Friday, September 2, 2011


by Tim Willits and Theresa Chasar

While Tim Willits’s sister, Theresa Chasar, helped out in design for ATTACK and CANYON for id’s Master Levels for Doom II, CANYON.WAD is the only Master Level where she gets that specific credit (considering she also helped design E4M5 of Ultimate Doom, I suppose this is her one official id credit). Canyon has no official story, but anyone can guess from its title that it involves a crevasse biting into a planet’s crust.

Well, that’s kind of true. There IS a canyon, and while it does not figure prominently into the map’s theme, it does have the red key, which is kind of important. The rest of the level is in a mixture of Doom II techbase themes with some marble thrown in near the end. It’s not mishmash by any means; each individual area’s details are internally coherent. There’s just no overall consistency, bouncing from dark metal to dark brown to light brown brick to green brick etc. etc.. That’s not much of a slag as the level itself works to show off a lot of Doom II’s available resources.

It’s also got a higher monster count than its sister WAD, Attack, with about twice the number of beasties prior to however the player decides to handle any pain elementals. That doesn’t mean it’s any harder. In fact, with the exception of a certain death pit and a couple of nasty shotgun hits that surprised me, Canyon is about as easy, just quite a bit longer. None of the encounters really stand out in my mind, except maybe the nukage courtyard, and that’s just because of the architecture.

That’s where Canyon works on distinguishing itself from Attack. Whereas the latter felt more like a by-the-numbers techbase, the former has some neat architecture and nonlinear approaches. In fact, the map has been layered in such a way that there are two different key doors from which you can assault the next area, creating several possible avenues of entry with distinct tactical differences. Among my more memorable areas are the canyon itself, the toxic courtyard (with a bitchin’ poisonfall), and the marble section of the map leading up to the exit (nice lighting).

Canyon is a pretty good Master Level for Doom II. It’s got tons of variety, some nice eye-catching architecture and lighting, and is of decent length. It’s not hard by any means but it hits all the features proposed in the .TXT (well, I can’t vouch for "great DEATHMATCH level"). I’m getting a little weary of D_RUNNIN but Willits and his sister, Theresa, put out a few nice maps for id. I’m not trying to shill the Master Levels, but hey, here’s another one for your consideration.


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



  1. This is easily one of the best Master Levels. I do agree with all points of your review, especially about the lack of visual consistency, but as you point out the map somehow just works. The gameplay is good, there is plenty of eye candy and it feels quite adventurous, you're not just gunning down zombies, you're exploring and jumping around. - MajorRawne

  2. Canyon is my favorite Willits / Chasar level around.