Tuesday, August 16, 2011


by Christen David Klie

According to a post by the man himself on the Doomworld forums, Chris Klie's Subspace and Subterra were more or less two parts of a small series, with Subspace coming first and Subterra second. Both, of course, are maps from id's Master Levels for Doom II, and would have been joined by a third map, Subderma. Sadly, we have only the first two parts, the full trilogy itself less likely to materialize than Mordeth. As indicated by its name, the vast majority of Subterra takes place underground. The end result is a network of very brown caverns and tunnels.

You rise from beneath the earth at the map's beginning, a nice touch. This puts you in the middle of a lukewarm crossfire, immediately followed by a duo of hell knights. From here you can access an elevator shaft leading to two different wings of the level. The northern exit contains a teleporter which grants passage to the tiers of ammo and armor in the opening room. The eastern exit, with its prominent invulnerability sphere, dumps you into a tricky situation you'll want a loaded shotgun for, or you may find yourself unable to handle the issue before time runs out.

There are a few more less than straightforward scenarios to be found. The room immediately afterward has a horde of demonkin that teleport into a caged area, which can be dealt with one by one. There's also a very large underground storage area in the northern area of the map, from which you'll access the end. It involves a lot of nukage and can be dangerous if you've sustained too much damage, but unless you've been letting imps give you a spray-on tan, you should be fine.

Of all of Klie's maps from the Master Levels, I think I like the architecture and encounters of Subterra the most. He shows a bit more variety in setting up fight situations and has some more inventive scenarios, like the invulnerability fight or the free-roaming horde in the expanse. I just wish it wasn't so brown; some black rock at least could have shook things up a bit for a more aesthetically pleasing experience.


This post is part of a series on
id's Master Levels for Doom II



  1. You're right, this map is brown. So are most of the Doom 2 maps, admittedly, but this... this one's BROWN. After consuming a delicious tandoori mixed grille from Jumeira Spice in Sheffield, I ran straight to the toilet, spent about half an hour trying not to have my heart and lungs come flying out of my arse, and when I looked down the bowl at the horrific shoggoth I'd given birth to, I thought: "Hmm, that's brown, but it's not Subterra."

    Well, maybe that was an exaggeration, but there's nothing more enjoyable than hammering home a point with all the subtlety of an American comedy show.

    Anyway... about the map. This was never my favourite map to play. It's too big and empty for a start. Maybe I was used to Doom maps that were closed environments, and Subterra gave me Doom-related agoraphobia. I didn't like having to run across swathes of open ground to get anywhere, and the first few times I played it, I found it a bit confusing. Making progress was something of a pain.

    Funnily enough, I also found Subspace confusing to progress through. That map seemed more straightforward than this one, but IIRC, there was some trick or gimmick that I have long forgotten, and it was annoying to get "stuck". Chris Klie created two of the maps I remember the most, perhaps not for the greatest reasons, but still.

    The link you post is extremely interesting, it's almost a system shock to read the thoughts and opinions of the men who actually made these levels. Thanks for finding it. Subderma would no doubt have been interesting and The Enemy Within is hands-down the best map name ever.

    - Major Rawne

    1. Klie will never go down as one of Doom's fantastic authors. He took a lot of risks with the player's trust and crafted levels around the limits of his underpowered machine. His levels have a workmanlike aesthetic all their own, though, that's enjoyable as something more like a snack.