Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Atomic Tomb (AT.WAD)

by Brad "Vorpal" Spencer

Brad Spencer, one of the chief contributors to the now legendary Alien Vendetta, published Atomic Tomb way back in 2000. It's is a super-fast OG Doom level, replacing E1M1, and meant to be played in Boom-compatible source ports. His lip service style story says that you're one of the marines stationed on Mars after Deimos vanishes and Hell invades, circa the original trilogy. It's up to you to fight off the invasion as all your fellow marines are slain.

So, like I said, Atomic Tomb is an incredibly fast level. There is tons of room for Doomguy to move and maneuver around enemies and the open areas facilitate the larger battles Spencer is leading up toward. Most of the combat is incidental Doom-style with you waking up more monsters than you can quickly handle who all start to zero in on your position, but there are at least two battles that stick out in my mind, the obvious highlights mentioned by Cyb in the top 10 article. The first is a spectre ambush you can tackle any way you like - firearm or fist - and the second is a massive teleport wave with tons of monsters, topped off with a Cyberdemon. After playing it once you'll probably realize you can dart in to the ammo room and then hold them all off with a barrage of rockets on one side while the Cyber works at them from the other, but in the heat of the moment, I ran around like a sissy because I could.

The level looks very nice. Spencer is a great architect from what I can see, with areas like the teleport brawl as obvious highlights, and his sector lighting is superb if understated. That opening very KDITD-ish hallway fails to prepare you for the kind of stuff you're going to see as you zoom about, fading imps and zombies and other jerks. I also like the closing elevator room, a great way to give the level a sense of place and hint at possible futures (sadly uncapitalized on). 

Play Atomic Tomb. It won't take hardly any time to do it and the moments you do spend will have you up to your waist in the dead. Hardcore players might find it unsatisfying - I forgot to save and made it through without dying in short order - but the rest will get a nice shot of fun out of it. 

This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 2000

The Darkening Episode 210 Sectors
Chord 3Classic Episode
Hell FactoryPainful Evil
Atomic TombContainment Area


  1. What does OG mean? :)

    1. I use it to differentiate between Doom and Doom II, and to a lesser extent Doom from Ultimate Doom (that is, four-episode Doom)

    2. Err, to truly answer your question, OG = original

    3. Original Gangsta... :P
      Original Game!

  2. Quite an amazing action packed level, with regards to Revelations of DooM; this was one of the most influential levels in terms of clever non linear layout and monster placement, I love the way the gameplay just explodes and how the place is swarming with monsters which follow you throughout the layou, how it never plays the same on repeated attempts (due to monster wondering), and how you can conquer objectives in any order you like.
    - DeathevokatioN

    1. Yeah. Brad Spencer gets a lot of hate from newschool mappers but I thought his works were pretty satisfying, if leaning toward the abstract.

  3. I don't really care what other people think, my favorite era of mapping has always been the 90's and his inspirations were deeply routed in this era as well. If I recall correctly, his maps were designed when the aim of AV was still to design maps in the vein of Hell Revealed. His maps had this visceral and bloodthirsty element that satisfies the inner caveman in me, hehe.

    By the way, you need to review a collab map between Brad Spencer and Karthik Abhiram;
    Totally amazing stuff, Alien Vendetta quality.
    Keep up the good work, by the way! :)

  4. Short, but very sweet. An old semi-classic. I only wish there was more.