Saturday, November 28, 2015

Big Woodchip (PH_WDCH3.WAD)

by James "Phobus" Cresswell

Big Woodchip, released in 2014, is actually the third entry in a trilogy of wood-textured levels by Doomworld Forum superstar Phobus, "Woodchip" was part of Abyssal Speedmapping Session 2, and the follow-up - "Woodchip Woodchip" - arrived in Abyssal Speedmapping Session 3. While this was originally conceived of as a speedmap, the only thing it truly has in common with the rest of the series is its texture theme. The end result is a limit-removing MAP01 replacement that has more of a traditional map progression than its progenitors, and that's cool, because I usually find myself wishing that the authors of these speedmapping sessions had been given a little more room to really bring the proposed concept to fruition.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Abyssal Speedmapping Session 3 (ABYSPED3.WAD)

Obsidian is a cool dude who has more or less brought speedmapping back to the Doomworld community. I mean, they had the Doomworld Speedmapping Compilations going for awhile, and then the SargeBaldy Speedmapping Compilations, and then BACK to Doomworld for a bit before Obsidian started things up again. Sure, there have been other programs to fill the void since then, especially in places like the Russian Doom Community, but it's cool to have a semi-regular event happening again, especially if it means we get maps the average caliber of these. Abyssal Speedmapping Session 3, released in 2014, heralds the return of a lot of the Session 2 crew, though Osiris has dropped out to make Obsidian the only holdover from Session 1. I also see in the notes that Tarnsman was around but elected to do something completely different.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

dead.wire (XA-DWIRE.WAD)

by Xaser Acheron

I hope you don't think that Xaser's been keeping quiet. He's got his tendrils in a handful of community projects, plus the management of both Doom the Way id Did: The Lost Episodes and No End in Sight. Heck, in 2014, he was one of the unifying forces of Back to Saturn X E2. 2015 wasn't a big year for the X-man, but there was a flurry of standalone releases to drink in, starting with dead.wire. This map was a competitor in Realm667's 2015 Doomja Vu contest, and while it did not bring home the gold, it ALMOST did, and if you load it up in GZDoom you'll quickly see why.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sheer Poison (SHPO1.WAD)

by "Zan-zan-zawa-veia"

Zan-zan-zawa-veia, aka yakfak, is an author who exalts what is now a fringe interest of the Doom community. The wild, freewheeling puzzle boxes of '95 have given way to a commercial sensibility that seems afraid to confront the player in any manner apart from the monsters that litter the digital playgrounds. Enter yakfak, whose ideas betray an alignment rooted in the early days of Dooming, when players had to have patience because there wasn't like twenty years of community mods already released and begging for your attention. Sheer Poison, an E2M1 replacement released in 2015 as a vehicle for the accompanying MIDI, carries a lot of the strange progression that I would associate with... Jim Flynn, for instance, but with a metaphysical presentation entirely its own.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Skulldash (SKULDASH.PK3)

The vast majority of PWADs we see don't really muck with the core format of Doom. Even when we throw true three-dimensional geometry and custom monsters and weapons, you are still working your way toward a finish line of some sort, whether it's a literal line or an exit switch or the death of the Final Boss. Skulldash, a Zandronum megaWAD developed by Joshua O'Sullivan aka "Dragonfly" and released in 2015, has these same conceits, but there is a significant change in what it means to complete a level that shares one aspect of 2014's Doom: The Golden Souls. Specifically, you've got to pick up a certain number of collectibles to make it to each exit. The difference is, you're on a time limit, and when your hourglass runs out, you're dead.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Ol' No Name

The Doom community has produced tons of fantastic texture sets throughout its history. The Darkening's E2 took inspiration from Quake II, but its aesthetics languished in obscurity due to a restrictive clause that prohibited use of its textures... until recently. The only mapset I knew that played with the pack was Yashar Garibzadeh's The Darkening Aftershock, which of course had to be run on top of DARKEN2. This, however, is Ol' No Name, a four-map episode released in 2015 by Doomworld Forum superstar Octavarium. The author exploits its resources at a level as befits The Nameless Project's reputation for vanilla trickery, but in a Boom-compatible context, which adds a little something more.

Monday, November 2, 2015

ICAR2015 (ICAR2015.WAD)

Eternal is Russian's favorite son, a multi-Cacoward toting author with several fetishes, one of them being classic megaWADs - especially in the TNT flavor. It should come as no surprise that he eventually got around to making his loveletter to Icarus: Alien Vanguard, the aptly titled ICAR2015, an eleven-level episode published in 2015 for Doom II that must be run on top of the Icarus megaWAD. As could be expected, this release is completely compatible with vanilla Doom II, not that there's anything stopping you from running it in another source port.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Doom II In Name Only RDC

By some accounts, Doom 2 In Name Only was a disaster. The initial goal of the project was to just take a level name and then do whatever seemed appropriate - to create a map that justified its appellation. When opened up to the community, though, some of the authors went counter to the potentially experimental direction, creating a mixed bag of levels that at times explored one of the most common criticisms of Doom II, that the experience did not hold up to the expectations of the setting, enforcing monster progression and vanilla textures (outside of Xaser's madness) coupled with clashing author styles and a lack of focus. The Russian Doom Community took some inspiration from the release, from which comes this episode covering the first nine levels. Doom 2 In Name Only RDC has some clear goals; it dumps any aspirations of vanilla compatibility, even sneaking in a few scrolling floors. It also uses a bunch of new textures to further distance itself from the original Doom II experience... even if there are some obvious homages crammed in there.