Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Nebula 95: Mudman Wonderland (NEB02.WAD)

NEBULA 95
MUDMAN WONDERLAND
by Chris "lupinx-Kassman" Kassap


Chris Kassap's Nebula 95 series strikes me as a means of blowing off steam from his relentless perfectionism by flexing his vanilla muscles and indulging in stone-age Doom lunacy with jazzy MIDIs and sound replacements. Like the other entries, this one actually occupies both MAP01 and 02, with the first being a little bonus intro and the second housing the main event. After escaping near-death on the shrine planetoid you bound through the quadrant in search of your old military instructor (Crash?), arriving on a world with possibly sentient mud creatures. After naming off a few Doom-related alien races like Kaiser's DSV (with plenty more to spare), the potential existence of beings composed of mud pales in importance when compared to the very real presence of demons right next to you.

Monday, December 29, 2014

400 Reviews and Happy Holidays

i let a few milestones glaze by, but as of Mayan Mishap, Doomed: Doom WAD Reviews is sitting pretty at 400 reviews and has been semi-active for almost four years. every year people make more stuff than i can play, and thats good. ive also been part of the cacoward team since 2012, a position i did not envision but have since kept up with... more or less. actually, 2014 has been my best year since 2011 since i kept up plenty of buffer reviews for irregular updates in case I got waylaid. the only really big addition to the blog has been the tumblr, which has been a neat experiment at delivering something more specific than my blog to a different audience. anyway, i could do some kind of cool retrospective or something but id rather solicit you guys for a roadmap for 2015. what super-obscure stuff would you like to see reviewed that isnt on the blog? what cacoward winners from 2010 and earlier are you dying to see words on?


SUGGESTIONS

10 Sectors
Plutonia 2
Dark 7 / Dark 7 Mission Pack
Urotsuki: Inferno Road, Dead End, Radical Way
Ultimate Simplicity
Massmouth / Massmouth 2 / Massmouthmas
Soldier of Fortune
Scythe / Scythe 2 / Scythe X
Dolphin's Dream
Unhinged
Castle of Eternal Carrot in the Sky
The City of the Damned
City of the Damned: Apocalypse
Virus: Episode One
Super Sonic Doom
Oniria 1 / Oniria 2
Happy Time Circus 1 / Happy Time Circus 2
Castle Phobos
Dark Hell
Unloved
Hellcore 2.0
Claustrophobia: The Walls Close In
Junko
Grime
Elysion
Disturbia
Cheogsh / Cheogsh 2 / Realm of Cheogsh
NeoDoom
Alien Flower (RDC Freakmapping #5)
Caverns of Darkness
Paranoid
Darkest Hour
The Golden Souls
Sinful Discharge (Heretic)
Gulag (Heretic)
Curse of D'Sparil (Heretic)
Codename HYENA Killermachine
Plutinya 1024
The Crypts
Town of Witchcraft (Heretic Treasure Chest)
Cassie Steele
The Experiment
Hoover Dam
Balls
One Bloody Night
e6y3
Escape From Phobos / Escape From Deimos / Escape from Natas
hellrun.WAD (Doom / Doom II)
Istanbul
Nordhell
Phoebe
RRWARD
Scimitar
SJS1: Streets of Fear
Triad Experimental Corporation
NUTS.WAD
Area 51
Kama Sutra
Hell Revealed II
Community Chest / Community Chest 2
Vrack 1 / Vrack 2 / Vrack 3
Deus Vult
The Rebirth
The Abyss
Phobos: Relive the Nightmare (and other works by Shamus Young)
Dimensions of Time
Marswar
SlayeR
TVR!
World of DETH
E2MWalter
Big Woodchip
Operation Biowar
Beta Labs
Post
Strange Aeons
Nerves of Steel
Impure Offering


COMEDY OPTIONS

Doomguy's pimp ventures II: The More,The Merrier.
pol.wad
School Doom II
21ratmaz
AOL Girls Museum
Duke Nukem Level Conversion
ZBlood
Otakon
Doom City
Doom Center
Dawn of Reality
The Ghoul's Forest 3
The Mystery of the Marie Celeste
Calgon, Take me away!
RTC-3057
Nimrod: Project Doom
Phocas Island
Phocas Island 2


PROMISES

Wonderful Doom
2002: A Doom Odyssey
Claustrophobia 1024
Exquisite Corpse
Titan
Titan 2
Titan 1024
Dark Covenant


IT CAME FROM THE COMMENTS SECTION

Claustrophobia 1024 2: The Mystery of Too Many Maps
Bloodworks
Mitnal
The Hub
cwave.wad
Quake: Descent Into Heresy
The Ultimate Torment and Torture
Stronghold: On the Edge of Chaos
ZPack: Random Maps for ZDoom
Knee Deep in ZDoom
Community Chest 3
END1 / END2
Classic Episode 2: Singularity Complex
Flashback Demo 1
Flashback Demo 2


TUMBLR TRAVAILS

Reign of the Spider Gods
Demons of Problematique / Demons of Problematique 2
Whispers of Satan


STUFF I'M EMBARRASSED TO NOT HAVE PLAYED YET ...done! :D

Stardate 20X6
Swim With the Whales
UAC Ultra


DELAYED-SION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS

32in24-14: How the Hamburglar Stole Christmas
Respawned: Back From Hell
Doom: Redemption
Inferno
Phobos: Anomaly Reborn
The Dying End
~The Complete Works of Paul Corfiatis~ / Death Tormention / The Twilight Zone II: Final Dreams / Death Tormention II /
~The Complete Works of Kristian Aro~
~The Complete Works of Chris Hansen~
No Rest For the Living
Chex Quest
Oblivion
Paranoia
Paranoiac
Something Wicked This Way Comes / Wickedly Simple / No Rest for the Wicked / For the Wicked Shall Perish / Death Comes Not Gently to the Wicked / The Wicked and the Damned / Wicked Be the Ways of Men / Damnation Awaits the Wicked / Exalt Not the Wicked
Planet Phobos / Planet Hell
Innocence / Innocence 2 / Innocence 3 / Innocence: TNT
~The Abyssal Speedmapping Sessions~ / Abyssal Speedmapping Session 1 / Abyssal Speedmapping Session 2 / Abyssal Speedmapping Session 3 /
Congestion Control / Congestion Control 2
~The Complete Works of Memfis~
NewDoom Community Project / NewDoom Community Project 2
Harmony
A Taste For Blood
Plutocracy
Return to Hadron
Endless Torture
Ol' No Name
Sunlust
King Dime's Birthday Mapset
Nuclear Halls
Estranged
~The Complete 40oz Birthday Map Collection~
Favillesco Episode 1: Genuflected on Io / Episode 2: Tragedy Over Europa / Alpha Episode: Apostasy on Amalthea / Alpha Episode 2: Desecration On Thebe
Prime Directive
Matt Tropiano Birthday Maps
Happy Birthday TMD!
NOVA 2
Arcadia Demade
Drip Feed
Valhalla
Epic 2 + Anything else Eternal made between 2007-2010 (excluding Long Days)
Beyond Revival
Hell Ground
Mapgame
Gravity
Eternal Doom IV
Back to Basics
Cold as Hell
Epic
Songs of the Damned
IC2005
Vae Victus (2)
Decade
Tremor (Part I: Genesis)
Phobos Revisited
Plutonium Winds
Doom Raider: Crypt of the Vile
Ruma
007: License to Spell Doom
Sin City / Sin City 2 / Sin City 3
Null Space
Doom: Resurrection
Threshold of Pain
Monument
Sacrifice Episode
Argus
Pax
Induction
Doomed Space Wars
50 Shades of GRAYTALL
ICAR2015
Monument
Way Too Many Dead Guys
Breach
Jared's Doom
Sharp Things
All Aboard the Mega Magilla Gorilla Flotilla
Pcorf Community Project 2: 2048 Unleashed
Jiffy Bag
The Warlock's Hearth
The Last Sanctuary
Bloodstain
Tech Gone Bad

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Doom 2 In Name Only (D2INO.WAD)


Doom 2 in Name Only arose out of discussions of Chris Klie's BF_THUD. After playing Klie's megaWAD, it's pretty clear that he took most of his design cues from the names of the map slots his levels appeared in. A thread by Hellbent prompted another thread by ella guro where the project took off and then stagnated until its untimely release in 2014 amid some controversy. The final product is a full-fledged megaWAD for Doom II that makes a claim for vanilla compatibility, but the sheer size of many of the submitted levels made for less than rigorous playtesting as far as technical details go. A limit-removing port should be used, at the very least.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Mayan Mishap (T-MAYA.WAD)


When he's not a jetsetting playboy fighting Nazis and curing cancer, Doomworld Forum superstar Tango messes around with Doom, and on rare occasions he actually finishes Doom maps. Mayan Mishap isn't just a collection of Doom II levels, though. Released in 2014, it's both the rare instance of a complete Tango project in the wild plus an attempt at a new yet familiar take on classic gameplay. The end product spans MAP01-04 plus MAP31 and is targeted at BooMBF ports but had the MBF BEX code converted to DECORATE so that it would run in stuff like Zandronum. As far as story goes, well, there isn't one. You don't really need an excuse to slaughter demons in a vaguely Mayan environment, though.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

B/\|_||-|/\|_|S (BAUHAUS.WAD)


Doom authors are pretty content to stay within the confines pioneered by the IWAD levels. The original gave us Phobos, Deimos, Hell, and E4, while Doom II showed us starbase, city, and... even more Hell. Now and then, more novel settings appear, and every once in a while someone throws us all for a loop, like Didy and B/\|_||-|/\|_|S. Bauhaus is named after what else? but a German art school active between World War I and World War II, the name literally translating to "house of construction". The focus on art rings true to Didy's sensibilities, given that the goal of his Monster Hunter, Ltd. dirty pair was to recover a lost work.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reconstruction/Decomposition (RCDC_V2.WAD)

RECONSTRUCTION/
DECOMPOSITION

by "Da Werecat"


Reconstruction/Decomposition almost slid past everyone, released in 2014 in the thread of its origin (mrthejoshmon's "My map to your map") and then later in its own to little fanfare until it was updated to include difficulty settings, among other things. It then received the interest that had thus far eluded it, and which is well-deserved. It's a MAP01 placement for Boom ports (.OGG support preferred) and, uh, I think it takes place on some kind of space craft, though whether the ship / station is still in conventional space at the level's end is debatable. There isn't any kind of framing story, but enough is implied for your imagination to run wild.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

3 Heures d'Agonie 2 (3HA2.WAD)


The French Doom Community released 3 Heures d'Agonie back in 2013, a megaWAD's worth of speedmaps from a wide variety of authors, from inexperienced to guys that are established as heavy hitters in Doomworld thanks to their contributions to mapsets like Plutonia Revisited. 3 Heures d'Agonie 2 is what else but the second outpouring of hastily put-together levels from what is becoming an increasingly talented stable of individuals. This time, it's a full megaWAD for vanilla Doom II, though as could be expected there's no attached story, just raw Doom II.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mayhem 2048 (MAYHEM14.WAD)


Mayhem has been a Doomworld institution since 2012. TheMionicDonut had a dream, and that dream was to get as many people as possible to make a map over the course of a month - May, of course. The other part of the institution is to take as long as humanly possible compiling and fixing the darn thing, with 2012 seeing release in November and 2013 in March... of 2014. As of the time I'm writing this, the 2014 installment - Mayhem 2048 - is still not finalized, but maybe by the time this is published they'll pull together and slap the thing on the archives (EDIT: done as of Nov. 27!).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Number One Kill The Next Generation (1KILLTNG.WAD)


Angelo Jefferson loved Doom, but it's also clear that he loved Star Trek. Number One Kill The Next Generation is a Doom II megaWAD released in 1997 clocking in at twenty-two levels. Jefferson claims it's actually twenty-three, with one of these maps actually counting as two. That's probably "Entryway", which has a massive secret annex. Anyway, Jefferson promised a Number One Kill The Final Frontier to round out the ending episode, but after about seventeen years it looks like it'll remain an Undiscovered Country. It's a curse, since Jefferson clearly had some talent when it came to map design, but a slight blessing, since many of the big fights in these levels don't seem remotely fair. As with his previous #1KILL, there is no story, just a lot of demons to kill.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thy Flesh Turned Into a Draft-Excluder (DRAFTEX.WAD)


Cannonball debuted his first megaWAD, ConC.E.R.Ned, back in 2013. It was an OG Doom mapset that spanned three episodes worth of author growth. He followed up on the experience in 2014 with Thy Flesh Turned Into a Draft-Excluder, which pursued the Episode Four theme as rendered in Powell's own particular style. It's still limit-removing, much like his megaWAD, but there is a certain elegance in the architecture and combat that suggests that Cannonball has grown vastly as a mapper in the interim.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nebula 95: Nebula Shrine (NEB01.WAD)

NEBULA 95:
NEBULA SHRINE

by Chris "lupinx-Kassman" Kassap


Nebula 95 is a curious amalgam of ideas from Doom visionary Chris Kassap, merging the divisive presentation of early PWADs (graphics, custom sounds, jazz MIDIs) with small levels and open layouts. If you're remembering the accolades received for his massive Community Chest 4 entries, these works will come as a shock. Nebula Shrine aka NEB01 is the first of the entries, officially released in 2014 and based off his MAP18 from Odamex Nitro Deathmatch. The plot of the series has you clearing out demons on micro-planetoids in a corner of the galaxy filled with a hallucinogenic gas dubbed Nebula 95.

Friday, November 14, 2014

200 Minutes of /vr/ (200MINVR.WAD)


While I spend a lot of my time there, Doomworld is far from being the only community hub for Doom. /vr/ is another such place of choice, a different board with a different set of sensibilities. 200 Minutes of /vr/ is a speedmapping challenge that started back in May of 2014; the goal was to get users to jump in the fire, so to speak, and contribute to a megaWAD of vanilla Doom II maps made in 200 minutes or less. And it succeeded! 200MINVR was released to the /idgames archives in early July 2014, and while it's still vanilla, some custom skies add much-needed flair alongside the occasional custom MIDI.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Wailing Horde (WAILHORD.WAD)

THE WAILING HORDE
by Chris Hansen


Chris Hansen was part of the millennial wave of Doom authors, earning a place in history as one of the contributors to 2002: A Doom Odyssey before launching his own, highly-lauded mapping career. The Wailing Horde is as of this writing his latest solo release, a single level for Doom's E2M1 that's meant (but not guaranteed) to be compatible with pretty much any port, with potential VPOs being the main exception for vanilla players. WAILHORD has no story; "Just kill everything and do it well!"

Friday, November 7, 2014

Countdown to Extinction (TICKTOCK.WAD)


Obsidian spends a lot of time organizing the Abyssal Speedmapping sessions. As I recall, the Abyss was the home of some of the NewDoom expatriates, so it's nice to see some small part of that spurned community live on in its own fashion. Anyway, it's no wonder that someone knee deep in the speedmaps would build a speedmapped megaWAD. Where wunderkids like Khorus and Valkiriforce made each of their levels over the course of a few days, though, Obsidian knocked out each of these little offerings in one hour, tops. The final product is Countdown to Extinction, a full replacement of the Doom II megaWAD... with really tiny levels.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Deneb Colony (DENEB.WAD)

DENEB COLONY
by "Lainos"


Lainos was quiet during 2013 following a flurry of activity back in 2012, a year which saw his massive Object 34: Sonar, 5till L1 Complex, and A.L.T., where he was something of a producer, finishing off with a little tribute to Doxylamine Moon: Overdose called Lost Way. In 2014, he decided to drop another morsel on our laps, titled Deneb Colony. Like most of his maps, it's a single MAP01 replacement for Doom II to be played in Boom-compatible ports, prBoom+ preferred. It has more in common with Lost Way, though, in that it isn't the kind of visionary mastodon that he's known for.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Rush (RUSH.WAD)


I don't really think of Archi as a slaughtermapper, so imagine my surprise when he released Rush, an episode that had once aspired to be a megaWAD that is full of low-grade gory goodness. After an initial release in 2013, he tacked one last (huge) level in 2014 and released it as a twelve-map episode for Doom II, to be played in Boom-compatible ports. Everything works fine, up until MAP12, though. There are some nasty nodebuilding errors that bomb Eternity out and the exit doesn't work in ZDoom. The rest of the package as a hole is perfectly functional, though.

Friday, October 31, 2014

You Dig (YOUDIG.WAD)

YOU DIG
by "Tuxlar"


People can do crazy things with Doom. After cracking open You Dig, a single map for Doom II released in 2014, I was surprised to find that there is no crazy BEX or DEH to assist with Tuxlar's level design, which means that all of this is pure sector wizardry. As to what kind of wizardry... Well, the author is attempting to marry two very different gameplay experiences. In one corner, Doom II. In the other, the vast progeny of Infiniminer. That's right; in this PWAD, you dig. You dig a lot. You dig because you're stuck in some kind of cavern and have to find your way out, shovel in hand.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Visions of Eternity (VOE.WAD)


You may not be familiar with the name Tobias Münch, but Pablo Dictter might ring a bell. The two are partners in crime, coming together to bang out the lesser-profile Doom II episode Hatomo Battles the Yomi Demons in 2007. This isn't a joint venture, though; Tobias made Visions of Eternity all by his lonesome, releasing it in late 2013. It's a single episode for the original Doom, but plays in ZDoom. The only caveat is that I see very few reasons why Tobias picked the engine since he doesn't go wild with the detailing, the main one being its presence on the menu as a fifth episode.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Resurgence (RESURGE.WAD)


Joshy released Surge in early 2012. It was an unfinished collection of speedmaps built upon the idea of forcing the player to "surge" forward through the level's action in order to clear a spot that was safe enough to stand in. After a hiatus from mapping, Joshy picked it up again and finished the set for release in 2014, re-branding it as Resurgence. Like its progenitor and Speed of Doom, this is a megaWAD for Boom-compatible ports that emphasizes gut-busting action and intelligent, fast-on-your-feet decision making. Unlike Surge, there's actually something of a story, with you waking up from the oblivion of death and having to fight your way out of Hell and back to the realm of the living on Titan before you can put a stop to Hell's invasion. Something goes wrong on the way, of course, and you're launched into the future where Hell is completely entrenched, but it wouldn't be a Joshy map if you weren't facing overwhelming odds.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Going Down (GD.WAD)


mouldy snuck into the Doom community in 2012, releasing The Eye as his debut. While contributing to community projects like NOVA and Doom 2 in Name Only, he began Going Down, his obligatory one-man megaWAD. It's a full 32-map replacement, completed in 2014 to be played in Boom-compatible engines, though some of its clever faux-scripting will leave you wondering if that is truly the case. mouldy's has a pretty simple story, with Doomguy assaulting an ominous UAC tower, starting at the top floor and then working his way down via elevator. Of course, he hits the ground floor at MAP07 and spends most of the rest of the time going... deeper. You also get to see the softer side of Doomguy, who rings up his mother occasionally as he makes his way through the infestation. If that sounds a wee bit cheeky to you, well, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Shadows of Chronos (KAISER_28.WAD)


The only thing more rare than a Hexen PWAD is a HACX PWAD. But, uh, this isn't about a HACX WAD - it's about Shadows of Chronos, a 5-map hub for Hexen released in 2014 by Doom veteran Kaiser. For those keeping track, this will be the first Hexen PWAD reviewed on my blog, but that's not because I hate Hexen. In fact, I love it to death. Hexen maps are just few and far between, due to a number of factors including but not limited to its relatively minor fanbase, balancing maps for three different classes, the original's presentation of hub-based gameplay, dependence upon puzzles that many players find to be obtuse, and only having four weapons at a time. It's basically the FPS version of a dungeon crawler, minus the cool loot, party system, and (for the most part) character progression. Hexen has its own definite niche, as small as it is, and if it even barely intersects with your interests, then read on.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Gene-Tech: Before the Storm (NJGTB4TS.PK3)

GENE-TECH
BEFORE THE STORM
by Nigel "Enjay" Rowand


Enjay was there at the start of Doom's community in 1994 and he's been consistent in pushing the old, creaking game into new directions with his work in the ZDoom engine. Gene-Tech is his latest release, and one that comes after a bit of an authorial hiatus. It's a single map for any Doom IWAD to be played in GZDoom, but it isn't short by any stretch of the imagination. The story is pretty simple; Gene-Tech is a shady corporation on Mars (DUN DUN DUNNNNN) that has been making some stunning advances in genetics and cybernetics, but word has it that the source of their good fortune isn't human. The rules on first contact scenarios are quite clear on the situation and as such you're sent to investigate and end any security threats to the human race.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bloody Steel (BLDSTLP.WAD)


Big Memka was as one of the main contributors to Whitemare 2, the Russian Doom community megaWAD of 2014. His maps had a high level of visual polish and tended toward compelling, if linear, gameplay, excepting the now-infamous "Gloominarch's Realm". Bloody Steel, Memka's first solo release, gives us a deeper look into his personal predilections, free of the artificialities of speedmapping. Another foray into Russian realism, Memka delivers a nine (or ten if you're generous) map episode that's more varied in gameplay variety and, again, practically dripping with detailing. The levels were designed for Boom-compatible engines, I believe, but are best experienced in GL ports (GLBoom / GZDoom) mainly due to the skies. I made it all the way through in ZDoom before realizing, with only ugly visual bugs to show for my ignorance.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Adventures of Square (SQUARE1.PK3)


Every now and then, someone uses the Doom engine to craft what is for all intents and purposes a brand new game. Heretic was the original, but then you got your Chex Quest, your Harmony, your Action Doom II... and now, The Adventures of Square. Jimmy had a vision, a vision of a plucky cigar-chewing square that fought the evil circles of Shapeland with gratuitous paint guns. Today, with a little help from his friends, that dream is now a reality. Right now, there's only one episode to Square's adventures, but two more episodes are promised in the selection screen - Cheddar Apocalypse and In the O-Void. If they're anything like this first release, well, I'm waiting, fellas.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Back to Saturn X E2: Tower in the Fountain of Sparks (BTSX_E2X.WAD)


It's been a little more than a year and a half, so it's about time that we saw the Back to Saturn X Episode II beta. BTSX started out as a single megaWAD, but an abundance of contributors caused an internal split into what eventually became three "episode" megaWADs. Get Out of My Stations, the "shareware" episode, made its public debut at the tail end of 2012. It got a lot of flak for its techbase stylings, but it's one of my favorite releases of the 2013 season for its impeccable visuals and light speed gameplay. Tower in the Fountain of Sparks looks to be one of the top releases of 2014, and for good reason.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Classic Episode (CLASS_EP.WAD)


Jan Van der Veken showed his love for the original Doom back in 1997, when he authored Dawn of the Dead. The Classic Episode began life as a series of solo releases that Veken worked on whenever he got bored with mapping for The Darkening E1 and it sort of caught on with his teammates. Jan eventually collected the individual releases and, after adding two more, released the package as this in 2000, though not in the order you'd expect. He updated the release two years later - version 2.0 - with various balance tweaks and level changes, and that's the version that I'm reviewing. Since the scope of the project was somewhat incidental, there's no attempt to tie these levels together with any kind of story, just a note that the authors were attempting to mimic the atmosphere of Doom as accurately as possible.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Hell Factory Hub One (HELLFACT.WAD)


Tei Tenga made manifest some of the promises of the ZDoom engine's early features, like hubs, cutscenes, and text dialogue. Tomi Rajala's Hell Factory, released in 2000, developed these concepts, albeit in a fashion similar to Quake II, to give Doom II players something more action-oriented to sink their teeth into. It's got four different areas that you'll travel between, comprising the first "hub" of Tomi's Hell Factory. But, uh, the later hubs were never finished / released, so this open-ended adventure is the only thing we have.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

20 Years of Doom (20YDOOM.WAD)


The French Doom Community wanted to pay tribute to Doom on its 20th anniversary. What better way than a trip down memory lane? The plan: condense the original trilogy into one single episode by conflating some of the most prominent elements of every three levels, all working in Boom-compatible ports. Interested authors claimed slots and did their best, but don't expect a slavish reinterpretation of the original Doom. Sure, you're gonna get a few homages. When you're doing Doom tributes, it seems to be practically unavoidable, even in 2014. I think it works, though, and these maps are anything but reference-composed patchwork. 20 Years of Doom proves again the vibrancy of Doom's international theater as its long legacy drags on, grunting and moaning.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Berserk (BERSERK.WAD)

BERSERK
by Jon Landis


Jon Landis had a pretty full career in the early days of Doom history. He authored an episode for Doom (Eye of the Beholder), a tricksy minisode of Doom II levels (Eye of the Beholder II), and contributed a few levels to STRAIN. This little level (well, maybe not little) is BERSERK, his first offering, not to be found included in Eye of the Beholder along with his other E2 levels. And, well, for reasons you might find evident on a cursory viewing. Berserk has some of Landis's quirks that he would carry on to his later outings, but it's a very rough construction, released in 1994 for the E2M1 slot.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chaos, Uprising (RSLCHAOS.PK3)

CHAOS, UPRISING
by "Richard Smith Long"


It's time to settle down, and where would any weary inter-dimensional traveler rest his or her laurels but at Parthoris? Once Corvus slew the serpent rider and fixed that business with the insane Seraph, trouble was all but forgotten, and technology and magic was free to advance with the inexorable march of time. That's why "The Newcomer" picked the Sidhe homeworld, anyway. Pity that all good things must come to an end. After only a couple years of retirement, a horrible plague engineered by the rejuvenated Serpent Cult grips Parthoris, and your happy ass is the only one that can stop them. Maybe the combined forces of science and magic can put an end to this bullshit once and for all.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Micro Plutonia (MPL.WAD)


Micro Plutonia is one of those offshoots of the Plutonia Revisited Community Project. Most of the rejects have found their way to release one way or another, either as solo works or parts of larger mapsets. Matthias Johansson's "UAC Garden Facility" was one of the later, worked into this minisode for The Plutonia Experiment, released in 2011. The original is MAP06, while MAP04 and 05 were made to pad things to a trio. The story is about as self aware as can be - the demons have invaded some bases that are identified as "Plutonian" and you're going to make them wish they hadn't.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Esselmap I: Testing Facility (TESTFCIL.WAD)

ESSELMAP I:
TESTING FACILITY

by Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso


The mere existence of this single level for Doom II, circa 2006, must gnaw away at Esselfortium's cold, black heart. Testing Facility is her earliest released work, a fairly large level for limit-removing ports that draws a lot of its aesthetic from Knee Deep in the Dead. It's actually a pretty cool MAP01, loaded with intricate secrets, some of which I think (related to the plasma rifle) are a one-time affair. Anyway, while it's for Doom II, it's largely in the style of the Phobos episode as far as textures go, though not exactly in architecture or anything. It also doesn't have a story, not that you really care about the .TXT files that come with Doom PWADs... or do you?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Quadruple Threat (QTHREAT.WAD)

QUADRUPLE THREAT
by Eric "The Green Herring" Baker,
Jon "40oz" Vail,
"Super" Jamie Bainbridge,
and Joonas "Jodwin" Aijala


Don't touch that dial! Yes, this level has four authors. Quadruple Threat was an exercise in collaborative speedmapping, which is to say that each contributor made a section of the map in roughly 100 minutes, after which the pieces were sown together. Some of these Doomworld Forum superstars may look familiar to you. The Green Herring is of course none other than the current curator of the Community Chest series. 40oz and Super Jamie published UAC Ultra. Jodwin I know as the creator of Jade Earth, yet another highly-regarded map that I haven't played. Together, they've made this map, which is half marble fortress and half built into the earth. There's no story, just around 300 demons to kill.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

LaboUAC (LABOUAC.WAD)

LABOUAC
by "jameson2_fr"


Looking at the title, I can divine that LABOUAC involves some kind of lab facility that was at one point ran by the UAC. That's pretty much it, though as you walk through the facilities, you'll see that they've been dabbling in plenty of things that aren't remotely related to gate technology... unless they found them as a result of the resulting exploration missions. LaboUAC is jameson2_fr's first release on the archives, published in 2014 as a MAP01 replacement for GZDoom. It's pretty accomplished for a first-timer, if that is indeed the case, though with a level this long I wonder why he didn't come up with something, anything to replace D_RUNNIN.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back to Hell (BAK2HELL.WAD)


There have only been a few OG Doom megaWADs, but there have been dozens of episode replacements. Back to Hell, finished by Dave Seager in 1995 and released, perhaps, in 1996, is one of those many Doom eps that struggles to get some kind of recognition in a field dominated by E1, E2, and E3 tributes of all shapes and sizes, not to mention stuff like the Serenity trilogy. Why, I'm practically smothering it in the process of writing this review! BAK2HELL draws some inspiration from the original Doom, and it's definitely Hell-themed, but Seager's take is distinctly his own.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Zen Dynamics (ZENDYN_X.WAD)


I don't know much about the progression of the ZDoom modding scene. I do know that early works like Tei Tenga and Hell Factory are lauded as being watersheds of things like hubmaps and cutscenes, and I also know that Xaser's Zen Dynamics is heralded as the progenitor of most modern weapon mods in one way or another. Released in 2005 (with an update in 2006 making some major changes and adding a level), Xaser replaced every weapon in the Doom arsenal and added a few more just to give you something to think about as well as threw in a ton of new enemies for you to ponder on. At a modest ten maps, you get something of the feel of how these things change gameplay, as well as what the ZDoom engine was capable of at the time.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Indespensible T_DUNNxx.WAD Series - For Heretic (T_DUNN03.WAD)

THE INDISPENSIBLE
T_DUNNxx.WAD SERIES
- FOR HERETIC

by Travers and Alister Dunne


Travers Dunne has had a long mapping career; his T_DUNNxx.WAD Series encapsulates the various scraps of his work from 1994-7. The Definitive T_DUNN01 was for Doom, and the Authoritative T_DUNN02 was for Doom II. Interestingly enough, T_DUNN03 isn't for Final Doom or any of that, but for Heretic. Yes, Travers Dunne has a Heretic level to his name, and he even preferred it to his Doom levels from around the same timeframe! T_DUNN03 is a single map in the E1M1 slot that has no real attached story beyond Travers bemoaning the fact that he couldn't stay interested enough with Heretic mapping to make any more levels.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Authoritative T_DUNNxx.WAD Series - For Doom 2 (T_DUNN02.WAD)


Travers Dunne gathered up his scraps up to his '97 work and sent them off to the archives in three separate packages, presumably washing his hands of them and moving on to such projects as The Darkening E1 and The Classic Episode. Where he described his early Doom levels as "Definitive", his Doom II levels are "Authoritative", making this The Authoritative T_DUNNxx.WAD Series. Like Definitive, Dunne's levels fit into several different slot sections, so they're kind of spread out. Here, you've got MAP01-07, 17, and 21-24, for a grand total of 13 Doom II levels to suffer through. As before, I'm ignoring the pure deathmatch maps (MAP18 and 32).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

RCK2 (RCK2.WAD)

RCK2
by Rich "CROW" Kyanka


Almost anyone who could get their hands on an editor made a map for Doom back in '94. Some of the outpouring vanished into the ether, never to be archived, while other works are being diligently reuploaded as the opportunity comes. This is RCK2, a level for the original Doom made by none other than Rich Kyanka, aka Something Awful's Lowtax. It's not his first level - that honor belonging to RCK.WAD - but it's a pretty early Doom level. MISSION1 is the only Kyanka level not available in any capacity I'm aware of. If you have it, it'd be interesting to check it out. In spite of being the second level he made, it occupies the E1M1 slot.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Robot Junkyard Workshop's Doom Pack (RJWDP.WAD)


Nick Baker wants you to be certain of one thing - he isn't the same Nick Baker as NiGHTMARE. Also known as Robot Junkyard (Workshop, I guess), he published his debut nine-map episode / Doom Pack for Doom II in early 2014. While it is theoretically compatible with vanilla, RJW only tested it in ZDoom, and that's what I played it in, so I can't speak as to the existence of any of the typical ZDoom follies. His notes suggest using a limit-removing port at the least, but if you want all the bells and whistles you'll need something capable of processing MAPINFO lumps, or else you'll miss out on the rearranged skies and music files.

Friday, July 18, 2014

RCK (RCK.WAD)

RCK
by Rich "CROW" Kyanka


1994 marked the beginning of Doom's stone age, an era where pretty much everyone was just stoked that they could make a Doom level and upload it for the rest of the world to enjoy. Standards eventually improved and tools became more sophisticated so that it's pretty rare, now, to see something like a '94 level appear on the /idgames archive without the author asserting zero effort or deliberately trolling people. RCK, though, is sheer '94 enthusiasm, and from Rich Kyanka, to boot. You might now him better as Lowtax, the Something Awful guru. Back in '94, he went by CROW, a paean to what was undoubtedly one of his favorite programs, Mystery Science Theater 3000. In spite of being his first level, it's set in the E1M4 slot. I think this usually meant that the author preferred its music?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Definitive T_DUNNxx.WAD Series - For Doom (T_DUNN01.WAD)


Travers Dunne has done a lot of mapping for several different eras of Doom. The T_DUNNxx.WAD Series compiles his Doom, Doom II and Heretic levels, with a timestamp circa '97. I'm not sure why he opted to package his stuff together and release it in this format; it almost looks like a scraps and oddities release at the tail end of his mapping career. This one, The Definitive T_DUNNxx.WAD, is for the original Doom, with the levels spanning arbitrary map slots - E1M3, E2M2-M5, M7, and M9. E2M9 is actually a deathmatch map - I'm not covering it here. Oh, these works also list Alister Dunne as a co-author. Probably his brother?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Odessa Series


as featured in Super Serials

ODESSA_1ODESSA_2ODESSA_3ODESSA_6
ODESSA_7ODESSA_9ODESSA11ODESSA12
ODESS_13ODESSA14
SiluresExcalibur

As I mention in the beginning of my review for the first Odessa map, it feels weird to be able to write this article. I've joked about it several times, but I didn't seriously think that I'd ever be in a position to play the rest of the (released) Odessa series. And, yet, here I am, and while it's not exactly what I expected, I'm happy to have experienced them all the same. For a long time, these levels were effectively banned from redistribution, as all of them had a clause restricting them to Compuserve. Eventually, the service changed its scope and with it went the entire user PWAD archive. The only way you could play any of the Odessa levels besides ODESSA14 was, funnily enough, via the shovelware PWAD scrapes that Evans's clause was meant to hinder. Any discussion of them inevitably led to heated exchanges on Doomworld, where authorial intent is followed to the letter.

Odessa 13: Anaxis Courtyard (ODESS_13.WAD)

ODESSA 13
"ANAXIS COURTYARD"
by Bob "Odessa" Evans


Bob Evans was making LORDDOOM, a seventeen-map megaWAD showcasing his own tastes, when he began releasing individual selections to get a feel for his impending reception. LORDDOOM was never finished, though, and those maps that were released would have fallen into the abyss of time were it not for Bob Evans's return to the community. It's a community that has grown less receptive to the ball-busting puzzle play his style espouses, but some of us are still quite happy to have our brains picked. Odessa 13 comes in at a pretty late number compared to the rest of the series, but if I'm not mistaken, it was the first map he released after Odessa 1. For that reason, there isn't much of a plot; Evans spends more time discussing the fact that there is, of course, a courtyard. There's a bit more to it than that, though.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Odessa 12: Chambers (ODESSA12.WAD)

ODESSA 12
"CHAMBERS"
by Bob "Odessa" Evans


If you've been following along, you know the drill, but here's the skinny for those just dropping in. Bob Evans released most of his Odessa series back in 1995 as single levels for Doom II, then contributed the most diabolical levels of Eternal Doom, finally kicking out Odessa 14 before disappearing off the face of the earth. In the interim, Compuserve - the sole host allowed to keep the '95 maps - died, thus creating a situation where the only place you could find any of them was via the very shovelware discs his restrictive distribution clause was designed to prevent. Thankfully, Evans came back to Doom, re-releasing his stuff so that I can now tell you about Odessa 12. After clearing out the underground bunker from Odessa 11, you move on to this, a silent complex housing a torture chamber where the aliens are tormenting your fellow soldiers. Of course, it falls to you alone to wipe them out.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Monster Hunter Ltd (Part 2) (MOHU2.WAD)

MONSTER HUNTER LTD
PART 2
by "Didy"


Didy published the first part of Monster Hunter Ltd in late March of 2014, and then after a grace period of about a month (maybe to make sure everything worked right since both maps were meant to be part of one great big level), he uploaded the inevitable Part 2. The first part detailed your actions as part of the company, Monster Hunter Ltd, which operates in a post-apocalyptic world where monsters now / still dominate the Earth. In the previous installment, you were tasked to retrieve a... highly valuable painting from what appeared to be an industrial complex. After returning home, you fall asleep, only to find that the demons have encroached in the morning, starting out with wrecking up your place. Being a Monster Hunter is never easy!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Monster Hunter Ltd (Part 1) (MOHU1.WAD)

MONSTER HUNTER LTD
PART 1
by "Didy"


Every now and then a kickass Doom release sneaks under the radar because the author just uploaded it to /idgames with virtually zero hype. Monster Hunter LTD is one of those projects, what was once a huge Boom map that got split in two because of technical constraints. Whether the narrative depends on any context to Doom II is anyone's guess. Basically, the world is in some post-apocalyptic state and monsters now (or still) dominate most of it. You're part of a company, Monster Hunter Ltd, who apparently functions as a mercenary organization that does things in the infested parts of the world. In Part 1, you're tasked to retrieve a valuable piece of art, which you've tracked to an industrial complex. If the monsters did in fact steal the painting, the "why" isn't really elaborated on, but that's fine because any excuse is a good excuse to go kicking demon ass.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Chapel of Chaos (CHACHOS.WAD)

CHAPEL OF CHAOS
by Chris "Mr. Chris" Pisarczyk
and Joonas "Jodwin" Äijälä


Chapel of Chaos is a MAP21 replacement for Doom II, to be played in Boom-compatible ports. It's also a collaboration between Chris and Jodwin, though who did what, I don't know. What I can tell you is that Chris lists himself as an "Oblige RMG participant", which kind of puts me on edge, but I'm sure either author (or the tester, SuperJamie) can shed some light on the situation. The map actually has a plot, but it's pretty simple and presumably fits right into the Doom II storyline in place of "Nirvana". You arrive in Hell and first encounter an enormous, infernal chapel, a bastion used as a staging point for the invasion of Earth... or perhaps Hell's first line of defense? In any case, you have to clear the stinking fortress before you can move on.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Secret Doom: Disrepair (DISRPAIR.PK3)


Cyberdemon531 debuts on the Doom scene with Secretdoom: Disrepair, a ten-map Doom II episode for GZDoom released in 2014. Well, there's a little more to it, but not that much. The mapset has nine normal levels and one secret, plus seven rearrangements of earlier works for a survival-oriented horde mode. There isn't really anything to it storywise. It's got an ending blurb but it looks like your typical "Doomguy fights off Hell" thing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Odessa 11: Sojourn (ODESSA11.WAD)

ODESSA 11
SOJOURN
by Bob "Odessa" Evans


"Sojourn" is the eleventh level from Bob Evans's LORDDOOM mapset, most of which was released as Doom II singles in 1995 on Compuserve, only made available more than eighteen years after the fact when the author revised his distribution clause, which was intended to deter shovelware producers from profiting from free material. The story sort of seems like a series of loosely-connected vignettes about Doomguy as he travels across a planet that's inhabited by humans but mostly covered by demons - err, aliens. After clearing out an alien-controlled airport, followed by something that only Evans can tell us, you find yourself clearing out an underground base full of the beasts, but the opposition is thick and there's a lot of area to cover.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Odessa 9: Landing Zone (ODESSA_9.WAD)

ODESSA 9
LANDING ZONE
by Bob "Odessa" Evans


This is the 9th level in Bob Evans's Odessa series; all of the maps besides Odessa 14 were released near the end of 1995 for Doom II, and not all of them were released. Indeed, Odessa 4, 5, 8, and 10 do not exist in any public fashion, nor do 15-17. One of those works made it into Eternal Doom as "Silures", among the most obtuse and mind-bending Doom levels ever created. Thankfully, at least for puzzlephobes, "Landing Zone" takes its cues from Evans's lighter works. The story .TXT of this one poses some odd concepts. You are Doomguy, but it isn't exactly clear where you are. It sounds like you're on another planet, or perhaps an area on Earth that's remote enough to consider the residents villagers. Personally, I kind of like the idea of Doomguy roaming around on an alien world that is nonetheless populated by humans, writing wrongs and slaying demons like some errant knight. Err, actually, the language suggests that Evans was in the "demons are aliens" camp that was so popular in '95 and '96. Anyway, while on your journeys you've come across an active alien airport, which locals say has been operating for some time now. When you go to confront them, of course, you realize you left your shotgun back at the village...