Thursday, November 8, 2018

Castle of the Hengs (CASTHENG.WAD)


Back when I started playing Doom again I had a bunch of review sites bookmarked with the express intent of finding obscure but memorable stuff on the larger end of the scale. One of these was Geniac's Doom WAD Playlist. The descriptions aren't very thorough but they give you a brief picture. One of the interesting PWADs that I wasn't able to locate on the archive was CASTHENG by "James XIII". Back when the entry was made it was logged as consisting of fourteen "tough scary castle levels". After I sent out a feeler in 2012 in the "Trying to Find a Specific WAD" thread on Doomworld, The Mad Butcher delivered and provided me with a copy. I was surprised to discover that Castle of the Hengs had been further developed to the point of replacing MAP01-MAP30 of Doom II.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Idle Doom: Tech Breakthrough (IDLEDOOM.WAD)

IDLE DOOM
TECH BREAKTHROUGH
by "Albertoni"


I've "played" a few idle games. Cookie Clicker was my first but I've also enjoyed the depth of Realm Grinder and Clicker Heroes. If you've never played one then you're not missing out on much. The ultimate objective is to earn more of the game's currency. The process never really ends but idlers tend to have some sort of prestige mechanic where you can reset your progress for long-term benefits that accrue over time so you can have days of milestones to reach. This helps to keep at least one carrot on a stick in front of the player at all times. Idle Doom is an interesting experiment that explores the very basic mechanics behind these clicker games within the framework of ZDoom. There's at least one significant difference: you can actually reach an end.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Sequel to Quick is Good (QUIKISG2.WAD)

SEQUEL TO QUICK IS GOOD
by Malcolm Sailor


MS began with DARKER in 1995 and then slowly honed his authorial skillset into the perfectionist machine that crafted the CHORD series. It's most fondly remembered for its last two levels, published in 1999 (CHORDG) and 2000 (CHORD3). In 1996, the author was beginning to indulge in longer maps with a more developed story by way of his NOSUN series but he still had a strong affection for Short and Hard levels. Enter the imaginatively-titled Sequel to Quick is Good, antecedent to QUIKISGD. It and NOSUN2 might just be the last things that he released in 1996. QUIKISG2 is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, much like the majority of Malcolm's levels.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Hell Medley (MEDLEY.WAD)


Hell Medley was uploaded to the /idgames archives in 2005 but it was available elsewhere as early as April of 2003. It will probably remain the relatively obscure first work of a Czech powerhouse who went on to tag team Kama Sutra with soul brother Jakub Razák; rescue Plutonia 2 from the disinterest of Sam Woodman; and might right now be polishing the almost-finished KS2! I'm talking about Adolf Vojta, of course. MEDLEY was originally ADA and is a collection of the author's earliest levels (initially crafted in elementary school and then tweaked during HS) spread out over the original Doom's first three episodes plus one from his friend who introduced him to WAD editing. The final product includes sixteen maps replacing E1M1-E1M3, E1M8, and E1M9; E2M1-E2M9; and E3M1 and E3M9.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Skull (SKULL.WAD)

SKULL
by Malcolm Sailor


The young MS has left behind a sizable collection of levels for Doom II, but you might not know that he crafted a paltry single map for the original. Skull is an E1M1 replacement released in 1996 after the dual publication of Go Away and NOSUN, the latter starting its similarly-titled series. It's interesting to see Malcolm try his hand at a format that's far more restrictive than the palette of monsters found in the Doom II rogues' gallery. What would his combat be without the screaming revenants, oppressive arch-viles, or corpulent mancubuses and arachnotrons? Can you even live without the constant threat of a chaingunner suddenly appearing? Err, nevermind on the last one.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Abyssal Speedmapping Session 4 (ABYSPED4.WAD)


ABYSPED4, made and released in 2014, marks a fairly important progression point for Abyssal Speedmapping. Doom map authors get together in these events (originally on group Skype sessions) and then make levels over the span of two hours with some additional time for nuts and bolts adjustments. The size of the event went from drawing a scant four to seven to a whopping thirteen participants, reaching roughly the same number as Doomworld's first exercise back in 2001. It's even more interesting when you consider that these sessions, initially hosted by then-newcomer Obsidian, originated as jams involving a now-defunct forum called The Abyss that was hosting exiles of the then brutally mismanaged NewDoom community.

Monday, October 15, 2018

No Sun (NOSUN.WAD)

NO SUN
by Malcolm Sailor


MS was a fairly prolific author of maps if not at the same production rate as workaholic wunderkinds like Paul Corfiatis. His biggest claim to fame was his CHORD series, probably followed by his contributions to The Talosian Incident as part of Black Star Coven. The former showcased outstanding architecture, lighting, and grueling combat while the latter had him developing short but scene-setting levels to further a narrative through the limitations of idtech1's gameplay. His work on TALOSIAN may have ultimately directed his talents toward the aesthetic of the CHORD levels but I'd like to think that NOSUN - a MAP01 replacement for Doom II who also kicks off its own sequential series - is the work that caught John Bye's attention.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Kashimir (KASHIMIR.WAD)

KASHIMIR
by "memfis"


There are a few things that I've observed to be more or less consistent through memfis's authorial career. He prefers to make small levels; draws inspiration from older PWADs; and is fascinated by the works of outsider groups. I believe that all of his solo releases are in packages of six levels or less and Kashimir is no exception. Published in 2011, it's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II meant to be played in any executable. The author has mined two particular sources and both are cited in the accompanying .TXT - the infamous Nuts, and the community's capstone for the golden age, Requiem.