Thursday, March 27, 2014


by Kurt Kesler

Kurt Kesler made a boat load of levels during his short tenure as a Doom mapper, most of which were released as single maps. His vanilla works were all named according to their themes, but KBOOM denotes the fact that these levels were made to be played in the as of then brand spankin' new Boom engine. KBOOM_6, yet another MAP01 replacement released in 1998, shows Kesler looking at something slightly out of his KMETL fare - the castle theme, aka KBRICK. It's an interesting theme to return to, as Kesler himself admits that "its hard to do".

KBOOM_6 is basically one big loop with some cool sights along the way. You start out in a canyon, kill some trash, and enter the only door you can into the first castle structure. The initial entry is kind of boring as unloading SSG blast after SSG blast into slowly-emerging mancubuses is dull. It's got the first big fight, though, setting you up against some zombies and Hell knight ilk, before sending you on your merry way down a catwalk across a lake of fire with some projectile dodging required, both red and green. At the end, you enter a marble temple with a well-hidden red key before returning to the beginning of the level with a fanfare of trumpeting cacodemons.

After that, you know where to go, but you've got a few rude surprises. The first is a pack of pain elementals, and that's tough shit with the SSG and rocket launcher, so you had best be careful. The final room has an awkward layout enhanced by a lake of fire, plus the monsters have a tendency to silently disappear and reappear at the building entrance, cutting off your retreat and forcing you to fight whatever's left inside, which if you press on may include a handful of revenants. As far as combat goes, I'm not fond of killing monsters that slowly funnel through doors or have to patiently wait outside, but the rest of the map was pretty good fun. Standout encounters for me were the crawl down the catwalk and the pain elemental posse.

KBOOM_6 has some nice, radiant lakes of fire and moody lighting to accentuate this darker, un-techbase theme. It's also a very fast play and almost as linear as you can get. I like the atmosphere, and I like most of the fights. I just wish it wasn't a literal loop! Anyway, here's another Kesler level for you.

This post is part of a series on
Kurt Kesler's KBOOM series


No comments:

Post a Comment