Thursday, May 1, 2014


by Kurt Kesler

KBOOM_9 is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, released by Kurt Kesler in 1998 to be played in the Boom engine. Kurt had briefly tried to go back to source port agnostic levels but apparently despaired of doing so as the allure of Boom editing was too strong; he'd make a few more past this one, finally releasing KBOOM12 in 2000, then having embraced ZDoom. I think that he was going to collect the Boom maps into their own megaWAD - the KMEGA2 to the vanilla levels' KMEGA1 - but he either never got around to it or never intended to.

KBOOM_9 is also another techbase level. This one is a bit darker and cramped and has some nice connectivity bits, releasing monsters into previously cleared spaces to mess with the player. Revenants figure majorly into the action, an enemy Kesler hasn't used so much that haters might cry foul. They're pretty much everywhere here, though, along with some of the larger toughs. There are some surprises, but nothing compares to jumping into the deep water in the southwest portion of the map and finding yourself face to face with a cacodemon, your combat shotgun brazenly brandished. Backtracking from the blue key was kind of tricky; there are a lot of commandos in the eastern segment and after clearing you'll have to kill some more, all of which are prowling around in the upper tier, ready to snipe at you.

It's not exactly trappy, but I like the traps. The mancubus crowd guarding the exit is a favorite as it's suicide to just sit and kill the one opposite you on the platforms; just gather ye rocket launcher and take the elevator to the upper level to clear things the easy way. I also like the architecture. It's textbook Kesler base, but has more character than his more abstract playgrounds featured in his vanilla maps. Now, I dunno why Doomguy would let himself be stopped by a little yellow key railing, but it's a neat use of the usual door marker texture. Also a neat detail with the chemical sump to the north that continuously fills up only to be pumped back down... The level change doesn't quite mesh with the rapidity of the flow, though.

Kesler continues to improve and this level feels a bit more challenging than previous ones with perhaps more care taken toward setting up his encounters. I wish I had something more interesting to say, but it's another KBOOM map. If you've enjoyed Kurt's previous works, there's no reason you wouldn't love this one.

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


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