15/10/2007 @16:24:09 ^17:41:42

Wonderful Doom

I was quite excited when I saw this one just appear in /newstuff one morning. Imagine, someone's remade all four episodes of The Ultimate Doom. There's no hype, it's just here, and ready to play. And I really like remakes of IWAD maps and other well-known ones.

To begin with it lived up to expectations. Episode 1 remakes are always welcome and this is no exception. The maps are similar enough to Doom to be instantly recognisable but different enough to be fresh. It's very easy, but they all are. E1M8 and E1M9 were trickier though. The former in particular had a really nasty start.

After episode 1 the trend for extremely top-heavy maps continues. From a pistol start, I found many to require a significant amount of luck to get going, but if you can get past the initial fights and build up resources, the ends of the maps are easy. E4M6 was a good example. Perhaps they are intended to be played as a mission run with ammunition carried forward, rather than from scratch.

Furthermore, later episodes just weren't quite as inventive; the maps become just a bit too similar to the originals. I suppose when you've made 20 maps you might start running out of ideas. Still, it captures the mood well, in particular its E2M6 replacement was just as tense as I remember the original being. I also really liked the concept of E3M9 - just what you'd expect, but then again, not...

It's natural to compare any remake with its inspiration; here there are definitely one or two maps that might even be slightly better, but for most I'll just prefer the IWAD. Many would argue that the originals are better just because they're the originals, of course. One more thing, there were a couple of minor ZDoomisms; however, none prevented the maps from being conquered (in fact if I recall correctly they were all type 46 gun doors that lacked tags)

Still, I can highly recommend playing this wad. It's not every day a project of this magnitude arrives, especially these days, so I must give it plaudits.

Project A.E.S.W. (Another E1 Style Wad)

I found this one while looking through the archive and recognising the filename; I ran it and the start looked vaguely familiar. Turns out I had started it in early 2004 but evidently never finished it.

It's a small techbase style map, not particularly E1-themed despite the title. Indeed it is pretty much entirely divided into separate rooms, although these are not underdetailed, and the route you take through them is affords the right amount of height differences, backtracking, and area reuse.

The gameplay isn't bad. The difficulty level is tricky but doable. The trap at the end is really obvious but there are some earlier places that may catch you out. I quite liked the plasma gun secret because you can see it from the start. Worth a play.

< Toms Road >

Strange. 10 levels in varied circumstances. The first is your house, and several of its neighbours, overrun by demons. Others have a more military, urban, or even old west setting.

Some of the sounds have been replaced. The pistol/chaingun is excessively loud compared to others, and jars after a while. The author appears obsessed with his own image, and pints of beer; there are many sprites replaced with images of him goofing around in various ways, along with motorbikes, spades, and wheelbarrows. Other than that though it's a serious wad; indeed I can't decide if it's meant to be a joke wad, or not.

The gameplay is tough and borders on frustrating; although there is a massive overabundance of ammunition, the monster density can be extremely high, and the first level in particular is one of those where you can't stop taking damage from unseen monsters. The difficulty can vary wildly and the whole experience was irritating. Also I suspect it was designed for an engine with freelook and proper 3d thing clipping due to some of the more excessive height differences; the city map where you can't move because of cacodemons high above you springs to mind.