Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Doom 2 Unleashed (PC_CP.WAD)

Paul Corfiatis is a veteran Doom mapper, the author of ancient WADs like The Twilight Zone. Upon releasing his Whispers of Satan megaWAD with best Doom buddy Kristian Aro, he opted to start a community project, which debuted in 2011 as Doom 2 Unleashed. It's a forty map megaWAD whose last eight levels constitute their own episode, titled "No Hope for Peace". The scope of the project was restricted to maps that functioned in any limit-removing port and used only stock Doom II textures. I'm not entirely sure how the bonus episode is handled outside of ports that support maps in excess of 32, let alone custom episode definitions, but in ZDoom NHFP shows up as a selectable episode, backed by the soundtrack from Inferno.

Doom 2 Unleashed has no plot. It's just a community collection with some slight concessions toward organization. The maps start out small and futuristic while slowly slouching toward Hellish, exotic locales and slaughtermaps. As such, difficulty runs quite the gamut, from easier opening levels to BFG frenzying Hell's hordes, though in general this mapset tends to lean toward the difficult side. I should specify - there isn't a lot of BFG frenzying to be had, with only one map (32) featuring it, and you don't even have to squeeze the trigger if you don't want to. I believe the second episode is a bit lighter in difficulty than the main material, with MAP40 being the major exception.

Despite being a friendly community project, Doom 2 Unleashed had its share of development drama. Most notably, the project was delayed over soundtrack issues, where pcorf canned his custom music, making it an optional wad while including the user-specified / submitted music in the main file. Since I'm a lazy bastard and just drag the .ZIP onto ZDoom, I ended up with pcorf's ditties, which are all excellent, not that the authors' choices are any less fitting. The other issue is a bit more thorny. It was inevitable that some of the maps would get relegated to the bonus episode, but after Corfiatis generated the running, MAP33-40 fell by the wayside on updates and the like, being released with outdated content and at least one critical bug. It's unfortunate that they suffered some neglect, and I heard that the authors were aiming to release an expanded, fixed version of No Hope For Peace, but I've yet to see it officially materialize.

Pushing all that aside, this is a limit-removing mapset restricted to stock Doom II textures. How does it look? Well, thanks to lighting and creative linedef / texture usage, it's gorgeous, most of the time. Every now and then I saw a detail that looked completely alien to me, one in particular being a machine graphic from MAP16. It's amazing what the authors are able to wring out of seventeen-year-old resources. You'll see all manner of bizarre features, like unusual framed paintings, facades crying tears of blood, and more. The detailing can be quite brilliant, with some of the naturalistic settings looking quite sharp. Artificial settings manage to toe the line between intricate and annoying with professional, soft lighting giving the whole package a nice sheen.

Doom 2 Unleashed is a worthy successor to the community projects of the past and a nice complement to all those released somewhat recently (most notably the Community Chest series). I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a showcase of great work from a selection of Doomworld's current author roster. It would be nice if Corfiatis would do a second minor pass to fix a few of the remaining, niggling problems (especially the MAP38 bug) or barring that, if the NHFP authors would turn out their update, which has some extra maps to it. But, what can you do? More importantly, pcorf hinted at the possibility of a follow-up that would allow / feature new graphics, and if the same mapping talent contributes, it should be quite an adventure. Note: All the maps here ran fine except for MAP24. That one has some hoodoo going on with the red key sequence and onward.

by assorted authors

Bashed BaseMAP01
by Paul "pcorf" Corfiatis
This is a nice, plain techbase map that just skirts being a Tyson level due to a secret or two. While most of the detailing is unremarkable, the lighting is quite gorgeous and there are a few neat oddities, like the pistons in the opening room or the amusing chainsaw secret. Gameplay has you visit two separate annexes via teleport in order to acquire the keys to access the exit. None of the fights really stand out except for the yellow key wing which has a good crossfire going with imps, zombimen, and a few distractions on the ground level.

by "Captain Toenail"
This is a small, pleasant techbase with large, outdoor areas filled with nukage on its east and west sides. The lighting is good, but it's soft enough that you might not even notice it. Action isn't very intense, mostly just imps, the various zombimen and some demons here and there, though the Captain keeps you on your toes by populating the base itself with some invaders every now and then. The compound and the underground nukage caverns are fun to explore, with a number of light secrets for adventurers. The only bits that stand out in my mind are the yellow key trap (a nice shock!) and the end of level race.

Iron MikeMAP03
by Brian "Snakes" Knox
A very short sewer map very much in the Tyson style. Most of it involves knocking around imps, demons and zombimen, with the real highlights being a brawl with a group of three hell knights (hope you found the secret!) and a final encounter in the elevator, which can be embarrassing if you get a bit too gutsy. The map size is ideal for Punch-Out, and while the detailing feels a little sparse in a few places, the lighting is smooth as silk. Quite fun!

MAP04Granite Base
by "Captain Toenail"
A medium-size techbase built in a mountain range or something (the granite texture). Lighting and detailing are pretty good (love the hitscanner assault room) with some tougher encounters, the standout being the ambush in the second outdoor area, where a tepid area suddenly springs to life. It's also loaded with some neat secrets. Ordinarily, you grab the keys on the east side of the base in any order you choose and then use them in succession to exit the level. Two of the keys also give access to some handy secrets (optional areas), namely a rocket launcher and a combat shotgun. The latter isn't strictly necessary but it's nice to have.

by Walker "Krispavera" Wright
This is a wide-open half-techbase half-brick map with a lot of action to start. Krispavera unleashes a wave of imps upon you fairly early that you'll have to fight through if you want to get enough firepower to kill them and the subsequent wave of hellspawn when you throw the switch. Then you've got to run past a horde of revenants (and other guys) to grab the SSG, which of course gives a few more toughs to navigate. After you clear out the monsters in the combat shotgun room, though, the action feels like it winds down, with the outdoor blue key area and exit room feeling pretty tame. I like the more wide-open architecture, though, and the base looks good without being distracting.

by Aki "aaglo" Neuvonen
Very fun map where you get to explore a crashed spaceship. Well, you already know the general layout, actually, so it's more exploring the specific details. aaglo gets a lot of mileage out of the basic Doom II textures through clever use of split linedefs and alignment to create the divide between the eastern part of the main ship and the annex, which has been warped through the crash. It's also crammed with neat details like the bridge, crew quarters (which don't overstay their welcome), and engineering. Also, at the end you get to explore a smidgen of the planet you've landed on. Difficulty is pretty easy with the only real rough moment coming from the blue key trap, which ushers in a wave of hitscanners. The rest of this map with its cramped quarters was built to be cleared with the shotgun (and, nominally, the chaingun). The final fights are pretty cool, though. You can't actually leave via the craft in the hangar, but you can use it to open the doors.

Simply FamiliarMAP07
by "Philnemba"
As implied by the title, this starts out looking exactly like "Dead Simple". Then there's something off about the second wave, maybe the arachnotron pillars, or the (lightly) revenant-guarded compounds. Then there's a whole horde of demons standing between you and the exit gate, complete with two arch-viles and a few pain elementals (if you happen to fire a shot in the chaingunner room, that is). Finally, a showdown with a spider-mastermind that's a bit tricky. It's very fun, a little challenging, and loaded down with plenty of ammo to slaughter.

MAP08Demonic Caprice
by "jerrysheppy"
This is a lovingly detailed techbase that's being invaded by an organic Hell. Wall panels are stripped away, leaking rivers of blood and revealing organics and unsavory marble facades. It's also the most intense map so far, with some tricky sequences like the revenant / arch-vile fight (really annoying placement on the arch-viles) and a more close-quarters fight with a Cyberdemon which is fairly interesting as there's an arch-vile that may or may not greet you here as well, dependent upon your secret-hunting abilities. The finale isn't that rough and lets you choose your own powerups en route, but it's a fitting end with another Cyb battle amplified by some monsters high up in the corners to make your life difficult.

4chan ServersMAP09
by Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
More techbase, this one very large and with some excellent epic architecture that would fit right at home with Hell Revealed (mainly thinking of those enormous hallways to the north). I think there could stand to be a bit more action, though, like in the sewer tunnels housing single imps or the outdoor area (with a truck that's so abstract I hardly recognized it at first). Otherwise, it's pretty fun, with plenty of zombimen to pop off, and lots of SSG vs. demons action. Just be wary at times or you'll get shredded with bullets. Detailing and lighting are nice and unobtrusive (with a few nasty spectre / darkness bits, including one pretty obvious trap that got me good).

by James "Phobus" Cresswell
An unusual direction. This is something of a fortress map that takes place mostly on battlements in a square arrangement, with a central island swarming from arachnotron shooting at you as you run about. Each of the corners contains an interesting encounter; at the red key, I found myself overrun by demons and revenants while mancubuses fired at both possible modes of egress. You'll have a horde to oust if you want to make use of the rocket launcher. Finally, when you get to the center isle, you'll have to make cover quick or deal with the chaingunners before you concentrate on your stronger foes. The final encounter isn't that difficult unless you manage to trap yourself inside. Very fun map.

by Ronald "Dutch Devil" Lubellinkhof
Wow! This is an enormous, entertaining techbase I couldn't be happier to have played. It's huge, with no less than four interstitial outdoor areas with gorgeous features, including a waterfall cavern you can run through, and a plethora of monsters (350+) to execute. Detailing and lighting are impeccable (I especially like the ruined portion of the base and the floor tiling falling away in a very believable manner) and fights like the SSG trap bring combat to the forefront, which while littered with hitscanners, manages to evade being frustrating. Another great fight occurs after leaving the yellow door area, with a whole new wave of baddies to confront artfully arranged on the perimeter. I also dig that plasma rifle secret. Play this map!

MAP12Entryway on Earth
by Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
Another techbase from Confalonieri, breaking in the new episode with a pretty laid-back map. Nothing tougher than a demon shows up and you don't get the combat shotgun until about the end of the level, where it's hardly needed. An earlier chaingun would have been more appreciated. The main motif you'll see throughout this map are the red ceiling lights, meticulously designed to avoid being merely a ceiling flat, and with matching lighting. I also like the elevators and outdoor vistas. None of the encounters stand out for being so restrained in its monster usage.

Realm of ChaosMAP13
by Michael Jan "valkiriforce" Krizik
Starts out feeling like a death trap a la CHORD and quickly turns into a more open building-oriented adventure reminiscent of "The Industrial Zone", with a giant chasm running through the center of the map. You have to tackle all the constructs in the same order as the access to one generally relies upon being in another. This process ends up a little complicate as you're under fire from mancubuses from several platforms (though that's easily handled) and there's a particularly tricky blue key section with three hell knights, an arch-vile, and not much real estate. You'll need some wits, and maybe a plasma rifle secret, to escape unharmed. After that things quiet down until, you guessed it, another arch-vile trap, this one putting you in an awkward pincer. The final sequence has you fight out the water tunnel to the outdoor where you blow up a ship off in the distance.

MAP14Loathsome Library
by "Captain Toenail"
A Hellish fortress / library level that isn't very large but packs a lot of action into a small space through use of criss-crossing paths and warping monsters into spaces you have to backtrack to. It's also loaded with secrets, which you'll definitely want to check out, because ammo is fairly tight. There's a few memorable moments, like the dual pain elementals that get introduced partway through the map, or a few arch-viles to make things interesting (like the exit platform), but the map's strengths lie in being simple, straight-forward, and attractive. I like it!

Life-Wrecking CenterMAP15
by Paul "pcorf" Corfiatis
This map's action is based around originally constricted areas that slowly fall apart, releasing more and more enemies into the fray. Your chief antagonist is the demon, who you're expected to chainsaw away in packs in at least one section. You'll encounter several clusters, though. It's actually fairly challenging, meat packing disregarded. One of the trickier bits comes right at the end, where you're trapped between two arch-viles and desperately need to keep both from a pack of barons you just slaughtered. The secret exit is also kind of clever; I'm glad I found it on my own.

MAP31Night of Fail
by Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
I am deeply confused by this enormous, Hellish level. There are SS Nazis everywhere, perhaps an homage to the original MAP31. They're really annoying to take out with a pistol; I really could have used a chaingun, which you won't get until after you've gotten the plasma rifle. (I may have accidentally bypassed a shotgun.) I also don't know why this map is so huge when it's barely fielding 149 monsters. The enormous castle to the northwest doesn't help much. While I appreciate the attention to detail re: the blood pump on the northeast side you can trace all the way through to the pumping room in the southwest, the keep is just so empty and squarish. You could cut it in half and maintain all of its good qualities (like the cute pickaxe in the prison section). Additionally, a switch in the keep opens up the exit on the other side of the map, which you have no way of immediately knowing. I will say that the normal exit is wonderfully bizarre. Otherwise, not really a fan of this level. Could stand some shrinkage.

Morgue TheftMAP32
by Christopher "ArmouredBlood" Shepherd
Upon entering this level and seeing in the neighborhood of 1500 monsters, I knew I was in for a slaughter. It's an enormous techbase absolutely choked with fiends. Here are the standout encounters in my mind: There's a nested dolls portion where alternating walls are opened, unleashing progressively nastier waves of monsters; a pair of Cybers at the head of a sewer chute; a segment where columns descend from the ceiling, crushing some of the heavier monsters and giving you valuable cover against an army of imps; almost immediately after, several nasty cramped fights with revenants backed by arch-viles, including a huge snafu with a darkened closet (thankfully the Cyberdemon inside can be used to take care of most of the jerks); and the final encounter, which you can either skip, or subject yourself to a complete BFG frenzy while keeping a watchful eye on the terrible two in the back of the room. This was fun, but very exhausting, especially the red key bit.

MAP16The Spooked
by Pablo Dictter
On the one hand, I think this level is absolutely gorgeous, a nice Deimos-style techbase mixed with several (three) huge red rock caverns filled with lakes of blood. On the other hand, combat just drags. It's not so bad at first as you're taking out chumps with the single shotty but about halfway through I found myself wondering just where the SSG was. I still don't know if there's one prior to say the last 5% of the level, where you get it. There is a plasma rifle secret (and it's actually very atmospheric) and coupled together with some ammo stashed in secrets around the map, the map will move at a pretty good clip. Without secrets, though, it's a slog, with the toughs showing up at the first foray into Hell. All that aside, though, I love this map. It's got some great visuals (like that first huge cavern) and is pretty relaxed.

A Vile PieceMAP17
by Christian "Darkreaver" Lian
This is another techbase slaughtermap, except it isn't quite as madcap as MAP32. Well, it can be at times. Like when you lower the gate to the inner blue key sanctum (wow!) or the whole red key section (wow again!). This is one of those maps where you fight an arch-vile every few meters. They're rarely ever dick moves, too, which is nice. Sorting out the main yard is pretty fun. At least, when you're not trying to clear out the western side, where hitting the monsters on the ledges is tough with rockets and it seems you hit invisible walls half the time, cooking yourself. The whole blue key portion is the meat of the map and the toughest part, in my opinion. From beating back hordes of imps to frantically clearing a spot so you can pepper hell knights with rockets, you'll be in for the fight of your life.

MAP18Broken City Resort
by Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
Er, umm. Techbase texture theme that's supposed to represent a resort of some kind, I think. It's got a fairly questionable opening where you face down sixteen commandos (four to each corner) and then kind of stomps around with an exercise in laying down suppression fire on revenants followed by the epic duel from Gotcha! (including the arch-vile that pops out) and then soon after the Cyberdemon / baron encounter from "Tricks and Traps", with a few changes. What I really don't get is the huge subway section (which feels like a lo-fi Duke 3D subway). I love the architecture, but it feels very empty and superfluous to the rest of the map. That laptop thing in the kiosk might have been a puzzle solution, but considering how distant it is, it's hard to tell.

Rift QuandaryMAP19
by "Magicsofa"
Another slaughtermap, more or less, with a change of scenery using mostly mountainous terrain and outdoors areas. The catch is, rather than throw ridiculous scores of enemies at you, Magicsofa delights in using lower-tier monsters, those being revenants, hell knights, cacodemons, imps, demons, lost souls, and zombimen. You won't really see the others until the final battle, which is honestly more of an exercise in infighting. The big push here is the wave of monsters you battle after exiting the section that houses the blue key, which is quite the choked-up melee. Not that you even need the keys to finish the map. Two of the keys hide extra ammo and weapons you won't otherwise find, but the plasma rifle is a given and the only weapon you really need. The other key houses a secret (easy) battle you'll need to do if you want to get 100% kills. All in all, it's a good play.

MAP20High Time for Death
by Andrew "Malinku" Rehberger
Malinku concludes the second episode with another outdoor slaughtermap with a dash of techbase. This one's composed of two main sections. The first is a shootout on an enormous outdoor terrace with three tiers and tons of monsters, including the mother of all cacodemon swarms. You can either take it head on or run to the very bottom at the red key door and then fight your way back up from a secure vantage point. The other half has you infiltrate an underground aquifer to reach the yellow key, which involves several smaller monster hordes, after which you have to pass through two Cyberdemon trios in order to escape. When the last Cyb bellows its death knell, you'll know satisfaction. It's a very action-packed map. There are some texture errors (I see a few HOMs here and there) but it otherwise nails the epic, sweeping architecture of a slaughtermap with some extra attention to detail (like the busted bricks leading into the river on the base side).

Ant HillMAP21
by Chris "Impboy" Harriman
A short map that looks okay but has some issues. It's heavily built on Tyson gameplay in a fairly annoying fashion, including a questionable blind run in a damage floor with a few imps stopping up your path. The fact that the other half of the monster forces are behind windows is just icing on the cake. I just hit the switch because screw the ammo conservation / infighting manipulation required to take them all out. But for that, it's a nice breather from all these monster massacres.

MAP22Sacrificial Castle
by Aki "aaglo" Neuvonen
aaglo keeps the friendly feeling going with this pleasant Hell fortress of wood, marble and stone. It's got some neat features like a small coliseum, a grand staircase, and several altars which bring it back to its name (one of the chapels housing a gorgeous pipe organ). Monster concentration is mostly hitscanners and imps with some curveballs, like an enormous influx of demons or some good ol' hell knights / barons. The lighting isn't that great to start off with but once you get deeper into the main castle, it starts to pop with some excellent attention to detail, while decorations throughout are very nice (like the portrait of sin at the top of the staircase). Very cool.

Express Elevator to Hell 2MAP23
by "Keeper of Jericho"
Jericho attempts to recapture the magic of Sverre Kvernmo's Express Elevator to Hell. Some of the layout and texturing definitely resembles the original, though the main focus is on the Hell portion rather than the Elevator. If you find yourself struggling through this map, it's probably because you're missing some secrets. There are nine in the normal portion of the level, one of the most crucial bits being a rocket launcher / soul sphere combo. I'm not exactly fond of the combat; the tiny hallways are even more choked with revenants, making clearing the elevator each time a tedious proposition. There are also some questionable sections, like the chaingunner ambush at the pain elemental or that mancubus encounter on the previous floor. In general, though, I think it has most of the spirit of its inspiration. I'll mention that the southwestern portion, which has a MAP01 / Plutonia homage before an ultra-secret visit to Wolfenstein. Overall, it's a bit too exhausting for me, but seasoned veterans may delight.

MAP24Burial of Eden
by "Jointritual"
Hell has rarely looked better in this enormous, red rock offering from Jointritual. Despite its high monster count, it tends toward harder, tighter gameplay, with only one wave of monsters one might consider a slaughterfest, the red key trap (which is also my standout encounter). The rest of it is a giant switch puzzle leading to the various keys, which are needed to access each other as well as powerups in a side room that incidentally controls the exit bridge. I'm not sure what your main adversary this map will be. Perhaps the noble arch-vile? Barring some of the slaughtermaps, I've seen more here than anywhere else, I believe. The only thing marring the map are some gameplay issues that appear to crop up between ports, none of which appear to happen in Eternity.

Escape From Spirit WorldMAP25
by Brian "Snakes" Knox and "Captain Toenail"
Not "The Spirit World", but an incredible simulation! Snakes and the Captain do a good job emulating the scheme of the vast cavern you encounter near the beginning of the original. It's a bit of a rocky beginning but with a little wit all of the main weapons are available near the beginning. The only questionable section on my end was the small network of tunnels filled with zombimen. There's also a slight homage to the infamous fleshy tunnel. The whole map feels like a sanitized version of the original, though. It's certainly a bit more appealing to the eye, and with less batshit insane moments, but I think some of Peterson's charm was lost in translation. Speaking of mayhem, the standout encounter is a blast, involving two Cyberdemons and a crossfire of chaingunners, revenants, and mancubuses. It's a lot less annoying than that description may suggest, but you're probably much better off if you can figure out how to grab the soul sphere in the prior area.

MAP26Walls of Jericho
by "Keeper of Jericho"
I really like the look of this level, and for the most part, how it plays. It's a series of battlements suspended in air, with various islands (usually serving as distant turrets) dotting the horizon. As you make your way through the network of wall tops, you'll be subject to several teleport ambushes. These set up some pretty memorable encounters, particularly the Spiderdemon ringed by imps or the cacodemon / pain elemental circuit with a leg over to some commandos. Once you've made it to the end, though, and grab the red key, you have to fight your way back through hostile territory as Jericho warps arch-viles in pairs through the once-cleared fortifications. This goes over about as good as can be expected, especially when you have an arch-vile protected by a pack of, say, demons when you're limited to a combat shotgun due to ammo. It's still rocking good fun, though. My standout moment is the end of level Cyberdemon, who appears impractical to kill. That is, until you realize why Jericho made that particular room an obnoxious teleporter hub.

by Brian "Snakes" Knox
Wow! This is an enormous, epic Hell map with gorgeous lighting and visuals. It's more cavernous as opposed to MAP24's orthogonal display of Hellish aesthetics. Gameplay starts off a little rough with a masterful Tysoning segment and it rarely lets up. You're put into crossfire after crossfire, like the first outdoor segment with the rocket launcher, and there are a number of memorable ambushes, like that tide of Hellspawn in the brown metal section off off the marble atrium (which works great to break up the visuals). The northern outdoor area is one of my favorite segments, with a few surprising ambushes and a showdown with, you guessed it, two Cyberdemons. All quite manageable without the BFG, which I wasn't clever enough to find on my initial playthrough. The only secret I managed to find was a handy megasphere, but after looking back, Snakes did a good job making every secret a great reward. Play this map!

MAP28Buried Eons
by "jerrysheppy"
Another Hell map, this one evoking vague tones of "The Spirit World", but the overall feeling has one digging through ancient ruins rather than a different plane altogether. Though it's chock full of enemies, they're usually more traditional encounters punctuated every now and then by hordes. The opening is particularly indicative of the atmosphere; you'll have to think fast or suffer entombment by cacodemon. Other memorable fights include the imp / Cyberdemon battle, the roundabout slaughter in the lake of blood (very cool and very hectic), and a tricky showdown with a ring of hell knights and (yet again) another Cyberdemon in a gorgeous marble / stone dual staircase. It's also got these little hooks to break things up, like the UAC dig / storage sites (one of which has a Fun surprise) and bits like the cacodemon shaft (you'll know it when you see it). Yet another masterful offering.

Seven Dead DisciplesMAP29
by "Keeper of Jericho"
Jericho finishes out the normal section of the WAD with another Hell map. This one is an unholy union of everything evil, with brown halls, marble courtyards and cathedrals, and stony caverns and mazes. Gameplay begins in the main courtyard (with a baron statue that weeps blood) where virtually all the player's armaments are acquired. Afterward you get to tackle six wings of the fortress in essentially the order of your choosing. Three branches require keys acquired from previous areas, but it's only one key to a segment. The end goal is to assassinate the "disciples", arch-viles resting comfortably on thrones at the end of each area. With the exception of the red key wing (short and to the point), Jericho has made each segment memorable and distinct from the others. There's a madcap Spiderdemon / mancubus fight, a gorgeous abyssal cavern, an unholy congregation (one of the nastier sections), a great hall filled with spiders, and the final wing, a veritable slaughter. About the only segment I can slag is the red rock maze to the northwest. It manages to be visually appealing, but to me it drags on just a bit too long. Otherwise, a fantastic level, not to be missed.

by Michael Jan "valkiriforce" Krizik
Krizik concludes the mapset with ye olde boss shooter map...with a twist! Before you can confront the big bad, you'll have to find three keys in teleport wings to raise the bridge, guarded by a Cyberdemon who will be firing upon you as you hit the switches. The wings are pretty short affairs, with one of them cribbing a bit from Doom's E4M8. They do a good job of breaking things up, though. Once you get your charge on you jump ahead to the main event, where a Cyberdemon is squatting on your shooter platform! Now, there are two ways of tackling this problem. The hard way is to just ace the Cybie and take your rightful place. The secret way is way more fun, and a nice way to round this great mapset out.


Malle BrokMAP33
by Christian Hansen
A short, congested techbase in the Doom II style, much of which has been inundated with toxins. It's got some tricky bits, particularly when you're faced with two hell knights on a small bridge, as you're limited to a shotgun and chaingun. The effect creates a map with a distinctly claustrophobic feeling that's a nice, fast play. I particularly like the outdoor section with the collapsing bridge and the map's features throughout keep your eyes pretty busy.

by Adrian "deathevokation" Hanekom
Another short map, this one in a Hellish fortress / techbase mix. It's got lots of nice eye-candy like the torches at the foot of the moat or attention to lighting, especially with the relief cast by that overhead structure outdoors. It's more of an attrition map, favoring hitscanners with the occasional teleport rush of imps, so it's all neatly handled by the provided weaponry, and there's a combat shotgun near the end for you to play with. Very fun.

Piss FactoryMAP35
by Chris "Purist" Bourke
Bourke unleashes a nukage facility emphasizing crushers that manages to be quite tricky. Pistol starters must be sneaky and act fast while other moments, like the map's sole arch-vile, cobble together extenuating circumstances (rad suit timer and reduced weaponry) to create quite the aura of desperation. At least he throws you a few bones, though, like a berserk pack and a secret that gives you the pleasure of shutting down a potentially deadly chaingunner trap. The end sequence is pretty easily handled after you take out the mancubuses, supposing you're pretty patient. I'm not sure what the trick is to the exit, but I believe it requires you to hit the exterior switches in a sequence.

MAP36Rehabilitated Warehouse
by Chris "Impboy" Harriman
A nice, Hellish wood-based map with plenty of opposition, secrets, and outdoor areas to break things up. While it's choked with the usual low-tier monsters, enough of the larger enemies show up to mix things up. There's actually a bit of a rush on the player in the opening firefight. Otherwise it's mostly just difficulty through attrition via hitscanners. Detailing is very nice, with a lot of Hellish features creeping into the warehouse ("irregular" windows, organics). The only odd part is a very steep staircase that's kind of a pill to climb down, near the end of the map. Otherwise, I like this map a lot more than Impboy's "Ant Hill".

Pumping StationMAP37
by Michael A. "Truedude" Jurich
A pleasant little affair that has you ankle-deep in water half the time. It's a sewer map, but not really, where the emphasis is on combat rather than a confusing maze of catacombs. It's got a pretty straightforward layout, and while you'll have to do a little key hunting, it's nothing serious. Combat is fairly punchy for this set, with one segment requiring you to slay your way through a pack of revenants, mancubuses, and hell knights. Architecture is basic, but it gets the job done. It's not gorgeous; more like map next door material.

MAP38Liquid Facility
by "Philnemba"
Starts off looking like a promising little techbase... Unfortunately, the map suffered some serious issues post-production, mainly involving the red key room, which one encounters fairly early on. I acquired the red key with some judicious noclip usage, no doubt circumventing a few encounters, and moved on. The rest of the map was nice and simple, with a few memorable encounters, like the mancubus fight, or a tiny poison maze that's a little unfortunate when you're critically low on ammo. Even forgetting the grievous error, it's among the weaker entries, but it's a decent map in its own right.

At Hell's Gate XMAP39
by Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
A short but large red brick Hell map. It's actually got some passable action, though Confalonieri has given you two largely similar packs of sergeants and commandos to mow through (as well as two packs of imps). Symmetry is the biggest thing going against this map, with the breaks helping to instill a sense of movement, like that short underground passageway leading to the unholy chapel (with cool window vistas) or that eastern outdoor section (with a very cool SSG secret). About the only encounter that stands out in my mind involves two pain elementals in the central courtyard. When your weaponry is a little restricted and you're not quite sure if you want to burn the rockets, it's a nice way to build some tension.

MAP40The Deceived
by "Philnemba"
The end of No Hope For Peace... It's divided into four sections. The first is a pretty normal techbase romp with a lot of hitscanners and a somewhat clever opening salvo of secrets. Nothing too tricky and a nice vista there with the three bloody crosses. Things heat up in the second quarter, and if you found the plasma rifle secret, you're gonna need it. The exterior walkway with the cacodemon towers is perhaps the most dangerous part of the map, plus your current lack of a rocket launcher, topped off with an arch-vile that teleports back to that lovely demon ambush at the beginning of the map. The third encounter is deliciously silly, a crossfire between two gangs of chaingunners and two packs of revenants with an invulnerability and a ton of rockets. I just love being able to rocket punch monsters. Finally, something in a bit of a more tricky vein. There's a Cyberdemon and a Spiderdemon, a descending central column housing the exit, and four cadres of mancubuses and arachnotrons. As you can imagine, the demons take each other out with a little careful prodding. I appreciate being able to end on such fun action.



  1. A very fun read. You can also telefrag all the mancubus enemies on MAP13, as well as the first arch-vile. I enjoyed working on those maps simultaneous to Doom Core's development. ~vf

  2. Nice! I'm glad to see my stuff finally get reviewed by you :)

    Glad to see that you enjoyed Map27 so much... at the time, I'd never really attempted anything so large and challenging. As always, I find most of your comments to be spot-on, especially with Map11!

  3. Thanks for the positive review of Map34, I'm glad you liked it.

    You did a fine review job overall.

    Looking at this list of levels here, I can say that I remember a lot of them being very inspiring and fun to play.

    The No Hope for Peace re-release is still coming. Another map has just been finished for it yesterday, it should hopefully be on idgames by the end of the year.



  4. I did notice the mancubi telefrags, albeit after the fact. Looking forward to the revised No Hope for Peace!

  5. A mixed bag, but worth picking the gems. Captain Toenail's maps as well as Levels 11, 16, 17, and 27 are my favorites.

  6. I think Map16 is definitely a highlight, the gameplay is just fine too. All Captain Toenail maps/co-authored maps are quite good. Map11, Map17, and Map27 stand out too. Mixed bag on the whole, but those levels make it worthwhile and some of the other ones are decent too.