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.

MAP09 is a low-grade slaughtermap with a layout that's obviously suited for deathmatch, but it plays pretty well as a level where the player is almost always under pressure from somewhere and must carefully weigh enemies approaching from nearly every direction. Starting out is kind of tricky with the enemy concentration and your limited weapon and if you're not clued in to the opening of the first ammo stash you might be treading on thin ice with your mighty shotgun, but if you can make it past the first teleporter wave you're pretty much walking on sunshine from then on out. Very fun.

MAP10 is a much more traditional level. Wiles still has open-air areas but the map is less centralized and utilizes exploration and pitched fights versus the previous outing's informal teleporter waves. It's not exactly linear, a fact enforced by the fact that your vistas usually include areas you won't visit for a long time (across the pond at the arachnotrons, for one). There are a lot of surprises. Nothing big, though there are some Doomcute moments like the staircase demon trap to the southwest or the imp boobytrap at the red key switch. Running and grabbing my first SSG was the defining moment of the level, actually, next to that commando trap at the tower to the southeast.

Wiles and Doom may have been on the rocks in '98, but he put out a startling amount of material in the years to follow. Nessy is an interesting footnote in his authorial career, a look into what might have been. Fans of Wiles's levels should certainly give this a shot if they've somehow managed to glance over it after playing the rest of his collected works. It's a pretty good little mapset. You should give it a go!

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