Monday, July 17, 2017

The Inquisitor 3 (INQSTR3E.WAD)


I played Shadowman's Inquisitor and its sequel back in 2014; both are experiments originally begat by Russian "freakmapping" contests where a procedurally-generated layout is used as the foundation for people to make their own levels. The original INQSTR was controversial for its political / sexual undertones focused around a mysterious, metaphorical allusion that sullied an otherwise pretty cool castle adventure stylized after Hexen II. The Inquisitor 2 pushed in a different direction, attempting to channel the dungeon crawler combat of the Diablo series complete with an overworld town and quests that you could accomplish to further your power, exploring a fair variety of dungeons all within the space of a single level. Its bold aspirations were tempered by highly claustrophobic combat and boxy architecture.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

maintenance mode III

CURRENT STATUS: backfilled through February 2014

I haven't played Doom in maybe three months and any notion of wanting to keep abreast of the cream of the community crop, when coupled with the time I've been working and wanting to spend time with my baby, has sapped me of any will to keep up with this hobby in my free time. It's been a long time coming but I officially withdrew myself from the Cacoward panel; I hope anyone who read the things that I wrote for the Cacowards appreciated them, even if they hated the piss out of some of the selections.

This blog is now bereft of any romantic notions of keeping up with weekly updates. My priorities are

1) finish the review for INQSTR3, maybe the biggest millstone around my neck if only because it's been half-assed for so long, but it's been mostly written (with a whopping 20 paragraph "overview" section... so far) DONE!
2) finish backfilling all of the screenshots so that the blog stands as a complete archive of my reviews, if nothing else
3) play and review WADs free of any imagined responsibility to the Doom community

(the original post)
(the squeakuel)


Sunday, April 23, 2017

DooM Resurrection Episode One (DOOMRES.WAD)


When Doom's source ports started incorporating "advanced" features like scripting, I believe that there was a sort of fevered excitement as though these things would "elevate" it from a 1993-era FPS to something more in line with at least the late 90s, like Quake, Quake II, and Half-Life. Over time, the enthusiasm for expanding Doom's gameplay beyond the niche it rather robustly occupies waned and we are now up to our knees in vanilla and Boom-oriented maps and mapsets that continue to mine new depths beneath its rugged exterior. There's still a solid brace of people making highly inventive things with source ports, of course, but the days of people like Kurt Kesler churning out little ZDoom mini-adventures appears to be gone, its peak madness left back in the early '00s.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Trust (TQTRUST.WAD)


Tommie Quick made a couple of vanilla maps back in 1997, took some time to tour with TNT and their deathmatch megaWADs, and then jumped into ZDoom modding with several releases in 2001. Trust came first; it's a Doom II mapset with what technically amounts to seven levels, but the first three are pretty much just iterations of MAP01 that I assume exist due to technical limitations with ZDoom at the time. Trust shares some details with 2000's Paranoia as both of them crib some ideas from Half-Life, then still hot on the minds of FPS fans, but Trust remains much more grounded in Doom's universe.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

UAC Headquarters (TQMAP02.WAD)

UAC HEADQUARTERS
by Tommie "Fatal" Quick


Tommie Quick slid in at the end of Doom's Golden Age, releasing a few levels in 1997 before hitching his wagon to Team TNT and helping to crank out a few deathmatch megaWADs. UAC Headquarters is his second publication, but I get the feeling that it's actually kind of old, perhaps a relic of an unreleased portfolio that he simply felt good enough to push out the door. Like his Flood Mines, it's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II. That one was sort of an underground earth / tech split, though, where TQMAP02 is all tech and while the vast majority of the level does not take place outside, most of it occurs within the titular UAC Headquarters. Why you're clearing out another UAC installation isn't mentioned but any reason should come fairly quickly to the imagination.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Flood Mines (TQMAP1.WAD)

FLOOD MINES
by Tommie "Fatal" Quick


Flood Mines is Tommie Quick's (aka Fatal) first published level, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II released in 1997. A member of Team TNT at the time, it wouldn't be until their later deathmatch WADs (Pursuit and Reclamation) where he would establish himself as a contributor. If he's known for anything, though, it's probably his 2001 ZDoom projects, TRUST and Doom Resurrection Episode 1. Where those horsed around with stories and setting, there is nothing establishing the setting of Flood Mines. It's just an ordinary extra mission for Doom II, prestigious by association.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Darkest Hour (DARKHOUR.WAD)


Hexen II... Quake II... Half-Life... Quake III... Dark Forces. 2000-2001 was a pretty busy period for Rex Claussen and saw him play with a lot of different themes, adopting resources from different games as he embraced the ZDoom engine as more than just another limit-removing port. First designing for jumping with Military Research Complex, he later incorporated scripting with Paranoia and hub systems with Temple of the Ancients, finally including actual monster modifications in this, The Darkest Hour (DeHackEd, I know, but work with me!). DARKHOUR, a Star Wars-themed 2001 release, was Rex's only release of that year and consists of seven maps, one of them a secret that requires you to use the force... of a rocket. At your feet.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Temple of the Ancients (TEMPLE2.WAD)


In some ways, Temple of the Ancients is the sort of project Rex has been leaning toward since he began his authorial career. While testing his levels in ZDoom, they weren't really specific to it until he started to embrace jumping with Military Research Complex. Phoenix Rising saw him play with the idea of if not the actual mechanics of a Hub arrangement and Paranoia involved the incorporation of scripted events to push the gameplay slightly beyond the tried and true limits of Doom. TEMPLE2 then takes both of these elements and welds them together for a dashing adventure, released in 2000. While Temple of the Ancients is another five-level mapset, it sits in map slots 10-14 instead of the MAP02-MAP06 block that Phoenix Rising and Paranoia had. This is the one time I can't really guess at why it's structured as such since Claussen has used the MAPINFO lump to set skies and music.