Saturday, June 15, 2019

Fruit Salad (FRUIT SALAD.WAD)


Grain of Salt is someone who I was peripherally aware of as a member of Doomworld's slaughter fan brigade, a contributor to community projects like Slaughterfest 2011. I actually did play one of GoS's levels back in 2013, a bonus map from Hadephobia ("Scotch Bonnet"). I also downloaded a solo release, Green Goddess, though I have failed to actually do anything with it. Fruit Salad is her second personal publication that I'm aware of, a six-map episode for Doom II for play in Boom-compatible ports. It was released in late 2018 and might generously be called a holiday-themed set since its themes are split into ice, mountain, and Christmas. The last one isn't entirely festive but the colors are there.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Remains (REMAINS.PK3)


2019 appears to be Serious_MOod's year for excavating past endeavors. Outbreak of Evil was a remake of their debut 2013 episode, Opening. It punched up the architecture, detailing, and gameplay to the author's standards some six years later. Remains isn't a retread, though. It is an attempt to deliver on the promise of a project that died before it ever really began. S_M was working with partner in crime ChaingunnerX and devived]asts[. They had built up a resource pack for a prospective megaWAD but it obviously never materialized. Serious_MOod took what remained of their dreams and then crafted a single level plus an isolating coda, occupying MAP01 and MAP02 respectively. The finished product is meant for play in GZDoom.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Phobos: Anomaly Reborn (PAR.WAD)


Chris Lutz has a more or less independent property in marshaling The Chaos Crew's Caverns of Darkness. His earliest obsession, though, was to reinvent the original Doom under the guidance of his own image. This started in 1998 with the release of Inferno and was followed by some work on replacements for The Shores of Hell and Knee Deep in the Dead. His passion project took a backseat when he joined CoD, though, and by the time he got back to the trilogy he was so displeased with his older works that he began anew. Thus we were fortunate enough to receive Phobos: Anomaly Reborn. This episode one replacement was released at the beginning of 2003 and imprinted on Doomworld's curators enough to find a spot in their coveted Top 100 WADs of All Time. Lutz identifies Boom/MBF as the target port and his language implies that it ought to work with either but it was also found to be compatible in a then-contemporary version of ZDoom. There are some caveats, though, and I'll get to those in a bit.

SubP:AR (PAR.WAD)


When I hunkered down to look into Phobos: Anomaly Reborn I learned one of the community's best-kept secrets. There are four other levels contained within PAR.WAD, occupying E2M5-E2M8. They constitute the stealth release of SubP:AR, a collection of outtakes from Christopher's Inferno period (1997-1999). The author originally intended to make Lutz-ified reimaginations of Knee Deep in the Dead and The Shores of Hell, too, but he joined up with The Chaos Crew and these levels fell by the wayside. While he eventually got around to Phobos (and, though incomplete, Deimos) it was with a few good years of authorial experience under his belt. I don't know whether these were necessarily designed for BooMBF but it was probably the last port that Chris used to test them. I'm reviewing them separately from P:AR in spite of being contained in the same PWAD because I don't want to bloat Reborn's review and I'd like to give these curiosities their time in the sun.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Out of Phase (OPHASE.WAD)

OUT OF PHASE
by Karthik Abhiram


OPHASE is a pretty important stepping stone in K.A.'s authorial career. His earliest /idgames releases - Ick and Chaos Punch - contained strange design mannerisms that suggested a lack of familiarity with editing tools. His work process appeared to consist of making room spaces and then drawing freestanding structures inside of them, the latter functioning as walls. Out of Phase moves past these oddities to deliver a highly claustrophobic techbase map. It's also the first of Karthik's Doom II releases, being a MAP01 replacement, and was published in 2001. The second part - OPHASE2 - wouldn't be released until the following year in 2002.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Hall of the Mountain King (HALLMONT.WAD)

HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING
by John "Spooky" Bye


Bye's early authorial career showed that he was willing to work with some crazy ideas. CyberDoom portrayed a virtual world whose structures represented hyperlinked websites in cyberspace. Gardens of Delight dialed back on the madness as a fairly mundane chateau / castle kind of thing. Hall of the Mountain King went even further, taking the promising static light work of GARDENSD and cranking it up at the expense of any semblance of interesting architecture. It differs from his earliest material in that it's actually an E1M1 replacement for the original Doom but it still hails from 1996.

Monday, June 3, 2019

New Page

I've added a new page that you can see at the bar of quick links at the top and front, "Begin Here". For Doom's 25th Anniversary I acknowledge that I've generally run this as a hyperlinked journal and was generally unconcerned with whether any readers might be new to the community and end up confused as to where to start. The goal is to supply people the information to get started and clear up any misconceptions that might exist about stuff like source port compatibility. Long term I would like to offer up curated lists of WADs in order to quickly answer questions like "What are some cool Hell-themed OG Doom episodes and what do they offer for me".

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Derceto (DERCETOV3_UDMF.WAD)

DERCETO
by Mike "Impie" MacDee


Mike is more popular for his total conversions that explore a host of other universes, some his own and others from preexisting properties. His earliest efforts plied this same angle but stayed within vanilla Doom II's combat stylings. The references served as springboards for the imagination, allowing you to fill in the details left out by using id Software's stock textures. Derceto is a tribute to the original Alone in the Dark - a landmark survival horror title - and was originally released in 2014. It saw a significant facelift in 2015, though, where Impie gave the adventure a new coat of paint. The original is still available on /idgames if you're curious but this review covers the updated version that can be found on the author's personal website. Both are MAP01 replacements for Doom II. The first release targeted limit-removing source ports with jumping as a feature. The second has a much narrower band as it utilizes the UDMF format. Eternity should still be in the game, then. (G)ZDoom ought to work for sure.