Reminded of REAL the other day...
It is mixed. The new graphics are good and there are some nice touches. However most of the levels do not have a very interesting layout, and it is all very very easy.
- In map01 you make your way through a dense forest. Except it's pretty much just a tunnel with some trees in it. Just one long thing, you can barely even move from side to side, and the monsters appear one at a time in front of you. The best part is a waterfall halfway through. Spot the toucan! The new graphics and ambient sounds are effective.
- Map02 is the same except underground, so there are very little new graphics or ambient sounds that made the first level interesting. The map is not engaging enough to stand by itself, it looks like a small map from, say, early 1995. Still completely linear too - there are a couple of route choices to make but most lead to dead ends (but weapons too so it's worth it)
- Map03 is a ruined temple. It's okay but not particularly high-quality. For some reason extremely triumphant-sounding music plays when you find the BFG chamber - quite amusing, really. The BFG isn't really needed.
- Map04 is like map01 but set at night so the ambient sounds are different. The graphics make it slightly more interesting but it's still pretty much just a tunnel.
- Map05 is a beach. Has some new graphics. Not too bad and quite interesting to do from a pistol start as you are immediately challenged by three arachnotrons out in the open.
- The destination - map06 is the hidden base you're supposed to find. It's clearly the most well-made map, but that might be because it's from another wad (more on this later) Because of its different origin there are some inconsistencies, like, why is there a sewer in a jungle? But it's a good level.
- The final level is apparently a copy of the waterfall from the first level and doesn't have an exit - it's just a ending scene.
So should you play this? Now I don't think it is as great as I thought it was years ago, but it still has some merit, and is worth playing through once. It's very short, all six levels are more like one (and indeed they follow on from each other) It took 20 minutes to run through all six maps with 100% kills so it's hardly a time investment. The graphics and ambient sounds are good when they are used but the mapping is a little sub-par (although I did like the way some of the trees cast shadows) I think the author realises his skills lie elsewhere from mapping as an accompanying text file encourages others to map using the same graphics.
DNA technology laboratory wad for Doom 2 is the rather cumbersome title of the map which was modified and turned into REAL 6 (see above)
They are quite different. Firstly dna_tech has its own set of replacement graphics, slightly mottled white walls and plate glass windows. Secondly it is a lot harder, and there are lots of large monsters wandering around. It's a map you need to know where not to run at the start to avoid waking some of them up - you won't have the ammunition to deal with seven barons until you've explored more of the map.
I think on the whole it is slightly better than its edited version - it certainly offers more of a challenge. Indeed it is of that annoying difficulty where you keep dying but think to yourself, "why can't I do this, it should be easy!" and play it again.
That said REAL 6 has some better item placement. The keys are better placed in particular. The yellow key's placement is particularly odd, you can just pick it up but the bullet clip in the alcove next to it opens a secret door that lets out a bunch of chaingunners. Oh and I preferred REAL 6's taking out of the staircase to the yellow key room so you couldn't just back out of there if you got into difficulty. Why have the lift in there at all if you could just back out up the stairs again at any time?
The only other thing to mention is that it was built with a buggy nodebuilder so if you play it you might like to rebuild its nodes first. But it's not really necessary. Apart from the very first room you don't notice much wrong. However if you do rebuild, don't record any demos on it obviously or no-one else will be able to play them.