Thursday, August 30, 2012

Redrum (REDRUM.WAD)

REDRUM
by Mal Blackwell


Mal Blackwell has worked on a variety of FPS projects in the past, but in 1994 he was making Doom levels like just about everyone else. Redrum is one of two single-player maps he released for the original Doom, and it's a big one, housing nearly 300 monsters and apparently bumps up against the save game limit (thankfully a non-issue for modern ports). REDRUM has no given story; it's just an expansive, organized techbase with tons of monsters to slay. The map is some kind of large, complex techbase housing quarters and facilities for personnel.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Twilight Zone (TWZONE.WAD)


One of the Doom community's most prolific WAD authors, Paul Corfiatis debuted in 1998 with a Doom II megaWAD entitled The Twilight Zone. It's had a number of updates and facelifts, notably the removal of John "Dr. Sleep" Anderson's two publicly available Inferno levels and the 2004 edition, which gave the mapset a stern tune-up, attempting to fix some of its most serious criticisms. Some people prefer the original feel, untouched by the surgeon's knife. I myself am playing through the most recent edition, which looking at some demos available on Youtube isn't very different from its progenitor. Paul doesn't give much of a story to the levels; it looks like your standard "find and kill Baphomet", with the finale text implying that the player started his journey from his bedroom, if he isn't just fighting in his dreams.

Friday, August 24, 2012

200 Reviews milestone

Oh, hey, 200 reviews! Some statistics...

200 WADs, 1484 maps, and 340 authors (specifically mappers).

That's 7.4 maps per WAD, 1.7 authors per WAD, and 4.3 maps per author.

Time to namedrop some anticipated projects:

DoomX (hope against hope...)
Interception (should be pretty good)
Back to Saturn X (does it really exist?)
Demon Eclipse (when it's done (tm))
Unholy Realms (Snakes? SNAAAAAAAKES)
TNT2: Devilution (Doomworld is the new TNT (TNTNT?)
Revelations of Doom (apocalypse in 9/8)

and like a billion other one-man megaWADs you sinners and saints are working on quite industriously, and any other community projects. Anyone who questions whether or not the Doom community is thriving must be insane. Not to dog the recent releases I've been neglecting, like Zones of Fear, Survive in Hell, and Community Chest 4. And that's just single player!

The Final Geometry (GEOMETRY.WAD)

THE FINAL GEOMETRY
by Rick Lipsey


Rick Lipsey wasn't exactly the most prolific Doom author, but his second release, Polygon Base, was featured in Doomworld's Top 100 WADs. The Final Geometry, published in 1995, is its lesser-known prequel, clearly pointing the way for the latter. It's a single level for Doom II, occupying the MAP01 slot, and it's big. Maybe not exactly as large as its progenitor, but it occupies the same general area, with Lipsey cramming as much as he can into the map's open spaces. As for the story, it's another UAC base gone south, located near a city. Your superiors send in two different teams after a cascade of unusual incident reports. You're an unfortunate member of the third, tasked to clean the base out.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sector 666 (666.WAD)


Paul DeBruyne clinched the Best Mapper Cacoward (in addition to two awards for two excellent mapsets) in 2011. He's a much older fixture in the community, however, having released this episode for Doom II back in 1998, after which he took a long break, returning to author in 2007. Sector 666 consists of ten limit-removing maps, with an implied story of a marine fighting his way through a conquered Earth Defense Force base to Hell itself. Actually, 666.WAD spans eleven map slots, but MAP06 was intentionally left blank. Did DeBruyne just wanted to get it published? Or did he just want to end the episode with the intermission text?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dead Perfect (HRB.WAD)

Yonaten Donner, grand architect of the legendary Hell Revealed, has but a few other works to his name. Dead Perfect, a pairing of two short maps released to celebrate Doom's fifth birthday, draws from two of the author's contributions Team TNT's Pursuit, a deathmatch megaWAD released in '97: "Broken World"(MAP17 in TNTPURST, MAP02 in HRB) and "The Holy Goat" (MAP30 in TNTPURST, MAP01 in HRB). The levels are conversions from deathmatch to single player, though the layouts are unmistakably oriented toward multiplayer. Donner has crammed plenty of monsters into very tight places and has a few traps to keep you on your toes.


It's all-out Hell Revealed style gameplay, with both levels beginning in the middle of a brawl, forcing you to manage several hazards while you make some breathing room. Truth be gold, neither level in Dead Perfect is very difficult to play through with a little caution. The challenge arises for speedrunners attempting to blaze through these jam-packed arenas of death. The small scale of the maps makes for great, bite-sized trials which is nice if you thought Donner's longer challenges ("Ascending the Stars", "Post-Mortem") were too exhausting.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Recant (RECANT.WAD)

RECANT
by John "Dr. Sleep" Anderson


John "Dr. Sleep" Anderson is mostly known for not finishing his immaculate Inferno series, much of which was released as part of id's Master Levels for Doom II. His single Heretic level, released mid-'95, is a lost gem (along with practically every other great Raven-game map). Recant replaces E1M1 of Heretic and comes with no given story, just some notes from Anderson and the sentiment that he would have liked it to be larger, but really didn't like enormous levels anyway. Obviously, RECANT derives its title from the game it was meant for.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Alternate Doom ][ (ALTD2.WAD)


If Alden Bates is known for anything, it's probably his comparably lackluster contributions to Memento Mori and Memento Mori II (and not his adoration for Dr. Who). While poking around for author links, I stumbled upon one of his few solo releases – an episode for Doom II, titled Alternate Doom ][. It's a series of eleven maps that attempts to tell a different story of how the demon invasion could have gone down. Earth's population escapes as you stroll up to the city, leaving you on the planet to sort out the mess. Somewhere down the road, you discover a rogue asteroid orbiting Earth that turns out to be Deimos; after clearing the colony and contacting the Earth escape fleet beyond Jupiter, you resolve to return and finish the job you started. Except, Bates never came through on episodes two and three, as he was probably slain by a shambler.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Stones (STONES.WAD)

STONES
by Michael Kelsey


Certainly, Michael Kelsey will be known in the annals of the Doom community for Return to Phobos, an episode immortalized in Doomworld's Top 100 WADs. A lesser known fact – Kelsey is the author of what's generally regarded as the first "serious" Doom map. Sure, there's ORIGWAD or a number of editing demonstrations, but STONES is a pretty dense level, considering what was knocking around at the time. He published it back in March of '94, a pretty important time for fans of Doom. It's an E1M1 replacement that's short, clocking in at around 50 monsters, but fairly intricate.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cleimos 2.0 (CLEIM20.WAD)


Rand and Stephen Phares are probably one of Doom's better-known father / son teams. Back in '94, they released an episode replacement for Doom, titled Cleimos. In '95, they followed it up with a full-blown megaWAD for Doom II, with the original nine levels reused, inserted amongst the new running order. In the original installment, you played a mercenary in the year 2112 (hah), "Nuts" Kelton. Someone built an immaculate virtual reality environment on Cleimos Island, but the holodeck's safety routines fell apart while simulating Doom, of all things (the game of course). They'd rather retain the facilities, but if Nuts failed to shut them down, the powers that be were just going to nuke the site. In Cleimos 2.0, it looks as though Kelton's efforts were in vain. You play the leader of the team sent after him into Cleimos's virtual Hell.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Torture (TORTURE.WAD)

TORTURE
by Christopher Lutz


Torture is a single map for Heretic released by Christopher Lutz in 2001, though it bears a 2000 time stamp. It's a replacement for E2M3, with a pretty simple story. You're infiltrating some kind of underground dungeon to exact revenge on the beasts that have been tormenting your peers. As such, it's a mostly underground map with the sole exception being the opening balcony, from where you enter the installation.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Insertion (INSRTION.WAD)


Insertion is an episode for vanilla Doom II, released in 1998. I've seen the episode touted as kind of an extension of the Memento Mori series, drawing from some of the same talent. This is true in part, as regular Adam Williamson shows up, along with Stephen Watson of Memento Mori II fame. As for the other two authors, there's project organizer David "Tolwyn" Shaw, known more for his plethora of Doom soundtracks than his smattering of solo releases. Finally, Thomas Evans, who published some maps back in 1995, described by himself as Team TNT's biggest fan.