Monday, June 29, 2015

Dark Side of Deimos (DEIMOS.WAD)


Phobos-themed episodes are a dime-a-dozen, and everyone loves the E4 theme, whether it's in its natural setting or being expounded upon in Doom II format. Deimos and Inferno... not so much. We treasure these niceties when we may, so here's Dark Side of Deimos, an Episode Two replacement released late in 2013. I believe that it's targeted for Boom-compatible ports, so take that as you may. It also has pretty much zero story, though you may be able to infer some similarities between the original names and the maps that are now in their slots, especially in cases like E2M8 and E2M9.

Friday, June 26, 2015

E2MWalter (PH_WALT.WAD)

E2MWALTER
by James "Phobus" Cresswell


Phobus is a dude I know mostly for having contributed at least one high quality level to a bunch of community projects. He's kind of like a modern day Adam Windsor, excepting the fact that Adam Windsor is still kicking around. Phobus is actually a pretty prolific author, and the only reason I haven't delved into his backlog of solo releases is because there is so, so much Doom, and so very little time. E2MWalter is an interesting oddity, its genesis being a birthday map for Doomworld Forum superstar Walter Confalonieri in 2014. As advertised, it's a level in the Shores of Hell theme; E2M1, to be exact. It lacks a framing story in a fictive sense, but its purpose is readily apparent.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Ranger (13ZD-RGR.WAD)

THE RANGER
by "TerminusEst13"


TerminusEst13 has taken Doom's modding scene by storm with stuff like Samsara, DemonSteele, and Push. The Ranger was his first release, published in 2011 for ZDoom and Skulltag. It's a new character for Hexen, and an attempt at bringing something of gunpowder tech to a familiar fantasy setting. The Ranger doesn't change any of the core conceits of Hexen's gameplay; none of the enemy behavior has been touched. Any alterations to item behavior are just additions to cover what the Icon and Flechette do when wielded by the formidable Ranger, which isn't just understandable - it's to be expected.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hell Revealed II (HR2FINAL.WAD)


Hell Revealed remains an inexplicable enigma; for awhile, when someone would pop in and ask what they should play after having finished and loved Doom II, a sizable number of people would throw it out there. If I didn't know any better, I'd think they were trolling, attempting to turn people off Doom forever with HR's sheer difficulty curve. The truth, though, is that a lot of people love it, and when the iron was hot, some of its fans got together to make a sequel. Hell Revealed II took a lot longer to make than its forbear, though; about five times as long, in fact. Released at the very end of 2003, its influence is undeniable. I've seen numerous explicit citations when parsing the more elaborate commentary provided by PWAD authors. There are moments of sheer BFG frenzy sure to satiate fans of demon-reaping gameplay. Then, of course, there's the other stuff.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Esselfortium's Birthday Cave (ESSEL11.WAD)

ESSELFORTIUM'S BIRTHDAY CAVE
by Brendt "Megalyth" Pantley


Sometimes, Doomworld members make birthday levels for each other. Sometimes, they get uploaded to the /idgames archives. DTWID alumnus Brent Pantley, aka Megalyth, crafted this level for Esselfortium back in 2011, officially publishing it almost two years later. Titled Esselfortium's Birthday Cave, it is indeed a cavern of sorts, and a MAP01 replacement that should play back in any engine. Birthday levels aren't known for pushing the envelope, and this one isn't any different. It's definitely competent, though, and shows Megalyth as a talented author who must be sitting on like a ton of supercool maps by now.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Titan (TITAN.WAD)


You don't see a whole lot of "normal maps but with ZDoom features" nowadays. It looks like most of the people are making mods instead of maps. If you're looking for Doom+ gameplay, though, this one's for you. Titan is a nine-map episode for Doom II, released in 2004 by one Jesper Krag Rasmussen, aka Ixnatifual. This one WAS made for ZDoom, but a now ancient release, and ZDoom's continued development created a game-breaking bug at the end of MAP02 stemming from a malfunction in the execution of a handful of Rasmusen's major teleport traps. This led to an update back in 2014, which I nonetheless missed out on due to my insistence on using a copy I had downloaded back in 2010. Sorry about that!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Nuts (NUTS.WAD)

NUTS
by B.P.R.D.


Nuts was selected as one of Doomworld's Top 10 Infamous WADs, and it's not hard to see why. B.P.R.D. went on to have a long, distinguished career as a Doom author; his followup to this bit of totty was Equinox, of all things. It's hard to imagine someone not knowing or understanding what Nuts is, but I'll humor you. Released late in 2001, this is a single map replacement for Doom II. You won't be able to run this in vanilla; I recommend the PrBoom-Plus family for sheer efficiency, but I didn't have much trouble working it in ZDoom. Nuts does have a story, with you sent to eliminate the final Hellspawn army on Litrivin IV, armed with nothing but a pistol because of a past social transgression. Good thing there is a fuck ton of cell ammo and guns at the drop off point, I guess.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Master Levels and Speculation


John Romero released a boatload of dev shit for Doom and Doom II, furthering the already intimate understandings of Doom's development history into previously uncharted depths. A lot of this stuff is tangentially interesting to me, but I'm not someone to go gaga over the pornographic details of how Doom was made unless it turns up something Not Yet Seen, like those art assets. One of the things uncovered during this asset dump is a file that contains at the very least this list of .WAD and .TXT names, which shows an inarguable connection to the Master Levels For Doom II.