"The Pink Bull - Doom Reviews" blog is a low-key trivial outlet for thoughts on various user-made Doom / Doom II addons. If you have no idea what these games are all about, I suggest browsing on. If you did not come across it by chance however, and you are here to saturate your need for reviews that do not sugarcoat, welcome.
The team consist of two soon to be middle-aged Norwegians; Martin Hunsager - author of Alien Vendetta map01 and map11, a veteran player who have been involved in the scene on a local and less local level since 1995, as well as Anders Johnsen, founder of Alien Vendetta and a former Deathmatch addict / Compet-N speedrunner.
There is a simple gimmick for how we do our reviews. Each map or map-set runs with ZDaemon on Skill 4 - Ultraviolence, and is played in a leisurely pace with the goal of getting 100% kills and secrets where possible. We do not quit the server after each map, so these reviews do not base themselves on "from scratch" play, more so the flow you get when playing the maps successively. We allow for deaths and respawns without restarting the server, and we will occasionally utilize editors to locate secrets or keys if we manage to get stuck - which happens quite often.
During the sessions we take some quick notes after each map, and discuss them trivially over TeamSpeak as we progress, then each dude scrabble down some more words post the session. We give every map a 1-6 point-score over the following categories:
Aesthetics: How visually pleasing the map is to look at, its atmosphere, the depth of creativity and how well executed the themes are. Illogical transitions between sections and crappy texture alignments will be punished. Maps that run over vanilla 1.9 will be granted more leverage than those running over limit-removing ports.
Layout: The thought that has gone into the progression of the map, how rewarding it feels to explore, and how well the architecture functions to generate a fun ride towards the exit. What will usually be punished here would be illogical puzzles, cheap solutions, gameplay intrusive detailing, inaccessible areas, and the lack of general planning from the authors side. Simple arenas and linear maps will more often than not score lower than nonlinear and highly interconnected maps. Maps that run over vanilla 1.9 will be granted more leverage than those running over limit-removing ports.
Gameplay: How much thought went into item and monster placements and traps? How well does the map build and generate tension, how well does the architecture suit its inhabitants? And in the end, how much fun is it to play the thing. Generally maps with excess monsters and random item placement will score mediocre, and maps with highly frustrating elements will be punished.
After each map have been judged separately by each player, we then combine our totals for a final score. As of this date, the maps we play will be limited to those with ZDaemon compatibility, thus some script-heavy releases will be left out until the code catches up with the current builds of modern ports.
Differing opinions and comments on the reviews are appreciated, and even though we run a hard line when it comes to scoring, there is a deep appreciation for the game and all the people who keep producing maps for these old classics, so no dog poo in the mail please :)