Wednesday, May 29, 2013


by Kurt Kesler

Kurt Kesler made a lot of single map releases for Doom II. KZDoom marks the series that was made solely for Doom's most advanced port at the time, ZDoom. Of the seven maps in the series (not counting the unfinished KZDoom8), KZDoom1 was the first, released in 1999. It's a medium-size MAP01 replacement, fielding just over 150 monsters. It's in a bit of a tech theme with most of the action taking place in some kind of factory with the rest occurring in a more natural outdoors section. There's no plot; Kurt just describes it as dumping you into the center of a highly secured factory which you have to escape.

First things first - Kurt has tinkered with the basic balance of Doom II. The enemies we typically think of as trash monsters (zombies, sergeants, and imps) all move around faster and have more health. On the other hand, the shotgun - essentially your default weapon - has a much higher rate of fire to help balance things out. It creates a new, highly threatening atmosphere for the level's opening, after which things even out as your super-fast shotgun makes killing some of the higher-HP enemies a snap. Well, not the arch-viles. You'll still want the SSG for them. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I wouldn't mind if the rest of the KZDoom series uses this power dynamic.

There are some neat ZDoom features used to flesh the base out, which looks very nice and clean. There's a swinging door, some rotating polyobjects, and several other bits of machinery. Combat is relentless; monsters either come in packs or up close, with the opening shootout being the most hectic, though I'll admit that's just getting used to how Kesler's iteration of Doom plays. Afterward there are some other highlights, like the hell knight / imp / etc. wave in that southern section, and I like the way the exterior area plays out, especially the explosion script where all the cacos start flooding in, at which point the player is absolutely flush with ammo. There are some neat surprises on the way through the sewage tunnel, too... I think there were even a few stealth monsters.

KZDoom1 is a fast and furious map from impresario Kurt Kesler. ZDoom is fortunate to have had someone bending maps in such a way in its infancy, where the focus is on action rather than what passes for story a la Tei Tenga. Sure, the Quake 2 sound effects are pretty familiar to us now, but I think it uses them better than most. Go ahead and give this a play if you want to remember the glory days, when ZDoom authors were churning out advanced maps instead of mods, mods and more mods. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.

This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 1999

Batman DoomThe Darkening
Chord GJägermörder
Twilight WarriorDemonfear
Tei TengaHerian 2

This article is part of a series on
Kurt Kesler's KZDoom series


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