This is not /newstuff
I copypasted the previous update about dr2008v2 into the review system. It appears to have been accepted, but will probably be several weeks before it is published over there.
I very much doubt I'll do this much in the future. One reason is that I'm simply not quick enough. You have to be the first to claim the map which means I would have to play new maps and write reviews a lot faster than I can be bothered.
I just post about what I happen to play, sometimes weeks after having played it. Sometimes, especially in recent months, I have posted about maps that have not appeared in Doomworld's /newstuff feature. In general this has been rare, though. My being ahead of the chronicles is more to do with the chronicles being several months behind. If this new review system they have catches on, I'll never be this far ahead again.
To emphasise not really being a /newstuff supplement let's post about some maps from the dark ages.
DICKWAD2 has the dubious honour of being one of the first PWADs I ever played. It is a straight Doom-to-Doom-2 conversion of DICKWAD, although, going by file time stamps, was released before it. There is also the deathmatch-oriented DICKWAD3, released a couple of years later.
Let's start with DICKWAD2. I won't go on about this too much. The whole thing can be summed up as "mediocre oldschool maps with annoying gameplay and replacement sound effects". One map, MAP02, is deliberately a symmetrical maze of 128-wide corridors. Another, MAP04, is a huge waist-high hedge maze which must be repeatedly traversed, and which is full of invisible teleporter lines that unceremoniously dump you back in the middle. I usually cite this one as the worst map I've ever played, but there's a certain amount of bias here. I've undoubtedly played worse more recently, but now I just wouldn't bother, whereas when I was new to PWADs I played this several times, and it has stuck in the memory.
I admit at the time I didn't hate the sound effect replacements. I had only just recently seen Evil Dead II when I played DICKWAD2, so I thought the use of "groovy" with the chainsaw was hilarious. I'm pretty tired of them now though, the Terminator's "excellent" and the metal-grinding moving floor sound in particular.
DICKWAD is the same set of maps for Doom. It's pretty much identical except for the map ordering. Slightly easier due to lack of Doom2 monsters. Particularly, health-sapping chaingunners. Unfortunately these maps seem to delight in giving the player very little ammunition and no health at all. At least the final level can be exited with a compatibility option (all cyberdemons dead will cause E3M8 to exit if you have comp_666 turned on) and you can get into the rocket launcher secret, which had the wrong linedef type in dickwad2.
In fact that's what confuses me over which of DICKWAD and DICKWAD2 came first. The broken rocket secret is in MAP10 but fixed in E3M8, which suggests DICKWAD2 came first. But the map seems to be designed around the boss monster death exit effect of E3M8. which suggests the map was designed as E3M8 and then converted to MAP10. So which could it be?
DICKWAD3, which is for Doom2, is much better. There are only 7 maps; a lot of the originals have been removed entirely and replaced with better ones and even the ones that remain have been improved to remove gameplay awkwardness. The final map has been modified the least; simply, an exit has been added. Compared to the other two it's practically a pleasure. However it still suffers from lack of health.
An interesting challenge is to play all 7 maps of DICKWAD3 one after the other. Maps 1 and 2 have about 60% health in total, so you can't lose any; but you will, because of all the zombies with bullet weapons. Map 3 has about another 60% but you need to stock it all up for maps 4 and 5, both of which have zero health right up until the end of map 5 when there's a soulsphere in a secret area. Surviving map 6 is a bit easier with that, and map 7 is wide open enough that you should be able to do it without taking any damage if you don't foul up while fighting the two cyberdemons. It's just on that edge where I think "I should be able to do this but somehow I keep dying stupidly"
So in summary, DICKWAD3 isn't great but it isn't too bad for oldschool maps. Probably avoid the first two though unless you're interested.
other more recent wads
Aeternum Not sure what to make of this, whether to call it a Boom wad with a myriad of ZDoomisms or a deliberate ZDoom wad that just happens to run passably in p/rboom. For example it uses ZDoom customised monsters, but apart from a warning about unknown thing types there's no problem. Other than that there's a bunch of solid hanging bodies and on map02 a door that needs implicit passuse to open.
Anyhow, ignoring all that, what you have is three maps made by the guy who did Sector 666 years ago, who's returned to mapping after playing Alien Vendetta and being inspired by it. That sounds good in theory, Sector 666 was cool and Alien Vendetta is a classic. Map01 is pretty good. Map02 goes on a bit too long, and is cramped, stuffed with monsters, too hard, and annoyingly stops you from backtracking and makes you leave ammunition behind. Map03 is kind of like AV map29 but is too disjoint.
On the whole I can't really recommend this because unless you can walk under the hanging bodies things can get annoying and the monster teleporters really suck. Honestly how hard is it to make a teleporter that the monsters can leave in a timely manner? Shame really, it looks pretty good and I remember enjoying Sector 666. Maybe go back and play that instead...
ChemiComplex This would be quite a nice mid-nineties style nukage-flooded base - I liked the height variation in particular - but for the fact that it's full of bugs.
- incorrect sector references on sidedefs, unclosed sectors
- untagged teleporter lines (this isn't necessarily a bug, if there was an untagged sector with a teleporter exit - but there isn't)
- unkillable monsters (they can't exit their teleporter because of the above reason)
- ungettable secrets (sectors behind teleporter lines, like on Doom2 map27)
- broken raise-and-change effect (the transferred sector properties are taken from the sector the switch linedef faces, he apparently doesn't understand this - weirdly according to the /newstuff reviewer it works in EDGE, which means EDGE is doing something really strange with flat transfers)
Not to mention all the running back and forth around cramped hallways and having to be very careful about radsuit management or you'll be running around in damage sectors until you die. It's also badly packaged - there's subdirectories, but no text file, in the zip.
Deathstruction Very much a retro map. Random texture theme, simple construction, flat, no lighting contrast. Made up of several completely separate sections accessible only by teleporter. Rather an excess of ammunition.
Also, is he seriously going round calling himself "High Flyin' Ryan"?
Sawun Luajaw Veagiuna (Enemy Base) Ruba's maps are quite hit-and-miss. This one's not too bad. The usual excess of copypasted sectors and weird texturing here, but the layout is quite interesting, there's height variation, and it doesn't play too badly. The ending was quite a surprise. Also I liked "Known Bugs: Reviewers".
The City of Great Gattle Another Ruba map, more of a miss than a hit I'm afraid. Four identical small buildings in a courtyard. The most interesting thing about this map is the design of the secret area - you have to let the monsters open it for you, and you can't just press all 4 buttons to open the exit or they'll teleport out instead.