Friday, February 14, 2020

Catastrophe (CATA.WAD)

CATASTROPHE
by Kevin "Magikal" Reay


The first Community Chest was something like a Broadway Melody of 2002. A few of the involved authors had been publishing stuff for a few years - as early as 1998 in the case of Rex Claussen. Many of the contributors had not displayed their creative force until '02, though. Kevin Reay's debut was the mastadonic Industrial, an impressive and cryptic array of sector machinery. He followed it up late in the year with Catastrophe, a Boom-compatible MAP01 replacement for Doom II. The author specifically recommended the use of Legacy over other ports due to some effects that fake complex three-dimensional geometry. I didn't notice any shortcomings in ZDoom, though.

Friday, February 7, 2020

3 Heures d' Agonie 3 (3HA3.WAD)


The Doom community has several, thriving international scenes. The French have developed over the last few years, spawning some prolific authors as well as auteurs. The front face of the FDC has been the 3 Heures d'Agonie series, which debuted in 2012 and was founded on the premise that all of the submitted maps be built over the course of three hours - give or take a few. These speedmapping megaWADs were conceived as an attempt to rejuvenate their community, which had become burnt out by the now-Quixotic construction of Necromantic Thirst. 3 Heures d'Agonie 3 is the third and purportedly final installment of the series as far as megaWADs go. It is a full, 32 map replacement for Doom II and ought to play well with any source port.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Blind Alley E., "The Pit" (BNDALYE.WAD)

BLIND ALLEY E
THE PIT
by Gene Bird


Gene was one of the major contributors to the original Community Chest and its sequel. All but one of his inclusions were previously released as part of his unfinished Blind Alley series, though. Bird had been producing it as a prospective megaWAD but releasing the polished portions in a piecemeal fashion, much like Bob Evans and his Odessa / LORDDOOM works. Every bit of BNDALY has an alpha-numeric designator that indicated its original spot in the card. This one, The Pit, has an E for what would have been MAP14. For convenience's sake, though, the 2002 release is a Doom II MAP01 replacement.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Gordia (GORDIA.WAD)


2013 was one of Memfis's biggest years. He published something like sixteen solo releases between /idgames and the Doomworld forums, not to discount the release of his contributions to community projects like Interception. The year was officially kicked off with Kuchitsu, which received a Cacoward. Gordia wasn't much later, though. This is a short, two-level minisode for Doom II that, according to the author, was inspired by the year 1995. The era of user levels, I assume. It's suggested for playback in limit-removing ports and, while I don't see anything obvious, it's conceivable that its layout could invoke the dreaded visplane overflow spectre.

Friday, January 17, 2020

MAYhem 2016 (MAYHEM16.WAD)


The MAYhem series has built a PWAD for every May since 2012 and, starting with 2014, they've all been megaWADs. The project organizers have changed but the general procedure is the same. 1) Pick a texture pack in order to give the set a distinct identity. 2) Decide on some sort of limitation as a gimmick. 3) Kick the event off in May, where the bulk of the level design is (hopefully) performed. In this particular case the merry month was used for planning and logistics while the actual work was done in June. 2016 was really a tale of two gimmicks but you probably wouldn't realize either due to the necessities of the final product's presentation. It's a 21-level mapset for Boom-compatible source ports and, in spite of some promising progress, still drug ass until it was uploaded in early 2017.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Blind Alley Q., "The Warf" (BNDALYQ.WAD)

BLIND ALLEY Q.
THE WARF
by Gene Bird


Gene's 2002-2003 run was fairly productive and made up a sizable minority of both Community Chest and CCHEST2. Part of the reason he was cranking them out so fast was because he had been working on a rainy-day megaWAD since 1998. He originally estimated a run of 7-10 levels though the final talley was a whopping 15. The Warf is situated as part Q of the Blind Alley series and originally occupied the MAP26 slot in the level order. The 2002 single release is a MAP01 replacement, though. Bird recommends running it in a source port - he was particularly fond of Legacy - but it's vanilla compatible.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

MEMFIS_E1M1 (MEMFIS_E1M1.WAD)

MEMFIS_E1M1
by "Memfis"


Back when I started researching the development of Doom the Way id Did: The Lost Episodes, I was surprised to find Memfis's name in the submission rolls. Some of the production material has been publicly lost to the sands of time and this level was perhaps the most interesting. Mainly because it didn't find its way into the running order of DTWID:LE and was otherwise unavailable. The author himself didn't have it on his person but the Archival Saint of PWADs, The Mad Butcher, made their private selection available. Originally submitted in mid-2011 (sharing its timestamp with Sticky Blood), MEMFIS_E1M1 - of course - replaces the first level in Knee Deep in the Dead.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Russian Overkill (RO_PB_2.5.PK3)

RUSSIAN OVERKILL
by "Pillowblaster"


Gameplay mods are wicked cool things. I don't use them when I play PWADs for review because I prefer to explore the way in which authors balanced their levels. There is something cathartic, though, in blowing through super-tough mapsets that consumed hours of my life (e.g. Sunlust) with a heinously overpowered weapons mod. Enter Russian Overkill. This GZDoom institution was originally released in 2011 and saw several feature updates until 2013, after which it undergoes the occasional under-the-hood retuning. Pillowblaster received 2012's Best Gameplay Mod Cacoward due in part to the convergence of two community developments as well as the mod's specific style.