Tuesday, May 13, 2014


by Kurt Kesler

Kurt Kesler finished his KBOOM series in 1998. Then he made another Boom map, Beyond Death, inspired by Quake II. Finally, after dabbling in ZDoom, he came back one last time to do another KBOOM level, the twelfth and truly final installation of the series. Unless, of course, he comes out of retirement to do it up again, like he did with Still Kickin. KBOOM12 is Kesler's last Boom-exclusive MAP01 replacement, published in 2000. This ending to KBOOM is, unsurprisingly, a base level, with two large natural areas to the east and west that break up the map's visuals. Shocking, though, is this blurb in the description - "You land in a telepad in the enemy base, and try to escape."

KBOOM12 has bigger departures from the rest of the series than a justification blurb, though. For one, the monster count is about 400 deep. That's about twice as much as the biggest KBOOM level, I think. It's also a very large level, because you need a lot of space to cram all the baddies in. When they're thick, they're thick, like the zombies starting off, the enormous wave of cacodemons in the outdoors to the east, or several sections where you just slaughter imps wholesale. A few fights feel a bit unfair. I didn't care for the bit where you ride up the elevator to the commando / shotgun guy ambush and that three deep revenant surprise when you get to the bottom of the tiny staircase in the central portion of the level is very cheap without any foreknowledge as it's SSG and rocket launcher all the way.

Those are pretty isolated incidents, though. You're usually more than welcome to gleefully dump rocket after rocket into barons, hell knights, mancubuses, you name it. The bit with three arch-viles is far less demanding, though I imagine that the two revenants guarding the ledge leading to the red key can make a mess of things, with or without rockets. I had to chaingun snipe them as it's an incredibly awkward scenario. The huge hallway behind the red key door feels bereft in comparison to the rest of the level. It's all setting up a showdown with two Cyberdemons that you're supposed to (and probably will) take down with the rocket launcher. It's slow going and requires some dodging capabilities in the arena you fight them in but hearing that first death knell is wonderful.

If you want a nice, big ol' techbase where you can chew through monsters in both cramped and wide-ass open settings, plus a few Boom features, you should give KBOOM12 a shot. You should also play all the Kesler KBOOM levels, and heck, why not just play everything Kurt made? If you like one Kesler level, you'll like 'em all.

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



  1. Who's the girl in the picture at the end?

    1. An esoteric reference - Marvel Comics mutant Boom Boom.