Spotlight

ZRift by Pandut and HAL9000 [Mod][Doom/Heretic]

Posted by on at 22:19
(1) Comment
“Chasm: The Rift” is an oddly tautological name for a game. It’s a bit like if our favourite seminal first-person shooter had been called “Doom: The Doom”. Released during the last gasp of the DOS game era in 1997, it was a first-person shooter by the Ukranian development company Action Forms that saw the player warping through time periods in an attempt to stop an invasion by the alien Timestrikers.

Technologically, the game sat in a weird place as a stepchild between the Wolfenstein 3D and Quake engines. Its custom-built 3D engine supported weather effects, appropriately wobbly water, could move three-dimensional walls and doors around, avoided sprites in favour of rendering everything in those polygon things that were all the rage in the mid-90s, and yet the levels themselves stayed doggedly and uninterestingly flat throughout. It was like what Doom might have been in a different reality, if Carmack and company had gone with blazing their trail of 3D technology in a slightly different order. Fortunately, Pandut and HAL9000 arrived in to fuse the timelines back together in mid-2018, and reunified the gameplay of Chasm with the engine of GZDoom.



And it all works very impressively - in the past I haven’t really got on with mods that use 3D models heavily within a Doom environment, but the amount of attention to detail in this WAD makes them feel like they fit perfectly because the entire experience is like playing a completely different game. From the great-looking new title screen and menu onwards, every detail of the game has been reworked to give it an authentic Chasm feel (apart from the dodgy mouselook support, fortunately) - everything in the game has had its appearance and sound meticulously recreated. The replacement of the environmental sounds also contribute greatly to making things have a different atmosphere - the familiar space-age noises of the Doom doors and platforms are replaced by the gritty clanks and rumbles of Chasm.

The models for items and enemies are translated directly from the ones in Chasm, dragged painstakingly through a modelling toolchain with reams of MODELDEF files defining the enemies’ movement and animation accurately from the original game. However, ZRift doesn’t content itself with being just a straight clone - many of the enemies from Chasm only had melee attacks, which the wad authors understandably decided wouldn’t work very well when dropped into the more vertical-heavy levels designed for Doom. So they built on top of what was already there, creating new animations for attacks like the Viking enemies hurling their shields at you or the shambling mummies that can now cough deadly mist in your direction. All of these, plus the new weapon the Plasma Thrower, fit so well into the game that a newcomer wouldn’t notice they were additions at all.



The other issue the authors had to get around was that Chasm has a far larger library of enemies than Doom - twenty-four of them according to the game’s wiki! To get them all into this conversion, straight replacements of monsters wouldn’t be enough. So they came up with a way for the mod to perform some clever tricks with Decorate and ZScript to make sure all of them got some screen time. For some classes of similar Chasm enemies, it’s enough to replace Doom monsters with a spawner that will randomly replace them with one of the various rough equivalents - a Hell Knight, for example, could randomly be replaced with either a Lion or an Orc. But for others, a bit of ZScript is used to substitute the entire population of imps or pinkies on a map with a single chosen species from Chasm, effectively giving the map a random theme for its enemies each time it’s loaded and making sure the game doesn’t throw its entire menagerie at you at the same time.

Rather than copy the weapons directly over, the authors have recreated them all to give them an overhaul with a slightly more Doom-flavoured twist visually, complete with the gloves that we’re all used to seeing hovering in front of our eyes. They’ve managed to give a fantastic punch to them, with a lot of weight behind the staples the double-barrelled shotgun and the Vulcan chaingun in particular - but it’s the way that even the much more unconventional Chasm guns have been translated that really catches my attention. One of the most fun is the sort of razor-sharp deadly frisbees - you can collect a stack of these from fallen jester zombie lizards, throw them around wildly, watch them ping off walls and embed themselves into enemies and you can even pick them up to be thrown again afterwards. Comfortingly, the frisbees pass harmlessly through the originating player, unlike the comparable Ripper from Unreal Tournament where I invariably managed to slice my own head clean off within ten seconds of laying my hands on it.



With all this in mind, it’s a bit of a shame that ZRift doesn’t provide any actual maps that are made for this new weapon and monster set - the new content could honestly form the basis for a complete TC of its own. Several suggestions for mapsets are provided in the release topic, though, and I elected to play through it with Erik Alm’s Scythe2 because of the note that it was laid out similarly to the original Chasm with several changing level themes. I hadn’t played through this WAD before, and having ZRift on top of it felt completely natural. Health is both lost and gained a lot more quickly in ZRift compared to the original Doom - health packs give you a greater boost but attacks from even the weakest enemies can sometimes be devastating, keeping you constantly on your toes.

If I have one gripe with the content of the mod it’s a small issue with the HUD - which, as you’d expect from a project of this quality, has been completely overhauled to resemble the Chasm status bar when it’s visible. In fullscreen mode, though, it switches to a nice hybrid between the two games - Doomguy’s twitchy face is stuffed into the helmet from the Chasm status bar and is flanked by a few counters. My complaint is that the arrangement of the counters relegates the crucial health display to a small font in the middle of the screen, with much more prominence given to armour and ammunition - it can be difficult to remember which counter you’re meant to be looking at when judging a retreat from a horde of time-travelling viking zombies.



That aside, this really is a great example of using ZDoom’s capabilities - especially its support for 3D models - to create a game that feels very different from any of the standard Doom WADs. At the time of writing, it’s planned to be made officially available as “ZRift Legacy”, with the aim of splitting it into two different packs in the future - one called Classic with the aim of being as vanilla Chasm-themed as possible, and the other called Beyond which will continue to build more on top of the base game.

ZRift (Legacy) forum topic
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MetaDoom by Kinsie [Mod][Doom]

Posted by on at 18:27
(5) Comments


Forum topic
Mod page

Introduction

MetaDoom is a weapon/monster randomizer with a twist: smart progression. Instead of throwing everything on the player's head from the start, MetaDoom gradually unfolds itself, keeping the consistent flow of surprises.

If you are impatient, though, look for the “Intelligent Spawn Options” switch in MetaDoom options and select “Content Locust” there. It turns off the smart progression and gives enemy and weapon variants a chance to spawn right from the start.

MetaDoom combines monsters and weapons from Doom, Doom 2, Doom 64, Doom RPG, Doom 3, and Doom 2016 into a solid and remarkably cohesive package.

Arsenal

There are seventeen weapons at your disposal, from a fire axe to a gauss cannon. Most of them have two fire modes, and the punch attack is available for every weapon. The punch has two purposes: pushing the enemy away and giving you a bit of extra health. The melee punch attack is available via a special key bind.

There are eight inventory item types for dealing with enemies in tactical ways and to defend yourself. The item amount counter is shared between all item types, so beware. You spend one item, the counter for other items goes down too. You can carry up to 25 items. These items have a chance to spawn alongside other pickups. More stuff!

This amount of tools results in many ways of killing enemies. Where else can you use a demonic dog as a weapon?



Highlights:

- EMG Sidearm - what a neat tool! It carries an unlimited supply of ammo, and also has a flashlight. Everything 's better with a flashlight.

- Chaingun's alternate fire turns you into a stationary turret. You cannot move, but it's not a problem at all considering the firepower you get.



- Lightning Gun's alternate fire stuns enemies, so you can take your time deciding what to do next.

- Soul Cube - the mysterious artifact with probably deep history of occult research and development, created by long-gone aliens. Maybe the origins of Soul Cube will be revealed to mortals someday, but for now, two things are certain about it: it hits hard, and it makes enemies burst into health, armor, and ammo pickups. It is powered by exactly ten soul orbs, and note that you cannot carry more than ten soul orbs.

- Kinetic mines: probably the safest way of killing. Throw it on the floor, or on a wall, or on a ceiling, and it knows what to do. If no unlucky monster walks by it for a period of time, a kinetic mine will detach itself from the surface and will wait to be picked up again.

Blur Sphere is replaced with Haste Sphere. Berserk has a chance of being replaced with Quad Damage. Berserk itself changed: it lasts only a limited amount of time, unlike its vanilla counterpart, but monsters drop health on hit. Other powerups remain effectively the same but look fancier.

Monsters

MetaDoom is not a power fantasy mod. New monsters know new tricks. Don't expect them to play fair. Each monster type is different from the others in movement behavior and/or attacks.

Highlights:

- Imp Lord - teleporting around makes fighting these fellows much trickier than ordinary imps.

- Former Assassin (Chaingunner variant) can pull you closer to perforate you with the chaingun more effectively.

- Dogs which are enemies unless you have suitable equipment (hint: a certain inventory item).

- Cyber-Mancubus: harmless at long distances, but devastating when it's close to you, even after death.

- Hell Knights and Barons of hell that are not big imps anymore, but know how to jump. Sometimes this leads to nobles leaving their designated places on the map, making the combat less predictable.



- Summoner. Oh, this Arch-Vile variant. Do you hate Arch-Viles? Prepare to hate it twice as much! It not only resurrects fallen monsters but also summons new ones. And it teleports around, so killing it may be tricky. Better have big guns ready.

Codex



Codex is an in-game description of monsters, weapons, and pickups. Make sure you bind the key to open it!

The entries reveal themselves one by one when you encounter new monsters or find new items, giving the satisfying feeling of progression. The descriptions are fun to read and contain references to Doom lore and history.

Gameplay

Various ways of restoring your health allow more aggressive, faster, up-close gameplay style. I've counted 4 different extra ways of obtaining health: melee attacks (including Berserk), Siphon Grenades, Soul Cube strike, and Holy Water Pistol. Wait, I haven’t mention Holy Water Pistol yet? Well, something has to be left for you to find out.



In general, with MetaDoom arsenal you can survive even in the most unexpected fights, given you know how to utilize the inventory and weaponry.

Also, MetaDoom replaces Nightmare difficulty with respawn-less Nightmare and adds Ultra-Nightmare (hardcore/ironman mode) for those who seek an additional challenge.

Extra

MetaDoom is not only weapons and monsters. Breakable decorations, gore effects, mirrored deaths, blood colors, footstep sounds, water splashes, and first-person death animations are added for good measure.



It also features a custom HUD and 100% completionist messages.

You can notice the big amount of attention to detail even not directly in a game: custom main menu, custom mod options menu with descriptive hints, selection of player genders to choose from, custom quit messages.

Conclusion

MetaDoom lets you play several Dooms at the same time, in one game. If every Doom game existed in the same universe, this is how it would look like.

This mod clearly received a lot of love from its creator, and it deserves a lot of love from the players too. It’s good both for replaying your well-known maps, because the new monsters’ behavior creates new battle situations, and for visiting new ones because you still understand where is what and how the map is supposed to be played.

So, what the proper Doom fan can wish for? More Doom and more MetaDoom.
Comments

Vanilla Essence by Pixel Eater [Mod][Any]

Posted by on at 07:58
(1) Comment
"Correct way of playing Doom". This strange term shows up from time to time. What is the correct way of playing Doom?

It's simple. There is the only correct way of playing Doom (and any other game): the one that you enjoy. If the game doesn't bring you fun, you're playing it wrong, or you're playing the wrong game. Some games are meant to be played in a certain fashion, and cannot be tweaked or modified to one's liking. Fortunately, it's not the case for Doom.

Since December 23, 1997, when id Software released the engine source code, there is no single mandatory way of playing Doom. The fact of publishing under a permissive license signifies that a program is meant to be changed and developed further. In a way, every source port is encouraged directly by id, including GZDoom.

This engine contains many additions to the original Doom engine, and a lot of the original code was replaced. With extensive modding capabilities, it allows even more radical shifts in gameplay and visual style. It made possible creating standalone games that barely resemble the first-person shooter from 1993.

But in its core, in its soul, GZDoom remains an engine to run Doom and its derivatives. It continues to support a surprising amount of the vanilla gameplay mechanics, including options for id Tech 1 engine limitations and even bugs. Finding and fiddling with all the settings may be tedious, and this is where Vanilla Essence mod comes in handy.

Vanilla Essence started off as a simple shortcut menu, grouping together GZDoom options that make the game behave and look more like the original Doom. Now, it includes a key that toggles between the default mode and vanilla mode.


(images are clickable)

You can also configure how strong the vanilla flavor will be by tailoring the settings to your heart's content. For each option, Vanilla Essence hints what value conforms to the original, which is very convenient.

There are options for the game behavior, appearance, lighting, special effects, sound, and user interface.



Vanilla essence not only highlights the options that are already present in GZDoom but adds its own feature: configurable low resolution.



With this mod, you can easily have any combination of vanilla and modern dooming. For example, this is a combination of dynamic lights, brightmaps, and low resolution:



Or play with any gameplay mod and have near-1993 experience:





With GZDoom and Vanilla Essence, everyone can find their own favorite color on the wide and deep dooming spectrum.

Forum Thread
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Shadow/Rise of the Wool Ball by MSPaintR0cks [TC][Doom]

Posted by on at 18:46
(1) Comment
Shadow of the Wool Ball and Rise of the Wool Ball are a pair of total conversions released in 2016 and 2017 by MSPaintR0cks, also known as WatchDaToast. Far from the usual rip-tear-explode-demons setting that we know and love from Doom, they instead take place in a peaceful anthropomorphic world that has been invaded by nazi cats from outer space, who are enslaving the population and planning to mine the planet to restock their supply of cat litter. The two WADs were both mentioned as runners-up in the Cacowards of their respective years, and are great examples of building entire new games in the GZDoom engine.

In the first adventure “Shadow of the Wool Ball”, you take the role of Scott, an unassuming hedgehog in a little tie who has been captured by the fascist invaders while attempting to rescue his girlfriend Rebecca from their wool ball-shaped mothership. He’s forcefully thrown into a small cell, which fortunately turns out to have a woeful structural flaw in one of its walls. He takes the chance to escape the cell, gets his tiny hands on a big gun and then rampages through a series of feline bases to rescue Rebecca.



From the moment you start up the first game and see the animated title screen followed by the wonderfully stylized scripted introduction, you know that this is going to be something special. Despite its simple appearance on the surface, the world that you play through has an extraordinary personality to it - the game adopts a graphical style that I would broadly describe as “MS Paint except it’s good”, where the characters and environments take on a deliberately simple flat-shaded look. At first glance, this might make the game look underwhelming - the characters only average about eight frames of animation each, but when you see them in motion, you quickly get to appreciate just how much personality MSPaintR0cks crammed into that small collection of images.

Throughout the game you’re faced with a large number of types of bad-tempered kitties with a varied arsenal of weapons and appearances - from frenetic lower guards with pistols to hulking genetically-engineered Berserker abominations, or the deceptively fast flying saucer cats who are determined to kamikaze into you at all costs. Each one of them has their own set of voice samples when they notice you and attempt to hunt you down, delivered in a wonderfully cartoonish pitch-altered fashion that suits them perfectly. Occasionally, you’ll be accosted by the big boss of the cat invasion through monitors built in to the level walls, showing increasing fury that you’re surviving his carefully laid traps.



Like the graphics, the layout of the game stays deliberately simple - the angled walls and varied floor and ceiling heights of the Doom engine are eschewed here in favour of sticking to flat, grid-locked levels like Wolfenstein 3D. But just like the author of this review, the game knows it has to make up for what it lacks in the height department by being more interesting in other ways.

Most obviously, the familiar cycle of blasting through levels to reach the exit is given a refreshing twist - your objective in each level is to find the Shutdown switch placed conspicuously on a wall, which when activated will leave you just a window of just a few seconds to sprint to the emergency exit. This nod to Interplay’s Descent makes finishing a level much more interesting, as you have to plan your escape route - helpful emergency lights will guide you to the door once the switch is pulled, but it’s up to you to make sure that you won’t be blocked by enemies or locked doors on your way out. Once you reach the exit, the camera swings around to show Scott outrunning a series of fiery explosions as the level blows up - a very satisfying conclusion that I never got tired of.



The levels are peppered with other obstacles as well that break up the usual strafing and shooting - enemies can take you by surprise by bursting through doors and even some walls. You’ll encounter large fans on the walls that blow you forcefully away from them, often straight into deadly spikes, and during levels on the cat mothership you have to take care to avoid slipping out into space because you deactivated a forcefield.

If you look closely around the levels, you’ll discover some walls are destructible and conceal secrets in the best of FPS traditions. In another Descent similarity, the secret rooms also occasionally house chained-up hostages - when freed, they’ll reward you with bullets for your golden shotgun, which is a powerful weapon that you’ll certainly want to keep in your back pocket for encounters with larger enemies and bosses. As for the other weapons available, they’re fairly standard - you have a punch, a pistol, a shotgun, a minigun, and that’s all. In a small annoyance, the golden shotgun is bound to the same key as the regular one like the shotguns from Doom, even though there would easily be enough room to give it a key of its own.

The levels tend towards short and sweet, with a couple of dozen enemies generally being the maximum population. The same could be said of the game itself, with just fifteen maps (plus three secret ones) - which might seem a little short, but really it’s the perfect length not to outstay its welcome.



The sequel Rise of the Wool Ball was released the next year, and adopts the same formula as the first game but builds on it in new ways. As the title might suggest, this time the level design is inspired by Rise of the Triad, literally adding a new dimension to the game - the levels are still boxy and fixed-height but can be multiple storeys high. To let you use this new axis, this sequel provides platforms or stairs of floating objects, ladders, and a collection of bouncy mushrooms that can comically but painfully smack you into the ceiling. On the weapons front, the golden shotgun is no more, but in the late game you’ll find a launcher that shoots explosive cucumbers and a “bird cannon” that, er, explosively excretes a stream of deadly white blobs as long as you keep it topped up with bird seed. Both of these are very useful against the expanded army that you’re facing.

Most of the enemies from the previous game make a return here, along with some new ones such as a bomber cat that utilizes the increased height of the levels, and an army of iron-pumping gym-bro cats called Cute Nukems that throw their weights at you and finish you off with twin miniguns. You’ll also have to deal with more physical obstacles like giant spiked wool balls that roll along paths and are very eager to run you over - and one of the best moments is when you enter a waste disposal room only to realize that it’s rapidly filling with cat litter and have to run to avoid being crushed!



The presentation really moves up another notch in this game as well, with a between-level map screen and dialogue with an expanded cast of characters within levels. I really can’t overstate how charming the game and its characters are - MSPaintR0cks’ ability with cinematics really shines here, with a set of wonderfully animated cutscenes telling the unfolding story between maps. Just like in the first game, the end of each episode is guarded by a boss, climaxing with a truly spectacular fight to get rid of the master cat once and for all.

The Wool Ball games really are fantastic fun and exude personality - even though I meant to just start them up quickly to refresh my memory for this review I ended up playing them all the way through again. MSPaintR0cks used GZDoom to make a pair of games that aren’t simply reskins or derivatives of Wolfenstein 3D, but that blend a lot of the best parts of the Doom clones of the 90s shareware era and have their own unique charm.



Shadow of the Wool Ball forum topic
Rise of the Wool Ball forum topic
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Hocus Pocus Doom by ravage [TC][Doom]

Posted by on at 18:50
(1) Comment
Fangames honestly don’t have the greatest of reputations throughout any of the game-making communities that I’ve been part of. Often, they’re made by overambitious beginners as their first project, haphazardly slapping graphics and sound together in a representation of the original work that could be described as crude at best. (I know that’s what all mine were like.) On the other hand, there are also the rare gems of fangames thought up by really dedicated people which show true love for the source material and get everything just right while putting their own spin on to the gameplay and world.



Hocus Pocus Doom is a shining example of the second kind. It’s based on the 1994 game Hocus Pocus, one of several thousand side-scrolling platformers published by Apogee Software during the golden age of PC shareware. The original game is the story of a young apprentice wizard who is tasked with retrieving a vast number of magic crystals from hostile castles in order to drain them of their powers, thus earning his place on the Council of Wizards and the respect of his tutor Terexin. This incarnation by Ravage and company sends you on the same quest again, this time translating the entire game to 3D within the confines of the GZDoom engine.

Each level sees you fighting your way through one of a number of charming Lego-brick castles with the aim of finding all the magic crystals. There are usually four to six of these on each level, and once you’ve grabbed the last one you’re instantly teleported off to the next map - as a result, the levels are all impressively nonlinear. Some of them have a fairly obvious progression to them, but others are entirely hub-based and let the player decide the order in which to complete the paths. Along the way you’ll have to deal with physical obstacles like lava, spikes and switch puzzles that alter the castle’s architecture, and you can zap the various magic creatures that get in your way with your little lightning bolt spell - the monsters are also imported from the original game and consist of a variety of crawling or hovering enemies that may or may not be able to fire back at you.

The game casts off most of the things that we’ve learned to take for granted in Doom and reworks them to suit the game that it’s based on. On your HUD, you’ll find the number of crystals that you’ve collected so far, the time you’ve taken to do it, and your current inventory of keys, health and magic. Unlike the health and random damage system that Doom players are familiar with, here you get a bar of exactly ten hearts (though it can be temporarily extended) and enemies will take off one of those with each hit. You have to be cautious, though, because you’ll encounter enemies that can take off more than one heart very quickly, meaning that your comfortable ten hit points are reduced to an actual maximum of five.

You start off with just one lightning bolt on your magic meter, though it can be extended to ten as well - each of these represents another shot before you have to wait for them to recharge, making it possible to fire faster as you collect more of them. You’ll also encounter potions in the levels that give you extra abilities temporarily, such as shots that explode and produce more shots on impact, or a stream of rapid fire - very useful for dealing with a suddenly-appearing horde of rabid penguins.



The familiar Doom level statistics are also replaced - a monster count still exists, but instead of the usual “items” tally for powerups, you’ll be judged on the number of treasures that you picked up in a level, and will net a large bonus if you manage to recover all the various crowns, goblets and other trinkets that have been left lying around. This number effectively represents the number of secrets that you’ve found in the level as well, as treasures can be hidden in out-of-the-way areas or behind breakable walls (which are cleverly created using shootable objects with models attached to them). Some areas use the Z-axis as part of the puzzle and have you carve out a ladder for yourself out of shootable bricks to get up to the treasures on a balcony above, which makes you feel extraordinarily clever the first time you succeed.

Throughout the game, the sheer level of attention to detail borders on psychotic. The environments of the original game are all present, with graphics faithfully adapted from the 2D version and reworked to produce three-dimensional levels that suit the first-person view perfectly while still evoking the feeling of the original. Even the parts of the game that you’d think wouldn’t really be necessary are meticulously recreated - treasures sparkle by spawning some shiny particles after they’ve been sitting around for a while, monsters burst into little bits of dust, every little effect that existed in the 1994 game can also be found in here. It would have been absolutely fine to have made a death sequence like Doom’s where you just keeled over and restarted the level, but instead the exploding player and interstitial summary screen from Hocus Pocus are thrown in for good measure.

The architecture, too, maintains an incredibly high standard throughout - the use of 3D floors, ramps and some models all come together to form an imposing array of corridors, towers and ramparts in every different style of level, with the blocky bricks of the castles blending in with angular outdoor environments. The levels are varied and have interesting characteristics per style that set them apart from each other - in fact, they’re often rather better than the original game’s levels, which had a habit of using very long repetitive corridors in many places. Look up at any point and you’ll see intricate patterns on the high vaulted ceilings stretching off well into the troposphere. Considering that this mod manages to keep this kind of standard up for forty levels, it’s a truly impressive feat.



If this TC has any weaknesses to speak of, it’s really just as a result of its adherence to the source material - for example, it faithfully recreates the original game’s habit of having monsters materialize out of thin air when you’re already a bit too close for comfort, often resulting in a monster teleporting right into a player’s face leaving them no chance to prepare or pick them off tactically. Additionally, Hocus knows surprisingly few spells for a wizard (but then, that must be why he’s an apprentice) - having only one main weapon available can get a little dull, especially as you start every level with it downgraded back to its lowest level again and have to build it back up. The cumulative weapon upgrades don’t increase the power of your shots but just the number you can have in the air at one time, eventually making it possible to fire as fast as you physically can - and while I was okay hammering the fire button for hours on end in the 90s, these days it causes a bit of repetitive strain on my creaky old joints.

Otherwise, Hocus Pocus Doom is a truly amazing use of the GZDoom engine, and could easily be mistaken for a commercial release or an official remake. It requires an IWAD to run, but I honestly can’t think of anything that it uses from its Doom roots. Indeed, if Hocus Pocus Doom didn’t come as a pair of PK3s that you have to drag it on to your gzdoom.exe, you’d be hard pressed to notice that you were playing a Doom mod at all - the transformation is admirably complete, blending a wide variety of different features possible in the engine to produce something that feels very authentic. It’s a remarkably faithful translation of a classic platform game into a new form in which to enjoy it all over again.

Hocus Pocus Doom forum topic
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Accessories to Murder by wildweasel [Mod][Doom]

Posted by on at 11:09
(4) Comments


Weapons

The weapons are the centerpiece of this mod. There are nine of them. They roughly conform to the standard Doom weapon formula, taking a bunch of liberties. These weapons are known as an example of how to make weapons feel right. The theme is futuristic, so Accessories to Murder probably go better with tech levels, but they won’t look out of place in the medieval setting, too.

Accessories to Murder are meant to be played with mouselook on.

The power balance is shifted in favor of the player, but this weapon set is not overpowered. The game remains a challenge.

Most of the weapons need reloading, and, as the author of the mod warns you, it’s clip-based. This means that you lose the ammo remaining in the weapon if you reload. This forces the player to be more mindful with reloading.

Your melee weapon of choice is the Sledge Hammer. It is one of the two starting weapons. Why bother hitting enemies with your fist if you are able to carry around a heavy chunk of iron on a stick at all times? Look out for an upgrade for the Sledge — the Mjolnir Device (which replaces Berserk pack). This contraption causes your unfortunate targets being struck not only by the iron but also by electricity. Mjolnir Device also heals the carrier to 100 health (just like Berserk) for some reason, but I doubt anyone would complain.



The second thing that you have readily available is Marston KP-8 10mm Handgun. It’s a handy gun that allows you to fire as fast as you are able to pull the trigger. It holds 10 rounds. Nothing much can be said about it, except that if you are lucky, you can find another one. In this case, you will fire them akimbo.

Taiga Revolver is another weapon you have in Slot 2. It’s a powerful gun that has two fire modes: primary (single shot) and secondary (fanning), which is faster in the expense of accuracy. Taiga holds 6 rounds.

Two shotguns are available. Unlike the original Doom, they swapped roles: double-barreled shotgun (Maxwell Labs 1-2 Special) is weaker than single-barreled (M2097 “Bicentennial”). You can fire Maxwell Labs’ barrels either one by one or two at the same time. M2097 “Bicentennial” not only has much better accuracy, but it is also actually a good distance weapon, and it can be aimed down the sights.

Kurdd & Schaumers R90-PCW Assault Rifle is a robust multi-purpose weapon. It quickly disposes of your enemy on short and middle distances. It holds 20 rounds and has holographic sights. The accuracy could be better, but it’s still effective.

Corbex @99 Emplaced Miniature Anti-Tank Weapon (EMAW) is a rocket launcher. It holds 8 rounds, and it means that it is capable of destroying almost any enemy before reloading. The rocket trajectory is a fancy spiral, so the destroying is conducted with style. It’s hard to aim this monster of a gun, but you rarely need high precision while launching explosives. Just point to the general direction of your enemy, and you should be fine.



The original Plasma Rifle replacement is a surprise — it’s not an energy weapon, it’s Makoto Arms SOBAT 17.5 Infantry-Fighting Rotary Cannon. It’s a mighty weapon, demolishing anything that happens to stand that side of its barrels. The suppressive fire is enough to keep the enemy occupied with feeling pain.

The last, but not least, is the BFG, Big Fu… Wait, no. It’s the Bergmann Field Generator. It comes in handy in situations when something somehow survived the application of the previous arsenal entries. The Bergmann Field Generator has a huge blast radius and is especially effective against multiple targets.

Weapons have a dedicated ww-doomnukem-lore.txt lump inside the mod, so if you want to know more about them, check it out!

HUDs

There are two of them: visor and minimalistic. Visor HUD is pretty and immersive, but if visor HUDs are not your thing or it takes too much screen space, there is a minimalistic one.



Also, in automap mode, the HUD displays how much ammo you have for each of the weapons.

Monsters

Monsters are a ragtag team. This is a part of a mod that still looks pretty much WIP: some enemies are complete replacements, some of them are mere reskins and may have slightly altered behavior, and Spider Mastermind is not changed at all.

Interesting points are that Baron Of Hell and Hell Knight (now called Tribal Knight) now have more differences. Tribal Knight’s usual attack is weaker but faster, and sometimes Tribal Knights can use baron’s attack.
Imps come in three variants. The difference is mostly in the looks, they have slightly different attacks. Imp is the only demon type that is randomized.



Cacodemon behaves like the original, but its death animation may make you chuckle. It doesn’t fit the more serious theme of the mod. Or maybe it’s the death sound that is guilty?

Arachnotron is replaced with Hazmat Trooper with slightly changed behavior. Arch-vile is replaced with Vore from Quake. It shoots powerful exploding seeking missiles. Pain Elemental is replaced with Bog Elemental, which looks similar, but instead of emitting lost souls, has two kinds of projectile attack. Also, it releases poison clouds on death.

Because monster lineup feels unfinished, one may want to play Accessories to Murder together with another monster pack. This setup is totally playable, with the only exception that the player won’t get akimbo Marston KP-8.

Effects

A lot of attention is given to gun sounds, explosions, fire, and smoke. These things are top-notch. They constitute a lot of what Accessories to Murder so satisfying to play.



This mod incorporates Droplets by Josh771 (formerly known as SidDoyle), so the good amount of colorful blood is guaranteed.

One of the distinct elements of this mod is the use of voxels. Almost all the pickup items are represented with them, and even empty shells of some weapons, including the ones from Makoto Rotary Cannon. This looks cool but may cause the frame rate to drop on some machines.

Sounds

As previously mentioned, there’s a lot of new sound going on in this mod. The weapons all have distinct sounds for their reload, fire, pick-up and raise animations. A common theme for all the firing sounds is, that they carry a lot of punch, which really plays well with the metallic, raw look of the weapons.

Some monsters audio queues have been redesigned. I find the new zombie sounds to be somewhat silly, but I’ll write that down as a matter of personal taste. One thing can be said about the length of the death sounds. Some new sound files are much longer than the originals, which in some cases result in a very chaotic arrangement of gurgling / garbling when blasting through a room of zombies. Whether this is good or bad is once again subjective. As far as I’m concerned, longer death sounds work better with bigger monsters, since it’s less likely that 10 Barons of Hell go down within seconds of each other as opposed to Zombies.

Another example of a redesign is the Spectre (now called Mech-demon). Graphically the Spectre no longer appears as “old-school tv-static”, but instead is completely invisible. The only thing that gives the Spectre’s whereabouts away, is the dust and sounds from its footsteps. Personally, I think the addition of sound vs. the subtraction of visuals works very well.

For most of the power-ups and reward sounds wildweasel has gone with what I like to call an “arcady” style. The “secret found” and automap pick-up sounds in particular are composed of synthesizer jingles. Short, sweet and to the point. Nothing more to say really.

Minor nitpicks can be pointed out, such as the pick-up sound for the cigarettes has a smidgen of noise at the end, which is noticeable when picking up several of them. Also, some of the firing sounds are cut short before the reverb fades out completely. On the other hand there are some details which work really well. For instance, Doomguy has 3 different tiers of pain which works in the same manner as in Quake. The lower the health when hit, the more agonizing the sound.

Conclusion

Accessories to Murder is a mod that is totally worth playing. It contains elements that make it stand out from other mods. The arsenal is an unforgettable experience. But the quality of the different parts of the mod is uneven, especially in the monster department. It would be awesome if the author revisited the mod at some point and filled the few remaining gaps.

You can download Accessories to Murder by the links provided in the original post.
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Determination by Ribo Zurai [Mod][Doom]

Posted by on at 17:51
(2) Comments
I love Undertale. If you've performed the incredible feat of not having heard of it, Toby Fox's adventure from 2015 is a wonderful mixture of whimsical nostalgia, charming characters, innovative gameplay and having the worst nightmare of your entire life. The thing responsible for that last part is a being called Chara, who is an evil presence within the game’s world and is implied to be influencing the player's decisions if they choose to resort to violence.

Back in 2016, Ribo Zurai saw Chara's potential in a game where violence is very much the first resort, and created Determination. This is a WAD that replaces the player character with Chara themselves (itself?), armed only with their rosy cheeks and a small knife that can one-hit kill everything in the entire game.



This mod, as the author says, is for people who would like to enjoy a bit of mindless genocide. All weapons are removed from the game and you’re only able to attack by stabbing a small distance in front of you - Chara’s weapon the Real Knife will instantly destroy even the strongest bosses, but needs to get right up against them to do it. The maximum health of the player is also doubled to 200 to compensate for Chara having to take a bit of a punishment to get up close to enemies. I was about to complain that the sleeve visible below the knife was coloured blue while Chara’s top is obviously green, but then realized exactly why that was, and if you’re a fan of Undertale you may have just experienced the same sickening feeling that I just did.

There’s a bit of HUD work to replace the standard counters with Undertale-style hearts that fill up depending on your health and armour. The green third heart in the middle keeps track of your stamina, which is depleted each time you make a stab and then regenerates, but you have so much of it that the limit is never realistically going to come into play.

Placed front and centre of the new HUD is a counter that keeps you updated on you how many monsters are left, counting down as you burst them one by one and acting as a continuous reminder of Chara’s lust for genocide. When you’re the last thing on the level left alive, the music cuts out and is replaced with a deeply unsettling drone, a horribly distorted version of the Undertale theme that surely plays in Hell’s waiting room. You then move to the exit and continue your slaughter.



The mod is written in a way that doesn’t touch any monster code, so you can play it successfully on top of most custom enemy WADs - I even got it to work with Heretic, though the HUD didn’t quite carry over correctly. And it’s full of nice little touches to set the mood - adding floating RPG damage numbers, replacing the death sequence and the sounds with the ones from Undertale, and even providing new quit messages. If you look closely through the WAD, you’ll also notice that it contains a few ominous variables:

Code: Select allExpand view
server bool YouWillGiveMeYourSoul = true;
server bool GiveItToMe = true;
server bool AreYouAboveResponsabilities = true;


It's not something you're necessarily going to want to play through an entire megawad with, but it's an interesting novelty of a crossover, and a great little example of what you can do with just a bit of Decorate and ACS.



Determination forum topic
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Hell Caliber by Samarai1000 [Mod][Doom]

Posted by on at 10:09
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Hell Caliber is a weapons+monsters gameplay mod for Doom/Doom 2 and GZDoom. It can be considered an overhaul, as it adds more features to the original content without completely changing it. With this mod, Doom still remains Doom, but with additional details and surprises.


Weapons

The arsenal follows the standard formula: starting weapons are fists and pistol, then you get your hands on an additional melee weapon, two shotguns, a machinegun, an explosives launcher, a plasma rifle, and, of course, on a Big Fun Gun. Most of the weapons require reloading. Note that there is an option for automatic reloading when you dryfire, but this option is disabled for the hardest difficulty. All the weapons feature extensive recoil, which can be configured or turned off entirely if you so desire.

Fists (HamHands). There are two of them: left and right. You can swing two fists faster than one if your timing is good. As usual, fists become much more powerful after you stumble upon a Berserk pack.



Pistol (Future Beretta). Fires almost as quickly as you pull the trigger. The faster you shoot, the worse is accuracy. To compensate increased rate of fire, Beretta requires reloading and holds up to 16 bullets.

Shotgun (UASG-12). Workhorse gun, reliable and effective. Requires reloading, having up to 8 shells loaded.

Super Shotgun. Double-barreled beast of a gun. What else to say?

Machinegun (FFS-9x19). Rapid-fire bullet deliverer. Best fired in short bursts, otherwise, accuracy quickly degrades. Requires reloading, holds up to 51 bullets.



Bumper Grenade Launcher. Unlike other similar weapons, this specimen provides a safety feature: launched grenades don’t explode if they land too close to the weapon user. Therefore, it’s much harder to blow yourself up instead of the enemy. Grenades also bounce off walls. The ones that didn’t explode on impact can be shot later, what will cause them to explode. Great tactical weapon. Requires reloading, holds up to 5 grenades.

Plasma Rifle (prototype). Works similarly to original Doom Plasma Rifle, except that this one can overheat after long usage. Just let it have a rest from time to time.

BFG-SG. May or may not be a Russian invention. This thing allows controlling the shot power. Charge it to the desired power level, and release that charge in the general direction of your enemy. Should do the trick.



Sword (or, more precisely, “Sord”). It’s a fast melee weapon that can also do a curious move. It can be charged with a portion of your health to unleash the powerful attack. Legends say that the sword is also affected by Berserk pack.




Monsters

Monsters learned some new tricks. Their movements became less predictable. In general, monster types now differ more from each other, like they have their own personalities. A lot of work is done on projectiles and explosions.

Shotgunners and chaingunners now drop helmets sometimes, giving you a small armor bonus. Imps can hide (cloak) on hit, reappearing in another place. Also, imps don’t leave corpses, they burn instead.



Demons became far more dangerous and aggressive. Spectres became more stealthy, being completely invisible until they attack you. Cacodemons’ projectiles are harder to dodge now. Lost Souls follow you around, and instead of attacking you, they explode, damaging everything. For the balance, they are vulnerable and die (exploding) from the single shotgun hit. Hell Caliber features meaner version of Hell Knights and Barons of Hell. They throw two projectiles instead of one, and Barons sometimes throw a wave of projectiles that is very hard to dodge.



There is a new monster, Cybruiser, from which you better run. It replaces an Archvile, and this is a big plus for Archvile-non-likers. Revenants always fire two homing projectiles, but with a twist: they are destructible. So aim and shoot them down before they reach you! Or hide, if you are more on the coward side. Cyberdemon and Spider Mastermind received an additional attack each and became more weighty and dangerous.


Other things

Other things that I’d like to mention are HUD and Tips.

HUD is minimalistic and efficient. It displays health and armor in neat bars on the left side of the screen, so you can always see how well you are doing with a quick glance. On the right side, is weapon status, that contains ammo counts (with a bar too), and charge/overheat indicators.

Tips are just text strings that appear when you start the level. It sounds simple, but they provide helpful information on mod mechanics or amusing commentaries on the game.


Conclusion

Should you try Hell Caliber? Well, if you want to play a mod that:
- isn’t afraid to experiment, still remaining Doom at the core
- gives the weapons a punch without making them overpowered
- has its distinctive flavor and style

then yes. Otherwise, probably yes too, because you may start liking these things after Hell Caliber.
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Operation Sea Wolf by Impie [TC][Doom]

Posted by on at 10:00
(6) Comments
Operation Sea Wolf is a total conversion for Doom 2 and GZDoom engine. Being a total conversion means that it replaces all levels, weapons, and enemies.
It’s also a remake of WolfenDOOM: Operation: Arctic Wolf by Laz Rojas.
Operation Sea Wolf can be downloaded here.




Levels

All eight levels constitute a single mission, in which Juno Radcliffe, Winter Agent, is required to destroy the Sea Wolf — the stolen stealth submarine bearing the nuclear weapon, kill Jotun Admiral Revok, rescue Agent Lamprey, settle the score with the old rival Thea Skuld, and escape alive.

There is a short briefing-style slideshow intro for each level. For those who don’t like intros, they all are skippable. Skipping intros won’t leave the player confused or lost — all the levels are laid out in such a way that all the objectives described in the intros are solved naturally. These brief introductions tell the player the purpose of each level, who is the enemy, and what are the items to find and use.



Levels are made in semi-realistic style. It’s a nice compromise between the abstract gameplay-oriented Doom level style and mundane realism. All the levels resemble real structures, like military installations, a dam, a bunker, and a submarine. The pacing is fast, and the game flow is smooth.

The theme is a somewhat futuristic dystopia, set in cold snowy winter. Levels contain cramped indoors locations, wide open outdoor spaces, and everything in between. Locations change one another pretty often, so they won’t bore the player.
One of the highlights of Operation Sea Wolf, is, of course, underwater sections. Here the player needs to keep track both of the Biosuit effect duration and of enemies, which are a special breed of sharks and harpoon marksmen. Underwater fights tend to be the tensest ones. And keep away from mines!



Levels utilize a bunch of GZDoom features, like dynamic lights, a few voxel models, ambient sounds, and dynamic music. These effects are used sparingly, so the player is not overwhelmed with them. Dynamic lights are entirely optional, so the player won’t miss anything crucial by disabling them if they so desire. Audio effects help to create the atmosphere and the mood of Operation Sea Wolf.

Detailing and sector lighting effects are always enough to provide the feel of the place, and never hinder the gameplay.

Secrets in these levels are well-hidden but always hinted. They contain bonus supplies that won’t be unwanted especially for pistol starters.


Arsenal

The weapon selection is close to the standard Doom 2 set but deviates from it in different interesting ways. There is a kick attack, Ballistic Knife, Raven M40 pistol, a pair of shotguns (Thunderhammer and weaker Scattergun), Gungnir rifle, Mjolnir Rocket Launcher, Mako Gauss Cannon, and Nord Harpoon Cannon. You start with a single Ballistic Knife and your trusty kicks.

Kick attack is always available and will help in tough no-ammo situations. Kick attack comes in two types: as a standalone weapon, and a slower kick as an alternative fire mode for all the weapons.

Ballistic Knife is one of the most interesting weapons in Operation Sea Wolf. It’s ranged (the knife blade is launched from the grip), it’s silent (enemies are not alerted), and it’s surprisingly powerful and therefore deadly. Shot blades can be picked up and used again, so with careful aim, the blades supply doesn’t diminish. Also, Ballistic Knives act as ammo for Nord Harpoon Cannon, which shoots them in rapid succession.

Shotguns are shotguns: they are guns that shoot. Scattergun is only useful until Thunderhammer is found, which almost all the time happens pretty quickly.

Gungnir rifle and Rocket Launcher are almost identical to the corresponding Doom weapons.

Mako Gauss Cannon is powerful and pierces through enemies, but ammo is scarce, so keep an eye open for the gauss rods.



Operation Sea Wolf also provides a variety of items that are essential for success. They are the Biosuit, portable Health Pack, Superstim, Spring Mines, and Missile Pod. Biosuit negates the damage from the freezing water and is required to pass through several underwater sections. Health Pack will help replenish health in dire situations. Superstim heals a little and provides temporary damage resistance. Spring Mines allow a tactical approach to the combat. A Spring Mine is set, it waits for the enemy, it goes boom. Missile Pod, a pod that launches seeking missiles, can take out several enemies in a different room. Learn how to place it properly, so the missiles don’t detonate too early.



Maybe the weapon sprites aren’t the prettiest in the world, but they all have their personality, are well distinguishable and fulfill their role.

A note on ammo: Operation Sea Wolf plays nicely both on continuous and pistol start (knife start in this case). If you prefer pistol starting the levels, better master effective use of Spring Mines and Ballistic Knife!


Enemies

Operation Sea Wolf features a wide variety of enemies. There are riflemen, shotgunners, menacing Einherjar soldiers, ferocious dogs, tanks, “medical” flying pods, soldiers with jetpacks, tough bosses and minibosses… This is enough to surprise the players and keep them on their toes. To overcome the enemy forces, the player often needs to learn their surroundings and arsenal.



Enemies are distributed equally between males and females, and some of them have foul tongues. Everyone has bad manners. Fortunately for Juno, the acquaintance with most of the people in Operation Sea Wolf is brief and lethal (guess for whom).
One notable feature is the presence of non-hostile workers. It’s nice to see people who don’t try to kill you once in a while.




Conclusion

Should you play Operation Sea Wolf? Of course, yes. It’s an obvious must-play for Winter Agent Juno fans and a good choice for every Doom fan. This TC provides fresh dooming experience, at the same time not overwhelming the player with features and content. Operation Sea Wolf provides a few hours of action-adventure fun, and challenge for those who seek it. So, why not give it a try?

Good luck to you, Juno. Fight like an Amazon queen, and come back alive!
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