Second Opinions

This page lists other review sites I've come across when scanning for inspiration or potential WADs. The vast majority of Doom's WAD reviewing community is defunct, just as I'm sure one day this blog will be condemned to the annals of http://www.archive.org/. Hopefully, that day has long yet to come. In the meantime, this page serves as a tribute to my forebears. Disclaimer: This isn't meant to be an exhaustive list by any means.


/idgames

The archive itself contains the largest repository of WAD reviews which you can read on the very pages you download them from, and each WAD's rating average is derived from a 5 star system. Granted, ratings are anonymous and the format lends itself to such eloquent descriptions as "shit", to distill the troll comments to their essence. There's also a character limit, but that only encourages brevity in user summaries, cutting out as much fluff from reviews as possible (again, "shit"). I left a few such reviews up for WADs I've played but stopped submitting them quite some time ago.


The Pink Bull

Martin Aalen Hunsager and Anders Johnsen, two of the primary architects of Alien Vendetta, come together to give you their own insights. The two Norwegians play through PWADs in coop and rate them on something like a Dungeons and Dragons scale - Aesthetics, Layout, and Gameplay from 0 to 6, with a combined 18 being a perfect score for a level. If you want the opinions of two of Doom's most celebrated level authors, The Pink Bull is the right place to go.


Doomworld's Newstuff Reviews

Keeps a lickin' and keeps on tickin', one of few places for new reviews (on WADs new to the idgames archives). The stable of Newstuff reviewers are Doomworld forumgoers that claim WADs from a list and then write reviews which are then (currently) posted by forum superstar Bloodshedder. There's no scoring system (anymore) but the reviews tend to get the point across. Newstuff is updated on a nebulous schedule I'll call quasi-weekly, but it's always worth reading. They will cover a broader variety of new releases before I ever will, at least.


Realm 667

The brainchild of forum superstar Tormenter667 (also a fairly prolific mapper), Realm667 is a community website of its own. After its most recent redesign, its snazzy layout features news great and small, mapping resources (particularly for ZDoom and its derivatives), and a small collection of user-submitted reviews, sure to develop as the current site grows. Reviews appear to be scored on a 5-star system based on gameplay and design and all reviews are boiled down to the bits the reviewer liked vs. the bits they didn't. They also appear to be as in-depth as the reviewer wishes.


DooM Nexus

When ReX Claussen isn't mapping, he plays Doom, understandably. And sometimes, when he plays Doom, he puts down his opinions on writing. The "My 2 Cents" corner looks pretty spare right now, but there's a scattering of articles, including stuff for non-Doom games (if you're into that sort of thing, heathen). There are no scores, just in-depth commentaries on maps and broader details. The biggest current features are very detailed reviews for the infamous KDiZD and Eternal's Epic. Will it continue to grow? Hopefully!


Doom WAD Station

Bob Larkin, a somewhat prolific mapper himself, ceased maintaining the Doom WAD Station in 2007, amid some wailing and gnashing of teeth. He's back, though, as of 2014, fixing a lot of broken material (and reproducing Jive's page in memoriam). Originally, the site was another secondary Doom community, much like Realm667, featuring all sorts of Doom-related info as well as reviews by Larkin and even hosts a large number of sites. Larkin rates maps on a scale from 1 to 10 and while he might not have had the most in-depth reviews, he is passionate about his hobby and his site serves as another testament to Doom's ongoing community.


Outpost of Doom

Outpost of Doom is probably the last remaining review site (independent of Doomworld) to have gone defunct. Ismael maintained it for more than five years before waving the white flag at the beginning of 2011. He's an Italian Doomer who has some maps under his belt (unlike me) and cranked out 116 reviews before giving up the ghost, his most recent review being Iori's Drip Feed, released in 05/18/10. WADs are discussed in depth on playability, graphics, difficulty, and novel elements. For a look at some of Doom's more recent (but not too recent) releases from a singular point of view, look no further.


Classic DooMing

Previously Grimm's Mini Reviews, Classic DooMing's goal was to serve as an alternative to the idgames archive, often a haven for trolling and thoughtless 0-star ratings. The answer is to provide an exhaustive site housing short and to the point reviews on a similar scale to the archives, with some caveats. As far as I know, the site was last updated in 2008, finishing Ultimate Doom WADs from 0-C. It's a shame, because it could be a great reference for lesser-documented WADs. As it stands, its scope is a nice dip into the vastness of the official archives.


Visions of Doom

Andy Olivera, saint that he is, runs the Doomed Speed Demos Archive (DSDA). He also had a side-side-project, the rarely updated Visions of Doom. Doing one better on pretty much every reviewer I've ever seen, Olivera provides tool-assisted speedrun (TSA) demos of all the WADs he discusses, rating their apparent difficulty (I'm supposing dependent on the perceived effort taken to produce the demo) and at least lightly touching on each level. It hasn't been updated review-wise for about 10 years (though he's released other demos since then) but it's one of my favorite curios.


Doom Underground

Last updated in 2004, Doom Underground has a large collection of reviewed WADs, each one rated based on Architecture/Aesthetics, Gameplay and Difficulty, with reviews from Colin Phipps and Dr. Crypt. I took a page from Doom Underground when I put up review indices by WAD and author (as a sort of mapping bibliography). Now that the disparate pages have been welded together by the magic of javascript, I'll admit that the layout is eerily similar. Doom Underground did much to encourage me to go into greater detail with my own reviews and solidified my decision to go with a map-by-map review for megaWADs.


Major Rawne Reviews

Major Rawne has had an on again / off again relationship with the Doom Community, especially with reviewing. He shut his first site, Pray for Death, down due to drama, revived it, and then turned it into a labor of love for his car. Nowadays he maps and submits reviews to the Newstuff Chronicles, but in between he had this unorthodox website bearing his current moniker. If you want to read the reviews, made as posts in a personal forum, you'll have to pick your category and make sure it's showing all topics ("from the beginning"), and sort through the spam. He tends to stick to a scale of ten reviewing system and loves taking the piss out of WADs he dislikes, in the belief that it's more entertaining. He also really, really hates it when you archive oldstuff at /idgames.


Team Insanity

Team Insanity, incidentally the team behind Doom Millenium, has a large repository of WAD reviews on site, the last one dated in late '00. Reviews are rated on a scale from 0 to 10, with a large variety of voices given the team roster (with such prominent mappers as Paul Corfiatis, Kristian Aro, and Steve Dudzik, to name a few). While Doom Millenium will likely never see release (c'mon, guys, just publish what's left already!), the legacy remains. It's a nice snapshot of community sensibilities at the time (and I noted with some amusement the number of WAD reviews for mapsets by team members).


Sir Robin's Doom Castle

Jani Seska's Doom review site was last updated at the onset of 2005. Seska was a mapper himself, mostly releasing deathmatch maps, but he also contributed to a fair number of projects, including Doom 2000 (aka Daedalus). Robin confined himself to short blurbs distilling the essence of the map down to a few sentences whereas I am prone to ramble on like a pompous, pretentious scholar. As an added bonus, he actually reviewed deathmatch WADs, something I have zero inclination to do. He also has a substantial number of WADs discussed, rated on a 5-star system.


Metabolist's Site

Mr. Woodman, aka "The Metabolist", has a Doom WAD reviews page on his site, among other things. He was a prolific mapper in Doom's middle years, contributing to such projects as 2002: A Doom Odyssey and Plutonia II. His reviews are pretty exhaustive, scoring on a percentile rating based on construction, gameplay, "error fixing", aesthetics and thing placement. The last review was done in 2003, and he's only got 34 up, but it's a good bit and his pros and cons section at the review's end help to sum things up for quick blurbs. Enjoy!


Doomoscope

Bernard Devaux's Doomoscope has a section of old reviews in the Wadsocope, running from '94 to approximately '99 (based on the review of The Darkening). Devaux gave in-depth reviews of maps and rated them on a scale from 1-6, giving more attention to some articles. Archive.org seems to have caught most of it, including some screenshots, so have fun with this blast from the past if you want some reviews more contemporary to the golden years of Doom modding.


Milian's Doom Page

Milian's Doom WAD review page was last updated at the beginning of 2009. He has an impressive body of reviews (400+?) based on a 5-star system. He goes into some depth with the WADs reviewed, but generally strikes a balance between Jani Seska's brevity and, say, Ismaele's slightly more thorough picking. Milian, as with most of these reviewers, was a mapper himself, with his own project page, including a large number of deathmatch collaborations for ZDaemon. His burning passion was "The Biovite Project", still unreleased as of the time of this writing.


DooMster

This ancient review site was hosted by Doomshack (now found on Archive.org) and featured the review talents of critical darlings Martin Friberg (of Gothic fame) and Malcolm Sailor (most famous for the CHORD series). At the time Archive took the snapshot, DooMster gave scores on a scale from one to ten and described WADs in single paragraphs of varying size, mentioning technical information at the top (well, the stuff anyone cared about, i.e. new sounds, graphics, musics, sprites or monsters). They appeared to focus less on the community megaWADs and more on single releases, especially in series. Another nice snapshot of Doom's history.


Doom Reviews for the Recreational User

Of a more ancient flair, Walt Bilofsky last updated his site before the end of '99 (with the last review considerably older). He's a pretty laid-back reviewer, noting that his definition of recreation differs from people who eat Hell Revealed and shit Sunder (my paraphrase). He doesn't rate WADs based on any scale, preferring to note pertinent features, including what worked, what didn't work, etc.. He also goes into some considerable depth on the WADs he reviews, and he offers some map-by-map comments, especially for Memento Mori. A great look back on still-evolving player sensibilities.