Friday, November 15, 2013

Doom 2 the Way id Did (D2TWID)

Doom 2 the Way id Did is a sequel to, well, the incredibly popular Doom the Way id Did, of course. Headed up by Doomworld forum superstar Alfonzo after the release of the latter, D2TWiD aimed to mimic the styles of the architects of Doom II. John Romero, American McGee, and Sandy Petersen are the headliners, of course. I think Shawn Green and Tom Hall were considered, but if they're represented, it's probably in Tom Hall's sprawling base layouts. As was the case with DTWiD, there is no change in the "story" of Doom II. Just load it up and ask yourself - if one of these levels had shown up instead of one of the originals, would you even have noticed? What if you mashed the two PWADs together - would anything seem out of place?

It was inevitable, of course. The enthusiasm surrounding DTWiD and the success of its release - leading to not one, not two, but three side-projects pending official publication - only guaranteed the announcement and success of its sequel. D2TWiD saw its own release near the tail end of 2013, but not after a potentially murky future wrought by a curious lack of steam. For whatever reason, the community was not as productive, or not as willing to work with criticism, or whatever. Things stalled and the project leaders ultimately brought it "in-house", so to speak, leading to a much tighter stable of authors represented in the finished product - 10 for 32 vs. the previous 18 for 27. But, well, these things happen, and if the current incarnation of D2TWiD better realizes the vision of its organizers, then I'm happy. And I'll be more happy when the equivalent of D2TWiD:LE comes out, if such a thing is to happen.

As far as level themes go, D2TWiD follows the same order as its inspiration - base, city, and Hell. Things are slightly different this time around, though, with the city maps seeming water-themed. It's also harder, but I'm sure part of that disparity in difficulty is due to me having done Doom II to death. I'd bet that on the spreadsheet, the numbers look very much alike, but I found myself scrambling during many of the level beginnings, trying to get a foothold and a handhold on something better than my trusty sidearm. I also felt that some of the more experimental aspects of the original got smoothed over, but looking back, that's largely a crock. D2TWiD's secret levels - built in the style of the OG Commander Keen episode - are way better than the Wolfenstein 3D callbacks ever were to me. "Hexsoil"... I'll talk about that later.

Doom 2 the Way id Did is a damn fine Doom II megaWAD. It may be the kind of WAD you've waited a long time for, feeling a lot like the original but having plenty of its own virtues. While I do like my crazy good gameplay with crazy good new textures, I got no trouble sitting down with a solid work like this and just plain enjoying myself. And - if you didn't hear - TWiD is going to do TNT: Evilution, The Plutonia Experiment, and other fun things. But, well, I really just want the rest of Back to Saturn X.

id DID

by assorted authors

Loading BayMAP01
by Matt "RottKing" Cibulas
Neat little MAP01. The layout, with all the tiers and balconies with monsters, manages to avoid looking like another ode to "Entryway". Combat, as can be expected, is entirely imps and troopers, mostly with the pistol and some with the shotgun. The secrets are the real challenges, but they're not too tough, either.

MAP02The Compound
by Richard "Tarnsman" Frei
Sure, there's water, but the sluice is arranged as an impediment you have to conquer. Demons, spectres and sergeants appear; nothing is particularly threatening, but the more open areas with all the hitscanners might chip unwary players to death. I really like the demon trap in the western area; lots of player pressure and the open nukage pit helps to mix things up.

by "Blackgaze"
Depending on your source port and resourcefulness, you might find your way here. A fabulous example of missing the point, "Hexsoil" is kind of big, horribly balanced, and pretty much unlike anything in Doom II. I kind of like the layout of the north and west areas, but the south had me punching pain elementals and lost souls with an unpowered fist. Maybe that's just an example of not intuiting the author's intention, but I wouldn't say you can even uncomfortably do this level without its handy dandy secrets, like the BFG back in the first area you conquer, without which the final arch-vile showdown would be a waste of your time, considering what you have to fight to get to them in the first place. If you really want to play through "Hexsoil", skip as many enemies as possible.

MAP03Water Main
by Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso
Cool little level whose open layout combined with sneaky monster placement might catch you off guard. As usual, hitscanners are the most serious enemies, mostly shotgun guys as the commandos only appear at select moments. If the cacos catch you, it's probably because you were looking at something more dangerous. The traps open the area up and a couple inject some more monsters in a roaming fashion. Not many, but they're appreciated. I like those lamp fixtures in the western area, very cool.

The TerminalMAP04
by Augustus "Alfonzo" Knezevich
Another cool little techbase that ends in an underground area. It's loaded with zombies, your primary antagonists until you secure a handy dandy berserk pack, which should set your health back to normal. I guess there are some demons, but they're easily dispatched; getting a leg up on this level is the real challenge. As one might expect, it's very interconnected. Even sections like that dead drop to the west feel like it flows seamlessly back to the main playing area.

MAP05The Boiler
by Walker "Pavera" Wright
Very cool level from Pavera with lots of lava, so watch your step! I love the little outpost out to the west, a nice combine with the secret. Combat is excellent, particularly the blue key trap. First appearance of a hell knight, whatever. Then you get down and wham! Revenants, and you backed into a corner and forced to deal with them. Also like that yellow key psyche-out. When you look at the door, you'll wonder what you were missing, but all you need is a leap of faith...

The GorgeMAP06
by Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso
Pretty nasty opening here, actually. Killed me dead a few times before I could get my footing. The centerpiece of this level is the eponymous gorge, a big pit of blood in the center of the map with about a hojillion ledges surrounding it at various tiers. Commando snipers make an appearance here, but they're not too tough to deal with as long as you keep an eye out. First appearance of the baron, but he's not all that thrilling. Favorite part is that secret sequence leading into the megasphere.

by Richard "Tarnsman" Frei
Well, uh, it's a "Dead Simple" style map, but way cooler with an opening psyche-out with a Spiderdemon followed by a battle arena with a bit less cover. The reveal when you kill all the mancubuses is fantastic and sets up a great closing fight. Good stuff!

by Chris "Purist" Bourke and Richard "Tarnsman" Frei
This level has two names! Pretty cool open layout map with a ton of monsters to blow through, including the first appearance of the pain elemental as well as everyone's favorite sorcerer. For whatever reason it feels like you have to hunt awhile for the chaingun, but that's okay, 'cause you get fun bits like your standard nukage maze with lost souls to the north and that very nice yellow key ambush. The contrast vs. the lighted alcoves works great. While it feels a little flat at first, you'll find some nice open areas with height variation to feast your eyes upon.

MAP09The Gambit
by Richard "Tarnsman" Frei
Kind of like "Tricks and Traps" meets "The Pit" but not really. You get four blind teleports and two key doors, each one leading to a distinctly new scenario. One, hamstrung by a secret, pits you against revenants in the air with spectres on the ground in the dark with a rocket launcher. Another requires intuiting teleporter logic while another is a total pain elemental clusterfuck. The most devious is a take on tiered ledges and timed switches, but more intricate as you're not just triggering each platform like a giant lift. Pretty fun.

by Richard "Tarnsman" Frei
Another large, exploratory level from Tarnsman. This one has a lot of wide, outdoor spaces and is loaded for bear, featuring lots of pain elementals to sap your ammo (admittedly here in reams) and lots of mancubuses in strategic positions. All of the weapons and keys are sequestered away in various areas, so you'll have to work to find them. I actually managed to miss the SSG until I was about done with the level, but you don't really need it to finish things out. I like the cisterns that dominate the center of the map. My standout encounter - the demon / mancubus trap with the Star Trek elevator.

MAP11The Garrison
by Walker "Pavera" Wright
Somewhere between "The Abandoned Mines" and "Circle of Death". "The Garrison" is very fun to explore, allowing you to prod in any general direction to get things going, waking up more and more snipers and cacodemons in this underground fortress. Getting your bearings is about the most action you'll have outside of a few traps, like one involving a hell knight and some other trash that a competent player should dispatch in a few bursts of fire. No real standout sections besides the architecture in the main chamber; very iconic.

The ShipyardMAP12
by Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso
A phenomenal subversion of "The Factory". The outer area is a poisoned lake, so you don't have a whole lot of running room, but certainly enough to outpace the arachnotrons patrolling the outside. The center building has a neat little puzzle to get to the red key along with a very rude surprise. I also liked the super-cramped battle for the plasma rifle and though it will annoy some the switch building to the southeast was very cool as well. All in all, a wicked cool effort.

MAP13The Wharf
by Michael "Marcaek" Fraize
Just add water! "Wharf" is actually pretty brutal; you're ammo-starved at the beginning and have to do a bit of legwork to get your hands on a useful weapon. The SSG and plasma rifle are intimately intertwined with some nasty traps, but if you know what's coming you can twinkle-toe your way around the ugly parts to get yourself better armed. I like how puzzle-ish all of the buildings you enter are, great stuff for a switch-porn fiend like me, and pretty much every button comes with a shock. There's also a Cyberdemon, but he's just a big ol' softie.

Flooded LibraryMAP14
by Jimmy "James" Paddock
Very cool, uh, library map. A few big fights and a few hilariously nested secrets, plus an early SSG. Score! I love the combat; it's not as open as some of the previous levels, working some claustrophobia in outside of the largest rooms, which become flush with monsters at several points. That demon / imp / caco ambush is my favorite. Also, the optional blue key unlocks a handy plasma rifle for demonslaying. Great fun.

MAP15The Causeway
by Richard "Tarnsman" Frei
It's kind of like "Downtown", and a river runs through it. It's got a pretty panicked opening, though, even if you manage to find the plain ol' regular shotgun. The rest of the weapons are stashed inside buildings a la "City in the Clouds", with some being much simpler to get than others. The plasma rifle is almost downright inviting. The finale is what we all expected from Sandy but never got - a huge cadre of monsters arriving to try and bar us from the exit. Much appreciated. Love that spectre / red key room.

by Xaser Acheron and Brendt "Megalyth" Pantley
Well, you can't get much better than this. Xaser should just make a Commander Keen TC because I would play the shit out of it. There are only two monsters featured, the harmless yorps and the much more dangerous gargs, both rendered quite faithfully. It's kind of a hub map where you grab three keycards from three distinct "wings" before returning to presumably the first major area you visited to use them all. The secret exit is pretty clever; be on the lookout for a unique...object. I felt saddened when I realized I'd never see an actual vorticon.

MAP32Well of Wishes
by Xaser Acheron
It took about two or three minutes of running around the maze before I finally found my mark, the illustrious Dopefish. That added a lot of tension. The dopefish is basically a lost soul on steroids, but don't let that description undersell the danger you'll undergo if you try to take this thing on head to head. The blur sphere keeps you moderately safe but due to the speed at which it moves and attacks, you won't be able to land a decent shot on it. Add to that the fact that he's virtually silent up until he attacks. Just be glad there aren't any sprites lurking around...

by Walker "Pavera" Wright
Starts out pretty hot and has you beating feet through the water before you get to a decent weapon, after which you'll likely clear out the trash before working on Pavera's encounters, some of which are disconnected areas teleported to in sequence. They're fun, for the most part, but I am always a staunch opponent of slow elevator clusterfucks. I don't mind it TOO bad, though. That mess of tunnels to the south is my favorite series of encounters, a nice mixture of light and dark, though I'll also give a shoutout to the run of just getting your feet on the ground in the first place. Pretty cool.

MAP17The Precinct
by Richard "Tarnsman" Frei
Short, compact map with lots of monsters put in compromising places. Arachnotrons, commandos, and other sundry beasts will keep you moving between tiny safe alcoves while you carve out a no fly zone. Tarns also dumps a few pain elementals here, but the playing area is too small for wise marines to suffer much, if at all. Favorite fight for me was the arch-vile ambush. I mean, you know something's gonna happen, but you never know just what.

The SanctumMAP18
by Matt "RottKing" Cibulas
Secrets are half the fun in this enormous, marble fortress. RottKing delivers an excellent exploratory map with tons of beasties to get in your way. The outer area isn't chock full of monsters to begin with but there's a sort of drip feed as you discover and open things that will get some infernal opposition delivered straightaway. Most of the imps and demons are easily dispatched, but a few clusterfucks in the interior areas may elicit some surprise. The action inside the sanctum itself is my favorite leg of this adventure, outside of the larger exterior ambushes.

by Augustus "Alfonzo" Knezevich
A very tough outing from Alfonzo. It's got kind of a cool layout composed of a city grid where the streets have sunk into lava and the skyscraper interiors warped for nefarious demonic purposes. It's also got kind of a Petersen fuck off vibe with the barrel chains, but "Bedlam" is anything but laid back. Health is pretty scarce and the monsters very thick. All of the interior encounters are designed quite deliberately with stuff like demon punch-out, an arch-vile pillar, and the very cool light and shadow pillar jump with some surprise revenants. Really, the hardest thing is carving out a chunk of the city for yourself, especially if you take one too many dips into the fire.

Leap of FaithMAP20
by Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso
A super fun "Living End"-ish romp through a network of infested structures surrounding the edge of a giant, poison-filled cavern. I had a blast with all the little monster closets and things waiting behind you in practically every corner, rarely feeling overwhelming but keeping you just at the edge of your seat. It's also full of switchbacks and stuff, including the level's namesake, where a sprint through a tantalizingly suspended soul sphere leads you to the final leg of the journey, beginning with an admittedly light ambush. Great stuff.

MAP21Passage to Exile
by Brendt "Megalyth" Pantley and Michael "Marcaek" Fraize
Something of a more restrained "Monster Mansion" in that every step you take unleashes another clutch of Hellspawn, usually putting you in a compromising situation. It feels more intricate than sprawling, though, and I love the way the areas are tied together. There is a lot of interference worked into the arch-vile fights to stop them from being pure pillar-humping and is so bold as to field four pain elementals at the finish... Admittedly, the BFG all but drops in your lap if you make it through the leap. The level can feel a little slow, though, without the SSG.

by Richard "Tarnsman" Frei
Tarnsman says "Gotcha!" with this series of island fortresses in a lake of blood pouring into a crater full of lava. It's another pretty tough map with a lot of damage being traded around, but any player worth his or her salt should easily recognize the secrets leading to various supply stations, including the almighty megasphere. Besides all the usual crossfire, Frei lets out the occasional pain elemental because a wide open space like this one practically demands it. Not much else to report, besides a veritable sea of secrets.

MAP23The Crucible
by Richard "Tarnsman" Frei
Feels like a mix of "Inmost Dens" and "Hell Beneath", in part due to the hitscanner Hell. Zombies dominate this level; you'll want to be careful and track down the unmarked secrets - one in particular - to ease the pain that Tarns brings. The shuffling corpses are so prevalent, you might just forget how dangerous the projectile-throwers are. There aren't any real surprises, except for perhaps that arch-vile.

Crushed SpiritsMAP24
by Michael "Marcaek" Fraize
Basically, where "Barrels o' Fun" was about barrels, "Crushed Spirits" is about... Well, crushers. The dynamic is quite different as crushers are an ever present danger whereas barrels are permanently gone once detonated, creating something just as if not more trappy. That's okay, though, because half the fun of the crushers is turning them on their demon overlords. Some fights are beating back tides of enemies while a crusher descends to wreak havoc on anything not in your island of safety. Then there are utter bears like the SSG battle, where a lethal concentration of mancubuses and cacodemons will crispify you. Favorite moment - crushing a cadre of revenants in hot pursuit.

MAP25Dead Sea
by Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso
Another exploratory level, this one from Essel. Things are a bit more relaxed as the lake of blood you're wading around in isn't deadly and the weight toward projectile monsters in open spaces means that you really only have to watch out for those long-distance revenant missiles. The little strongholds are all fun to fight through, but most of the good claustrophobic stuff happens in the northwest corner, starting off with rocketing revenants with imps at your back and ending with a very close dance with a Cyberdemon. There's also a huge wave of myriad monsters teleporting in near the end, but you should have a ton of ammo by then; go hog wild!

Damned Strait!MAP26
by Richard "Tarnsman" Frei
It's another level built into the sides of a crater, but this one is outdoors and most of the gameplay takes place in the southwest section. The action blows by very fast - you'll be at the climax before you know it, hopefully with a BFG in hand. Of course, you'll have to do away with an airborne squadron of troublemakers before you can safely finish things up. Pretty fun.

MAP27The Bloodwash
by Augustus "Alfonzo" Knezevich
It's wild, it's weird, and it's all over the place. Must be drawing from "The Spirit World"! "Bloodwash" is a pain in the ass in terms of ammo management. The raw supplies are there to take on your enemies, but having to deal with arch-viles and pain elementals feels like pulling teeth, and if you go in blind you won't know where to run to secure a handy rocket launcher or plasma rifle. That said, I like the strangeness of the layout and bits like the holes in the southwestern blood area and that outdoor platform, the site of another hairy battle. Neat... And harsh.

by Xaser Acheron
"Abyss" is another freaky lightshow in the dark depths of Hell, coming off like "Spirit World" meets "Chasm" meets "The Living End", except it's Xaser so there are huge molten pillars shining like beacons of light that you've got to climb on top of in order to get around. There are a ton of pain elementals present, most memorably near the beginning, when you're low on scratch. Oh, and also in that part where the blood walkway cascades into the pool, revealing a bevy of bloats beginning to burp on you. Still, it's really cool and has some neat sights, and a few switch puzzles to work out. Nice.

MAP29The Mortal Coil
by Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso
Incredibly demanding but also rewarding, this visceral tank on "The Living End" has its share of spectacle but is unified in its approach, with the only real break occurring as you enter the deepest reaches of red rock Hell at the level's end, and that's fine - it's a great change-up. The scattered fortresses ringing the crater are all very nice, in particular the skin-covered one that houses the largest monster you'll encounter. I also love that visible section to the southeast that houses some very handy powerups. Plenty of action with very few safe places to hide.

Hell on EarthMAP30
by Augustus "Alfonzo" Knezevich
Alfonzo attempts to breathe new life into the boss shooter concept by introducing a different kind of timing. It took me a few seconds to figure out what I was supposed to do, and there's little margin for error between racing your rocket and trying to hit the switch when you're temporarily frozen due to teleportation sickness, but if you get it down, it's pretty manageable as long as nothing gets yammed up in the little chasm. Honestly, it's probably one of the most forgiving boss shooters I've played in recent memory.


This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's 2013 Cacowards

The Top TenBest MultiplayerRunners Up
Back to Saturn X: Episode 1EyedeaInterception
Doom 2 the Way id DidSamsaraHadephobia
Unholy RealmsEon DeathmatchHellbound
ZDoom Community Map Project: Take 2Best Gameplay ModHigh / Low 5
Fuel DevourerProject MSXSoulcrusher
KuchitsuMordeth AwardStomper
Forsaken OverlookZDCMP2
Stardate 20X6Mockaward
Pirate DoomExtreme Weapon Pack
Swim With the WhalesMapper of the Year


  1. Map31 is genius - the only variable potentially in question from me is that it is based on the Keen 1-3 trilogy, and a music track from Keen 5 (Goodbye Galaxy! - The Armageddon Machine) is used. That said maybe it's necessary; Keen 1-3 had no music. And I wouldn't want a level without music. Also in the Keen games sometimes you had to complete a certain area before moving on to further areas, while this hub allows complete freedom, but that's pretty minor all things considered. But I don't deny the level's quality - in fact it has enticed me to played Keen itself again!

    Map32, I think would have been better with either a couple Dopefish at least on higher skills (plus ammo to accommodate), and also I found a possible maneuver that can make Dopefish stall and be of little harm. Still, a great super secret idea (and right to the point just like id did with Grosse), and Dopefish music FTW.

    I haven't looked at the rest that much yet - but definitely the use of Keen for secret levels FAR beats if they had just thrown some Wolfenstein levels together.

  2. Excellent review! The only thing I'm not certain is if possible to reach MAP33 from MAP02 in Chocolate Doom (when comes to wads like DTWID, I'm very nostalgic and I like booting up Chocolate Doom for that). I haven't played yet so I don't know but I assume this has to do with BFG Edition because of secret exit in MAP02 (I don't own BFG Edition, which is the only thing missing from my Doom collection for PC, I have everything else). Otherwise, I will have to start up MAP33 by warping with IDCLEV33 or -warp 33, so this is a forced pistol start.

    Anyway I find it weird that D2TWID does NOT have a new title pic. Can idgames release contain one? I find it weird that DTWID (the first one) had new intermission and title pic but this one doesn't have.

    1. First: playing Hexsoil in Chocolate Doom is a bad idea. The level was never appropriately constructed for vanilla Doom II and it will more than likely blow your EXE up. Second: no, the secret exit won't work in MAP02, unless you're using one of the ZDoom derived ports or Eternity. Third: While I agree that a new title / intermission would be badass, they elected to go without either. Not that the intermission pic matters that much for Doom II.

    2. Hexsoil is a hilarious reference to the Xbox port of Doom 2's Betray, a much-maligned level snuck in by the developers of the port, in case you didnt get it.

    3. It's pretty obvious what it is if you're familiar with "Betray".

  3. Oh man, I just about cried when "Vorticon" started up. One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

  4. I actually have a friend on Steam who really dislikes this. He even called at least one map total garbage (Map09). Can't really understand why for any of this, but maybe part of the deal is he cares a lot about polish and just like the originals, it's not the most polished wad out there for architecture/design. But if it was, it would fail at it's goals. And, more importantly, it is fun!

    1. Some people really hate Doom II's map design. Whatever!

  5. OK I just beaten this mapset 2 days ago, I used GZDoom with an enhancement mod called "Doom Expanded" which only did visual enhancements. I was pretty impressed, I liked most of the maps and found them quite easy too, though there were some maps that annoyed the hell out of me, such as Bedlam (very confusing layout, also nearly got killed in this level and because of that, I started next map with low health and armor but I managed to survive), Crushed Spirits (died once at part where a lot of demons and cacodemons get unleashed, fuck that room, how did I die anyway with 200 health and 180 armor?), The Bloodwash (also died once at part with ArchVile accompanied with demons when you get a key, I used BFG and in 3 shots the Archie still didn't die, but I died instead, also fuck that room) and Hexsoil (4 deaths, the map was really hard).

    There was also an unfortunate event that MAP32 was broken because of the mod I was running, the Dopefish died instantly and also dropped a clip, I assume because of mod running, the game spawned a SS Nazi but it used Dopefish sprites, thus I used Changemap MAP33 command and after I finished MAP33, I used Changemap MAP16. Well, at least I didn't use Aeons of Death this time since it is a vanilla-themed megawad and here I respect the design and don't want to break the balance.

    Overall, I enjoyed very much D2TWID, my favorite maps were MAP31 and MAP32, my least favorites were MAP19, MAP24, MAP27 and MAP33. Score: 87/100. :)

    P.S: Sorry for the deleted comments, had grammar mistakes.

  6. I like this wad mostly, but still think the first is better. Looking forward to UD and FDTWID!

    1. ud, fdtwid, and dtwid:le should be p good. i prefer the action of d2twid but i think the authors of dtwid made more imaginative levels

  7. Good megawad. Most of the maps are great, some others are good, and some have to many unfair moments. On the one hand, the levels I mostly enjoy were 31 (excellent Keen-like map) and 32 (the Dopefish is just, dope lol), also levels 12 and 15, city-like levels are one of my favourite types of maps. On the other hand, the ones I didn't enjoy were 19 (you just can't go back to the first building!), 27 (if you are pistol starter unlike me, you'll find it intensively harsh), and 33 (in fact, I didn't finnish this map, too many unfair sections)... There's a lot of moments where I can't figure where to go, level 28 is one case. Something I really expected to see is a boss infighting like in the original map 20, and that didn't happen, oh well... But overall it's pretty a well done megawad, I'll give it a 7,5/10

  8. Having only finished the first 5 maps, this seems promising. Even more seeing the authors involved.

    I just wanted to let you know that map 04 is called 'The Siltyards' , not 'The Terminal'.
    Sorry for nitpicking :)

    1. MAP04 has two names. The automap reads "The Siltyards" but the intermission name presented is "The Terminal". If you pay attention then you'll see a similar phenomenon in place with MAP10 which is titled "Starstruct, Inc." on the automap but goes by "Reservoirs" on the intermission screen. This is of course a clumsy reference to the "Circle of Death" vs. "'O' of Destruction!" in the Doom II IWAD.

    2. Oops, my mistake!

      Keep up the good work.