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Review - DOOM - THE GOLDEN SOULS 2 - The toughest FPS-platformer mod ever created?

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Arabian market



  The Golden Souls 2 is the sequel of the groundbreaking mod which transported the player into a Super Mario-themed world, which we loved immensely and reviewed a few months ago.


  Basically, this is like the Golden Souls 1, but unfortunately, we can't say "except everything better". The developer went for the "harder, better, faster, stronger" approach - in an EXTREME way - , and we're going to explain to you why this is might be a problem for some gamers...


Store Platform OVERALL RATING: 83%
Buy Doom II on GOG

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 + THE POSITIVE
+ Nice texturing and great level design
+ Super Nes soundtracks!
+ The new jump feels great!
+ MASSIVE levels and gameplay time!
+ Many secrets!
 - THE NEGATIVE
- You get lost in the maze-like levels
- The platforming is too hardcore
- A few guns are boring, except the "Trumpetbluss"
 and "big starry gun"
- The parts with lava + wings need to be removed.
 Seriously.

THE GOLDEN CHILD OF GOLDEN SOULS

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - settings and infoDoom: The Golden Souls 2 was made by Andrea "Batandy" Gori (along with dozens of contributors), who also made the original Golden Souls mod back in 2014.
  

Your mission

You must retrieve 7 Golden Souls stolen by the Cyberdemon's minions in order to save the world... once again!

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Panoramic view of the overworld map
Picture of the complete map. You think it seems little? Every little area has MANY levels to explore, and most levels take around anywhere between 5 minutes to SEVERAL hours to complete, not even mentioning the secret areas and levels. This is one of the biggest mods ever made. (maybe THE biggest, actually?)

  This gargantuan-sized mod contains several dozens of massive levels, all connected via a beautiful world map(which looks much better than the "hub" in Golden Souls 1) styled after Super Mario World's overworld
You'll be unlocking new paths by reaching exits and/or by collecting big coins

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Overworld
It wasn't possible to take a better view, as you can't jump in the world map! We don't think this design choice was necessary, though. It's better to never limit the players like AAA games do too often...
 
  Levels generally follow the locales of Super Mario World, but as you'll find out later, the game overall looks way less cute than the first one, and doesn't feel as much as a 3D rendition of Super Mario World. 

  Once more, one of the greatest things about this mod is that you can replay any level from the world map by walking over that level's teleporter. Enemies don't respawn, though, which is actually a GOOD thing, considering how hard this mod can be at times!

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Platforming is more intense than in the first mod
Sometimes, it's pleasant to replay a level once all enemies are dead, to try to get the remaining big coins, or unlock more secret areas, etc.


Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - look for golden spiders in ghost houses!
Look for these well-hidden spiders in the ghost houses!
  Like in the first mod, levels are filled with classic Doom enemies as well as perfect sprite renditions of Super Mario enemies

  For example, you'll encounter the famous Piranha Flowers, or various weird Doom/Mario hybrids, like the funny-sounding shy-guy cultists, and hammer-throwing Hell Knights wearing green shells on their heads, etc.

  You'll get golden souls after completing each "cluster" of maps, along thousands of coins, which you can spend on the few shops which are spread across the world map.

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Madame Caco's house
 This purple monstrosity is Madame Caco, and she'll reward you if you give her all of the skull jewels you can find in ghost house levels. Skulls are dropped when you destroy "Golden Spiders", and there'll be 10 of them for each level, which you can spot by listening to their unique sound.(on a side note, notice the beautiful reflections on the floor. Batandy sure improved since Golden Souls 1!πŸ˜‰πŸ‘)

  An interesting touch which will remind you the good old Mario games: now, there are even flagpole checkpoints in every level, although we consider there aren't nearly enough of them so that we just don't quicksave anymore. (especially considering the amount of deadly jumps you'll have to perform...)

Note!
  This time, we won't write a setup guide(unless people ask for it), as we assume you already know how to do it now. Just download Gzdoom from here, the mod from here, and if you don't have it already, you need Doom II .wad file.

  Again, we also used "Beautiful Doom" mod while playing. It's not necessary at all, though.(The vast majority of its features aren't working in Golden Souls anyway.)
It's 100% compatible, we thoroughly tested it on and off.

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - The game looks even better with Beautiful Doom mod
The great lighting effects are the #1 reason we always play with Beautiful Doom mod!😍

GAMEPLAY - SO YOU DO SPEEDRUNS OF MIRROR'S EDGE? THAT'S CUTE.πŸ˜…

  Most levels are huge and get even GIGANTIC as you progress, and to make things even more complex, some of them are maze-like(the Egyptian ones especially), but you always find your way, thanks to a very intelligent level design! (there are a few exceptions, though. A few maps got us stuck during HOURS...)

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - The mod features lots of maze-like maps
The first maze-like level you encounter is actually a REAL maze. No wonder some enemies look like minotaurs. I've got only one prescription for you, buddy: MORE COWBELL! Ah.... My jokes are legend-dairy...

  Whether you're helped by an audio or visual hint(SPOILER: the spiders in the haunted house... he he), there'll always be something to guide you, but the game NEVER hold your hand, don't worry!


As usual, the game has MANY secret places with big coins hidden in them!
 


  Jumps are HUGE! And thanks god for this, as the platforming in The Golden Souls 2 is even more extreme than in the first game!

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - You can make very big jumps
The space between each platform seems huge? Don't worry, your jumps are very big and you'll reach this platform without a problem!

  Unfortunately, there's STILL the inertia problem(slippery movement) which will make you miss MANY jumps.
Practice and practice and practice... And QUICKSAVE EVERY 5 SECONDS!!!

In the latter levels, you might actually even give up, as the difficulty becomes so insane that it's borderline unplayable.

Note!
WE NEED TO FIND A WAY TO REDUCE THE CHARACTER'S INERTIA. SERIOUSLY. ANY MODDER, PLEASE? We tried this mod and it didn't work: Less Slippery Doom Movement
There are WAY too many areas which require VERY PRECISE jumping and moving around in this mod. We BADLY NEED more precise movements!

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Don't fall off the map!
Whew, I almost fell in... Water. Well, in this game, any fall like this will kill you, even if it's water. ALWAYS stick to the main "path".

  Overall, the game is WAY harder than the first one, and one of the most important reasons is the ammo rarity. It's still totally manageable, but be careful to not waste your ammo randomly on weak enemies!
It's supposed be one of the "cute" mods, but we've got to admit that some more powerful "brutal"(*wink wink*πŸ˜‰) weapons would have been really appreciated in some tough situations!



Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Pistol with infinite ammo is boring and slow
The pistol with infinite ammo is boring and projectiles are too slow, so you'll miss enemies unless they're very close to you. (by the way, anybody smells the Exhumed vibes from this level?😍)

We assume that weapons were made a bit disappointing on purpose to force us to upgrade them? (you can upgrade them in shops!) They do get a bit more satisfying once fully upgraded.

Unfortunately, you need WAY too many big coins to be able to buy anything. It would be nice to lower the cost so that we can enjoy these upgrades sooner in the game?

Random picture totally unrelated to the previous paragraph. Write the best caption it and win a trip to Chernobyl!
 
- Pistol is VERY loud. They need to lower the sound WAY down.
Also, strangely, it's VERY hard to find any pistol ammo. Still, it's strangely one of the best weapons in the game, as it's accurate, and can be used for close encounters as well as distant enemies.
 

- Charging pistol(or whatever it's called) is rather unpleasant to use.
It's kinda usable if you're very close to an enemy, but you have to be VERY accurate! (don't even try to shoot the fast-moving ghosts with that, it's too slow!)
When its "battery" is empty(and slowly reloading), if you try to shoot an enemy, your projectile will just "go down"...
The only good thing about it is that it has infinite ammo.


- The assault rifle is WAY too inaccurate, to a point that even the shotgun is more useful from a distance.
We used it only in some close encounters and with bosses.

 
Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Shooting at a Cacodemon with a hunting shotgun
Despite its drawbacks, the shotgun is STILL the best weapon, like in the first classic Doom.


- Hunting Shotgun feels great, but reloading time is a bit too long. You'll understand why it's a problem especially when you face enemies which fire at you! 

Also, it could be just a slightly more powerful. Even some weak enemies need two shots to be killed.

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Weapon Upgrades
Weapon Upgrades Level 2!

- The big starry gun (how the hell is this called anyway? By the way, there's NO info whatsoever about the game itself in the .txt file) is perfect, and we only regret it's not the #1 base weapon. Maybe we would be overpowered, though. πŸ˜…

 - The rocket launcher(called "Trumpetbluss"? πŸ˜‚) is even better and feels very satisfying to use.

Unfortunately, you WILL run into a VERY annoying problem, which occurs especially when you use this weapon...
  
  Trees and bushes are SOLID. And their "hitboxes" are HUUUUUUGE!!!!
Like, they will completely block you, and when you're stuck between two trees, which actually happen quite often, and that you have to strafe to avoid many enemies projectiles, you'll enrage when you realize you just can't move at all!


Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Trees hitboxes are annoying
One of the most annoying areas. There are many enemies shooting at me, but I can't kill them, because the trees hitboxes are so big that none of my bullets go through, even if I shoot away from the tree. I'm forced to go platforming anyway, WHILE avoiding the numerous projectiles, and shooting at the enemies.

  And wait until you die miserably because you fired your rocket launcher at an enemy, but it exploded on the nearby wall/box/tree instead...(even if you fired TWO METERS away from the obstacle!!!)
It seems exaggerated to say this, but being able to COMPLETELY go through trees would improve the game DRASTICALLY.


Unfortunately, this big annoyance might be a limitation of the Doom engine, so maybe nothing can be done about it?


Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Hardcore platforming over lava and avoiding cannons
This is when we started thinking about giving up on the game. And it's not even one of the most difficult maps. Batandy, why do you hate us so much?πŸ˜‚

TIP!
For the first time ever, we actually recommend to play with the EASIEST difficulty setting. Yes, seriously. Although, it's not the enemies which are really annoying, but the platforming and also the mazes in which you get lost. But at least, making enemies easier will make the experience a bit less painful.

  A BIG improvement over the previous game is that this time, you know how many big coins are available in a level! So, you don't have to keep searching endlessly if you've already gotten them all in any level!


Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - A game in which you can blow your own trumpet
"I don't often blow my own trumpet, but when I do, I blow it hard."

 On a side note, this time, you can collect up to 1999 coins! (unless we're wrong, it was 999 in the first mod)

  Overall, despite all of these critics, make no mistakes, it's still one of the greatest mods ever made.
Keep in mind that it's for hardcore gamers, even on easy mode!

GRAPHICS - VERTICAL LIMITS😱

  Very well-made textures seem to be even better than the first mod, and the level design is even more sophisticated, requiring you to raise your platforming skills to a whole 'nother level!
The vast majority of levels are built with verticality in mind, which reminds us a bit of this old game we reviewed recently, "Project Eden".

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - More insane platforming
You'll love that part. Just kidding.

  Also, it's possible to die from height in most levels (There's no high fall damage as long as you stay "in" the map, but make sure to not go too far and explore the rest of the map)...

Like the first mod, every level is totally memorable, thanks to a cleverly limited color palette and unique design, and in some cases, unique monsters too!
 
Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Attacked by two hands looking like "the thing" from the Addams Family
Yep, "the thing" from the Addams Family is there too! Well... I don't need a helping hand, and I don't know sign language, so SCREW YOU!!! *shoots rockets at fast-moving hands, while shrieking like a madman*


  Not a critic, but overall, the game is WAY darker and contains more horrific elements than the first one. We'd say that half the game almost looks like a regular Doom mod, rather than something based on Super Mario World. Well, let's say it's LOOSELY based on Super Mario World.
The whole atmosphere is way less cute and welcoming than before, and there's a high number of "hellish" levels.


Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Some maps are even more hellish than classic doom
Yaaaay Super Mario wo.... Hey where the hell am I? I know I often make too many inappropriate jokes, but did I deserve this so early?

Note!
   We made the questionable choice of testing most of the game with the fog disabled, because we consider:

1. It's too extreme in some levels.(the Egyptian levels look better with fog disabled)
2. It's the best way to show you how the game really looks, even if this is not what the developer intended. (although we re-enabled it after a while, as you can see in some screenshots)

In both cases, it looks great anyway. Without the fog, the game is less atmospheric, but you can appreciate the textures and level design better.

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - before and after pictures of the revamped water cave map
Before and after pictures of the revamped water cave, with fog effect. As you can see, with the fog, it's not necessarily better or worse, it's just different. We prefer the crisp graphics without the fog, but to each his own!

Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Many levels look better with the fog disabled
Maybe the most extreme example of how the game looks without the fog. Normally, you wouldn't be able to see 10 feet away in this level. We think it's too extreme and the game is just as enjoyable without the fog.

MUSIC - MAGNIFICENT 90s SUPER NES SOUNDTRACKS!😍

  Like the first mod, you'll enjoy dozens of timeless tracks all coming from the golden era of the Super Nes, until the mid-90s.

  A few examples of the marvelous tracks you'll find in this mod:
Donkey Kong Country, Dracula X, Earthbound, Super Castlevania IV, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Zelda: A link to the past, etc.

  There's also at least one original composition (no idea if there's more!), the world map track, created by "Wauterboi"!
http://wauterboi.com/ 
https://soundcloud.com/wauterboi 
https://twitter.com/wauterboi


  Interestingly, as you progress in the game, this track will evolve and become more "lively"!

  Additionally, there are also a few tracks which come from Nintendo 64(and apparently other consoles as well), but which have been "adapted" to sound like they came from the Super Nes sound chip, which is a very nice touch, and contribute to make the whole OST coherent.

Anyway, here's one more Super Nes OST to immerse yourself in the ambiance!😍


SFX & VOICES - A CUTE DEAD WORLD?😡

  The gun sounds are unbalanced, either too loud(pistol) or too weak(the rifle?).
Reloading sounds are very realistic, though. 

  We didn't notice many new monster "voices", which are mostly the same as The Golden Souls 1. Overall, they sound pretty good anyway.

  It would have been nice to have more environmental sounds, and we know it's possible in the doom engine.(just look up the Paranoid mod)

  Here, footsteps sound the same almost everywhere, and you don't really hear insects, birds, or anything else, really. When you push blocks(a la Tomb Raider), no sounds either. If you turn off the music, you're almost in complete silence. (at least when every enemy is dead...😁)

  Let's not be unfair, though. It's the case for 99% of Doom mods, anyway.
But it just feels weird in a world which seems so lively!


RATING BOX
Doom - The Golden Souls 2 - Cartridge
VERSION TESTED: v1.2

Publisher:


Developer:
id Software
Mod developer:
Batandy


Release Date:
27 June, 2018

Genre: FPS

Single-player

Difficulty: Hard 

GRAPHICS: 87%
  Featuring more "vertical" levels and great design in general, it looks even better than the first game.

We're not sure about the extreme fog in some levels though. (Try the game with the fog disabled. Don't you think it looks better?)
MUSIC: 95%
A HUGE selection of the best Super Nes soundtracks! Super Mario World, Castlevania, Earthbound... It's Christmas for every Super Nes fan out there!
SOUNDS: 72%
Most monster sounds are the same as Golden Souls 1, and yes, they're still very good. Although we didn't like the guns, at least they do sound very good as well.
Almost no environmental sounds, but the underwater sounds are glorious.
GAMEPLAY: 82%
  The game gets more and more difficult as you progress, going from a walk in the park to one of the most difficult Doom mods ever created

  The first-person platforming can be hardcore at times, but the new jump mechanic is very fun! Gameplay time is HUGE, thanks to the VERY numerous and MASSIVE levels with countless secrets! Have fun finding every big coin and special item!
OVERALL RATING: 83%
  It pains us to admit it: The Golden Souls 2 is a little bit disappointing
The first half of the game is magnificent, extremely well balanced and enjoyable, and we were ready to give it a "megahit" rating.

But the more we progressed, the more it became excruciatingly painful to avoid getting killed every 5 seconds, not even mentioning the number of times we got stuck and had no idea where to go.(yes, the map is USELESS.)

  Drastically raised difficulty in general, frustrating guns, some GIGANTIC MAZE-LIKE levels(in the second half of the game), HARDCORE first-person platforming, The Golden Souls 2 is not for everybody, and will irritate even the best players!

  Still, despite its very numerous quirks, The Golden Souls 2 is definitely a professional work of love and its developer deserves our infinite respect.
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