq-Midi.zip by Josh Earthquake Simpson, udmusp61.zip by Partick Kalinauskas, tzmids.zip, 2002mids.zip, dt1mids.zip by Paul Corfiatis and relive.wad by Shams Young. They all are catchy and fits the level finely, apart from the background music of "The Five Towers", that in my opinion doesn't suit the map. Assessment: 8!

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Overall: A very fun and challenging episode, which I can't expect the sequel of! Maybe seaseoned Doomers prefer to play it on higher skill levels, but it is a nice adventure and remember that... death is just the beginning... and maybe death is not enough! I am sure that the author could improve his style and I hope to play a better sequel! Assessment: 7.5!

 
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"Titan" by Jesper Krag Rasmussen ("Ixnatifual"):
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Playability: This .WAD is a challenge, from the very first monster to the last one! The author wrote a story, that explains the situation on Titan and that the author develops along your trek on Titan up to hell itself, through the use of message between a level and the next one. ACS scripts and a lot of other ZDoom features are used too: slopes, coloured lighting, (security) cameras, messages, ambient sounds, changing music, teleporting monsters and things, scrolling walls and so on. There are few interesting puzzles and, above all, a lot of tricks and traps, which make your trip on Titan really dangerous! The first maps are quite linear, but the last ones are more complex, although quite easy to complete; moreover cameras and security cameras help you to find where to go next. The last map uses intensively ACS scripts. You will notice that gameplay, graphics and difficulty become better and better, as you go forth in the .WAD. Additional monsters make this .WAD even more interesting and funnier... but also much more difficult! Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: This is the first author's work, but every level looks quite professional. Maybe the first ones are quite simple, but they show a very nice combination of colours, textures and flats, that you notice just in few .WADs. As you go on, levels become much more detailed and architecture becomes greater and greater: the last one is piece of work with its giant pyramid! The screenshot feautring it can't show its greatness. Lighting is painstaking in all levels. Themes and styles vary throughout the .WAD: tech-base, Titan landscapes, Gothic and Medieval, ruins, hellish; all of them are finely made and personalized. I noticed just a bug: some missing textures, which cause HOM effects on the bars protecting the Cyberdemon of the 5th level, that is probably the worst of the .WAD, because of the overuse of TEKWALL textures: what a pity! Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: As I wrote above, this is a challenging .WAD, that will make you busy for hours. What makes this .WAD hard is the good positioning of monsters, which are hidden very well behind corners; but also different tricks and traps make your life difficult: crushing ceilings, teleporting monsters, fake doors, which don't open, but whose usage opens other doors and such. So be careful and keep always your hand on your weapon! Health is balanced quite well and ammo is abundant, so that you won't ever have problems with them. Power-ups are scattered here and there and some secret areas are easy to find, whereas the other ones are a little harder to find. The last level is impossible in my opinion: in fact, I could finish it only cheating...! Moreover my computer can't stand such an amount of monsters: more than one thousand! Assessment: 9!

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New monsters: There are three new monsters, which make your trip on Titan harder than usual: the Chainsaw Zombie, the Zombie Marine, who fires plasma bullets, the giant and fearful Hectebus and the Lord of Heresy, who is more powerful than the original one in the "Monster Resource Pack". So watch out! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: Obviously, there are the new sprites of the additional monsters, which are nicely drawn, but also a sky and some other textures from "Doom". Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are several new ambience sounds, which make the setting of every level hellish and threatening. There are both "mechanical" sounds, which you can hear in the levels set in tech-bases, and hellish and sinister sounds, which add much more fear and suspense to levels. They are taken from "WarCraft III" and "Quake". Assessment: 10!

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New music: All the new music replacements come from "Doom" and fit nicely every level; moreover, in the last level music changes according to the situation, in order to create the right ambience. I think that the author could have used this feature in the previous maps too. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: Just three things to complain about: the extreme difficulty of the finale of the last level, the abuse of TEKWALL textures and that HOM effect in the 5th level. Apart from that, it is a great set of 9 levels, with good-looking graphics, challenging difficulty, enthralling music, fearful sounds and new awesome monsters. Assessment: 9!

 
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"Denial" by Agent Spork:
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Playability: Another Agent Spork's .WAD: like "Geo I", it exploits ZDoom features and ACS scripts, which make this level a good one, as for gameplay and playability. The most used ZDoom features are: scrolling walls, slopes, teleporting monsters and ammo, few short movie sequences and contemporaneous events. But ZDoom is exploited also to add modified monsters, which are stronger or faster than usual, although they look like classic monsters. Unfortunately the level lacks a story and its development (missions, objectives...), which could have made it more interesting; but it is still a fun .WAD. As for the gameplay itself, it is based on both puzzles, which are quite easy, and fights, which are not as easy as puzzles. The map is quite linear and you always know what to do. As the author wrote in the .txt file, the level is a little claustrophobic. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: This level shows an unusual style, that is brownish, but it looks good. "Geo I" was a little brownish too, but "Denial" is different. First of all, it is set in a sort of tech-base: look at those pipes, computers, lights and other nice architectural elements. At the beginning, the level looks quite simple, as for graphics, but then you will notice some nice details, such as a finely shaped floor and broken walls (see the fourth screenshot!), nice silver decorations near teleporters (see the fifth screenshot!), peculiar light sources (see the second screenshot!), fine lighting effects. Slopes, translucent textures and other ZDoom features are used wisely to make a great-looking level, where I could notice no flaw, unlike "Geo I". Good work! Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: A challenge for everyone: even seasoned Doomers will have some troubles with this .WAD, because of its claustrophobic ambience. In fact, here the biggest monsters are missing, but heavy weapons are provided late. The author even modified some monsters, such as Chaingunners, so that they don't drop their weapons and you have to find them later. Moreover some monsters, such as Demons, are strengthened or sped up. Health is the major problem, because it is very scarce; on the contrary, ammo is quite enough, but don't waste it! Most battles happen in tight and narrow places: hence the claustrophobic ambience; but all fights are feasible. Hint: save often! After all, it is a very fun and challenging .WAD. Congratulations! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There are just two new textures and a new flat... and nothing else. They aren't bad at all, but they are not so good, either. Assessment: 8!

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New sounds: While playing I noticed some new sounds or sound sequences, such as those of sliding doors, and... of course! ...they "sound" good! Assessment: 10!

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New music: There's a new background music, that I think I have already listened in some other .WAD; so, I suppose it is not unique. Moreover it gradually becomes a little monotonous. Assessment: 6!

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Overall: Like "Geo I", this .WAD is oriented especially to seasoned Doomers, although it is surely a fun challenge for everybody. Its nice and unique theme makes it even more interesting. It is worth playing... trust me! Assessment: 8.5!

 
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"RTC-3057 Blue Hub 1" by The "Team Future":
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Playability: This is one of the few levels around with an exceptional gameplay: a well written story, that is finely developed through the .WAD and that continues in the next episodes, which we all are waiting anxiously for. It is a mysterious story, that you have to find out through the search of logs: who are you? where are you? what's happened to the crew of the "Enforcer"? and why has it been invaded? You need to accomplish several missions, in order to escape the spaceship and to know more about you and your fate. Puzzles make the game interesting and action rarely misses. A perfect usage of ACS scripts and other ZDoom features, such as well-done cinematic sequences, makes this .WAD really awesome and fun. Maybe it is the level with the best gameplay ever. Assessment: 10!

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Graphics: No flaws, no bugs, no errors, but just art: this is "RTC-3057 Blue Hub 1". Every map is designed in its every least detail: you really feel to be there, in a mysterious spaceship, where strange things are happening. No classic textures are used; lots of new beautiful and colourful textures, flats and sprites make this .WAD cool. Layout of maps were probably sketched out in papers first. Architecture is finely shaped and an extensive, but wise usage of slopes make everything much more beautiful. No rooms lack of detail and lighting is painstaking too: there are also some nice lighting effects, such as shades, fading effects, blackout or flashes. As I mentioend above, the combination of colours, textures and flats is very good-looking. Great work! You really can't do better. Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: Most players, especially the seasoned ones, won't ever be in trouble here and maybe they will like to play it again on Ultra-Violence. I played it on the 3rd skill level and I rarely got into trouble. Ammo is plentiful, but this doesn't mean that you can waste it! On the contrary, health is scarce and isn't scattered throughout levels, on the contrary it is concentrated in few spots; so you'll have to come back to those spots, if you need health. Be careful and you'll rarely need health. No power-ups are provided and there are no secret areas. You'll find just few weapons: the usual pistol, the chainsaw, the shotgun and thr chaingun. There are no bigger weapons, but also no hard monsters, apart from a CyberDemon, that you can kill with a nice trick. This makes the .WAD quite easy, but be careful, because monsters are well placed, and always watch your health! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: A lot of new good-looking and colourful textures, flats and sprites (there are lots of new colourful corpses!) are used instead ofthe traditional ones; this great graphic resource pack make the .WAD very nice and awesome. I congratulate the graphic designers and artists on this good job. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are several new sounds, such as voices, the echo of shots, the noise of monsters' and your steps and other clangs, some of which replace the classic ones, such as the sound of weapons, doors and lifts. They all are well done. Assessment: 10!

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New music: It would have never been a nice .WAD without good music replacements, which really fit every situation and are never monotonous; on the contrary they help to create the right ambience. I compliment music composer on his hard work. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: It got the highest assessment in every department... should I say something more? Just: download and play it! It really deserves your attention and I am anxiously waiting for the sequel. Assessment: 10!

 
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"Geo I" by Agent Spork:
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Platability: This is a set of two nice levels, especially in the gameplay and graphics departments. It is a very playable and enjoyable .WAD with fine ACS scripting and ZDoom effects. ACS scripts enliven gameplay and they are well done, apart from a missing script (the 255th), that ZDoom warns can't be run. ACS scripts are use mainly to show message, make short movies, teleport new ammo and monsters in various places, make many things at the same moments and such. The author used also the MAPINFO lump to write messages at the end of each level. The first level is quite small, whereas the other one is much larger and more complex: the second map isn't linear at all, but you'll rarely lose your way, if you follow the path made of spawned ammo...! The levels are mainly based on action and fights, but some puzzles are there too: but they are not so puzzling. Traps are everywhere. Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: This .WAD should deserve the highest assessment, because it features an incredible and rarely seen architecture, that is very imposing and majestic: fine care of the least details, nice decorations, good-looking combinations of colours, textures and flats, painstaking lighting, with beautiful shading effect. But in the second map there is a glaring mistake that unfortunately ruins everything and forces me to lower the assessment: a missing lower texture, that causes a HOM effect! There is also another bug, a "slime trail", but it is a trifle, especially if compared to the other bug. In the second screenshot you can notice a missing flat too! I would have really liked to give 10 to this .WAD in the "Graphics" department, but that blunder can't be ignored. Remember to test your own map and fix all the bugs, before release it. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: On the whole it is not a very difficult .WAD, although it surely gives you a nice and fun challenge. But it is not even easy, especially because ammo is just enough and health is scarce; moreover you have to face big monsters with little weapons, such as the Shotgun and the Chaingun, whereas the Double Shotgun and the Rocket launcher are provided late in the second map. Most fights are held in large rooms, although sometimes you are forced to fight in tight spaces, without any cover and any way out, such as the fight against Cacolichs, that is the worst fight in the level in my opinion: it is quite impossible, because you have just finished to kill an Arch-Vile and some Mancubi, you have got few health, not much ammo and, above all, you haven't got any weapon more powerful than a Rocket Launcher and a Double Shotgun. I myself had to cheat to overcome that fight. The most common traps are suddenly teleporting monsters and closing doors, which force you to fight in close and narrow rooms. There are some secreat areas, which you may need to find, especially if you want to survive thatfight against Cacolichs: I would have liked to have the Plasma Gun there, but I couldn't find it! Unfortunately difficulty settings are not implemented. Assessment: 8!

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New monsters: There is a set of new monsters, that is used together with the normal Doom 2 set. They come from the "Monster Resource .WAD" and they all are nice and great... apart from those Cacolichs! Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: Obviously there are new sprites for the new monsters; but there are also some new nice textures from the "Gothic" .WADs. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: All the new sounds come from the "Monster Resource .WAD" for the new monsters the author used in his .WAD. Nothing to complain about them. Assessment: 10!

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New music: The music replacement is good and the background music of the levels fit them nicely, creating a dense and tense ambience. Great choice. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: It is .WAD worth playing, although it is oriented to seasoned Doomers; however it is a nice and fun challenge for every player. It shows an awesome and great-looking architecture too. Music is the icing on the cake. Good work. Assessment: 9!

 
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"New World 2" by Daniel:
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Playability: It is the sequel of "New World" of course: a good 16-level .WAD. In comparison with its prequel, its story is a little more defined, although there is no link between one level and the next one: I mean that there is no continuity. In my opinion, this is a bad thing, especially for a .WAD made by one person, who could have linked levels better than in a team's work. But gameplay of single maps is good: lots of puzzles, mainly based on keys and switches, and different kinds of fights. As its prequel, this .WAD contains both small and big levels, though most of them are medium-sized. It requires ZDoom, because you need to jump and it has got DeHackEd and MAPINFO lumps, but it doesn't contain any ZDoom effects and ACS scripts, which could have made story more interesting. After all, this is a very fun and enjoyable .WAD. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: Unlike "New World", this .WAD contains some more levels set inside, such as the first one, that is set in prison, or the fifth, "Hidden Lab", that I didn't like at all. Maybe the author focused on internal parts more than outer ones, because the game develops mainly in inside areas; but he isn't always successful, especially in the first maps. I think the author does his best with natural landascapes, ruins and Gothic themes: the levels, which show one of these styles, are the best ones; whereas those maps, which deviate from the above-mentioned styles or are set in tech bases, are not so good. So Gothic architecture is always good-looking and realistic details (such as chairs, beds, TV sets, carpets and wardrobes, but also columns, windows, balconies, battlements) add a much nicer touch; natural landscapes with rivers, waterfalls, caverns, lots of trees, bushes and stones are always awesome. But surely what make levels great-looking is the good combination of textures, flats, colours and sprites. As for lighting, there are few very dark levels (there's a cloudy sky!), which could annoy somebody, because you can't watch out for far monsters, and some parts (the inside and underground ones) of the other levels are dark too; surely this makes levels a little more realistic and add some more ambience, but it is a little annoying. Moreover all levels lack special lighting and shading effects, which could have made levels more and more realistic. However, it is a set of good-looking levels. Assessment: 7!

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Difficulty: This .WAD isn't hard, but it is challenging. Every map is different from the others, so you should be able to change your fighting techniques, according to various situations. Open battles (which are mainly in the natural environment) alternate with close ones (mainly in caverns, castles, fortresses and houses). Monsters are well placed and snipers make your way tougher, although they are less than in "New World". Health is enough and scattered throughout the levels and ammo is plentiful. Some power-ups (Invulnerability, Mega Spheres and such) are hidden in secret areas, which are usually quite intutive and easy to find, whereas other power-ups (especially Invisibility, but sometimes Soul Spheres too) are spread out. The nasty moments, which featured the prequel, aren't here anymore... apart from hateful Pain Elementals! A very nice challenge, that most Doomers will face without any problems. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: There are several new textures (including new nice skies), flats and sprites (especially trees and bushes), which the author used instead of the original ones. They make the levels great-looking, because maps themselves are not very detailed. There are also new titlepic, interpic, credit screen, which are the same as "New World", level names and bossback screen. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are several new sounds, such as those of swtiches, lifts, doors and secreat areas. They are veru nice, but you could be annoyed by some of them (such as those of lits), mainly because they are too loud or "mechanical". So turn down sound voulme, if you think they are too harsh. Assessment: 9!

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New music: There are new nice background .MIDIs, which are really catchy and fit levels quite well, not so much for the ambience, but for the boost they give you. Title music is very short and message music is nothing special. Bossback music is trivial too. On the contrary, music between levels is catchy. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: It is a nice set of levels, whose challenging (but not hard!) difficulty, nice graphics and catchy music make it very interesting. It is the worthy sequel of "New World". Assessment: 8!

 
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"Vile Flesh" by Gwyn Williams:
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Playability: It is a MegaWAD, made up of 32 levels of course. It is a "one man's work", so don't expect anything exceptional, although a 32-level .WAD is surely an hard and big work for only one person! As for gameplay, it varies very much: the first levels are quite simple, but, as you progress, maps become more and more complex, more and more puzzling, longer and longer. Anyway maps don't ever lack puzzles, which gradually turn trickier and trickier and more and more interesting. Just the very first levels are linear; the other ones are not as straight-forward as the previous. There are lots of tricks and traps, so watch out! The author surely tried to make fun levels and I suppose he was successful, although he could have implented some ZDoom/Boom features too, given that you need one of these ports to play the .WAD correctly. The story is nice and convincing and I think it could have been nicely developed in the .WAD itself by using ACS scripts. The messages were changed with new ones, but it's a small effort to make the gameplay more interesting. However, remember that it is a "one man's work" and the first .WAD by the author: so, this is not a bad .WAD at all. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: I think that we can trace all the improvements, which the author made in two years in level desiging, with this .WAD. In fact, the first levels have got a very simple architecture and resemble the original "Doom" levels, as the author himself wrote in the .txt file. But as you go on, you'll notice that levels become better-looking, although they don't ever reach perfection. This doesn't mean that the author didn't make efforts to reach it: you can notice a big difference among the first levels and the last ones. First of all, the layout of the last maps is more complex than that of the first ones; but also architecture, detail, lighting are a little more painstaking. So, what's the problem with graphics? The problem is that you will always notice some misaligned textures, even in the last levels. This is a pity and surely ruins all the efforts the author put in this .WAD and the assessment of course. Assessment: 6!

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Difficulty: Nearly all the levels (apart from the first ones, which are very easy) show the same difficulty, although gameplay varies. This .WAD is not difficult and most Doomers will have no problems to beat it. As I wrote above, the very first maps are extremely easy, but, as you go on, levels turn a little harder, although difficulty isn't ever challenging. What increases, as you progress, is just the number of monsters. Some moments are annoying more than hard: for instance, there are some areas with hateful sniper Chaingunners, narrow places where you have to fight against big monsters (Revenants, Hell Knights or Barons of Hell) and such. Monsters are well placed only in the second half of levels. Tricks and traps are scattered, but the author used them nicely in later levels, but be always careful and watch out for suddenly opening doors and teleporting monsters. Health and ammo are well balanced, although they become a little tighter in the latest maps, especially health. Power-ups are always well hidden and secret areas are rarely easy to find. The final level is quite easy, if you know what to do. Assessment: 7!

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New graphics: The author used the original "Doom 2" graphic resources. He just added new skies, one of which resambles the orange sky from "Doom", and also new level names (but he used the original type), title, titlepic, interpic, credit and bossback screens. Assessment: 7!

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New music: Every level has new background music. The new .MIDIs are very catchy and fit the levels nicely; they prevent you from falling into boredom, since they make the levels much more interesting. Title and intermission .MIDIs are nice too. I congratulate the author for the good choice of new background music. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: It is not a great .WAD, but it is worth playing. Gameplay is good and there are some fine effects too (such as suddenly opening crates, nice tricks and traps). Difficulty is not so challenging, but this MegaWAD surely provides a fun pastime. Graphic design is quite simple, but nice-looking somewhere. Assessment: 7.5!

 
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"Deus Vult" by Huy "Converted Doomer" Pham:
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Playability: Gameplay isn't surely the stronghold of this .WAD. In fact, the fights are always the same: you have to face continuously hordes of monsters, which are yet in rooms or teleport there immediately. So the gameplay doesn't vary and the way of fighting is always the same. The settings (a UAC base and hell) are good and the story is quite convincing, although it is not developed through the use of ACS scripts: you start in an underground UAC base, whence you'll try to descend to hell, passing through an unholy cathedral. There are few puzzles (just few switches) and the .WAD is quite linear. The author made a really clever thing, when he splitted that big level (map05), which can be run only on high-end computers, into smaller levels (map01-04), which all Doomers should be able to play without any problems. The only (big!) flaw with gameplay of this .WAD is the fact that it is just a showdown, inspired by "Alien Vendetta" and "Hell Revealed": there is no real game, apart from killing continuously a series of hordes of monsters or hoping to survive them. It's just a massacre. Assessment: 6!

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Graphics: As the author himself wrote in the .txt file, it is just the real hell! An awesome hell: it is not just hellish graphics, but there is a very imposing, stately, impressive, majestic architecture. I haven't ever seen such an hellish .WAD: it is finely built: every architectural element and ornament is well-turned; architecture is detailed in its every particular. The high roof, the tall columns, the hellish decorations and all the other things make this .WAD really frightening. Every combination of textures, flats and colours is well-studied. Lighting is very painstaking. I couldn't notice any error, bug, misaligned texture and other flaws. It is just perfect. Great work. Congratulations! Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: It could be a vexed question, but I think that this .WAD is very fun and extremely challenging, although hard. Maybe there could be a dispute on gameplay and the variety of fights, which are always the same. But after all I believe it is an enjoyable .WAD. It is inspired by "Alien Vendetta" and "Hell Revealed": so, expect an extremely hard level. It is very difficult mainly because you have to face big crowds of monsters, which usually teleport in front of you or in the rear or all around you, just after pressing a switch or taking a key or a power-up. You must always watch out, be careful, ready and quick to fire. No time to think, just to kill! Moreover, the fighting techniques you have to adopt are always the same. Power-ups are provided where you need them, i.e. in the areas where the toughest battles happen or nearby. Very often you need to take them (especially the Invulnerability spheres), if you want to sruvive those battles. Ammo is not a problem, because it is plentiful, even if you "waste" it. You must always watch your health, especially during battles, but healthy power-ups (Soul Spheres and MegaSpheres) should soften your need. Secrets are not easy to find: most of them are useful, but also dangerous; moreover some of them are very odd. In my opinion, the harshest moment is that after the beginning of map02, when you are just in the middle of a firestorm and you have to fight in every front, with few cover and a lot of enemies to watch out for! I spent 3 days to finish this .WAD, but I had a very fun and challenging experience. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There are lots of new nice textures plus new flats. They all are well-made. Moreover they are nicely used to get better-looking graphics and more impressive architecture. Some of the new graphic resources are taken from "Alien Vendetta" and Raven Software's "Heretic" and "Hexen", whereas other graphical resources were made by many other people. There is a new sprite too: a flaming tree. The .WAD includes also new nice titlepic, interpic, credit screen and new level names. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are two new sounds, replacing the original DSBOSSIT and DSKEENDT. But they are quite bad. The original sounds are better than the new ones. Assessment: 6!

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New music: There are new background .MIDIs, which fit all the levels nicely, although you can soon get bored with them, since they soon became monotonous and repetitive, because of the length of maps. Maybe .MODs would have suited levels better, so that music would have changed according to different moments. Moreover I think that this .WAD deserves better background music. Title music is catchy and surely anticipates the fury of levels; intermission music is nice too. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: This is surely a .WAD to collect. It is unique for its awesome graphics and its extremely hard, but challenging difficulty; unfortunately gameplay is nothing special. But it can't be missed, especially by seasoned and experienced Doomers, who will like this .WAD, because it provides an incredible challenge, that other players will find too hard, perhaps. But average players can surely beat it on lower skills. It is astonishing to find out that it is the first .WAD published by the author! Assessment: 8.5!

 
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"Phobos: Anomaly Reborn" by Chris Lutz:
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Playability: This is a set of levels of high quality, that I haven't ever seen before. Apart from the simply awesome graphics, this .WAD presents a great gameplay, that the author didn't achieve through the use of ACS scripts, as it could seem, but through other means, which are older than ACS scripts and some ZDoom effects. I was astonished when I found out that this .WAD hasn't any ACS scripts, mainly because there are some effects, which I thought could be made only using ACS scripting and ZDoom effects, such as simultaneous events, which happen just pressing a switch. This makes Chris Lutz's .WAD more and more interesting. Although there are no messages, you feel like you have to complete objectives and missions. All the maps are non-linear, but they are not much complex, so that you can find easily your way. There's nothing to complain of; on the contrary, this .WAD is very enjoyable and fun. Great work! Assessment: 10!

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Graphics: It's simply awesome! Its beauty is indescribable: I haven't ever seen such an impressive .WAD. The architecture is extremely detailed in its every particular. Floor, ceiling, walls aren't ever bare, on the contrary they are always finely decorated. Lighting is very painstaking: there are incredible lighting effects, which help to improve the ambience of every level. It's incredible to find out how just one author can range over so many themes: tech-base, natural landscape, Gothic, Medieval, hellish. Although the author didn't use "modern" ZDoom effects, such as coloured lighting, he reproduced them though the use of other means, such as the COLOURMAP lumps and coloured textures, which still look impressive. I don't find any more words to describe the beauty of such levels, so I suggest that you look at the screenshots in the realtive section. Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: It is a good .WAD also in this district. The first levels are quite easy, but the difficulty increase, as you go on, so that the last levels show some nice challenges. Monsters are always well placed, so that they tend to give you some problems, especially if you aren't prudent and careful. Ammo is usually enough and well-balanced, but in the last levels it is tighter and scattered. Health is well-balanced too and, unless you are really rash, it is always enough. Secrets are usually quite hard to find, apart from few secret areas, which are not so difficult to discover. I think it would have been much harder, if it had been a "Doom 2" .WAD, with stronger enemises. However, it is surely challenging! Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There are some new textures, some of which are made by Nick Baker, whereas the other ones are taken from "Gothic DM" and "Gothic DM 2". They all are really cool and the author exploited them very well. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: Well... there's nothing more to say. It got 10 in every department! It's absolutely one of the best .WADs ever, that you can't miss at all. It is really worth playing... not only once, but even twice, thrice and so on. Download it now! Assessment: 10!

 
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"Phocas Island" by Chirs "Chopkinsca" Hopinks:
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Playability: This is the first level released by the author, but it really doesn't look like a beginner's work. On the contrary, every aspect of the .WAD is well-defined. As for gameplay, it is quite involving, although the author just used few ZDoom effects, such as deep water, and few ACS scripts. The story is simple, but interesting, especially because the setting of the level is very realistic (on an island, inhabited by monsters). Your mission is to explore the island and find a boat to escape. The level is quite intricated and you are free to wander about the island, obviously apart from the areas, where you need the keys to gain access. But it's not confusing; on the contrary I think that it's really a good thing to let the player choose his own route. In my opinion, more ZDoom effects and ACS scripts would have made this map much better and more interesting. Anyway, it is a very enjoyable map. Its only flaw is the badly built node structure: ZDoom notices that there is a SEG referring to a non-existant vertex and has to build again nodes, every time you load the .WAD or a saved game. What a pity! This forces me to lower the assessment. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: It is a really awesome level, set in an island, perfectly reproduced. In fact, the author managed to create a real setting, taking care even of the direction of every shadow! I suppose that the most astonishing things of this .WAD are lighting and shading effects, which are very painstaking. The main theme is obviously natural landscape, but there is also a Gothic/Medieval touch: in fact, there are some ancient buildings scattered on the island. There are caverns, lakes, rivers, falls and so on: every part of the island is nicely detailed, so that it is really good-looking. It is the best .WAD, set in a natural landscape, I have ever played. Great work! The only flaws are some little visual glitches, such as "HOM effects", probably due to the badly duilt node structure. I would have liked that I didn't notice them! Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: This .WAD is not only great-looking, but also challenging. It is quite hard, because you often face groups and big hordes of monsters. I don't want to spoil anything, but be careful when getting keys! Monsters are well-placed and the tight spaces help them, although there are also open battles; the main problem is made up of rocks, trees and other natural obstacles, which make open areas smaller. Ammo is plentiful and I think that the Backpack, that I couldn't find, would have been very helpful, especially because you could have taken much more ammo with you. On the contrary, you have to watch your ammo and search for it, if necessary. Health is just enough, but power-ups, especially Mega-Spheres are always where you need them, i.e. before/after fighting against big hordes of monsters. In short, it is a fun and challenging level, good for both beginners, who want to improve their fighting technique, and seasoned Doomers, who want a real challenge. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: There are some new sprites (trees taken from Retres.WAD) and new textures, such as water falls, taken from TNT.WAD, vines, taken from Plutonia.WAD, and rope bridge textures, made by Espi, apart from some textures from scratch, including a new sky. There are also new titlepic, help screen and title. Nothing to complain about new graphics. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are some few new sounds too: they replace the sounds of some weapons; but there is also a new sound, that you can hear when you cross a river. This is really a very nice effect. Assessment: 10!

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New music: The background music of the level continually changes, according to the specific setting. So if you are visiting the caverns, the hellish buildings or the rest of the island, the music changes. This make the level much more interesting and involving. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: This is surely a .WAD of high quality: the gameplay is well-defined and involving, the difficulty is challenging and the layout is great-looking. It is really worth downloading and playing. Assessment: 9.5!

 
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"ZDoom Community Map Project Take 1" by various authors:
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Playability: It requires Zdoom... It was designed for it. So it has a great gameplay, comparable only with Tomi Rayala's "Hell Factory". Here is every ZDoom feature you can imagine: slopes, coloured and phased lighting, deep water, translucent lines, mirrors, cameras and ACS scripts, which all make this level unique, with a great ambience. But probably the most important of these feature is ACS scripting, that is well done and is used to implement objectives to complete. ACS scripting is not widely used, in fact some puzzles are made just through the use of switches, keys and other features. Although the .WAD lacks a story, your mission and the settings are very clear. Moreover, the .WAD isn't complex at all, though it is composed by several authors, whose parts are well-connected. On the contrary, I'd say that it is quite linear, apart from puzzles, which make you wander around the level to and fro. Maybe it is a little too long: it will make you busy for nearly two hours; but it is worth spending so much time. So the gameplay is excellent. Assessment: 10!

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Graphics: We are dealing with a .WAD that is excellent in every department and it won't dissapoint you even in graphics. Every part of the level is highly detailed and shows an awesome architecture. It is nearly impossible to find a bare wall or an empty sector. Everything is painstaking: all the authors focused even on the smallest details. The themes and styles used vary broadly: from the tech-base theme to the hellish one, with natural landscapes too. ZDoom graphic effects (slopes, coloured lighting and so on) are used wisely and make the architecture more impressive. I couldn't find any bugs and errors, apart from some little misaligned textures in the stairs leading to the Draining Pump, in the Blue Key Card-locked building on the right of the main courtyard, in the first area. But I can't surely blame the authors and consider this a bug: the level is so big, that is impossible to make it perfect, without any misaligned textures; it's impossible to find and fix all such little bug. So the authors put a great effeort in this departement and must be praised for it: good work, you made a great-looking level, maybe the most beautiful I have ever played. Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: This is a wearing level, especially because of its size. I don't want to say that it is hard, although some parts are really difficult, but it will immerse you in a intense challenge, that won't ever finish. Ammo balance is good: it isn't tight at all, but it is enough and, sometimes, it is even abundant, although the last part of the level (i.e. the hellish one) lacks of ammo. Health is just enough and power-ups are provided in the most dangerous areas. Monsters are usually well-placed, but there are some monster placements which make some parts very nasty and, sometimes, even irritating, such as those where bats scratch you from everywhere. Big monsters appear quite soon, whereas big weapons much later. Some secret areas are intuitive and easy to find, although you usually won't find anything useful there; on the contrary, more other secrets are not so clear. I myself found just 40% of secrets. Anyway, this .WAD will provide you a nice challenge, apart from some hateful moments. Assessment: 9!

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New monsters: There is a big set of new monsters, that is used together with the normal Doom 2 set. They come from the "Monster Resource .WAD" and they all are nice and great. Assessment: 10!

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New weapons: There is just one new weapon, the Freezer, a very nice and useful weapon, that freezes monsters, which then break into pieces. But there is also a Nuke, a sort of warhead: it is not really a weapon, but a special rocket, more powerful than the normal. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: The .WAD includes new textures, flats, sprites and a lot of other graphic resources, such as new trees, but also new logos, which are used in the closing credits. They all look nice. There are new titlepic, interpic and credit screen too. Nothing to complain about them: they are well made. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: The authors exploited also some new ambience sounds, to make level more realistic and interesting. Nice job. Assessment: 10!

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New music: Yes, there's new background music: an .IT from LexusAlyus. It's not bad at all, but its first part soon turn monotonous, because the first part of the map is very long and music don't change till you reach the arena. I mean that it is nice, but you can get bored listening to the same part of the background music for quite one hour! Assessment: 9!

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Overall: So, what should I write now? I think that it's the best .WAD ever. I think that we will hardly play another .WAD like this. It shows a deep gameplay, an involving and realistic ambience, with nice music and good sounds, a great-looking architecture, an intense challenge, new great monsters and weapons. Just download and play it: this is my suggestion. Assessment: 10! Look at its screenshots in the relative section.

 
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"The Lost Gateway" by Nick "Hobomaster22" Laurent:
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Playability: This is a fun map. It is not hard, if you play it with the 3rd skill level, but it is surely challenging, if you play it with the 4th skill level. A really enjoyable map, that has got some unique moments, such as the battles with the CyberDemon and the Spider Mastermind, which you have to defeat with just few cells and some shotgun shells. It is a little puzzling, i.e. you have to come back to yet-explored areas, in order to get keys, open doors and go on. So, when you think you are blocked, just go back and look for a key or a switch. This is not confusing at all and the author exploited it to put new monsters in yet-explored areas. Although it requires ZDoom, don't expect a "ZDoom gameplay". But there are some ZDoom features, such as slopes, 3D water effects and some simple, but useful ACS scripts. The level lacks story, but this doesn't diminish it. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: This .WAD is characterized by Ruin and Gothic themes, with a little touch of Tech-Base style. It looks beautiful with some nicely detailed areas. Slopes are used extensively and are very useful to make architecture better-looking, such as real arches, bowed rafters and so on. Windows, balconies, pillars and such add a nice touch to the good-looking architecture. Although lighting is well balanced, it is quite plain, without any special lighting or shadowing effect. But, of course, the level is still wonderful. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: As I wrote above, this is not a hard level, but it is surely challenging, with the two unforgettable moments I mentioned above. Ammo is well-balanced: if you don't waste it, it won't run out, although it is not abundant. Health is enough and is placed especially where you really need it. The BFG is easy to find, but you probably won't use it, because you can do the rest of your dirty work without it: in fact, you will have already defeated the hardest monsters, when you get it. So there is nothing to complain at all about difficulty. Good work. Maybe some of you may complain about the fight against the CyberDemon and the Spider Mastermind, because of lack of ammo of Plasma Gun, but the level is challenging because of this and, although you are forced in tight spaces, while fighting against them, cover and health are provided. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: There is the usual orange sky and some other minor textures. Nice the door textures with two skulls and a gargoyle's head. Assessment: 8!

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New music: There is a new background .MIDI, taken from "Hell Revealed 2 Final". It is very relaxing and, although it actually doesn't fit the map, this help you to soothe the nerves and focus on the game. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: This is a level you can't miss, because of its nice graphics and its challenging difficulty. What else should I say? Just: download and play it now! Assessment: 8! Look at its screenshots in the relative section.

 
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"Tremor: Part I - Genesis" by Ross "Zarkyb" Mathieson:
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Playability: If I had to define this .WAD with just one word, I would say that it is "LONG"! It is a very big level and I didn't expect it at all, when I began playing it, because the author defined his level as "medium-sized"; on the contrary I think it is very big. It is non-linear, since you have to come back to areas you have already explored, but not intricated, because the path is quite clear. Puzzles are used to make the search for keys more interesting and they are mixed with continuous battles. Its size and its difficulty, that forces you to save often, make it a bad .WAD in playability. Assessment: 5!

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Graphics: The author wrote that it is his "first proper released map", but his map doesn't look like a job of beginners. On the contrary the layout, the architecture, the detail, the combinations of colours and textures and the lighting are impressive and surprising! In this .WAD I noticed texture combinations which I haven't ever seen before and which look very nice. Architecture is quite simple, apart from some parts, which sometimes resemble "Vrack" levels, but the usage of textures and flats make it good-looking. Some light effects add ambience to the level. Good work. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: This is one of the hardest level I have recently played and reviewed. It is full of monsters, who often are grouped in big hordes, so that difficulty is much more increased. Close and open battles alternate, but the open ones prevail. Ammo and especially health are balanced badly. Ammo is just enough to kill monsters and you'd better save it, otherwise ir could run out. You have to face big monsters from the beginning, but big weapon will appear late! When you get the Plasma Gun and the BFG, don't save its ammo, since it is plentiful, and use them soon, because you really need them and ammo of other weapons could run out. Hateful sniper Chaingunner and teleporting hordes of monsters are the nastiest things of this map. Assessment: 6!

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New graphics: There are some new beautiful textures and flats, which make the level better-looking thanks to its nice colours. There is a new titlepic too, but it is very simple. Assessment: 8!

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New music: The new background music is very "Doomish", but it adds nothing to the ambience and it is nothing special after all. Assessment: 6!

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Overall: I must say that this is not the .WAD I expected when I downloaded it; I hoped to play a more interesting level, but the only thing I appreciated is graphics. I think that the author could have done a better job, especially in the gameplay and difficulty departments. But I am sure that its sequel will be much better! Assessment: 7!

 
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"Void" by Cyb:
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Playability: "Void" is one of the strangest .WAD I've ever played: not only it has got very odd graphics, but it present an unusual gameplay. In fact, it is not the usual Doom 2 .WAD, because its gameplay is based on puzzles and ability more than usual; with "ability" I mean the skill of avoiding traps of various kind and jumping over the... void! If you fall from high floors or just into the void, you will die without any chance. Well... if you survive falling from high rocks, you will have just few health left! This could annoy some Doomers, because this ability usually is not required in Doom 2 maps. There are two parts of the map where you have to avoid a lot of traps, such as presses, crushing walls, floor and ceiling. The author made the atmosphere of the level odd and quite anxious through the use of ZDoom effects and some ACS scripts too, apart from new graphics. At the beginning, a nice sequence introduce you to its story. The usage of keys is strange, since you don't need them to open doors, but you must collect and place each of them on a sort of shelf; once you deposit them all on it, you will gain access to a teleport. There is a moment, when you even have to make yourself smaller and this is the oddest thing I've ever seen in a .WAD! The last oddity is the fight against a marine, armed with a Double-Shotgun, like you; but he is much faster than you. Maybe you are asking: how can we define this .WAD? Simply "uncanny"! Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: As I wrote above, this .WAD has got odd graphics too: there are strange textures, flats, colours; the same architecture is not the usual: it is not Gothic, Medieval, tech-based, hellish or anything else; maybe it can't be defined. Nevertheless it is nice, although it is quite simple and not so detailed. But texture and colour combinations are good and ZDoom effects add a nice touch to the map. So it is not architecture that makes this map good-looking, but new textures and flats, which are used wisely. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: As for monsters, the level is not hard at all, even if monsters are well-placed. The worst fight was that against Spiders. Yikes! That was terrible, especially because you are forced to fight in a small place (you are smaller in that situation!). On the contrary, the fight against the CyberDemon was quite easy, because you were provided with the Plasma Gun. Obviously the final battle against the Heresiarch (a new monster!) was hard too, especially because he uses several kinds of attack and he sometimes is invulnerable; moreover some monsters suddenly appear while you are fighting against the Heresiarch. But, after all, you are provided with health and ammo during the battle. But what makes this .WAD difficult and, sometimes, annoying too is the continuous risk of falling into the void. So remeber to save often. Ammo is scarce and health is hardly enough. You know the rule: don't waste ammo and be careful. Moreover there are some tricks and traps scattered through the level: you must be careful and quick to avoid them. All in all this is a very challenging .WAD, whose only flaw is the continuous risk of falling into the void. Assessment: 9!

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New monsters: There are several new monsters, probably all taken from "Hexen": they are floating "Bishops", burning bats, flying torsos of dead warriors, Spiders and the "Heresiarch", plus a new strengthened Imp, called Black Imp, who fires two kinds of fireballs, the pink one of which is more dangerous. The "Heresiarch" has multiple attacks, which can hurt you very much, if you are not careful. As for the other new monsters, they are not very strong; but they can be troublesome when they attack in hordes. They all look good. I am sure that the author spent a lot of time to import each monster, with its behaviour. Good work. Assessment: 10!

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New weapons: There are a more powerful fist, taken from "Hexen", and a new weapon that replaces the BFG, "The Unmaker", which uses Demon's Hearts as ammo. Probably it is less powerful than BFG, since you need to use other weapons to defeat the "Heresiarch", although it is so powerful, that you can die, if the "Heresiarch" reflects your shot. It is quite nice, although it lacks of animation. It was originally designed by Espi, but probably Scuba Steve implemented it for the author. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: There are lots of new textures, flats, sprites and so on. I think that most of them are taken from various games, as the author wrote in the .txt file, such as "Doom Raider: Crypt of the Vile", "Hexen" and "Blood". But some other sprites, such as those of the Dark Imp and of the new weapon, are borrowed from Nanami and Scuba Steve. They all look good! There are also new titlepic, interpic and credit picture. They are nice too. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are new sounds, related to new monsters, their attacks, new weapons. I think ther are good, although some of them are just a little too low and deep. Assessment: 9!

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New music: The new soundtrack fit the level nicely, creating a misterious atmosphere. Very nice. It is "Exquisite" by TSEC. The title music is replaced too: it is the catchy "It's Night Forever" by DipA. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: Phew! This is the longest review I have ever written. But it was worth it! "Void" is one of the strangest, but also one of the best .WADs I have ever played and reviewed: nice grahpics, although it is not detailed, challenging difficulty, new nice monsters, weapons, graphics, sounds and music make this .WAD unique. You can't miss it. And I must congratulate Cyb on his great job: congratulations! Assessment: 9!

 
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"Sin City" by Ed Cripps:
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Playability: After dealing with a lot of big maps and sets of levels, now it's time to deal with a little, but high-quality level. This is a ZDoom .WAD and it implements some of its features, including ACS scripts, which make this map funnier. It has got an intense gameplay, with a lot of action, although it is little and monsters are few. Switch puzzles make it more interesting. But there's one odd puzzle: the "mistery of the Red Key", as I call it: after finding Blue Key and unlocking flood gates, I got stuck for some minutes, till I understood the meaning of the last sentence of the last script sequence! I think the author could have made it clearer. Apart from this "flaw", it is a good level. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: The name of the .WAD is misleading, since the set of the level is not a city, actually. I think the map is set in a sort of underground temple or such a thing, with a nice Gothic style, made up mainly of brown bricks, rocks and metal. Architecture is nicely detail and the author made it great-looking through the usage of fine arches, columns, windows, nice torches, high lava falls and other little details. Colour and texture combinations are good. Lighting is well-turned, with nice effects. Assessment: 10!

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Difficulty: This level is not hard, even better it is quite easy, but well-placed monsters and stealth Imps and Demons may take you by surprise. Most of battles are open, but there are also some close fights. Sometimes it's possible to exploit infighting, but ammo is enough and health is scattered throughout the level. There aren't any power-ups, apart from the Backpack of Ammo, provided at the beginning, and the Soul Sphere (in the secret area), which can be reached easily, if you have a look at the map. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: The author used both original Doom 2 textures and flats and some new ones, made by himself. There are also some new sprites. A new titlepic replaces the original Doom 2 one. They are nothing special, even if they are good. Assessment: 9!

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New music: The new background music is quite haunting and obsessive. It's not bad, but it becomes soon monotonous and haunting. Assessment: 8!

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New sounds: In the .txt file the author wrote that there are new sounds, but I couldn't find any new sounds, while playing the .WAD; so there is no assessment.

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Overall: It is a nice little level, fun to play, because it is not hard; moreover it has got a great-looking architecture, which gives it a never-seen-before atmosphere, strengthened by "ZDoomish" gameplay. Assessment: 9! Look at its screenshots in the relative section.

 
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"New World" by Daniel:
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Playability: It is a set of 7 levels of high quality: every map presents different gameplay, so that it doesn't get monotonous. There both big and little levels, but they always require some time to finish them. Although the .WAD is not a ZDoom one, it requires a source port that enables you to jump, such as ZDoom and Legacy, since you need to jump to get keys, ammo and powerups. So don't expect ZDoom effects and elaborate gameplay. Since every map is different from the others, you'll have to use various fighting techniques. There are several puzzles, mainly based on switches and search of keys. You'll have to explore every part of the levels, to finish them. As for secrets, always full with power-ups, health and ammo, most of them are quite obvious and easy to find; bu there are also some well-hidden secret areas. Some power-ups are provided along the way, especially Invisibility. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: I liked this .WAD especially as for architecture, which is quite realistic. The main themes are naturalist, Gothic and Medieval, which mix very well. The main settings are castles and fortresses, which you have to take by storm; but there are also lots of caverns, canyons, rivers and so on. Pillars, columns, windows, balconies, battlements, slits make all the levels quite detailed, although detail level is not high, since new textures, flats and sprites, which are used very well, make maps good-looking. Lighting is neglected: there is always the same level of lighting and there are no special effects. Anyway, this .WAD is still a nice one. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: As I wrote above, every map is different from the others and this makes the .WAD a difficult one, although it is not very hard. Every time you face a new level, you have to change your figthing technique, since that you can't foresee monsters' placement and behaviour. Open battles stand out above close ones. The latter are more frequent in caverns, whereas the former in open areas around castles and fortresses. Health is scattered throughout the levels, so that you shouldn't have any problem with it; but look after sniper Chaingunners, Revenants and horde of monsters, which sometimes are simultaneously placed in the same placed, so that crossfire could hurt you  seriously. Ammo is enough, especially if you find secret areas, some of which are quite obvious and easy to find. Sometimes these secret areas could be very useful, since they are full with ammo, health and power-ups, some of which are scattered throughout the maps too. Big and little monsters are mixed together and you sometimes you can exploit infighting to save ammo and health. Ultimately, it is not a very hard .WAD, but there are some nasty and hateful moments, which you prefer to avoid. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: There are lots of new nice textures (including new skies), flats and sprites, which make all the maps good-looking and detailed, although architecture is not complex. There are also new titlepic (a very nice one!), interpic and level names. Assessment: 10!

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New music: All the .MUS files of new levels are replaced with new ones, which don't fit the levels well: some of them are not bad, but sometimes they can even annoy you. Assessment: 6!

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New sounds: In the .txt file the author wrote that there are new sounds, but I couldn't find any new sounds, while playing the .WAD; so there is no assessment.

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Overall: It is not a great .WAD, but it is worth playing. Its stronghold is the nice graphics, strengthen by new textures, flats and sprites. As for difficulty, the maps are neither hard, nor easy: they are quite challenging, but experienced Doomers will have no problems. Assessment: 8!

 
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"The City of the Damned" by Daniel "Tormentor667" Gimmer:
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Playability: This time I am dealing with a very playable .WAD. As its name says, the level is set in a city, more exactly in a town, with Medieval and Gothic style. So you will play in big open areas, where you can range through; unlike Virgil The Doom Poet's "Claustrophobia", here you will often have to face up open battles and to manage several fronts. At the beginning you haven' got a specific path to follow, but it will be realized little by little, so that you can discover most of the city before beginning your specific missions. Although this .WAD runs with ZDoom and exploits some of its features and ACS scripting, it is not the .WAD you could expect, since it lacks a story and a particular development (through ACS scripts). But it has a good gameplay: in fact, at the beginning you are free to roam about the city, then you'll have to find all the keys and, while searching for them, you'll have to follow some "switch paths", as I call the sequences of switches to press in order to solve puzzles, as weel as fighting against monsters. The only flaw is a ZDoom bug in the final showdown, when you fall in the void area: suddenly ZDoom crashes. Unfortunately this forces me to lower the assessment. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: This is one of the most impressive and greatest .WAD I've ever played in my long Doom experience. It competes with some other .WADs (such as "Sacrifice in Blood" and "Hell Factory" and other ones in development) for the graphic supremacy. Grandiose Gothic and hellish architecture, great care of details, fine combinations of textures, flats and colours, painstaking lighting and shading. What else?! It is simply fantastic: I could notice no errors. Excellent work. I offer the author my congratulations on his fine job. Assessment: 10! Don't you believe me?! Then look at its screenshots in the relative section.

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Difficulty: Even in this aspect Tormentor667's .WAD don't disappoint: in fact, the author managed to create a very challenging level: it is not hard, although there are some tough moments, but it is not even easy. Open battles prevail over close ones; for that matter, the map is set in a town... There is a nice mix of harder and weaker monsters, which alternate so that you can't know how gameplay and difficulty develops. There are lots of Imps, Zombies, Shotgun Guys and Chaingunner, but Cacos, Hell Knights and Baron of Hells are over there. Health is not scarce, but it is scattered: if you are careful, Medikits and Stimpacks are more than enough. As for ammo, it can run out, if you waste it; so be precise when you take aim. The toughest moments are those with Arch-Viles: they are deadly and they always appear suddenly; so "be quick... or be dead", as "Iron Maiden" teach. The final showdown with 2 CyberDemons is extremely challenging and fun, but you'll have to take out all your Doom skill, in order to beat them. Assessment: 10!

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New graphics: This .WAD reached the highest assessment in the "Graphics" department thanks to new great-looking graphics: in fact, the author used only new fine textures and flats, which make this level unique. They were taken and converted from "Blood" by Monolith Production. I must congratulate the author on the fine usage of them. There is also a new titlepic Assessment: 10!

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New music: There is a new nice track by "Lexus Asylus", that fits the map very well. The same author defined it as an "ambience and moody .OGG" and "amazing". Oh... and it changes when you are teleported in the final arena. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: There are some new sounds too: I think they come from "Heretic", that you surely know. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: We all know the value of this fantstic level, by this time. I think this is the most beautiful .WAD with Gothic/Medieval theme and style ever: great-looking architecture, fine usage of new graphic resource, nice ambience music, new good sounds and challenging difficulty. Are you asking for more? Well... maybe gameplay could have been improved, but this is one of the greatest .WAD ever. I would have liked to give an overall 10 to it, but unfortunately it didn't reached it! I assigned the "shooting soldier" (or "you can't do better!") symbol to it, but the author must know that he really can do better... in gameplay! But he deserves my congratulations.  Assessment: 9.5!

 
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"Claustrophobia" by Virgil The DOOM Poet:
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Playability: Before dealing with this .WAD, please notice that I distinguished playability from gameplay! As for playability itself, it is striclty linked with gameplay and difficulty and there are lots of things to discuss about; but I am going to be concise. If I had to define it with just one word, it could be defined as "unplayable", or rather "unfinishable", because the whole .WAD is quite playable, but the final bosses of the 3rd and 4th levels are impossible to overcome! In particular, I am referring to those great magical spells, which are impressive to view (nice graphic effects!), but also impossible to avoid and overrun! Maybe you'll prefer using cheat codes, as I did to win those battles. For instance, the CyberDemon, called Kargoros, is beatable, till it reaches around 400 health points, when it begins to shoot many Hell Knight's fireballs continuously and it is vulnerable for too short time spans (but I don't want to spoil the .WAD for you!). As for the Spider Master Mind, called Mediev, it is even worse, mainly because it is vulnerable for too short time and... but I can't tell spoil it too for you. As for the rest of the levels, it is not bad at all, in spite of claustrophobic narrowness! Probably, you will not always respect Virgil's gameplay rule of using only "auto-savegames", in order to prevent from starting too much time before! Assessment: 5!

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Gameplay: The story wrote by the author in the .txt file is nice and convincing and I liked how Virgil developed it during the game, through the use of dialogues, interacting and cinematic scenes, ACS scripts and other ZDoom effects. Good work. The settings of every level are finely sketched out and I liked how they changed, every time you pass on. Moreover, there are some other novelties introduced into the .WAD, such as coloured monsters and things, special graphic effects and so on. Excellent work. Dehacked and MapInfo patches implements some other nice novelties. Assessment: 10!

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Graphics: This is the stronghold of "Claustrophobia", together with gameplay: I have never seen such an hellish architecture in my Doom experience: it is very impressive and great-looking, with a special care of colour combinations and height proportions. But the author managed to create nice tech-themed maps too. Detail reaches one of the highest levels I've ever seen, especially as for those chairs and computers in the second map: they are fantastic! As for lighting, Virgil took care to reach high levels of detail, although he didn't reach the same levels as John Washbrun's "Sascrifice in blood" or other great .WADs. About graphic error, I just noticed few little HOM effects, which can probably be fixed with a better node-building. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: This is another bad feature of this .WAD: it wouldn't be too hard, if it hadn't got such nasty hard bosses. Even if you are always forced to fight in narrow places and there are no open battles, if you know your personal technique and how to disentangle yourself in such situations, it isn't too difficult. Revenants and Imps teleporting behind you could give you some problems, especially when this happens while you're fighting with another enemy in front of you, so that you're closed. And there are also some moments, when you are sorrounded everywhere by monsters, such as Lost Soul, and you must push your way through this crowd with the ammo adn weapons you have got, hoping they are enough! But what makes this .WAD impossible is not tight space, but the final bosses, especially those of 3rd and 4th level, because of their awful spells: they are not "aesthetically ugly", but "awfully hard"! Moreover, although they are usually placed in big arenas, the latter ones are actually limited by void space, that kills you immediately without any chance, if you fall in it! Assessment: 5!

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New monsters: The Nazi is replaced with the new powerful final boss: I like it, because it has a good-looking aspect. It is awfully strong. But I am considering  its new sprites mostly for its assessment, so here is the assessment it deserves: Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: There are new nice flats and skies, together with new titlepic, endpic and message screens, although the last ones are nothing special. Assessment: 9!

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New music: Every map has new music... or rather, every situation has its music and this is very helpful and useful to create the right atmopshere, although it could annoy you a little, during the greatest battles (such as in the last challenge with the CyberDemon in the 2nd level!). Nice job, after all. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: I think this is not a .WAD worth playing twice or more times. However, it deserves a try, but anything else. It is awesome for its impressive architecture and nice graphics, but its difficulty is more than challenging: it is too hard. Again: final bosses are tediously impossible to defeat! Assessment: 8!

 
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"Crusades" by Richard Wiles:
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Playability: This is an interesting Ultimate Doom episode, featuring a nice gameplay, although I like Doom 2 more than its prequel. You'll have to face big monsters without the Super-Shotgun, but there aren't some monsters too. But you know this better than me. It changes all the maps of Episode 4 with very nice ones, not only for their graphics, but even because of their gameplay, made interesting by puzzles, battles and showdowns. You'll find the biggest weapon in the last map, but maybe you will not use it, as I did. Secret areas are well placed: some are easy to find, but there are other secret areas I couldn't find. By the way, I couldn't find direct access to the secret level, but I played it for you, after finishing all the other ones. I think all the levels can be played from scratch, but I suggest this only to experienced Doomers, since I played the secret level  from scratch and it was an wearing experience. Assessment: 8!

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Graphics: All the levels show a nice architecture, finely detailed with all sorts of decorations: columns, pillars, arches, windows, balconies, bridges, crosses and so on. Gothic and hellish themes prevail, although you can notice a touch of nukage and tech-base styles somewhere. Lighting is painstaking, especially in the dark levels: there are also some shadow effects too. The style is not very realstic, but the author created a very nice set of good-looking levels. Good work. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: I played every map in sequence, although I think the .WAD could be played from scratch, since every map is provided with each weapons, except for the BFG and, somewhere, for the Plasma Gun. Playing all the levels in sequence is obviously much easier than playing all them from scratch, since you have got ammo and health from the previous map, apart from all the weapons. Ammo and health are balanced so that you have got just enough to survive in each level. Power-ups aren't easy to find and they are usually hidden in secret areas. Monsters are well-placed, so that you can get scared every time you go round the corner. Stay alert and don't waste ammo: this is my suggestion. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: There are some new great textures and flats, which the author used in the first map mostly: they are taken from various sources and Quake. The author created a new nice titlepic too. Assessment: 10!

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New sounds: This .WAD features new sounds too: they change the noises of pistol, shotgun chaingun, the noise of the teleporter and that you make when you fall. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: Although this is the first add-on for Utlimate Doom I have ever played, I think it is one of the best: nice gameplay, good graphics, challenging difficulty. You can't ask more from such a .WAD. Assessment: 9! Look at its screenshots in the relative section: there's one for each level.

 
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"In A World" by Chris "c-cooper" Hansen:
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Playability: Like Chris's most recent .WADs, this one is quite long too! It is very big and it will take you a lot of time, even because it is not simple. It is based mostly on puzzles and sometimes you don't know where to go, unless the switch you press activates an object in the same area. It is very complex, but fairly linear: you'll just have to go around to the level not only to solve puzzles, but even to search for health, whose balance is very tight, apart from some power-ups in the dangerous areas. Chris's gameplay it is not at its high level and I think he could have done somthing better. Moreover, Chris didn't provide us a story and a specific setting, which I think to be important features for a Doom level. Assessment: 6!

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Graphics: Since the level lacks a story and, most of all, a specific setting, it doesn't present a specific architecture and a precise texture theme. This could be also confusing, but Chris managed to give an order to his ideas, creating various themes, which mix together: hellish, space-port, tech-base, sewerage, nukage area and a touch of Gothic. Anyway, architecture is always finely detailed with arches, pillars, columns, windows, balconies, a big tower. Moreover textures are always put near according to colour combinations, which makes the level much more beautiful. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: This is the "stronghold" of this .WAD: an extreme challenging level, with continuous battles, both in big and tight areas. It is quite impossible to finish it without dying even once: there are lots of hateful Revenants, hideous Lost Souls and Hell Knights, apart from big troops of Imps. Watch out for Arch-Viles, which can trouble your way. Ammo is quite abundant, if you are thrifty: so it is not a problem. I suggest that you exploit often infightings, in order to save ammo and health, that is little and scattered. Power-ups are placed in the areas where you need them, although you might want to save them for next battles. Some secrets are easy to find and very helpful. Some battles are a little too hard and you'll have to repeat them several times, in order to survive them. I was near to forget one thing: Chris forbade us to use the Super-Shotgun and this make some battles even more harder. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: There are some good novelties, such as a night sky, a nice titlepic and a fine interpic. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: When I downloaded it, I expect a .WAD with good gameplay, impressive architecture and challenging difficulty. I was disappointed in some things, especially as for gameplay. Looking at the published screenshots, I expected a much more imposing architecture: I discovered a less impressive architecture, but fine and detailed. I sweated a lot before finishing this map and I liked the smell of my sweat, when I finished it: it is a challenging map and you will be satisfied with yourselves, after finishing it. Overall, it is a good map. Assessment: 8!

 
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"Reanimated" by Karthik and Varun Abhiram:
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Playability: What can you expect from two .WADsters, like Katrhik and Varun Abhiram? Obviously a fun .WAD and this one won't disappoint you. It is a 2-map .WAD: probably the first by Karthik and the second by his brother Varun, because the style of the first map is typical of Karthik, whereas the second has the characteristical difficulty of Varun's levels. They are based mainly on the "monsters-switch-monsters-door"® technique, but it is not so simple and banal, because a lot of surprise will amaze you. Wait for some nasty tricks and traps, such as the "monsters-teleporting-behind-you"® technique. Both the levels have a very nice gameplay, like every Karthik's and Varun's maps. Probably the second level is intended to be played from scratch, but I played the second map after the first, since I am a little "rusty". Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: As for the first map, it shows the typical Karthik's mix of textures, but which fit each other very nicely, without creating confusion. In this way, Karthik managed to mix well every kind of textures, so that his level really resembles a nukage base, with a touch of "tech-base" style. I liked very much the architecture, always finely detailed: balconies, light sources, cables, tubes and so on. Lighting is painstaking: Karthik balanced nicely dark and light areas. As for the second map, brown and metal textures prevail, although there are nice combinations of other colours too, such as black and blue, blue and grey, brown and grey. Architecture is detailed through the use of pipes, cables and pillars. Here lighting is painstaking too: the environment is mainly dark, but it is brightened by some intense souce lights. Nice job. Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: This set of two levels is really challenging: they are not very long, but they will take you some time to finish them alive. The first part of Karthik's map is quite easy, apart from some "surprises"; difficulty grows in the second part, with a huge amount of monsters, many of which are more harder than before. But you can exploit infighting to make things easier and to save ammo, which is just sufficient. Health is scarce too, whereas power-ups and heavier weapons are offered, when you need them. I played the second map after playing the first (so: not from scratch): be careful with the Arch-Vile and with suddenly teleporting monsters, especially the Cyber-Demon. Health is scarce and ammo is enough, if you play it after the first map. Assessment: 9!

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New graphics: Apart from some new textures, there are new titlepic, interpic and level names, all well-made or taken by Varun. As for the intermission picture, it is quite odd, but nice. Assessment: 8!

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New music: According to Karthik, this set of 2 levels was born to exploit some Linkin Park MIDIs; in fact it takes its name from an album of Linkin Park. There are: new title screen music ("In the End"), new intermission screen music ("One Step Closer"), new map01 and map02 music ("Faint" and "Somewhere I Belong") and new ZDoom victory screen ("Crawling"). As for level music, it is good and it make both the levels more "challenging". Assessment: 9!

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Overall: A great .WAD, that you can't miss of course, whether you prefer good-looking maps or challenging levels. It is a fun showdown for every Doomer and it shows a nicely detailed architecture, which will enjoy everybody. See its screenshots in the relative section and download it! Assessment: 9!

 
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"Their selfish realms" by Samuel "Kaiser" Villareal:
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Playability: Not a bad one. This .WAD offers a nice gameplay, exploiting some tricky effects to enhance its difficulty and atmosphere: teleporting monsters, suddenly-closing doors and so on. The map is not linear and it is fairly complex, though you'll never get lost. The author tried to and managed to create several "surprise attacks": so be careful and look over your shoulder, otherwise you will be killed just after few minutes. I suggest that you save very often. At the beginning you can choose four different routes, but one of  them is idle: according to which path you choose, the level become easier or harder, but at last you must come back to the start, since all the four routes but one will become idle, and follow the route that the author defined as the main path, in order to complete the level. Assessment: 7!

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Graphics: This level doesn't show a great architecture: just few parts of it are impressive, such as the start area, and probably the author preferred to create a challening level instead of a good-looking one. A main theme is missing and the author used a lot of textures: metal, wood, brick, hellish and so on; but he mixed them in a nice way, so that they don't look ugly. But this prevents you from understanding where the level is set: maybe an invaded tech-base?! The combination of colours is good too. Lighting is simple but nice. Unfortunately, I found some little HOM effects! Assessment: 6!

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Difficulty: Probably the best thing of this .WAD is difficulty: it is a very challenging level and even experienced players will have some problems to finish it. What makes this level hard is the ammo balance: it is very scarce and you must be careful, in order to save as much ammo as possible. Health is quite balanced, but it is scattered. You will find big monsters very soon: you will fight against Hell Knights, Revenants and Mancubi, just after few minutes. But Cacodemons and Pain Elementals are the most hateful monsters. Sniper chaingunners could be threatening, if you don't kill immediately. There are both open and close battles, but all of them are hard. Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: There are some new textures and some new nice flats too. There is even a new purple sky: not a great one...! Assessment: 8!

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New music: There is a new .MUS file: it is taken from the PS game "Star Ocean 2". It is very good. Assessment: 9!

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Overall: If you like detailed levels, this .WAD won't satisfy you at all, since its architecture is very simple. But if you are looking for a real challenge, then you can't miss this. Assessment: 7.5!

 
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"Vrack 3" by Fredrik Johansson:
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Playability: Surely this .WAD is a good one as for gameplay, though it doesn't present any ZDoom effects or ACS scripts; but it presents nice Boom effects, which the author managed very well, in order to create a complex level. This map isn't linear at all, since you'll have to explore it far and wide, and it is a continual coming and going: but it isn't monotonous, because of the appearance of new monsters. Yes, it is mainly based on the "activate-a-switch-and-go-ahead!" method, but its unlinearity makes it a nice map. You won't ever encounter problems to find what you should do, though once I didn't find a switch, which was behind a corner, so that I didn't see it immediately! I liked most what I call "The Platform Puzzle", that is a puzzle, with switches activating several platforms, you will have to solve in order to get the Blue Key. It is incredible how the author managed to create such a gameplay without using ZDoom features and ACS scripts. Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: As its prequels, this level is simply awesome! A painstaking architecture, with a high detail level (smoothed corners, columns, windows, balconies and so on), an excellent lighting, a good choice and combination of textures, flats and colours make this level very impressive. Though the author used always the same grey theme, the level doesn't look monotonous, because the author mixed the textures in many different ways, used textures with different shades of grey, and put near different colours (such as the yellow and black strip, the various blue, red and green computers) in order to break the grey theme and lighten up the places. Lighting is very good, but I was looking forward to special lighting effects (such as the sequential lights in "Vrack 2"), which I didn't find. You can believe me just by looking at the screenshots or playing the level itself. I noticed no errors, apart from just one graphical glitch (a sort of HOM effect), but I was warned in the .txt file! Assessment: 9!

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Difficulty: Now I am going to deal with not an easy topic! "Vrack 3" isn't hard as its previous episodes, but it is somewhat difficult. While exploring the level, it isn't too hard, since it presents easy battles with Zombies, Shotgun Sergeants and Imps, but also the fights against Knights and Barons of Hell or Revenants (unless they come in hordes!) are quite easy. But the most terrible things are traps and the sudden appearance of spawning monsters, which usually catch you unawares! And the author used this effect intensively and very often: so remember to keep eyes wide, when you are exploring an apparently empty area. But though you soon understand when spawning monsters are coming, you won't ever get used to this. Health is quite scarce and you'll find power-ups only when you need them, i.e. after terrible fights. Ammo balance isn't bad, but don't waste your ammo, unless you want to get into trouble! Fights in open battlefield alternate with those in narrow places. The battle I preferred is that against the Cyber-Demon! On the contrary, the fight I didn't like is that with the horde of Revenants in what I call "The Laser Maze" (in the Restricted Area), though you are provided with a MegaSphere. The final battle isn't easy at all and you'll have to push your way through enemy with the best weapon you got (but I used the Plasma Gun, though I had got the BFG). In short, if you are an experienced player I suggest that you play it in "Ultra-Violence"; most of you will enjoy it in "Hurt me plenty", though some of you may want to play it in lower skill levels. However, this .WAD isn't easy at all! Assessment: 8!

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New graphics: The author used several textures and flats made by himself; but many of these "new" textures and flats are simply modified original textures. However, he made an excellent work. There is a new sprite (a chain) too. Assessment: 10!

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New music: Yes, the .WAD presents a new .MUS file: but it is a new one, since it isn't the same as "Vrack" and "Vrack 2". It is very nice and helps to set the level. Assessment: 10!

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Overall: It is a great .WAD: a great-looking level, with excellent new graphics and new nice music, though maybe it is a little too hard! However it is a superb .WAD, a work of art, that you can't miss it. See its screenshots in the relative section and download it! Assessment: 9!

 
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"Dark 7" by Bryant Robinson:
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Playability: Again we are going to deal with a ZDoom-compatible .WAD, which obviously develops a really nice gameplay, thanks to speical ZDoom effects and ACS scripts. The author created a nice mission pack, thanks to ACS scripingt: in fact, in each level you have to accomplish one or two missions, following the instructions appearing on your monitor or declared by "voice". You'll have to activate two or three switches to drain rooms, to stop a train, to rise a bridge or to gain access to a room. You'll have to explore the whole bases you reach in order to complete the switch sequence and find the exit. At last you'll have to eliminate the Spider Mastermind to complete your mission pack. ZDoom effects help to create a nice atmosphere: coloured lighting, deep water, earthquakes, ambient sounds and some other effects. Though this is not the best ZDoom .WAD I've ever played, it is one of the best ones anyway. The best level of this .WAD is the third, which is set in a travelling cargo-train: it is really nice and it is made by exploting ZDoom effects, such as scrolling walls and floor. Congratulations, Bryant: A nice idea! Assessment: 9!

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Graphics: When I began to play this .WAD, it reminded me of "Quake". In fact, it presents the same environments and the same atmosphere as those of "Quake". But I think that probably the author took inspiration from "Unreal Tournament" (which I haven't ever played), because he took new sounds from this game. Anyway, the lighting and the graphics recall those of "Quake": in fact, the author used a low lighting level and a simple, but impressive architecture! The levels are not very detailed, but the new textures (taken from "Nightmare1"), their combinations and the arrangement of colours, together with ZDoom effects (such as coloured lighting), create really good-looking maps. Unfortunately I noticed a small visual bug in one of the levels set in ice-caverns: probably it is a missing texture! However this is a nice-looking .WAD and it deserves a high assessment. Assessment: 8!

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Difficulty: I played this level with the 3rd skill level, as I usually do when I play new levels for the first time... and it wasn't easy at all! You have to fight against nasty monsters (such as Revenants) since the first level; ammo is well balanced, but take care you don't run out of it! Health is well balanced too, but it is scatttered and you may want to come back to search for Medikits. But the worst thing is the placement of monsters: they are always well placed and hidden and they can attack you from behind, if you are not careful. So always move with great care and attention. For instance, once you'll have to emerge from deep water and then attack immediately two Mancubi, which will be waiting for you on dry land, before they kill you. In this situation you must be very quick and hiding yourself under water is quite useless, because the Mancubi can see and kill you from their position. So there are both open and close battles: