Friday, January 11, 2013

Strife: Absolute Order (SABORD.WAD)

I love Strife, so it's cool to see that a few crazy people make WADs for it. Absolute Order was originally going to be a much larger project, but it's clear that Adam "Khorus" Woodmansey decided to finish the project as it was rather than languish due to disinterest. So, here's a short episode for the most neglected child of the Doom family (unless you count HACX). The plot is pretty simple. Even with the death of the entity at the end of the original game (uh, spoilers I guess), outposts of the Order remain. You're not the Strifeguy, apparently, just an agent of the front who's been sent to loosen tyranny's dying grasp on the world.

The main thing that separates this from the original Strife is the lack of storytelling elements. No quests, no new dialogue, no voice overs. I don't think it's something Khorus planned to implement but it's not anything that's needed in his finished hub. If you grab a key, you're not going to get lost trying to figure out where it goes, and accessing the third dungeon – H20 – starts you on a gauntlet of sequential levels leading to the game's end. I miss a bit of the flavor that comes from Strife's forays outside of Doom but it's still mega-cool to play this.

Absolute Order is for advanced players, at least on the UV equiv. I found myself getting wrecked a lot, either catching shit from acolyte snipers or weathering the comparatively limited resources. One nice twist that comes from ditching quests (and switching to DECORATE engines) is the inclusion of health and accuracy upgrades that can be found either during normal play or stashed away in secret areas to augment the power of your avatar. It lends a bit more action-adventure flavor (a la Zelda / Metroidvania) to the experience, which is admittedly pretty short.

One thing Khorus included that is pretty cool - a brand new set of music tracks for the player to enjoy. I'm not totally sold on whether they all fit, the main objection being the oddly upbeat but slightly wrong background music for "Null". It seems out of place as the episode's climax. Regardless, they're all appreciated, as is this entry into the anemic Strife catalog. I hope Khorus goes on to man more of these niceties, either single level or more, and this is a must play for anyone who enjoys Rogue's lovechild of the Doom engine.

by Adam "Khorus" Woodmansey

Sweetwater is a nice-looking town. It took me a very long time to figure out how to get to the id card. If you have a brain fart like me, realize that you're going to have to break some glass.

MAP01Slaughtered Workers
After arriving in the mine you're on your way to find something else. Khorus gives you the crossbow and assault gun in this level, and more importantly introduces you to his take on Strife gameplay. A few of the more advanced enemies are introduced here, but to be honest it's the hitscan troopers you should be the most concerned with, so play cautiously as one particular room has you being shot at by potentially five guards in addition to the usual Strife robots. The mine doesn't have a terribly complex layout but it's very clean and the drainage grate is a neat touch.

The Lowest PitMAP04
A drop into the drainage area leads to another outpost of the Order for you to clear. Make sure you're packing some extra health – you'll need it for all the acolytes and other hitscanning nasties. The toughest room is a large atrium housing all kinds of enemies, most importantly three crusaders, two turrets, and a bunch of acolytes on opposing ledges you'll want to snipe away. The rest of the journey isn't quite so dangerous and involves a toxic sojourn down the pipeline to the level's exit, punctuated with a surprise ambush, the standout encounter.

A more outdoorsy palace level that starts out sedate until you set off the alarm, probably by snagging the flamethrower that's just sitting out in the open. It's a more straightforward level than "The Lowest Pit" but has a lot more tough enemies, including a dreaded inquisitor which will have you scrambling to avoid those rubbery-sounding grenades. While Khorus doesn't leave you feeling pinned down by snipers you'll still be ducking the reavers and templar or risk blowing all your health for the showdown at the end. That last series of jumps is tricky if you're near death, but not impossible.

A pretty balls-hard level if you go in short on health. Thankfully if you have some teleport beacons saved up you can use them to strategically eliminate the most dangerous monsters in the beginning ring (the acolytes, of course) so you can make a run on that steel armor and health. Like "H20", this level ends with an inquisitor fight that's probably even more dangerous since the low ground is all nukage you don't want to stand in too long.

This is a return to Sweetwater, but this time it's been completely overtaken by The Order with a fair amount of alien growth as seen "Void". Reavers, templar and other unsavory Things abound, including a sneaky appearance from the Bishop and a pair of inquisitors on your way to the exit. The main thing you need to do is restrain yourself from abusing the mauler once you grab it; you'll need a decent cache of cells to off the terrible twins if you want to perform a full clear.


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. Still going into 2013? Its good to see some doom players still playing Doom even after 20 years of it's release, when did you start playing Doom? I may be only 13 years old but I have read many things about how these kinds of games have really revolutionized the way games are played. I cannot wait till Doom 4!

  2. Khorus did make a single Strife level, 'A World in Strife Raiding the Dam' in 2010 that's well worth playing.

  3. The only good custom Strife hub and perhaps even the only custom Strife hub (period) in existence. There have been a couple attempts to just make a good level for Strife though. Two from Kaiser and one from Khrous (the later not related to this wad).