Saturday, June 22, 2019

Sigil (SIGIL.WAD)

The TITLEPIC / title screen for SIGIL.

John Romero made a few maps for the original Doom back in 2016. He had withdrawn from idtech1 level design following the publication of The Ultimate Doom and Thy Flesh Consumed. Tech Gone Bad and Phobos Mission Control saw a broad range of reactions from the community, none of which surprised me. What did was the announcement of Sigil at the end of 2018 in celebration of Doom's 25th anniversary. John made an entire episode of maps and while it was going to be released  for free he was also including it along with some physical goods. These took the form of a regular-sized box and funsies as well as the larger and more expensive Beast Box. The material stuff saw some production issues that ultimately delayed the publication of the free download but the package is on /idgames as of 05/31/19. The finished product replaces Inferno for source ports that don't support MAPINFO and the like (SIGIL_COMPAT) but it otherwise makes its own room, slotting in as a fifth episode. It won't play in pure vanilla but it ought to work in just about everything else, including the HEX-hacked "Doom+" executable.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Dying End (TDE.WAD)

THE DYING END
by Chris Lutz


Phobos: Anomaly Reborn gave way to Deimos: Anomaly Unleashed. Lutz lost his muse, though, and didn't produce anything for about four years. The Dying End was released in 2007. It's a Boom-compatible offering that replaces Doom II's MAP29 and came as an oasis in a drought of chaos. It would be another four years before Icebound and his participation in DTWiD. This gave way to working with Xaser for No End In Sight. Thus energized, he would make a strong case for 2017's Mapper of the Year as a triple threat with Hellscape and Dark Tide. At least, it looks that way when I held the door open for NEIS to grace the 2017 season.

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.