Thursday, January 31, 2013


Monakhov Vladimir, aka "Skepticist", published the first iteration of skePLand back in late 2011, adding another level to it in 2012. Currently, it's three maps for the Plutonia IWAD, though not really borrowing the style. skePLand has a nasty brand of gameplay, highlighted in the .TXT. Doomers looking for a less demanding experience are directed to play the maps on HMP, which is sound advice. Your Doom gods can try to tango on UV, but HMP is still more than the average player will be comfortable with. For an idea of just how much harsher Skepticist has set things up, compare the opening of MAP03 on both difficulties.

"Dying Spree" hints at the kind of themes Vladimir explores in the full set, but it's really exhibited in full in MAP02 and 03. The layouts are huge and open-ended. You can explore in whichever direction you feel is the least dangerous. They're also thickly populated with switches that cause all kinds of moving parts to function, opening up passages or other bouts of connectivity. It kind of feels like unraveling the maps of Eternal Doom, except the layouts are more dense, and you will be harried by monsters every step of the way. Each corner you poke your head around will have monsters entrenched for maximum pain, so that you'll have to deal with revenants, arch-viles, mancubi, commandos, and even Cyberdemons. It would be interesting to see Skepticist take on more themes than Plutonia (though I'll say that he does a great job with it).

Vladimir has a keen grasp on the particulars of Doom gameplay and more importantly makes the kind of Doom maps that I heavily enjoy, where you get to pick apart at some kind of Rubik's cube until at last every monster is dead and every passage is completely open. Well, I failed to figure out most of the secrets in the levels. I am assuming there are a lot of timed runs involved, but on HMP the recharge rooms he has spread around the place are usually more than adequate for your Dooming needs. If you don't mind getting bloodied up a bit (or a lot) you should download skePLand and give it a go. It's great stuff.

by Monakhov "Skepticist" Vladimir

Dying SpreeMAP01
Skepticist borrows the Plutonia aesthetic but the bent is already a bit different. Skeptic's layout feels more calculated than the rough and tumble teleporter traps of the Casalis with ranged enemies stationed at nearly every aperture. It's not devious but it'll make you think twice about crossing the various yards. The biggest threats outside of catching flak in the open areas are the various arch-viles Vladimir throws your way outside of eating a cyberdemon rocket due to sloppy play. Also note the red key, which opens up completely optional level segments but I couldn't figure out how to get. Cool opener!

MAP02Pictures in Red
Take everything about "Dying Spree", bump it up by a couple of factors, and isolate major sections of the level by a toxic moat of blood. Welcome to MAP02. Skep does a lot of dirty, dirty things here (all fair of course) and it's an ordeal to clear out a little place of the level you can call your own, but it's certainly possible, and there are several ways you can go about doing it given the multiple SSGs and several rocket launchers. Choose your own route, or just nose about like I did until you have the entire behemoth explored. There are a handful of Cyberdemons to be aware of, but the more memorable encounters are things like the yellow key trap (masterful corridor reveal!) or the cramped basement fight leading up to it. It's quite a workout.

The Master of DisasterMAP03
Even bigger with almost double the monsters of the last outing. "Master" lacks the damage floors that made exploration so dangerous but made up for it with danger around every corner. Corners are staffed with infinite chaingunners, revenants, mancubi, and other forbidden delights on top of the madcap battles you'll have to fight if you want to get any breathing room, the biggest one of course being the level's southwestern yard, which per square inch is probably the most dangerous. The layout is replete with tricky paths, with one-way drops being a routine affair, putting the player in a place he or she can't just back out from. It's also well staffed with switches. Most of them are giant skulls, so you can't really miss them. The most distinct features are a central teleporter room which will grant access to the far corners of the level for easier navigation, and a number of ammo stores locked with a red keycard. It's available right at the beginning, but you'll have to fight for it...



  1. Just a heads up; the last two thumbnails don't link to their full size versions properly.