A reappraisal of NDCP2
Inspired by a thread I downloaded NewDoom Community Project II again to remind myself which levels were worth playing and which were "travesties". In summary, there are quite a few levels worth playing. Also, those I put in the final category have their fair share of fans, even if I found them odious. It takes all sorts.
I can recommend these for playing.
- 10 A water-filled grey techbase. Very line-of-sight-interconnected, you can see into everywhere from everywhere else. Vaguely reminiscent of an Espi map. This was probably my favourite map.
- 28 A meander through metal gantries and lava, this map is rather top-heavy but eventually becomes blasting-away-at-lots-of-monsters-with-plenty-of-ammo fun. One of the secrets is inaccessible due to being too thin but I'm still putting it in the top section because I like the map that much.
- 11 Highly detailed and nicely balanced brick techbase. Probably the pick of the wad for most people if my gauging of what the community likes in general is accurate (which it almost certainly is not).
- 22 The infamous Evil Eye. Very clever. A true rarity - a puzzle map I actually like! Although, get the standalone version instead.
- 18 Another interwoven tech/industrial base with a style very indicative of its author. Has map writing but it doesn't detract - I didn't even realise until I was in the last letter-shaped room.
- 01 The first map with its completely new texture set looks more like some other game instead of Doom, but is otherwise a fun starter map.
- 09 A detailed techbase with a cave underneath it. Starts like a better version of map03 (see below), less cramped and so forth. Somewhat unnecessarily overengineered; I don't like all the conveyor monster teleporters for example, they're too easy to break. The constant noise of moving sectors grates after a while.
Maps that are fine but I don't want to put them in the "I really enjoyed this and recommend it" section.
- 13 This plutonia-inspired design is bug-free and playable but I found it far too hard. It has a horrible ammo shortage. My heavily-savegame-abused run ended with a cyberdemon left which I had no way to deal with. On the other hand better players have recorded demos of it, so there you go.
- 26 A cramped brick temple stuffed with demons. Very detailed. Author likes the "make linedefs into curve" function, evidently. I found it too hard and limited in ammo.
- 05 Detailed like a rather brightly-lit sewage plant; not bad, but a simple layout, barely more than rooms and halls.
- 21 A rather slow-paced surreal puzzley map, with some short bursts of action but too little ammunition. Not execrable enough to go in the final section despite a lot of special effects, but it is rather annoying in places.
These are worthy of playing, but will disappoint the player with bugs. However the bugs won't prevent finishing the level.
- 12 This base map has a couple of secret areas that are behind untagged doors (implicit manuals), and also the red key puzzle is trivialised as the cyberdemon is initially unable to move (but if shoot it, you will free it...)
- 27 This one is a giant sprawling hell canyon / temple map that is only for highly skilled players. It has a monster teleporter bug that affects four revenants.
- 07 Has a "dead simple" style arena but mostly made of cramped metal gantries. 100% kills impossible due to monsters in teleporter traps stuck together. Frustrating bad monster teleporter designs that take forever to deploy fully.
- 31 The first secret, a kind of "ruins" map, requires freelook to shoot a button to get the SSG. Worse, the secret exit to map32 is marked impassible. Brown paper bag for the author! However, you can take the normal exit.
- 04 A hell-corrupted base suffering from power loss. Few items that seem to require jumping to reach. Also annoying uses of lights-off linedefs and cuts off backtracking at the end. It's not awful but is just annoying enough to fall the wrong side of the recommendable line.
- 24 Mid-90's style large map composed of disjoint areas with greatly varying themes linked by teleporters in a hub area. Has some inaccessible secrets and items.
- 20 A dark cave/mining tunnels and machinery map that appears to be unfinished / untested. Several doors don't open despite having perfectly servicable rooms behind them. Also you can get stuck falling into some of the nukage pits.
These can't be finished for one reason or another. Would like to recommend, but cannot.
- 29 This castle hellscape map is great except for there being a walk trigger in front of a door that prevents you from reaching one of the keys. Such a shame. It also has some cacodemons out the back of the castle that are very annoying to shoot.
- 23 The other sprawling hell canyon / cave / temple map has an excessively top-heavy start, but if you can survive, the eastern cave part is very good fun. Sadly there's a door with a line trigger in front of it that appears right at the very end before one of the switches needed for the final key.
- 15 A "dual" map (two variants of itself, like Evilution map04). Could be interesting but when you teleport to the red side you can't get out of the room due to a walk trigger in front of the door. Also: automapless teleporter mazes (not too hard to solve, but still)
- 03 Highly detailed but still mostly looks like Doom. However, very confusing, and cramped, slow-to-move-in layout, I spent much time lost. Broken because of a door which is single use on one side and monster-activatable on the other; monsters will inevitably close it leaving you no way to open it again.
- 08 Obviously inspired by Doom3 aesthetic, but broken (the blue bars can't be opened, they're facing inside-out), has nasty traps, and frustratingly automap-less.
- 30 Not that bad of a map30 but no automap annoys me. Will crash any engine that can't deal with unknown flats.
"What were they thinking?"
The maps that gave the original "travesty" impression. Overengineered map design using as many Boom features as possible, new ugly textures that appear to be made at high resolution and squashed awkwardly down to Doom's graphics resolution, excesses of animations including the infamous epilepsy-inducing strobe texture, all put into maps that are often little more than corridor mazes.
- 16 Traditional NDCP "bits of unfinished maps glued together to make one more" map. It's harsh to put this map in this section as much of it is not too bad. But it's full of excessive Boom stuff, weird bugs in which that ZDoom hides from you, and is unfinishable.
- 06 This opens with a climb up a sheer cliff face overlooked by chaingunners and is severely frustrating. The remainder is a hyperdetailed corridor maze masquerading as a futuristic cloning / teleport facility. Without the start, it is not as terrible as some of the others in this section, but it's still annoying. Cringe-inducing animation of the Newdoom.com webmaster tells you your mission in a secret area.
- 32 This map doesn't have the horrible overengineering and texturing of some others, but being a sequence of giant mazes filled with the most dangerous monsters, and the automap completely disabled, puts it squarely in this category in my opinion. At least partly inspired by the archvile maze map from Plutonia, which managed to remain a challenge with the automap still usable.
- 14 Corridor mazes with excessive attempts at "futuristic realism". Drawn out, long-winded.
- 19 A strange puzzle level featuring the eye-bleeding textures set and no automap.
- 02 Infamously broken map which gained most of the negative attention at release. Has two zero-tagged scrolling wall linedefs that applied the effect to every line in the map. Not causing any scrolling but causing massive framerate drops for players using uncapped framerate in PrBoom+. Also one of the keys is inaccessible. You can still finish the level; the exit is guarded by a cyberdemon surrounded by ice and the majority of the level is spent accessing a mechanism to render it harmless. The ice prevents you from just running past it, unless you disable Boom friction effects...
- 17 This is the map with the power core, where every wall is flashing at 35Hz, the whole area is a damage sector, and you have to find and press a dozen switches before your radsuits run out. It's one of the most dreadful bits of map design outside of a troll wad. The author has the nerve to lampshade it in the text file.
- 25 I never got past the hyperspeed flowing lava river at the start. You fall in, speed along uncontrollably, inevitably get stuck somewhere, and die. Might have been interesting if it wasn't so utterly broken.