Friday, April 27, 2012

Doom the Way id Did (DTWID.WAD)

In the latter half of 2010, Jason "Hellbent" Root more or less kicked off Doom the Way id Did, a project that aimed to recreate the feel of Doom's original three episodes by mimicking the design traits of the authors. Mappers flocked to the project, with a total of 95 submitted levels. That's enough for three brand new OG Doom megaWADs! (Still waiting on the official releases of the "rejects".) DTWID represents the cream of the crop, as selected by the project leads. The original aim was that each map could be seamlessly inserted into the running with no one the wiser. Of course, to better flesh out the episodes, beginning and boss maps were created. I feel comfortable in saying that even these well-trodden concepts had some new life breathed into them.

My first impression of Doom the Way id Did wasn't positive. Peeking into the development thread I saw authors congratulating themselves on how authentic their maps were, creating formulas and diagrams and arguing with each other on what the best way to recreate that elusive id feeling was. Hubris, I thought. Romero, Petersen, Hall – they were just as human as any of the project members. What made the original maps so worthy of this slavish adulation? The project's very title seemed to imply that, prior to this, no one had ever succeeded at recreating Doom in id's image. I detected an air of smug superiority, directed toward anyone who had ever opened up a map editor.

After taking the time to actually play the maps, I think that the team successfully completed its goals. Certainly, if most of these had appeared within id's product, I wouldn't bat an eyelash. They bear an uncanny resemblance to the episodes from which they draw their inspiration, if not strictly by looks then by the elements of design in each individual work. My appreciation for these levels increased as I plowed on, with most of my enjoyment coming from E2 and E3. Petersen's freewheeling use of textures and layouts gave those sections more leeway in interpretation, resulting in some great gems. The Romero knockoffs are certainly serviceable, but on the whole I found myself more engrossed as the demonic influence rose.

The maps play out largely like the original trilogy, though more difficult, especially as you proceed. You begin collecting tons of ammo and mowing down lower-tier monsters clearing rooms and corridors. E2 ups the ante, clamping down on available munitions and offering nastier encounters. In E3, you're frequently forced into dangerous situations and have to hunt desperately for weapons and health (most memorably E3M9). Sometimes you feel like you're waking up every enemy outdoors, though most of the time your spastic efforts to evade their attacks inadvertently trigger more monsters in the deceptive layouts. For those enjoying puzzles, you'll find plenty of enigmas to solve in these secret-dense maps, many of which will help you in beating back the hordes of Hell.

To round things out, the team created some new graphics. Nothing in game – just a brand new title (featuring Doomworld mascot Hissy) and three new intermissions. I like the addition of the interpics, mainly because they help to establish an identity separate from id's, with the locations clearly inspired by each entry. In case you're wondering, yes, E2's overworld map changes as you complete each level. It's a nice detail you might not realize until the end, when the contrast is at its greatest. Community member Mr. Freeze composed a brand new soundtrack for the project that sadly did not make it into the final release (though it did find an eventual home in Khorus's Base Ganymede). You can download the music pack here, from the project site.

I cannot guarantee that DTWID will recreate the feeling you had when you played Doom for the first time. In fact, it probably won't. Seventeen years after v1.666, I've played a lot of games. More recently, I've played a lot of Doom. I know way more about id's classic than when I dipped my toes in its murky waters at the age of ten, such that this megaWAD felt like an old friend. It was comfortable, but had some secrets yet to share. That's the best I could expect. If you're a die-hard fan of the original Doom trilogy, you owe it to yourself to play Doom the Way id Did. This WAD was made for you.

by assorted authors


Communications BridgeE1M1
by Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso
Essel gets things underway with this fitting E1M1 tribute. Some of the standards are there, like a nukage pit visible from the outside or the mismatched brown wall giveaway. It's a pretty easy map to finish, with only a few surprises, notably a zombiman lurking in the shadows. If you want a challenge, try to get all seven secrets. My favorite structure is the "bridge" area, probably the most complex segment of the map.

E1M2Military Bunker
by Nick "Hobomaster" Laurent
Very cool techbase that plays with connectivity, also introducing concepts like monster closets and mandatory lifts. I like the hidden yellow key, which is another starter to a nesting doll style secret sequence. Favorite encounter is the grey concrete room to the north, which puts aggressive players in a simple crossfire, forcing them to prioritize targets (or just dodge fireballs). Also some great lighting in the western annex.

Fuel SynthesisE1M3
by Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso
A nice, longer map, using the central nukage area to visually foreshadow where you'll be going. It's an exploration-rich map with lots of nooks and crannies to find, with a number of layered secrets, including the alternate exit. Synthesis also introduces the demon and specter, slightly raising the overall threat level. I like that, while the E1M3 homages are recognizable, they're also re-purposed for different aspects of the map. Standout encounter – probably the sinking floor trap at the yellow key.

E1M9Excavation Site
by Stuart "Stewboy" Rynn
Now this is more like it. Stewboy kicks things up a notch with this rude, riotous E1 gameplay. The pistol start will have you dashing about, attempting to grab a shotgun. You'll be under a lot of pressure from demons and a few of its stealthier brethren. I particularly liked the ambush in the southern area, triggered with a switch press. The other thing Stewboy does is create shortcuts with key doors that cut a lot of backtracking out of the level and run you through more fights, rather than open up monster closets to keep the action flowing. Also, cool soul sphere secret.

Treatment PlantE1M4
by Jason "Hellbent" Root
Another larger, dense map, this one involving more nukage as a hazard, though a lot of it is confined to areas sectioned off for secrets. The opening is pretty desperate, strapped for ammo and will have you running from a few fights until you get your arms situation resolved. My favorite moments include the several lowering walls to the north, adding more and more monsters into the mix, and the bit where the wall at the starting area lowers, creating a circular track and opening up the exit.

E1M5Engineering Bay
by Jacob "ellmo" Zuchoswski
Shorter, darker map from Ellmo. There's some nice lighting but the biggest distinguishing feature is that the western section of the level has some strong bi-symmetry in its shape that Ellmo subverts by varying the features. It's also pretty dense with secrets, including two spots where you can run outside and deal with snipers face to face. Favorite moment is the imp column room, which I saw coming, yet convinced myself wasn't actually going to happen.

Reactor ComplexE1M6
by Nick "Hobomaster" Laurent
This is a large, action-packed map with plenty of minor surprises. The final battle is probably my favorite, just for sheer scale (lots of enemies to mow down). Other neat areas include the tight, darkened computer maze to the northeast and the western ambush area. The "Computer Station" balcony room also sticks out in my mind; you can look into it several times before you actually get on the ground. Nice map.

E1M7Logic Core
by Trevor "Iori" Primmer
Primmer knocks out a worthy successor to the original E1M7 with quite a lot of ground to explore and hordes of E1 enemies to dispatch. I found myself running low on shells for most of the map, only to rebound at the end with a hefty amount of ammo. The encounters are pretty good, with the lower computer tunnels to the south my favorite. There are a ton of monsters crawling around and in my naivete, I pressed the button, opening up an entire other section of the basement and making combat very cramped. There's also a nice army lurking behind a wall to the west, another cool moment. Great map!

Transport FacilityE1M8
by Jacob "ellmo" Zuchoswski
Ellmo nails the desolate creepy feeling of the anomaly without being boring, in spite of the amount of non-enemy time you get here. Little details like the hallway prior to the door lighting up help hammer the feeling home. It's an easy fight, of course (though bumping the number of barons up helps), with a very appropriate exit reveal. Certainly one of the best E1M8 maps I've played!


E2M1Receiving Station
by Xaser Acheron
Here's a short Deimos intro that plays with some of the established conventions. It's a great rearrangement with features like an actual portal as opposed to the regular pads (though they're everywhere else) and some excellent fights, like the dense northwestern ambush which has a few mixups with some teleporting enemies to throw you off balance. There's also a blind warp into a damage room which you have to fight your way out of, an unusual challenge. Some added height makes the cacodemons in the secret pillar room a bit more threatening.

Filtration CompoundE2M2
by Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso and Xaser Acheron
Switching things up with a dense, complicated map that has a few nasty traps. The prevalence of cacodemons and lost souls puts some good pressure on the player, taking up maneuverable space and ammo. The spiral staircases bring to mind something more like "Command Center", and the toxic blood pools instill a sense of imminent danger. I like the way it seems every room can be peeked into before you actually step inside. One of my favorite sequences forces you to choose between the rocket launcher and the plasma rifle...or does it? Don't wait too long to make your decision. Excellent map.

E2M3Rec Facility
by "Captain Toenail"
A shorter map, but fairly open to exploration, with some neat sights and fights. As far as looks go, it pegs "Refinery" with the opening vines and is your standard Deimos map where the corrupted regions lay in the far corners. A few barons pop up that you may or may not be prepared for, depending on where you explore prior to meeting them. What's nice is that most of the map is skippable, though due to the monsters you'll want to make sure you search for some proper armaments. Love the little organic transporter tunnel, feeling like a little nod toward Doom 3.

Mental WardE2M4
by Jacob "ellmo" Zuchoswski
Another odd Deimos map that manages to be creepy due to low lighting and the fact that you don't see any monsters for a good few seconds, the first one being a spectre. It's smaller, with a tight layout, and a few instances of rudimentary geometry that clearly hint at a functional purpose (like the cells to the northwest and several counters). The only bit that really didn't fly with me was the lake of blood near the end and a slow trickle of lost souls that isn't very threatening and takes awhile to kill if you're going for 100%. Still, a good outing.

E2M5Deimos Command
by Mike "Use3D" Alfredson
A nice, viny techbase filled with scads of enemies to slay. Love those opening lighting columns. Standout fights include the blue key cage (which will probably have a few surprises in store) and the crate area, which has some baddies locked up in some off-rooms that will boil out with the push of a button. There are also some great optional sections, like the plasma rifle gauntlet through several narrow rooms with instrument panels. The finale, a rad suit run through some infested overgrowth, instills desperation by dragging out the suit time with monsters in the walls (vines) and the occasional specter. If you want to get to the secret area, you'll have to access the other three secrets, I think, but that's all I'm gonna say.

Nebulous OriginsE2M9
by Trevor "Iori" Primmer
So here's a big E2 map with some cool architecture. It's got a bit of a puzzle feel to it, with some investigative skills required. Combat is pretty fierce compared to some of the past offerings. You'll face down several hordes of Hellspawn, not to mention the various packs Iori unleashes that are waiting for you. Perhaps my favorite bit was stepping into the crate room, where my boorish footfalls awoke a good number of enemies hiding in the crannies. I'm also fond of the southern red key room, though I thought the blue star was building up to something epic (it's not). Beware the northeastern sewer area. It's not difficult, but if you don't search everything correctly you're liable to go scrounging for health without a rad suit.

by Augustus "st. alfonzo" Knezevich
A tricky, subterranean map that feels like one of the bigger breaks with the project...and I love it! Alfonzo has a lot of molten metal in this map and cool bits like rising and falling pallets of ore. I also love the northeast room, with the tunnels that terminate in cherry red caps. What is that? Who knows? I had a nasty run of the place as I'd somehow managed to avoid both the rocket launcher and plasma rifle in most of my playthrough, which made the barons hard to handle. Some clever use of space helps to give some sections that elusive 3D feel and all the secrets are fun finds and look sharp. Great level!

Ore ProcessingE2M7
by Brendt "Megalyth" Pantley
Another big Deimos map with some nice cavern sections, especially that bit to the northeast. Megalyth is fond of forcing you to wade through damage floors without rad suits, which is okay considering he's left plenty of health around for you. Another thing – this is perhaps the most balanced map of the whole set in terms of ammo. If you don't find the secrets, especially the early rocket launcher and the plasma rifle, you'll be hurting toward the end. If you're not feeling up to secret hunting, there's a chainsaw to help make your job slightly less difficult. My favorite encounter was the ravine with the demons, though the yellow key horde is the most action-packed.

by Michael "Marcaek" Fraize and Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso
Very cool boss map that feels slightly like "Dis", in that you end up in a short hallway, pick your shit up, and then proceed to the main event. Except, there's a huge core in the map's center. As you flip the switches the layers of the vault disappear until the big bad is unleashed, a fight made tricky through the use of some teleporter lines, which will stop you from just circle strafing him in the center like a chump.


Abyssal StrongholdE3M1
by Jacob "ellmo" Zuchoswski
Feels kind of like "Hell Keep" remastered, with a classed-up intro (nice moat). The ammo balance is still there, though ellmo forces you to take on a single caco with a pistol if you want access to the shotgun (rather than the easy kite out in the original). I like that the two indoor sections are broken up by that pit of viscera. Favorite encounter is the caco battle in the northeastern pit.

E3M2City of Corpses
by Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri and Jacob "ellmo" Zuchoswski
Daimon and ellmo combine to offer this wonderful pastiche of the most Hellish aspects of Inferno. You start out in some misbegotten fortress, heading outside into a series of ravines through which a river of lava runs. It's like "Slough of Despair" meets "Mt. Erebus" meets "Pandemonium". My favorite sequence is the northwestern area behind the blue door, a creep down a spiral of blood fighting off emerging lost souls and other monsters on your way to the bottom. Don't miss out on the end plasma rifle or you'll have some trouble getting onto the exit pad.

by Henri "Icytux" Vuortenvirta
Icytux pulls out all the stops in this unrelenting assault. You're outgunned at the onset, forced to maneuver around some stiff opposition, only dropping through a blood waterfall into more caustic gunk and enemies. Things don't really relent until you grab the plasma rifle, located in a series of caves close-by. Expect to get in a lot of quality time with the shotgun vs. just about everything. It's a pretty dense map, with a lot of secrets that make a world of difference. I couldn't be arsed to point out my favorite encounter; the map is pretty much one big thrill ride.

E3M4Torture Chambers
by "Captain Toenail" and Jason "Hellbent" Root
This is a pretty neat Hell map that's tight on ammo, with quite a few high-hp toughs hanging around. You'll want to grab the rocket launcher or plasma rifle before pressing too far forward and finding yourself short on time and ammo. There are some tricky fights, like the outer yard caco swarm or penultimate brawl in the lake of lava. There's also a really dirty crusher trap, but it's so close to the beginning that I can't be mad at it. Also, darting into that imp cage and getting them all crushed is quite satisfying.

Chapel of ScornE3M5
by Paul "pcorf" Corfiatis
pcorf delivers an incredible pair of infernal keeps separated by a red rock wilderness. It's a pretty compact map and the dearth of monsters leads to a lot of congested gameplay, namely the first time you step foot outside. I like the design which sends you from the first building, through the exterior, and then back to the beginning. It's also loaded with secrets – par for the course in this megaWAD – including some teleporter-rich segments. The outside area is my standout segment, but the architecture of both buildings is quite nice.

by James "Phobus" Cresswell
This is a pretty brutal underground assault, starting out with a barrel trap that forces you out of the frying pan and into the fire with a potentially deadly crossfire surrounding the shotgun. Once you get your bearings you can explore the varied caves in Phobus's system, finding goodies like your weapons, which thankfully aren't hidden away. The resulting combat is intimate, with plenty of close encounters to keep you on your toes. Standout moment for me was teleporting back to one of the main halls only to find myself beset upon by a pair of bruisers.

Lake of FireE3M9
by Christopher Lutz
Strongly reminiscent of "Mt. Erebus" and in some ways similar to "City of Corpses", this is a large outdoor map that takes place in a...lake of fire. It's not completely landlocked as the map's southern section is built into the earth, nicely separating things between the more open northern area and the labyrinthine caverns, which are freely explorable once you have the blue key. The big feature here is that all the weapons are in the hands of the enemy. Since the exterior forces have you outgunned, you'll have to hunt for something more suitable before you can thank them for the warm welcome. As you poke around, you'll unleash plenty of beasties into the playing area, from monster closets and from the outside area. It's quite a thrill ride – don't miss it!

E3M7Inner Sanctum
by Jacob "ellmo" Zuchoswski
Very interesting layout, here. The "Inner Sanctum" is a fortress on an island in an underground cavern filled with blood. As you explore the castle, monsters seem to appear on the edge of the darkness, clamoring for your blood. When you manage to make it into a portion of the "inner sanctum", the fortress interior appears to collapse, opening up new pathways. Getting your bearings is a little tricky but once you're settled you can have some fun grabbing a rad suit and exploring the outer perimeter, kind of like a tour of the Disney World back lot (and Ellmo has left some presents for you).

by Eli "ProcessingControl" Cohen
Playing a bit with the iconic Spiderdemon fight. Like most variations, a series of barriers on timed elevators surround it, so you have some solid cover available. However, there are a number of barons on the lower platform you maneuver around, so you'll have to watch out for them while trying to line up your shots in the boss. There are some supplies on a lower floor, but crushing ceilings limit your access and force you to make decisive grabs while eyeballing your adversaries. A nice little finale.


This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's 2012 Cacowards

The Top TenBest MultiplayerRunners Up
Doom the Way id DidWhoDunIt?Beyond Reality
Strife: Absolute OrderBest Gameplay ModMasters of Chaos
PutrefierRussian OverkillFrozen Time
5till L1 ComplexMordeth AwardPlanisphere 2
Community Chest 4Community Chest 4Coffee Break Ep. 1
The EyeCall of Dooty II
Combat Shock 2Mapper of the Year
Winter's FuryKhorus
Base Ganymede: Complete


  1. what is with the stupid image that is shown last called "ALMOST GOT ME!" ??? I don't get it.
    By the way I LOVE DTWID! best Doom mod ever!

    1. The dragon and heroin dude comes from a South Park episode where one of the characters started playing a game called Heroin Hero (complementary to Guitar Hero) where the object was to catch the dragon. To quote wikipedia:

      "...the "dragon" represents the user's best euphoric experiences with the drug (usually due to novelty and inexperience), but with the positive effects diminishing (and often being replaced with negative effects) over time with each consecutive experience, causing the user to fruitlessly 'chase' harder and use more of the drug to try to recapture the initial euphoria."

      It's an echo of my closing paragraph in the introduction and a jab toward people that denigrate most user-made Doom levels for not holding up to their expectations based on playing the originals. I originally used the image as an April Fool's "joke" where the "review" of DTWID was just the image, this time a friendly jab directed at the authors for attempting to produce an experience similar to the original id levels that are held in such high esteem.

  2. ah yeah i get it now! i'm sorry for what i said in april fools review today. i thought you did that intentionatly!

  3. crap, i got shareware version of doom and can't play this masterpiece! i have to wait for doom 3 bfg edition to be released!

  4. oh my god, i can't believe what i said that in previous months. oh well, at least 2 months ago i got collector's edition. now i can play this masterpiece!

  5. Great reviews as always, just spotting some similar gems you may have missed. :) In this case I'm going to recommend you give 'Ultimate Needs More Detail (NMD)' a try. It's a full three-episode OG Doom megwad from 2009, all by one author, but all the maps are generally in the style of the originals (minus a small graphical gimmick) without adhering to the rules quite as strictly as DTWID does. The maps are all of a manageable size and I found nearly all to be enjoyable; it definitely joins this and Ganymede for most likely my top three 27-level (three episode) OG Doom megawads. One to look at for sure, I think, next time you get an OG Doom megawad craving.

    1. UNMD is definitely on the short list (the long list being every non-joke PWAD ever). I've certainly heard it talked up enough to warrant a look.

    2. UNMD is definitely WELL worth playing IMO if you're in any kind of Doom I mood. :)

      2002 A Doom Odyssey is also well worth playing, probably the fourth and final top- or near-top caliber Doom I/Ultimate Doom megawad (3-4 full episodes) out there. (The four being DTWID, Ganymede, UNMD, 2002ADO.) It's actually got four episodes, unlike the others which have three.

  6. I agree with this review fairly well. I'd say Episode 1 is the weakest because while it does look like KDiTD, the play itself sort of misses the mark. The other episodes tend to succeed better with preserving the 'feel'.

    I will admit though, John Romero's majestic E1 gameplay is far from easy to imitate. The other authors seem to give a lot more 'wiggle room'.

  7. D2TWID was released yesterday, check it out! Though you should wait for idgames link because this version posted on DW has been updated like 3 times already. Also I'm disappointed that there is no new TITLEPIC for this. :(

    But man, the levels are so well designed!

  8. If this WAS the original Doom I I'd have liked it. While that isn't necessarily saying it's just as good as the original maps, it is a definite sign that it's a good quality & enjoyable extreme classic style mapset regardless.

  9. It has the low difficulty issue many Doom I wads have, but it pretty much goes without saying it's a must for any classic Doom fan.

  10. Overall a fantastic megawad. I have one big complaint, and that is the Spider Mastermind fight. It seemed that more often than not, I was fighting DOOM's finicky autoaim instead of the Boss itself. This was irritating, and even when I lined up the BFG or Rocket Launcher or Plasma Gun or whatever it may be perfectly, and the lift between it and I was fully lowered, the damn game would not aim for the boss. Very, very irritating, and no, I do not believe this wad should require or have mouselook in mind.

  11. Greay megawad!! I loved everything, most of the maps made me feel that I was re-playing the original game. I think I don't have anything to complain about, not that I remember... Maybe some of the levels can be confusing, and I don't like when I have to run over the lava without any protection provided, but that's a Doom thing so it's nothing personal with this wad. One of the secrets in E3M8 leads to an easter egg (I think it's correct to call it like that), which is pretty neat. So overall it's a 9,5/10 for me