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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Crestfallen (CRESTFAL.WAD)

CRESTFALLEN
by Martin "[cocoon]" Friberg


Crestfallen is a very short single map for Doom II by Swedish Doomer Martin Friberg aka "[cocoon]". There's no story, just a warning to players to use their fists to make sure there is enough ammo to finish the map. CRESTFAL is clearly influenced by Malcolm Sailor's CHORD series, so much that Friberg mentions it in the .TXT. You will be pitted in a series of small survival challenges in cramped areas, emphasizing close-quarters combat and your ability to dodge. It's certainly not as large as the CHORD maps that inspired it, or as difficult, but Friberg manages to nail the desperate scavenger-style gameplay.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hell Awakened... (HA.WAD)

Hell Awakened... is another one-man megaWAD released in 2011, this one from Jordan Michael Saulter, aka "Death Dealer". It's thirty-two wonderful maps for Plutonia, requiring the ZDoom engine for some under the hood stuff. The plot is basically Doom 3. You arrive at the UAC base on Mars only to find it in the throes of a demonic invasion. You fight your way through the infested installation, eventually entering Hell, only to fight your way out and back to the planet. From there you make your way to the excavation site where the UAC discovered that which was not meant to be unearthed. You've got to slay the gatekeeper to end Hell's assault and spare Earth. The whole plot, including spoilers and commentary map by map, can be found in "Hellawakened Read Me".

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Phobosdeimos1

According to Doomworld forum regular Marnetmar, Callum Guy Oliver aka "phobosdeimos1" passed away earlier this year. He was a newcomer to the Doom community in 2011, releasing a number of works and participating in several community projects, including Interception, Panophobia, and Doom the Way id Did. Though none of his entries made the cut for the first DTWiD release, project lead Xaser is compiling them for a posthumous solo WAD, along with perhaps any as of yet unreleased material. I know a third episode of his Raw Action series was in the works; perhaps it may still see the light of day.

While I've played works from authors who had previously passed on (most notably Esa Repo), I haven't had an author I've enjoyed die, until now. Oliver tended toward abstract layouts that emphasized map connectivity and lots of action, with the majority of his work featuring techbases. From what I can gather, he got most of his inspiration from Sandy Peterson.

Zfactory (single Doom II map for ZDoom)
Corebinder (four-map Doom II minisode for ZDoom)
Digon Base (five-map Doom II minisode for ZDoom)
Spire Complex (nine-map Doom II episode for Boom-c)
Pallace Skorn (single Doom II map for Boom-c)

THE SKY MAY BE

Strange! (STRANGE1.WAD)

STRANGE!
by "Loki"


Russian Doomer Loki claimed Project Ragnarok was his first WAD. If this is true, then it languished on his hard drive for awhile, as he released Strange! to the archives some six months prior. STRANGE1 is a single map for ZDoom, set in "a water dimension". It's split between blue and gray. The blue, of course, comes from the water, which dominates the map. The gray comes from the concrete ruins that jut from the drink like some inundated temple. The color theme is very strong, down to the blue torches and blue key. It's very simple, and yet more pleasing to the eye than many of the maps found in RAGNAROK.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Project Ragnarok (RAGNAROK.WAD)

Project Ragnarok's greatest crime can be found quite openly in the .TXT. "Loki" describes it as his first WAD. Whatever, everyone has to start somewhere. And then, "Wolf3D-style". This isn't an adequate description, but for your average /idgames browser, it's damning enough. Project Ragnarok is not really a Wolf3D adventure. The first three maps of this ten-map episode for ZDoom feature a lot of Wolf3D textures and a lot of SS Nazis, but maps 4-9 are Hell-themed with the final level featuring a mix. The story, while not mentioned explicitly, is essentially Doom 3, except with Nazis instead of the UAC (ignoring the usage of UAC textures found here and there). Looks like the Third Reich found a portal to Hell and are researching it (Hell), so you get to destroy two evils at the same time!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Yak World (YAKWORLD.WAD)

YAK WORLD
by Spackle Ltd.


Yak World is one of the only PWADs I can remember playing prior to 2010 (the other is ZEUS). It’s not a jokeWAD in the best-known sense; rather, it's a Doom WAD that doesn't take itself that seriously (the best kind of jokewad). Produced by Spackle Ltd., a two man team consisting of the level's author (Yak Man) and the guy who owns the computer the author worked on (Mister Bob) and an "intern", you’ll find two maps to marvel at. E1M1 is the main attraction, housing most of the silliness and monsters. There’s a secret level, E1M9, but it’s very small and really more of an afterthought. I've seen a Doom II version floating around – there's one on the Maximum Doom portion of the Master Levels – but from what I can tell it’s an unauthorized conversion.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

ZEUS (ZEUS.WAD)

ZEUS
by Stephen Renton


Zeus is a single map for the original Doom, replacing E2M5. It's pretty short, clocking in at 69 monsters. Renton ascribes the project to his high-resolution scanner. Clearly he was replicating the artwork of H.R. Giger, whose bio-mechanical imagery dominates the level's new wall graphics, the sole exception being a forest landscape that significantly clashes with the room it's used in. Honestly, very little of the graphics actually fit. The skull texture that marks most of the map's doors stands out in a sea of wallpapered nightmares, like the paper clip woman (Illuminatus I) or the labial archways in the outdoor area or bare-breasted witches (Witches' Dance). Thank goodness Renton spared us from Landscape XX.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Laura Beyer's Doom (LBDOOM.WAD)


Perhaps the most infamous of all unauthorized Doom products, Laura Beyer's Doom was sold for $20 and featured nine maps, replacing the first episode (with an install process that modified the Doom IWAD), and coming with three "bonus" levels. I really don't know how much Beyer was actually involved in this work. She's listed as the "Boss (she made us do it!)" and the destination for game orders, but Mike "Laura's BOY TOY" Helm is the Head Programmer with Kody Zander and Darryl Dewald listed as the actual level designers. Certainly someone was responsible for the new graphics and sounds, a few of the latter I recognize as appearing in Eternal Doom (and many other WADs of the time). As to how the team assembled, it looks like almost everyone was (and still is) stationed in Creston, Canada, so I assume they were friends.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Elements (ELEMENTS.WAD)


Elements is a short, five-part minisode for the original Doom, replacing E1M1-M4 and M9. Crafted by Neal Ziring, it details Earth's counterattack to the forces of Hell, made through the realms of the four elements – Air, Water, Earth and Fire. While initially successful, Hell repelled the human incursion. With your superiors ordering a retreat, you decide to take matters into your own hands and head into the plane of Air armed with little more than your trusty sidearm (of course).

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tantrum 2 (TANTRUM2.WAD)

TANTRUM 2
by Ola Björling


Ola Björling released the original Tantrum in early '96. Tantrum 2, released in '98, is a remake of the original, featuring most of the same layout but with improved structure, improved lighting, improved counters, everything. As with the original, it's a map composed of beige brick, brown metal, and a wee bit of green stone, mostly at the beginning and ending. There's no plot, of course. It's just another Doom II map. Well, "just another" is a little disingenuous, because it's an excellent level.

Sunday, April 1, 2012