Okay I finally managed to get 100% kills starting each level from scratch on this thing and so I should post about it I guess. Plus I have to do at least one entry a month no matter how half-arsed it is. Vanguard is a 13-level Doom2 pwad that won a bunch of awards this year. It is in three mini-episodes of 5, 5, and 2 levels respectively, themes being ancient stone ruins, grey techbases, and hell temples/caverns. Then there is a final bonus thing that's based off some old NES boxing game as far as I can tell.
the map design is nice, the texturing is especially good, I think. It has a kind of running theme of tufts of grass sticking up from the ground, using small middle textures on two-sided lines.
the gameplay is solid if a little uneven.
not so good stuff
Yeah the real reason I write these things is to pick holes in good wads.
the difficulty curve is really quite strange. The last level of each mini episode is hard, fair enough, but the third map ("Thirteen Angry Archviles") is noticably harder than anything else up to map10, the finale of the techbases episode. It likes to drop pairs of archviles on you in cramped conditions surrounded by resurrectable corpses.
actual slaughtery bits are not as hard as the tighter parts such as map04 or the previously-mentioned map03, due to being overloaded with health or ammo or there being obvious exploits. e.g. map10 where I teleported out of the south red key section and killed most of the monsters from the traps by firing rockets into the wall above where they all clustered.
- Map05 is one of those maps where everything wakes up at the start because it's wide open, and if you survive the initial battle the rest of the level is quite empty.
- Map07, the first fight is much harder than the second, as the cyberdemon sitting on the exit just kills half the mancubi before dying itself, leaving you with much less to do.
- Map09, another with an anticlimactic final confrontation since the cyberdemons do most of the work for you and you can just hide in the bunker until they've cleared the field.
Finally, the wad is badly packaged. I wondered why it was 34MB, since that is huge for a pwad. It appears the author simply merged a bunch of huge texture packs into his wad and didn't even bother to eliminate duplicates.
I think you should definitely play this if you haven't already. The best wads to post about, though, are the good ones that have holes, because it's somehow much easier to write about them.