Friday, December 13, 2013

Hellbound (HELLBND.WAD)

Hellbound is the latest release from Doomworld Forums superstar Zoltán Sófalvi, aka Z86. It's a big, beautiful, limit-removing megaWAD published mid-2013 that chronicles another attempt by the forces of Hell to invade our constantly besieged world. This time, you start out at your own apartment complex when you're called in, only to find that the assault is well underway. You'll make an epic journey through the heart of the city, blown-apart UAC bases, the hostile wilderness, an outpost in the dimension that borders our world and Hell's, and then finally Hell itself. The fact that all of this is accomplished with virtually nothing but Doom and Doom II's textures is a feat in and of itself.

And, well, I really wanted to love Hellbound. It truly is gorgeous and there are a lot of exciting environments to explore. The city areas look great and the bases are immaculate. Some sections like "The Woods" stand out in my mind as something I haven't seen in my admittedly limited experience and there are some phenomenal cinematic examples, like MAP22's "Stygian Depths", that help to build an immersive atmosphere. All throughout I felt a feeling of dread, as a defender of a doomed world that I never got in the original Doom II, probably a factor of the excellent detailing, low lighting, and utter loneliness of this mapset. It's...kind of depressing, actually, a trait that the author himself seems aware of in his descriptive blurbs.

I guess I'm in the minority, because I don't find Hellbound's combat all that interesting. Many of its interior levels are corridor shooters in the most boring way, and there are a number of conspicuous monster-blocking lines that further neuter the enemy threat. As with most flavors of Doom, I find these maps are at their best when you're threatened from multiple angles, and that's not something I ran into with any regularity until maybe the third episode as the layouts and architecture really aren't built for the kind of multifaceted encounters I enjoy. Many of the teleport ambushes feel perfunctory and are usually telegraphed. They do tend to reinforce the melancholy atmosphere, though, especially those fights where you're beating back a constant stream of demons as they emerge from some Godforsaken dimension.

As I mentioned, Hellbound is a very pretty mapset, and uses pretty much nothing but vanilla textures to get its point across. The detailing is great, though on closer inspection I noticed some instances where wall detailing and the like felt less distinctive and more copy-pasting, a fact probably not helped with all the corridors you'll be trolling through. Still, I'd be lying if I said I didn't find a single one of these levels visually impressive, as far as Doom maps go, and the detailing rarely if ever gets in the way of your gameplay. A few levels are just too symmetric for their own good and overstay their welcome by leaps and bounds...but that's more the exception than the rule.

I won't poo-poo the finished work. Z86 has done a phenomenal job, creating a truly grueling adventure, and pretty much everyone seems to love it. I don't share the affection, but I am impressed. I only hope that Sófalvi learns to match his sector artistry with similarly appreciable skill in setting demons up for the player; when paired together, the two would make an almost unmatched combination. If you love huge Doom levels with tons of ground to cover that look beautiful and don't mind chewing through hundreds of demons, you could do worse than to play Hellbound.

by Zoltán "Z86" Sófalvi

This is actually a cool little city block to navigate and Z86 isn't above throwing some of Doom II's larger enemies at you right off the bat. You start out in your apartments with "Sign of Evil" playing...something ain't right. I think the author does a nice job of adding infernal elements as reveals to show that Hell is once again invading the real world. There's also some good pressure put on the player in several occasions, mixing up imps with hell knights and demons. He's also kind of sneaky in opening up the blinking hallway from two locations.

MAP02Canal Road
More city stuff. This one has a unique setting, a bunch of canals with a few non-realistic buildings, apart from that general store-ish thing with the secret rocket launcher. Most of the threat comes from hitscanners as there are plenty of monster blocking lines and bottlenecks to protect you from your surlier foes. The only fight that stands out in my mind is the red key ambush, a double whammy of instant lift plus teleporting beasties.

Testing ChambersMAP03
An end to the city theme and the beginning of techbase, presumably. This is a fairly large level with lots of incidental monsters and a few major ambushes to worry over. The health feels a little light but that's probably a combination of hitscanner overload and, uh, I missed the hidden SSG at the level's opening. Sploops! It takes a little while to get to the meat of the level, a bigass chamber with some paths branching off it, leading to bits like a warehouse and two largely similar computer areas. The two teleport ambushes are the only really memorable fights, even though the last one just devolves into a circle strafe parade.

MAP04Processing Plant
This is a very pretty and very dark nukage facility with tons of toxins to worry over. The only real problem is that it's very hard to see, especially in areas like the channel room. It's mostly corridors and imps and zombies but the occasional revenant and hell knight sneaks in to mess with your sense of security and there are about three different invasions of Hell, two of which attempt to inundate you with lost souls, the third taking you to a special little corner of eternal suffering. My favorite fight was the mancubus room, almost feeling like a Doom 3 reference.

Leaping away from techbase for a second with this pretty little section of subway. "Underground" follows what is becoming a pretty familiar formula, consisting of mostly incidental combat punctuated by two massive teleport ambushes which occur on the rails. Both will leave you grasping for ammo by the end, doubly so in the case of the second fight. To his credit, though, Z86 makes the southern outdoor portion of the level tricky to navigate, populating the courtyard with a handful of arachnotrons and sprinkling enemies in everywhere you want to run so that you're forced to make a stand.

MAP06Gateway Lab
Back to techbase with this ominous UAC complex. Z86 builds up the tension with several possible views of the main event chamber, presumably the site of the demonic invasion, with signs of the combat still stinking up the room. There's also that "Deimos Lab" homage, but it's hard to be spooked when you're getting winked at. The complex is simple but explorable with optional rooms including a plasma rifle platform and infirmary. The fighting isn't very staged apart from the finale, a seemingly never-ending tide of monsters boiling from the portal, but you can expect a few cacodemon surprises.

The WoodsMAP07
Now here's an interesting treat. Z86 puts you through some spooky outdoor woods filled with imps, lost souls, and cacodemons. The imps are annoyingly hard to spot but I love the execution of the level as it looks and for the most part how it plays. Dumping some free-flying and walking monsters back near the beginning is a good way of spicing things up and the finale is walking on eggshells, trying not to hit spectres point blank with rockets while you try to hit the fatsos. That winding path toward the mansion drags a bit, though.

MAP08Military Depot
Wilderness, base, and nukage combine in this massive UAC outpost. It's got quite a few surprises in between the usual chaff, including an early Spiderdemon staking claim to the outer yard and an enormous showdown at the blue key, something I wasn't quite expecting. My favorite detail is the opening of the airducts for the final leg of the level, though the fighting in the ducks is pretty boring total corridor shooting. Love the architecture in the room just north of the red key.

Disposal FacilityMAP09
Actually one giant homage to Duke 3D's "The Abyss", minus the Native American ruins and alien spaceship. The outdoor sections are more fun than the indoor stuff because you're usually ducking fire from multiple ledges from imps, revenants, and mancubuses with the occasional horde of cacodemons. Indoors you're typically fighting through corridors, except for that pain elemental ambush. On the other hand, that giant winding walkway that constitutes the red key trap is tedious with all the lost soul swarms and if you fuck up getting a little lost you'll run out of rad suits. Still, a cool ass map.

Uh oh! Official sewer level. Actually it's got some great architecture and incidental fights, particularly the dark areas with all the columns, and the opening is pretty madcap as you run around trying to find something faster than the shotgun while six or so hell knights stomp around looking for you. "Cistern" opens up as you explore it, adjoining various bits of the modern yet ancient looking system, the most obvious feature by far being its eponymous cistern. Its namesake is the site of an incredibly annoying hitscanner fight wherein reams of zombies are poured into four spots with you having little or no cover.

Venom CanyonMAP11
Maybe the most compelling level of the set so far. It's got the poison canyon thing going for it again in the latter half of the level, but the first half is a UAC outpost you have to break into in order to get the key to the front door, and there are demons everywhere. Z86 doesn't fuck around, though; the SSG and backpack are available at the onset and if you bother to look about there's ammo practically everywhere, as well as a secret plasma rifle that should make the finale a fair bit easier. I love the atmospheric canyon crawl, where the occasional cloud of cacos converges on your position while you're dodging fireballs and ball lightning. Also like that dam that's a sort of halfway point.

MAP12Power Station
Another massive base filled with monsters. The action is pretty slow, unless the secrets I couldn't find had early goodies like the SSG and the plasma rifle stowed away. As is, you'll have to wait until you've seen just about every mass fight and conquered the very cool psychedelic computer area that takes up the southwest area. It's kind of a three-tiered network of technology you have to jump around on and dodge various monster attacks. I saw more than my fair share of shotgun action, not to mention that cacodemon / pain elemental / demon room where you're laying down suppression fire with the chaingun. Looks great; plays like sludge until the end.

Encrus StationMAP13
The rail station is a framing device for a techbase with some major Hellish aspects to it. Once you break into the deeper aspects of the northern area it's blood and marble and other unsavory things as you blow apart hell knights, imps, and demons with your trusty SSG, on top of other beasties. There are even a few devious arch-viles and Cyberdemon to get in on the combat, plus the action-packed debut of the BFG. I like how Z86 ties all the areas together as you explore with multiple drop chutes returning to you explored (safer) areas of the level.

MAP14Doom District
A massive cityscape level with tons of vertical height. Z86 barely even uses half of it apart from the opening so it's really just a trap for the player who may barely be able to see the cacodemons / pain elementals / lost souls blocking his path. There are three distinct phases to clearing the city streets. The initial run has a bunch of hitscanners, including two Spiderdemons; I ran a little low on health but the big bads are pretty easy to game, particularly the second one. The second wave barely registers; it's the third you'll have to watch out for, where Z86 has you carpet the streets with demon bodies from a large variety. Love the visuals. Load up your rocket launcher and watch the skies...

The VaultMAP15
A big ass underground techbase with a hint of Doom 3 here and there, mostly in that rocket chamber and the various cells storing retrieved artifacts from Hell, plus some blast doors that section off major progression milestones. There aren't a lot of staged fights except for the door reveals; almost all of your combat is OG Doom-style hallway / room clearing with a few peppers slipped in like arch-viles in the dark. Some of the areas are pretty psychedelic, like the chaingunner lift room. What'll get you is trying to reach the secret exit, requiring two switches, one tech-based and the other demonic. Kind of a snooze.

MAP31Diabolus Ex Machina
Basically a big slaughtermap with a fusion of tech and Hellish stuff, from organics to marble to computers to bright blue. You'll be pounding your way through occasional packs of revenants, mancubuses, and dodging fire from Cyberdemons and Spiderdemons. Twice you'll do battle in an arena that can be solved by some lazy circlestrafing while the Cyberdemons take out all the contenders. The Spiderdemon / baron / hell knight / revenant wing is probably the nastiest bit of the dungeon, but once you kill everything you have to kill all of the Keens in order to reach the secret exit. Three of them have easy automap clues; the other two may be a total pain in the ass. Good luck.

Spear of DestinyMAP32
Ye Olde Wolfenstein tribute. Actually this is pretty lovingly detailed and throws in plenty of non-SS monsters, in such a fashion that it's actually kind of tricky. The real bulk of the map is the second half, anyway. I would have loved to see some actual cameos from the Angel of Death and his own spectres, but this is okay. There are three phases in clearing the Hellgrounds, but only the third is remotely threatening as it dumps a handful of arch-viles where you've already been to resurrect some baddies to provide interference.

MAP16City Bounds
An absolutely ginormous city level. You get to fight your way through the sewers, skyscrapers, and even a highway complete with criss-crossing actual ruined highway. The spectacle is great and it takes a little while to get situated as Z86 has monsters hidden around pretty much everywhere. Thing placement seems ill-thought out; if you grab the yellow key before finding the rocket launcher on the city's outer edge, you'll be SOL when a cloud of cacos and pain elementals assault your position, forcing you to leave the relative safety of the skyscraper looking for more ammo. The western area is almost serene in comparison, but don't get too relaxed or you'll catch a fireball to the back.

Another bigass base map, but this one is a legit starport with launchpads and runways and fuel tanks and luggage conveyors and God knows what else. It's chock full of zombies and imps and demons but all of the nasties come out to play both inside and out. Many of the monsters are outside; you'll fight them gauntlet-style as they appear on the runway to hamper your progress. The base is also decently laid out so monsters aren't just boring corridor fights. You might have to watch several angles as they sneak around computer banks or from places you haven't cleared yet. Pretty cool!

MAP18Computer Complex
A big ol' loveletter to Knee Deep in the Dead. There are a bunch of references I recognized and probably more that slipped on past me. The gameplay is appropriately in the same category, using hordes of low-tier monsters plus revenants, hell knights, and the occasional baron. About the only thing it doesn't do is open up monster closets to send more baddies back through the halls...not that it matters with Z86's liberal use of monster-blocking lines. There are a lot of pretty sights but the only memorable encounter for me is the rocket launcher room, where the scenery plus skeletons and hell knights makes for a tricky little fight, and that's with having the secret SSG.

Frontier LabMAP19
This time, Z86 draws from The Shores of Hell. The opening gets desperate pretty quick with a bunch of zombies and imps converging on your position in the "Refinery" homage, possibly augmented with an arch-vile if you're not careful, then quickly goes back to slow-ass hallway stalking. The only bother is the glut of plasma cells strewn about; you'll have to find the secret plasma rifle in order to be able to use them, which will happen after you've already taken out a monster you'll wish you had it for, and you'll definitely want to get it before the finale.

A level that attempts to demonstrate the futility of the UAC's enterprises, comprised of a military base in the void between Hell and our world. It's got some neat effects, like the reveal of the "Living End"-like final destination and the "Spirit World"-ish opening where some honest to God trenches form your only real defenses against a potent demonic insurgency. It's a pretty tough level with all the ambushes but all of the needed weapons are handed to you at the beginning. Just look out for rockets when you're playing in the lake of blood that forms the gap between your side and their side.

The Gates of HellMAP21
A linear crawl through some red Hellish canyons that explodes into an awkward battle in a large courtyard with moat. Basically a ton of monsters boil out of the fortress with a Cyberdemon bridge guardian; the single shotty and plasma rifle aren't the greatest for killing all of them, especially when so many stay in the fortress for so long, so I just grabbed the invul sphere and drew them all to good ol' Cybie so he could do my work for me. You still gotta mop up, but it isn't nearly as bad.

MAP22Stygian Depths
A mostly linear but very cinematic level evoking some of the more memorable moments of Doom 3's "Hell", the best of which by far is the cave sequence that lowers you to the main area. It's got lots of nice scenery as you explore this island suspended in the void and plenty of baddies to dispose of, with some actual staged encounters, annoying as they are (especially the mancubus bridge). Z86's favorite appears to be stationing imps in dark alcoves to keep players on their toes. There are a few moments that devolve into rocket launcher suppression fire, and that final leg of monsters is pretty underwhelming, but I like it.

Fortress of AgesMAP23
Pretty cool Hell fortress level that starts out fairly open with you under assault from roaming cacodemons, caged hell knights, and reams of imps. Things don't really let up until you get inside the fortress proper and out of its twisted, tormented grounds. The interior isn't quite as lively except for the occasional revenant or arch-vile; the only other knockout fight is on the north side, another outdoor battle that has some of the elements of a shooting gallery where you run up and down a teleport-looping track while firing your rocket at all the nasties.

MAP24City of Pandemonium
Another cool level; this one's an enormous, expansive city in Hell that's loaded with demons. Most of the enemies are staged as you run into them but there are a few ambushes here and there that might catch you off guard (doubtful, though). Most of the advanced weapons are located in various sections of the city, requiring a good amount of legging and imp / caco / hell knight / demon murdering. There's still some excessive use of monster-blocking lines, but Z86's placement makes some of the areas fairly hard to break into, initially. Very cool architecture and great sense of scale. Those upside-down skyscrapers are neat, too.

Bastion of VoidMAP25
A Hellish castle floating in the void, of course. Z86 nails a certain aesthetic and does good at filling it with some monsters and the occasional repopulation, though I really don't care for the maze that dominates the level's eastern section. It was pretty tedious to gun through...and you'll have to do it twice, as the red key door is in the very back (yeah there's a teleporter shortcut, so what?). Some great visuals here, though I feel that the self-manifesting bridge to the south is a wasted opportunity for a cool fight. Enjoy not one but two Cyberdemon battles around the central castle.

MAP26Forbidden Archives
Just draw a line from the southwest to the northeast and cut this level in half, because if you've seen anything on one side, you are going to see the exact same thing on the other. Well, the library stack mazes are slightly different, but who cares? This is a fantastic argument against symmetry in level design, especially when your level is this huge. Z86 can't even get monster teleports right as all of the fuckers start in those side rooms and then trickle out at a glacial pace, which you must then diligently clear until you're bored out of your skull. About the only thing that didn't have me rolling my eyes is that final wave of arch-viles...and the badass blue key hideaway. Looks great, plays like elevator music.

Crimson AbyssMAP27
"Crimson Abyss" is a hornet's nest, full of monsters that are awakened with every step. It's tough to carve out a space you feel safe in, even more so when you have to contend with cacodemons firing through the windows, deviously placed arch-viles, and a teleporting Cyberdemon who may randomly ruin your shit. If you can't figure out the secret BFG, good luck with that wave of monsters that teleports in after flipping the southern switch. You'll need it. As usual, the level is gorgeous, with bloodfalls everywhere along with marble and wood architecture where the lion's share of the gameplay takes place. careful.

MAP28The Black Citadel
Remember "The Forbidden Archives"? Well, if you split this level down the middle, you'll end up with another nearly identical pair with identical encounters. The layout is more forgiving by nature than MAP27 and it's not quite as annoying to play as "Archives" but there's still a sense of dread when you realize that all of the stuff you've gone through on one side you'll have to do again for the other. Z86 does manage to put together a few decent encounters; the imp / Cyberdemon teleport in the pillar room was a nice surprise and the fight before is pretty hectic too if you don't just back out. The majesty of the final section is squandered, I think, by an open area and a few arch-viles you'll have to surgically strike out, plus the underwhelming switch ambushes.

A level so large, Z86 was compelled to sacrifice some of its grand scale so that it might run better in less efficient ports. The neutered version still runs like sludge in my ZDoom if you point yourself in the wrong direction, but it's basically playable. Of course, that's as long as you're into throwing rockets and hosing plasma down long, open-air corridors toward scads of demons and barons as you slowly climb the mountain. Later Z86 throws in some revenants, arch-viles and - coming in from the sides - pain elementals. It's a huge slog that isn't at all thrilling and feels pretty much like the ultimate grind. By the time I was done, the monster count had ballooned with 300 more nasties...which is a better rate of inflation than some, I guess.

MAP30Worlds Collide
A couple of neat cinematics here. You enter a gateway back to Earth, which is still in the throes of a demonic invasion, and have to navigate a nearly-consumed city while demons steadily pile up. It's actually pretty easy, as long as you get on the right track, by grabbing the blue key and then finding the door, afterward taking the staircase and jumping through the lava pools to the red. After that it's almost entirely an endurance run as the monsters pile up around the ring of the core that slowly opens up like some kind of weak point. You're not done yet, but if you can't figure out the solution, there's no helping you. A decent finale.


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. It doesn't play great, granted, but you kind of hit it a bit too hard it seems.

    1. I am not the definitive opinion on PWADs, and I think I made a pretty strong case that you should play Hellbound in spite of my feelings on it. The public reception was overwhelmingly positive, a fact I've noted here and elsewhere. Ultimately, the only way to know whether you'll enjoy a mapset or not is to play it yourself.

    2. I think it's just you do sometimes give old wads some slack, wads many other members have ceased to recommend as highly (a la 1990s stuff, especially 1994-97 era). Not that it's a bit thing. But it does make it kind of surprising you turned the other way on this one. To each their own, though.

    3. It's very much a "to each their own" situation, which I've made pretty clear. I'll also say that '94-'97 levels as a whole have a different approach to both level design and encounter arrangement than Hellbound did overall. Ultimately Z86 created the kind of levels he wanted to play, which probably the best thing you can do as an author, and when our tastes aligned I did have a lot of fun.

    4. While there are certainly 94-95 era stuff that haven't aged very well in a gameplay standpoint, I personally cannot understand how anyone could stop recommending certain 96-97 era stuff. Memento Mori II and Hell Revealed still hold up greatly even today, IMO. Requiem has its share of worthwhile maps (Map23 is a must play). And even Eternal Doom still has its fans (myself included).

      It's odd to even bring up 90's era stuff in regards to Hellbound. It plays nothing like anything I've played from the 90's. And the map design is certainly more detailed and modern. I personally get the feeling people only liked it because of the visuals and atmosphere, because I thought the gameplay itself was boring for the most part.

      I know this conversation was a year ago, but I felt like posting anyway.

  2. Hiding the only SSG in a map filled with hell knights, cacos and the like (MAP25,MAP15 and many others) is very offensive to me as a player. "Welcome to my level. Spend 90 minutes in it instead of 30 minutes just because you suck at finding secrets and you don't play continuous with saves".

    1. If it's any consolation, the levels aren't much less grindy WITH the combat shotgun.

  3. The first 10 levels or so have been promising, even with lots of really dull grindy gameplay, but 12, 13 and 14 are getting worse and worse to the point of complete bullshit. 12 had that utterly horrible final section which looked all psychedelic and cool but was ruined by lots of hitscanners far away everywhere. 13 had some really unfair ambushes in areas that are a chore to navigate, and too much darkness. Now 14 has verticality that just isn't suited for the doom engine (if you play without vertical mouselook and with infinitely tall actors like I do non-zdoom wads). I dunno why you seem only either bored or fine with the gameplay, in my opinion around that part it becomes badly designed bullshit. It is a shame because it does look wonderful in places, but I really, really don't want to play anymore of this horrible thing.

    1. Okay, no, trying to play map14 cemented it. Fuck this wad, deleted, not gonna give it any more of my time.

    2. >>>I dunno why you seem only either bored or fine with the gameplay,

      Bored is about the most apt description I can think of; the fights of Hellbound are to me largely a blur and many of the things that may frustrate other players (like the infinitely tall actors problem in MAP14) are to me just a tedious exercise. In any event, I don't think your opinion would change if you took the time to finish it, based on the gameplay of the levels post-MAP14.

    3. It's a darn shame, since apart from some techbase overdetail which I'm not too fond of, it's clear that a lot of effort went into this wad's visual design. I can see myself re-downloading it again just to run through the maps without monsters if I ever suffer a lapse in inspiration. But man has the gameplay turned to crap.
      If I may ask, how do you play? Do you save often or are you just so good (or patient to restart the map) that you don't get frustrated by such shenanigans?

    4. I do save, but it's often a case of remembering to, as I tend to become so engrossed in the gameplay when it flows well that I die and find myself right back where I started. I avoid saving in the middle of encounters unless it's become abundantly clear through a bunch of deaths that I'm not capable of making it through the fight. I would like to think that I'm decent at Doom after having dealt with the madness of mapsets like Combat Shock and Stardate 20X6. If I didn't save, I'd be in the patient to restart the map category, because before I played Hell Revealed, I wasn't saving at all through stuff like Memento Mori, Memento Mori II, Icarus: Alien Vanguard, and others.

    5. You said that you were playing without vertical mouselook? The author recommends that you use mouselook due to the verticality of the levels, I don’t think it’s fair to complain about something that isn’t the creator’s intention.

  4. I am enjoying this overall so far, but it is kind of trailing off in memorability with some of these latter hellish maps. I really enjoyed some of the mountain/techbase hybrids like maps 8 and 11. I also enjoyed the power station a lot, save for that maze of suspended walkways, that was somewhat of a drag.

  5. ...and there goes my Hellbound career. Ascension is unplayable on my laptop (only a year old).

    1. it's a shame to bow out on the penultimate level, but c'est la megawad

  6. Never knew this was made by a fellow Hungarian! I'm amazed by the detail and design of the levels. As for the fights being boring? I fixed that with Brutal Doom/Project Brutality.

    1. This could be a canned response to just about any objections toward gameplay and makes for pretty uninteresting writing (just add Brutal Doom!). It's interesting, though, since many of the people I have seen praising this mapset were using some kind of in-depth gameplay mod. Obviously, that doesn't represent its entire audience; Boom scripting wunderkid mouldy loved it, and I know that some of the French community regulars were upset that I didn't shower it with praise. For what it's worth, though, if I made a list of megawads to try out as a sort of beginner's primer, Hellbound would be on there.

  7. Really surprised to hear about mouldy loving it.
    I find the kind of detailing Hellbound uses to be unsuited for the Doom engine. It's distracting and weird and totally unnecessary. I too got all melancholic playing this, but it was more because I couldn't help but see huge efforts gone to waste. Lots of people disagree obviously though so meh

    1. mouldy wrote the Newstuff review for it. which brings up another point which i've been asked before - "why don't you help out with the newstuff reviews more often?" well, because in spite of what some people may think, i don't want to monopolize the written word on doom. i would rather see people offer their own, potentially differing viewpoints, and i think that the megawad club is one of the best things to have grown out of the community in this regard. heck, i wonder if dobu ever thought about collecting the forum posts under their own community review formats so that people wouldn't have to comb through the sequential, chronological format.

      but, uh, some people really let me know how they felt about my opinions on hellbound. I think that what they ought to have done is offer their own sales pitch, one that didn't center around "onemandoom is wrong".

  8. I wonder how many people found MAP31 legitimately. I have no idea how you're supposed to spot that switch without editor.

    1. I found one of the two buttons on accident but I don't think that I had to use an editor to get the second. I'm sure that it took awhile, though, and involved some intense automap scouring.

  9. There's a few simple tricks to make this wad one of the best wads ever made. And none of them require mods:
    - Ultra-Violence
    - Fast Monsters
    - Double Ammo Drops
    - Respawning Health/Items