t/nc goes communal
Yeah you can go to the /newstuff Chronicles page and submit your own reviews. Apparently they're okay with copypasting previously published material into the system - I'm not sure I'll do this, though. Having a bigger audience might be interesting but I can never be bothered with taking screenshots. Plus then what the hell would I post here?
Anyway, while I ponder, here's a wad:
Community wad developed in a single thread. Replaces the first eleven maps of Doom2, and needs Boom. Had some release problems including being released early and full of ZDoomisms (I admit I didn't pay much attention to the thread - I was kind of expecting something like that to happen, given some of the previous work of the thread poster)
However then they did version 2, which seems better. I'd probably better do each map individually...
Onset This is a 1024x1024 map that's also kind of a puzzle map. That is, a long switch quest. Despite the small size I often found myself unable to easily find the next switch; for example the second (iirc) switch is quite hard to press, being at the back of quite a wide ledge, so I thought you had to find a way to jump onto the ledge. Other switches are hard to spot due to only being visible at an angle that require you to use mouselook to see them. Also, there's a couple hidden in the floor which you can press out of order due to Doom's lack of proper height checking. Resistance is fairly low, this is a puzzle map after all, although there's one baron that scared the hell out of me when it suddenly popped up.
Operation Zero Nicely detailed hell-corrupted techbase kind of thing. The texturing is pretty much flawless and I liked the little bits of hellish weirdness embedded into the walls. However it plays awkwardly due to being cramped, full of traps, monsters with bullet weapons that sap your health, and not many pickups to replace said health. You will die and get fed up of having to wait for the lift at the start to descend. The ending, past the yellow door, is better, although the final switch and ensuing large teleporter can be skipped (you can sort of climb up to the exit anyway)
The Hunt This one could be a base on an alien world. Complex route that crosses over itself and glimpses that draw you in. Full of nooks and crannies too. An intriguing-looking building on the other side of a canyon - sadly it appears to be inaccessible, I spent ages looking for a teleporter... However the Wolfenstein area was a bit pointless and random, and what I can only assume is a tribute to wow.wad (a bfg in a pit with missing lower textures) was just stupid (not to mention very hard to get into) Other than that, an enjoyable map that doesn't skimp on monsters or the resources with which to kill them, and which rises to a decent crescendo at its end.
Den of the Beast E3-style hell castle, with surrounding caves and canyons and so on. Does some clever things with floor scrollers to teleport corpses around so they can be resurrected at unfortunate moments. However it has a serious gameplay flaw - a complete lack of useful weapons. If I have to pistol more than 2-3 small monsters I get bored, so the only way I could bring myself to bother playing was to gift myself a chaingun at the start. It seems like you're meant to have one, there's enough bullets to pick up. It finally grants you a chainsaw just before facing a spiderdemon (blatant ZDoom gameplay change) then gives you a super shotgun when there's about a dozen monsters left.
Base Construction The major part of this map is a huge flooded canyon. There are various side areas, one of which you start in, and each of which contains a switch - when all of these side areas have been done, a bridge will have been raised over the canyon and you can get the key you need to exit the level. At least one switch is hard to get to, requiring a long series of jumps that must be repeated in entirety if you miss a single one. A bigger problem is ammunition and health at the start - this map is very top-heavy. Not brilliant, but not bad. Finally I do wonder why there is a huge cache of cells and spheres at the extreme far end of the map, but with no way to get at it.
Hellstorm Workshop I don't know what this one is, it's not computery enough to be a techbase but there's metal everywhere so let's call it industrial. What there is though is massive amounts of detail linedefs including one of the most intricately-made 3d bridges I've seen. Vaguely reminiscent of CC3 map12 although a lot smaller. The gameplay is tough, I found UV to be an exercise in savegame reloads and frustration. You can't take much damage at all but the traps will damage you a lot. Slightly top-heavy, the yellow key area was definitely the most annoying. It got slightly easier after that, even the two cyberdemons weren't that much of a problem although I was very timid around the archviles in the exit room because there are so many of them.
Devil's Pit We're in hell! Specifically first we have to hop around some floating islands in space. It's pretty easy to miss the jumps and fall. Then you have to go round the corridors and cramped rooms of a smallish hell castle. This map has next to no health and ammo on it, I gave up trying to bother with 100% kills. Not a great map, really.
The Demons Inside One of those bases that's mostly outside, and some caves underneath. Unfortunately the wide-open nature of the start makes the map very top-heavy - the zombies overlooking the main area do not help with this, although there's a partial invisibility secret which can help you reduce damage taken and infighting is fairly easy to get going. I suppose it's best to run for the caves, but you need to know where they are. However the caves are tight and cramped and you can get pinned down quite easily. A decent map especially since it mostly avoids being another sequence of rooms and corridors, but could do with more ammo and health, or less monsters at the start (repopulate with teleporters, for example)
Spawning Evil This is a partially-outdoor system of caves, where someone's built a base. Has all the trappings of an excellent map - complex route, cohesive landscape (you know, not disjoint), decent secrets that are more than just a miscoloured panel on a wall, glimpses, light and shade contrast, detail, blah blah blah it's hard to review maps that I can't find fault with.
The Soulscarred Universe Honestly where do people come up with these map names? This one is a slaughter map, I guess. It's really hard even on HNTR, because you basically start off surrounded and have to grab the weapons before you get overwhelmed, and there's all monsters raining fire down on you from the surrouding castle. There are side areas: a lava cave and some corridors with a really awkwardly-placed cyberdemon. As I said, even on easy skill it's too hard. (However, the final area - a cave with some kind of a generator in it, behind the yellow door - seemed rather easy, given what had come before)
Lich I'm surprised I've never seen a map with this word in the title before. I guess archviles are the nearest thing Doom has to liches, as they cast spells and raise the dead - but fortunately they don't come back to life themselves! So anyway as you'd expect from the name there's a ridiculous number of archviles on this map. First you go round the interior of another hell castle. This part wasn't too bad (on easy skill, at least) However I found the courtyard at the south of the map to be too frustrating due to lack of health and ammo, but the final area of the map wasn't so bad because you can use the staircases as choke points.
Packaging: It replaces the status bar numbers with grey ones which breaks Boom's number colouring, and also replaces some of the key icons with ones that have odd patch offsets and look strange on a fullscreen HUD. (The red status bar replacement was suitably hellish, but I don't use it much, I prefer having a fullscreen display)
Summary: this wad is worth downloading, especially for map 9 but also 3 and 8. Some of the others are all right if you like that sort of thing, but others are poor. Typical community project, really...