Tuesday, April 1, 2014


by Kurt Kesler

Kurt Kesler made a bunch of levels for Boom, at the time a hot on the street advanced source port. He claimed KBOOM_7 would be his last one, and that he would focus on maps that had the features of every source port, but *SPOILER ALERT* the story ends at KBOOM12 *END SPOILER*. This is another 1998-era MAP01 replacement featuring the songstyles of D_RUNNIN. Reading the .TXT, there's an interesting comment, namely that this level was playtested by Malcolm Sailor of CHORD fame. Now, there's less leeway in the ammo department than usual for a Kesler level, but don't let the phrase "ammo cruncher" scare you. Just don't expect to run around with max shells.

KBOOM_7 is a base level, and a considerably different one at that than the stuff he'd put out prior. It's very clean, detailed, and at times cramped. Health is at a premium unless you find elegant escapes from many of the hitscanner ambushes scattered around the map. Commandos are in every corner and shotgun guys abound, particularly in that first room with the Hell knights emerging from the pool. You're gonna get shot up, blown up, and burned, too. I've never been so happy to see an arch-vile after a dearth of them running around the KBOOM levels, and with a bunch of imps to boot. Kesler's also being devious with his silent teleports again. The courtyard fight with the mancubuses can be a pain in the ass if you try to take refuge in one of the far corners opposite the fatasses, for your information.

This Kesler base looks pretty sharp. The lighting is nice and the architecture is unusually stylish compared to the broad brush he usually paints with. There are some other Boom features besides the silent teleports. There's more deep water, for one, including something of an underwater airlock leading to the red key. You might also see a conveyor belt delivering the precious ammo you may have once turned your nose up at in a previous Kesler level. At least you're not expected to berserk punch some revenants just to make ends meet. Kurt is savvy enough to provide cover where it's needed, though he leaves you pretty exposed for that finale, where every step you take seems to wake something else up you'd rather let alone.

KBOOM_7 is a pretty cool Kesler map. The formative roughness of KMEGA1 is finally fading away, to be replaced with better ammo balance, encounter layouts, and map design. Oddly enough, at the time I'm writing this, there isn't a single review of it on the /idgames archive. Weird! Here's a KBOOM level you can really sink your teeth into. Enjoy and try not to get too many caps in your ass...

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



  1. The first screen strongly reminds me of AHELLDAY.WAD.

    1. I haven't played that, but Krause's portfolio is definitely on the list.

  2. Kessler was practically a machine back in the day, it seemed! My favorite levels of his for gameplay are actually generally the Boom-compatible or limit-removing ones (not the ZDoom ones, those are good, but also more of a feature showcase at times). There's a couple levels of his that I'm not a big fan of, mostly vanilla ones or maybe a ZDoom here or there that seemed to overlook gameplay a bit too much, but it's not enough to take his legendary status away!

    1. Yeah, I agree, though I haven't sampled Kesler's KZDOOM maps besides the first one. All in due time.