Saturday, November 9, 2013

Interception (INTERCEP.WAD)

Interception started around the height of vanilla megaWAD madness, back in 2011. Matt534Dog wanted to make a megaWAD, and there was enough enthusiasm knocking about that everyone not working on their top secret projects said "Hell yeah!" and started pouring in the maps. Then on release, the Doomworld MegaWAD Club played it, undergoing a sort of playtesting by fire, after which the PWAD underwent some significant changes. The super double ultimate final release happened sometime in 2013, but there are still a few game-breaking bugs to stamp out. Funny, unless you're playing it and run across them, trying to find out whether you just don't have the solution or whether the puzzle itself is inherently broken.

As with any fine megaWAD, Interception's story is as bare as they come. You're part of a military team sent to investigate a distress signal at an archaeological dig. When you arrive, demons kill everyone but you, and then you have to kill the demons. If there's a main draw, it's in the setting - ancient bases, a demonic metropolis built under the surface of Earth, and finally Hell. It's pretty much all vanilla though, except for the skies (and, uh, the music, which kicks ass, thanks to XenoNemesis and stewboy), so there's a lot asked of the player to meet the authors in terms of imagination. They manage to pull through for the most part, though, so here's Interception.

Owing to the variety of authors, the WAD sashays between short, action-packed outings and large, action-packed adventures. You'll definitely feel it toward the end, as the MAP27-29 run is relentless and challenging, none more so than Sebastian Graham's "Barbatos' Fortress". Many of the other works give it a run for its money, though they sometimes stray toward being frustrating. It's hard to anticipate the intentions of the author, especially when they make you hunt ages for weapons, or make installed enemies deliberately difficult to kill without any effective recourse. Still, I had more fun than agony. Except for the crazier moments, it's a standard vanilla community megaWAD. Some maps shine, and of the ones that don't, a few have moments that might drive you insane. I always love me some more Doom maps, though.

On a more somber note... Interception is one of a handful of post-mortem releases of one Callum Guy Oliver, aka phobosdeimos1, who passed away during the WAD's inception. It was thus dedicated to him. His levels are among the shorter, and stranger, but no less appreciated. May he rest in peace.

by The Interceptors

Excavation SiteMAP01
by "Matt534Dog"
A neat little base starter. Looks plain but has plenty of clusterfuck action with the nearly out of sight imps on boxes with interference on the floor and the hell knight battle in the tower. It's connected with teleporters but any player worth his or her salt can find the most obvious shortcut, which gives you a much safer path of retreat.

MAP02Research Facility
by "Matt534Dog"
Opens up with a tough shootout in the dark. I don't suggest you stick around; run straight to the north door and then come back after you get a safe spot since there are so many hitscan snipers lurking in the shadows. That and the lowering ledge room are my standout encounters. The rest of the level is dark but less threatening with the occasional demon and spectre and ambush room. Oh, and that hell knight / baron trio. Still kind of plain but I like bits like the first fight room and the soul sphere secret. 

Flooded CavernsMAP03
by "Matt534Dog"
A dark sewer-ish map but the waterway is pretty wide, leaving you open to some chaingun snipers in the distance. There's some cover, though, so they're not that dangerous. About the only real complaint is the late chaingun grab given the dearth of bullets given to the player near the beginning. Nothing would make the eight caco ambush that compelling except for maybe a rocket round up. It's kind of meh, but if you don't take the invul to the final room, you might have a nice surprise.

MAP04Medical Center
by "Matt534Dog"
Very small, very tight techbase. There is a ton of health and an opening berserk pack, which is nice because you start off behind two commandos with a few imps and a revenant across the way. Nothing surprising besides a bunch of hitscanners and claustrophobic gameplay, though there is a cool moment where a demon turns around and opens up a door hiding a bunch of lost souls. I guess there are a few revenants to dispatch, but again, with all your armaments you shouldn't be worried.

Dangerous CurvesMAP05
by Michael Jan "valkiriforce" Krizik
This larger techbase from Krizik has enough moving parts and intricate secrets to make your head spin. I love unraveling stuff like the SSG / AV kill switch, but it might be too dry for some players, especially as switch-heavy as it is (admittedly, nearly half the buttons perform inverse door functions). Health is a little tight until you grab the soul sphere but the enemies are weighted toward the weaker side, with lots of sergeants and commandos to chip away at you in these cramped and winding rooms. Unless you find the SSG, it's gonna be a lot of single shotgun action, so be prepared for something slower paced.

MAP06Rail Terminal 38
by Callum Guy "phobosdeimos1" Oliver
Very simple and predominantly dark grey metal base from Oliver with a lot of freedom to move about. It's not pretty but it plays well as there are lots of beasties here and there for you to blast your way through. Some of the fights could be better arranged, though... At least two pockets of high-HP insurgents seem to be set up for shelling via rockets, and if you fought them any other way, it'd take ages. I do like that panic at the beginning, trying to find anything but the pistol.

by "Matt534Dog"
I feel like this borrows something from Plutonia's "Caged" / "The Omen", from the steel-clad walkways to stuff like that plasma rifle "secret" to that huge showdown at the end that you can admittedly run right past if you're not keen on duking it out. I think all the skull switch things are a tad bit overused but it's a decent hook and most of the fights are pretty memorable clusterfucks, like trying to take out the monsters in the first crossroads or the mancubus room. The dam shootout is pretty fun, too.

by Chris "Purist" Bourke
As almost an exact opposite, "Panoptican" is huge, with high ceilings and plenty of monsters waiting in the wings. It's mostly imps, but there are a fair number of commandos here and there and within the two guard towers that you'll have to do some actual work if you want to take a leisurely stroll in safety. There's also an early SSG if you want to fight for it and a super sweet secret annex housing a soul sphere, also the site of a nice little rumble. Tracing out imps in the dark rafters can get a little annoying at times but I don't mind. Love the layout and that final, mad battle.

Iron JungleMAP09
by Ashton "Razen" Bahnmiller
A super cool sewer level with a great opening gimmick that I could have sat through like two or three more times before getting bored with it. It's almost relentless in its orthogonality, but it ain't no thing. Razen is all about putting pressure on the player, whether it's a mass of baron / hell knights at the end or that super dirty dead drop into the cacodemon nest you'll want your plasma rifle ready for. The northern section feels a little uninspired, though there are a few attempts to mix things up, if only visually.

MAP10Chemical Laboratory
by "C30N9"
A wild and weird techbase with some nasty surprises, including a handful of arch-viles sprinkled here and there. Another nasty trick is an encounter that can simply be bypassed, which makes you wonder why it's even there in the first place except as a psyche-out. There's also potential to backpedal through a pitch-black winding corridor while a baron slowly ambles toward you. Very short, and very abstract.

The Ocean OutpostMAP11
by Michael Jan "valkiriforce" Krizik
A nice, large castle-ish level for you to explore. You can take any avenue you like; Krizik has engineered things so that you can cut back through the opposite way. There are three keys to have, but you only need two to exit, as per his design. There are a bunch of great fights to be had tempered with a healthy amount of commando ambushes, some of which you'll kick yourself if you fall for them. The finale is the highlight in terms of difficulty, with two tiers of revenants and mancubuses on either side, a bunch of monsters in the middle running interference, and a series of pillars providing both cover and annoyance as you try to squeeze by hell knights, lost souls, and assorted fireballs. Fun stuff.

by Danial "sgt. dopey" Townsend and "Matt534Dog"
Pretty cool Hellish ruins level with some neat architecture bits like the marble cathedral and a maze which rises tauntingly out of the ground once you enter its area. Townsend is pretty good at throwing slightly tricky encounters at you, especially with the first two, though I feel that there could be a tad bit more health lying around. The commando room is almost dickish, but not really, and there are plenty of opportunities to shell monsters with a salvo of rockets.

Castle GroundsMAP13
by "Memfis"
A decent-sized and nasty level with lots of dirty tricks and traps from memfis. It's got a survival style feel from the beginning with the lack of munitions, and just when you think you're about to get a leg up with the secret berserk pack, he goes and throws that SSG courtyard in your face. There's no good place to run with one or two arch-viles; the only way I managed to skirt by was by icing one pack with my fist and then tripping the other. After that, it kind of lightens up, though that dead drop into the southeastern area might get you as well. Cool!

by Eli "ProcessingControl" Cohen
One of those enormous, exploratory levels with tons to see and do. One of the vantage points reveals the infernal cityscape you're traversing, which is pretty cool. Cohen does a lot of playing with light and dark to create a lot of contrast and has plenty of fun encounters for you to cut your teeth on, including one of those Russian nesting doll-style ambushes which has the grace to give you a laugh before throwing it on you again. I love the layout of this place, which I guess is a hospital. Well, a demonic mockery of one, at least. It's also a pretty rocket-heavy map, so you have to be more careful than normal when it comes to battling all the beasties.

Elm StreetMAP15
by Callum Guy "phobosdeimos1" Oliver
This is a very simple death arena centered around some toxic blood, some nasties running around, and a Cyberdemon to rule them all. You pretty much have to blitz past the opening, make your way to the only real switch, and then eventually kill the Cyberdemon from a considerably safer vantage point. It's a little frustrating at first, especially with a spectre or two running around on the ground, but it's a nice short shock. The secret exit is pretty manageable, too.

by Eli "ProcessingControl" Cohen
A pretty cool gimmick level from Cohen, the gimmick being that the underworld is turned upside-down. It's actually a little tricky given how dark the opening is and how many arch-viles are stashed around, even if a few of them are bound by blocking lines. What I'm most impressed with is the secret exit, a fantastic manipulation of Doom's messed-up physics. A cool little romp.

The CataclysmMAP32
by Michael Jan "valkiriforce" Krizik
Krizik does Orin Flaharty does John Romero with some pretty obvious homages, the biggest to me being "Circle of Death". If you don't know, almost all the action occurs on platforms and catwalks high above the base level. To Krizik's credit, it's way more tricky than what Orin typically dreamed up, with every foray into a new area finding you pinned down by cover fire in several different directions. Couple that with your limited real estate and you'll realize why there's an open invul sphere in the very first area, though it kind of makes the monster use there somewhat pointless. It's also pretty cramped, not to mention the limit on player pathways, so get ready to do some fancy footwork.

MAP16Vertigo Plant
by Franck "franckFRAG" Livolant
A massive island with a lot of enemies at a lot of elevations. It's built so that when you start, you gotta run, and you'll probably end up running a long way before getting to a point where you're comfortable going back and clearing out the enemies you skip. There are a lot of arachnotron guard towers floating in the void to mess with you, though they're not that hard to hit with rockets or plasma, whatever tickles your fancy. There are also a grand total of two Cyberdemons you'll have to deal with, but they're pretty deftly handled, all things considered. Excellent level.

Hell HouseMAP17
by Ashton "Razen" Bahnmiller
A Hellish mansion level with a lot of cramped action. It's got a few memorable locations and the close quarters makes most if not all of the encounters threatening. Health is pretty tight, for the most part, but ammo is pretty plentiful, and a few secrets can tip the scales in your favor. My favorite fight is on the side of the building with the huge wave of cacos and lost souls with the other guys bearing down on you from the exit. Nice map.

MAP18City of Burning Sulfur
by Michael Jan "valkiriforce" Krizik
This somewhat resembles a sandbox level but progression is vertical. As you rise out of the crater the demonic city is built in, you should be grabbing keys for future use. There's a lot of dead time transitioning between tiers as the caverns linking them are staffed with scattered imps and sergeants; a couple ambushes along the way would have been appreciated. The only really rough fights outside of a close-quarters Cyberdemon tango involve arch-viles and they're nasty for restricting egress and throwing you in essentially blind. The architecture is very cool, and that western passage reminds me of Mines of Titan. A neat adventure.

Alpha TowerMAP19
by "Matt534Dog", Jeff "Marnetmar" Shark and Jeff "Pottus" Banks
The initial run up on the tower looks hideous, but once you get inside you have some decent, intimate combat with a couple of nasty staged fights. Actually, the battle with the plasma rifle isn't very bad at all, especially since you get an invul once you start getting pressured by the bigger baddies. The marble annex is a bit more dangerous since the halls are perfectly constructed for arcing revenant missiles and the actual ambush is helter skelter with a wave of flesh appearing to block your exit while those that haven't yet teleported take cheap shots. The only real bad part - the exit is broke. The ending explosion is pretty cool, though.

MAP20Beta Tower
by "Matt534Dog"
Pretty lackluster compared to "Alpha Tower". The opening is a delightful clusterfuck with all the cacodemons and whatnot, and that three-elevator room at the center might catch the player off-guard, but the rest is pretty rote with a few ugly traps like the pitch black red key room or the final area, which is really only a bother because someone forgot to leave a plasma rifle in spite of the 400+ cells. It's not very feasible to try and stick it out against the teleporting hordes without it.

Wrong DimensionMAP21
by Callum Guy "phobosdeimos1" Oliver
Dark red brick and flesh dominates this little jaunt from Oliver. It feels super flat and very cramped, but the author crammed demons where he could to put at least some kind of pressure on the player. That early demon / spectre ambush is about the only really memorable fight I can think of, except for maybe that commando / cacodemon ambush that can take itself out rather handily.

MAP22Bone Dread
by Callum Guy "phobosdeimos1" Oliver
Another feeling-flat outing from Oliver with some mandatory trudging through a few short damage floors. It's probably the lightest offering of his in the set, in spite of having a Cyberdemon, as you're flush with ammo and health for most of the level. If you get the secret BFG, the Cyber's a cinch, but you can just SSG its head to death given that you start on the high ground. Really, the commando traps - including a blind teleport - are the only stressful moments here.

Abysmal AfflictionMAP23
by Jeff "Pottus" Banks
This is a large, gorgeous Hell map from Pottus with a lot of great architecture. I really enjoy the look of the slaughter-ish rooms and the curved staircases and the fortress facade. On the other hand, there are a few annoying aspects that drag the map down a bit. For example, those connecting tunnels filled with pairs of imps that are for the most part pitch black. Not that interesting to see or fight through. There are also the installed arch-viles around the yellow key area that are a pain in the ass to kill for some reason; the torches keep them back too far and keep clipping stuff off at 16 units. Still, I love most of the fighting. That caged section is great congested fun and the red key ambush is both atmospheric and madcap.

MAP24Bloody Castle
by "C30N9" and Michael Jan "valkiriforce" Krizik
A pretty fun Hell castle level in this C30N9 / valkiriforce joint. It's very compact but fields a healthy amount of monsters and visual delights. I like that revenant walkway room to the west and both ambushes in the platform piston room caught me offguard, especially the first. The true finale is a kind of "Top Hell"-lite with two Cyberdemons firing down on you while you clear the riff-raff so that you can safely concentrate on their asses. The Spiderdemon fight feels like kind of an afterthought. Good stuff.

Demon's SpiteMAP25
by "C30N9"
Wherein C30N9 spends a lot of time fucking with you. Be careful - there are a few cheap tricks on this map and a lot of fights that eschew the usual wiggle room, like taking on a Cyberdemon in an awkward space with a combination of the SSG and rocket launcher, or the two arch-viles in the exit room. It can be a little grueling, and embarrassing when you bump into a spectre on the dark bridge for like the third time, but it's a nice little challenge.

MAP26Wrecking Fist
by "Memfis" and Chris "Purist" Bourke
A little lighter than I expected. It's another Hell fortress on the shore of a lake of blood. It alternates between cramped interiors with a few surprises (like that arch-vile near the end!) and outdoor areas where your movement is limited vs. the enemies' projectiles being not. The action is, for the most part, low key, and the Cyberdemon is fairly simple given that the height of the walls is short enough to avoid splash damage from rockets. I love the interconnected layout, though, and that ambush in the blood at the end is a nice topper.

Blood SiegeMAP27
by Jeff "Pottus" Banks
Well, shit. Difficulty ratches up to extremes with a gimmick that will come as a surprise this deep in the WAD. Like Hell Revealed's "City in the Clouds", all of the main weapons are protected by opposing forces; here, they're in the behind walls in the center of the map. Unlocking them requires flipping a switch somewhere else and then dealing with both the horde that teleports in and the horde that was sitting in the weapon's chamber. About the best you can do is manipulate the Cyberdemon stomping around into dealing with the SSG and chaingun traps and then make an earnest go at the level from there. Oh, and that's while you dodge revenant missiles from alcoves all along the outer wall of the central building. Otherwise, this is a pretty cool subterranean Hell map with some slaughter arenas that can get pretty nasty, that outdoor one to the northeast especially.

MAP28Amongst the Ash
by Eli "ProcessingControl" Cohen
A tough and massive adventure map courtesy of Cohen. You're gonna get really sick of arch-viles by the time you complete the west wing, and the east wing is filled with a bunch of tricky encounters, including but by no means limited to more arch-viles. It feels kind of like an Eternal Doom map for some reason, due to mechanics like shooting walls and a few cool ambient secrets for secrets' sake. The finale is obvious enough to give you a choice - kill the Cyberdemons or do the timed switch puzzle while dodging rockets so that when the rest of the demons show up, you got two big bads on point. Pretty fun, even if it took me a little while to figure out the blue key.

Barbatos' FortressMAP29
by Sebastian "General Rainbow Bacon" Graham
Graham isn't about to give you a breather in this outdoor monster massacre. If you want the SSG, you'll have to skirt too close to an arch-vile for comfort, though there's a backpack just underneath him if you're at all inquisitive. The entirety of the level is forever battling monsters against overwhelming odds. Not necessarily in slaughter scenarios, but there are a metric ton of baddies, a bunch of pain elementals in open areas, and lots of compromising situations. What you have to go through in order to get the rocket launcher, well, you'll wish you had the rocket launcher from the very beginning. There are some cool sights and I love that little megasphere tower out in the middle of nowhere. No traps - what a surprise! As of right now, the exit to the finale seems broke - an infinitely looping teleporter. A shame, because the end is a perfect opportunity to let the Cyberdemon do all the talking.

by "Matt534Dog"
Ye olde boss shooter. It looks okay and like anything is all about timing, though I think this might be one of the more merciful ones; the boss is high enough off the ground that you don't have to worry about wayward rockets. That poisonous blood at the beginning is a rude surprise, though.

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. I will play this wad soon with Aeons of Death!

    1. OK so I just finished this, it took me 13 hours, 40 minutes and 3 seconds to complete the whole megawad. The later maps were long but fair, I didn't have too many problems with enemies. I only died 2 times (once in first map and once in map 28) but other than that, I enjoyed this megawad. With exception of the deaths above and the fact that MAP19 can't be finished without cheats (had to CHANGEMAP MAP20), I didn't want to use NOCLIP and at end of MAP29, there was a similar problem but I jumped on edge on window and walked foward and didn't get teleported, so this is a temporary fix to the problem mentioned in review. There were also a lot of ugly HOMs. The later maps were long as hell, so long that I got 3 times TIME SUCKS on intermission screen (maps 24, 27 and 29).

      I would give this megawad an 8/10 because while the balance of maps was quite good, I didn't like the things mentioned above.

      Also: R.I.P PhobosDeimos1

    2. I find it disappointing that this hasn't been bugfixed but I think Matt534dog disappeared so I'm not surprised

  2. By the way are you going to review the recently-released Doom 2 The Way ID Did? Or are you waiting for idgames version to be released? Because I have seen the current version got updated few times.

    1. Ideally I'll eventually review everything but yeah D2TWID is currently locked in

  3. A mixed bag, but most of the levels are at least okay. Certainly not as good as CC4 but still a decent community wad and was perfect for the runner up IMO. Too bad about the two bugs (Map19 and Map29). Maybe Matt534Dog will return one day and make a hotfix. And R.I.P. to pd1.

    1. Yeah, hopefully it gets a proper "final" version.