Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Richard Wiles thought he was done with Doom after releasing Nessy. You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave, and his natural tendencies led to him continuing his abandoned SPOOKY series until he decided to collect the done levels as a set of its own and throw in four more, creating the now-immortal Crusades, an episode 4 replacement for OG Doom. Of course, Wiles thought he was done with Doom then, but we all know the truth, as history proved out. As usual for Wiles, there is no given story to go along with his level set, not that it really matters with an aesthetic theme as strong as this.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


by Richard Wiles

Richard Wiles made a lot of maps in 1998. The DICKIE series was his most lauded work from this period, but before things rolled over to 1999 he had a go at another style of level for Doom II, using the Plutonia IWAD. It was supposed to be a mini-episode but he declared himself done with Doom and released this two-level minisode, named Nessy in tribute to his then girlfriend (and future wife). Nessy isn't consistent in and of itself - its two entries vary wildly in style - but that doesn't make them any less enjoyable.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Doomed for Two Years

Two years ago, I started a blog where I would share my experiences with Doom PWADs that I'd played. Today, it boasts 255 in-depth reviews of WADs composed of 2129 maps by 424 different authors. That's...
  • 5 maps per author
  • 8.3 maps per WAD
  • and 1.65 WADs per author
And today, I'm opening a new wing of the site, "New Ways to Die", which specifically features reviews of mods that alter Doom's gameplay, whether they have levels or not. The only caveat - I'm not playing WIPs, which the vast crop of popular mods are. Consider that the version of Brütal Doom that won the 2011 Cacowards was v.13 and Sergeant Mark IV is currently working on v.19, more than a year after the fact. I don't mind something like Reelism's expansion packs, given that Kins and co are adding cards to a deck rather than tweaking the overall balance of what is supposed to be a well-oiled machine.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Back to the Fire (BTTF.WAD)

by Simon Dupuis

I've never played the PSX version of the Dooms, and while I've dabbled in Doom 64, I haven't given it good enough of a look to be intimately familiar with it. What I do know is that to some players, both Dooms are the iconic experiences driven by their nostalgia trains, and oppressive ambiance plus colored lighting constitute much of that feel. Back to the Fire, released in 2012 by Simon Dupuis, is a single map for Doom II that uses these elements to I feel evoke that sensation but in a more modern sense. Replacing MAP01, it's meant to be played in the GZDoom engine or Skulltag (now defunct - use Zandronum). Apparently, it's not strictly necessary to play the level in GL ports, but you'll miss out on the colored lighting, and that's a huge part of the level's draw.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Reelism (REELISM-X2.1_.pk7)

by "The Kins" and "300 Pounds"

Reelism has been around awhile (released right around Christmas in 2011) and has had two "expansion packs" since its initial release, with more potentially on the way. Which brings up an important question. What is Reelism? Well, The Kins started it, and has since added the talents of a handful of contributors in various aspects of its design. It's a spinoff of "invasion"-style gameplay, something I'm not familiar with outside of as it's carefully choreographed in regular PWADs. Reelism is my first proper experience with this dedicated mode of play. If you didn't already know, invasion mods involve throwing monsters at the player in waves. Reelism spices things up with irreverent semi-randomness provided through its major hook, triads of wave elements dictated to the player through slot reels. It doesn't necessarily require the Doom II IWADs (Doom II, Evilution, Plutonia), but if you don't use them, you're going to be seeing some checkerboard nightmares.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


by Mike "Cyb" Watson

Released in 2003, Void is a single Doom II map for ZDoom. But... It's a lot more. The story opening is basically Half Life in Doom, down to scientist voice clips, and when shit goes bad a Cyberdemon drops in and starts slaughtering your buddies. Before it can kill you, time freezes and Hexen's Heresiarch shows up, creating a rift that sucks all involved parties (and corpses) into an unusual dimension. You'll have to fight your way out, of course. Actually, fighting isn't as important in this PWAD, as you'll end slightly upwards of one-hundred monsters slain at the end. There is a much greater emphasis on puzzles, platforming, and platforming puzzles.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Alien Vendetta (AV.WAD)

Alien Vendetta started out as a solo project from Norwegian Doomer and speedrunner Anders Johnsen. The original plan was for something closer in scope to Hell Revealed but it slowly drew away as Anders began to invite other authors to the project, among them his close friends, eventually landing in between something more like what are now considered the "classic" Doom II megaWADs of '96-'97 and more obvious slaughter combat a la Hell Revealed. Like any Doom PWAD, it doesn't need a story, but there's one included in the intermission texts. I'm not entirely sure, but it looks like the UAC has been working with Hell. The demons pull a double-cross, of course, eliminating their benefactors, taking over UAC installations, and then mounting an offensive which you naturally must repel and then push back to where it came from.

Monday, April 8, 2013


by Malcolm Sailor

There's something about loading up a Malcolm Sailor map - particularly the CHORD series - that evokes a sense of dread and impending loss of all self-respect. Sailor nailed a very distinct style on UV play that I'd label as, I dunno, scavenger. They're super-hard for a variety of reasons and the monster count has little do do with it (sitting at a little more than seventy to start with). The levels are often claustrophobic with Sailor acting as an authoritarian when it comes to things like weapon and ammo placement. If punching revenants with the berserk pack isn't your bag, well, too bad! CHORDG is the fourth level in this mapset, occupying the MAP29 slot in Doom II.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Lord of the Flies (FLYMAPS1.WAD)

Sam Ketner may be fondly remembered as the author of Assault on Tei Tenga, but did you know that his first release was 1996's Lord of the Flies, authored alongside James "[thantos]" Jennings and luminary Adam Windsor? This nine-map episode for Doom II's main selling point was a mess of new monsters culled from the shovelware discs of the time, which the new maps were allegedly balanced for. The story is bizarre, of course. There is a colony on Gamma Hydra IV (the setting of a Star Trek TOS episode no less). Apparently the ice caps started melting and after the colonists' bid to deal with the rising ocean levels failed, they aligned themselves with "Belzebub" and have since disappeared off the grid. You're strong-armed into dealing with the threat after the UAC's recon droids reveal a demonic presence.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Refinery (THEREFINERY.PK3)

by Daniel "Tormentor667" Gimmer

Daniel Gimmer headed up the Knee Deep in ZDoom project, which finished back up in 2007. It was an attempt to render the original Doom shareware episode with the advanced features of ZDoom. Since then, The Shores of ZDoom has been a work in progress, and while Tormentor was on the title card for awhile, the project has since evolved beyond him. The Refinery, a single map he released in 2012, was his major contribution to the project, now released as a standalone while the Shores team no doubt busies themselves with their own take on Doom's E2M3. Err, yeah - in case you hadn't figured it out, this level is Gimmer's take on "Refinery" ZDoom-ified.