Friday, February 5, 2016

The Ultimate Doom (DOOM.WAD)


Doom wasn't originally a retail release; while id left the bosom of Apogee, it was still invested in the shareware model. When GT Interactive finally got around to producing a boxed copy, someone had the outstanding idea to include an additional, fourth episode. Some might call it an incentive; since a patch was released that upgraded Doom 1.9 to The Ultimate Doom, I'd call it more of a celebration. In either case, in 1995, we got nine more official levels for the original Doom. One of the authors - Romero - was part of the original crew. This is Thy Flesh Consumed.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Doom (DOOM.WAD)


It's the future, and you're a space marine with a heart of gold, exiled to Mars for disobeying and physically reprimanding a superior officer who ordered you to fire on civilians. You've been working in tandem with a paramilitary organization - the Union Aerospace Corporation - who has been uncovering the secrets of teleportation. Things have been getting weird, though, and the source of the gateway anomalies reveals itself as true blue Hell when demons pour out of the teleporters. Security quickly falls and the rest of the Phobos base follows; Deimos just disappears entirely. Those that don't die turn into cannibalistic, gun-toting shells. You're dispatched from Mars to Phobos to investigate and left to secure the perimeter with your trusty pistol while the rest of your team goes inside. After brief but intense combat, you're left as the lone survivor, the last marine. Since you can't fly the ship alone, you elect to confront your fate head-on, ever the defiant one.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Nashville, Tennessee (NSHVILLE.WAD)

NASHVILLE,
TENNESSEE

by Paul "Skillsaw" DeBruyne


Brian Knox's ill-fated Secret Santa project had two official releases, Forsaken Overlook and Drown Stone. A few more have trickled out - Joshy did Xaser for Resurgence's MAP31. And, now, we have Skillsaw's gift. Nashville, Tennessee may seem an esoteric title for those not in the know, but most Doomworld regulars will be able to put two and two together and figure out that this is a thinly veiled Secret Santa gift to Memfis, done in the style of what was his most popular release at the time, Kuchitsu. In a case of classic situational irony, Kuchitsu was something Memfis wanted to do as a sort of swan song to a style that he wanted to distance himself from. I can only assume that this level, released two years later in 2015, comes as an unwelcome reminder.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Last Sanctuary (TLS.WAD)

THE LAST SANCTUARY
by "cybermind"


The Russian Doom Community never fails to amaze. It's not that they have fun events like the First-try Demo Contest (FDC), but the fact that they manage to secure fantastically memorable maps as FDA fodder. I still remember the labyrinthine, action-packed techbase of 2013 - Archi and C4tnt's Fuel Devourer. This time, it's Cybermind's chance to shine, an author I only know through his contributions to Whitemare and Whitemare 2. This particular item, released in 2015, is The Last Sanctuary, one bigass MAP01 replacement for MBF-compatible ports.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Strange Aeons (STRANGEAEONS*.PK3)


Strange Aeons is a full 36-level megaWAD for the original Doom, released - more or less - in 2015 by Mike MacDee aka Doomworld Forum superstar Impie. As it requires ZDoom, it's something much more than a plain ol' Doom mapset; its almost exclusive use of textures from Chasm: The Rift, coupled with a few new weapons and a basically brand new bestiary, puts it right alongside the other "total conversions" of yore... and recent memory. It also has a plot, set up in the PDF and expanded in the end text of each episode, so you're free to get as invested as your imagination will allow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Plutocracy (PLUTCY.WAD)

PLUTOCRACY
by Franck "franckFRAG" Livolant


franckFRAG has made a bit of a name for himself as a purveyor of levels that seem composed almost entirely of death starts, mostly in his Swift Death, where every map begins in a bad situation that only seems to get worse as you poke your head around looking for some sort of foothold. Plutocracy is sort of a logical offshoot of this action brand, a MAP28 replacement released in 2015 to be played with The Plutonia Experiment (naturally). Like most of Franck's work, it doesn't come with any sort of story, but you're free to insert it anywhere in your personal Doom chronology. I think it fits in pretty well with the spirit of Swift Death, if not in its entire execution, but historical sticklers may note that it started out as a Plutinya 1024 map before quickly overgrowing its bounds.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Warlock's Hearth (WARLH.WAD)

THE WARLOCK'S HEARTH
by Adam "Khorus" Woodmansey


I know Khorus has done a ton of things, but I only really know him from his 2011-now stuff, starting with Khorus's Speedy Shit. As such, the vast majority of my Doom II experience with him is relegated - almost entirely - to fairly difficult speedmaps. Imagine my surprise when Adam announced The Warlock's Hearth, a single map released in 2015 for limit-removing ports which is not at all short, and while it may have its moments, it lacks the omnipresent oppressive feeling that comes with Khorus's shorter, wilder levels. Plus, unlike all those KSSHT levels, it actually has a title!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Beginning of the End (Part 2) (END2.WAD)


Emil Brundage, who goes by NaturalTvventy nowadays, published Part 1 of The Beginning of the End back in 1997. The following year, he finished the follow-up, which - of course - goes by The Beginning of the End (Part 2). Since we never saw a Part 3, I suppose that this is the finale of the series, more analogous to the original Doom than the Ultimate version. This release also forgoes vanilla compatibility, more for savegame reasons than anything, judging by the .TXT. The official port of END2 is Boom, which puts this right at the time when the port was being introduced. It's also more inscrutable than its forebear, which at least had map titles. The new sky enforces a strong sense of place, though, and that location is... some kind of starry galaxy.