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.

Imagine a Doom megaWAD built entirely out of set pieces. You know, those cool, memorable areas that usually end up as encounter highlights in larger levels. Well, that's basically Going Down in a nutshell. It's kind of like the playing space of 1024 projects without the absolute restrictions or the attempt to cram as much gameplay and map as possible into a PWAD entry. It makes most every level a nonstop action ride and with mouldy's stunning architecture it's almost impossible to get lost. I wouldn't say that every offering devolves into something akin to an arena fight, though. There are plenty of more "regular" maps, like "Trip Switch" / "Secrets and Lies" /  "Rest in Pieces", that have a fantastic layout that slowly opens up as you poke around and unleash tons of enemies into previously explored areas.

It's hard to gauge from the first couple levels, but Going Down is pretty fuckin' hard on UV. It's easy to get away with this kind of difficulty with maps this small, since you're usually not far from the exit. mouldy understands pressure and how to use it, shoveling monsters down your throat that will quickly overwhelm you if not suitably handled and giving them plenty of avenues of attack to catch unwary players off-guard. Slaughter scenarios are a dime-a-dozen, but they're rarely the kind that can be circle-strafed into oblivion. There's even a level with a starting BFG, invuls, and tons of cells that is still tough going as poor decision-making will lead to an arch-vile air juggle that ends when you die.

Going Down looks very nice. The first few levels might look a bit banal, but once you escape the corporate trappings it's got the visual panache of something you could expect from the author of The Eye, just on a smaller scale. It's also loaded with special effects, including super-realistic toilets, your worst Doom II nightmare, a diggable wall, and several dynamite plungers that bring down the house. A few visual cheats happened so fast that I didn't have any time to gather my disbelief so that I could suspend it. There's also a cheeky tone throughout the whole thing, largely communicated through the intermission texts but also in little asides like the imp elevator repair man or MAP31, which is literally just a super-long stair climb / fight through which you can glimpse floors you've already cleared.

The most divisive element of mouldy's megaWAD will probably be the music, a selection of completely off-beat tunes that echo his musical genius, sounding something like a cross between Duke Nukem 3D's score, contemporary PWAD music, and Gentle Giant. It's very much unlike the typical Doom fare, whether you're talking about spooky, atmospheric music or heavy metal covers and manages to sound sinister at times while echoing the winking undercurrent that runs through Going Down. I wish that mouldy had found it within himself to bang out some more tunes for episode three, but you have to be happy with what you have to be happy with.

This is a super-cool, super-fast megaWAD that takes you through a bunch of different experiences. If you don't like getting mobbed my monsters, turn the dial down a notch or two and enjoy the micro-adventures that mouldy throws at you. With all the crazy Boom scripts and environments, it's definitely a worthwhile experience. Just keep a clear head and watch out for those bungles...

by Cyriak "mouldy" Harris

Going UpMAP01
mouldy has a pretty good idea about what it takes to drop the hammer on the player using basically only zombimen. There is plenty of health stashed around but you're liable to die from sheer attrition if you aren't careful, particularly when you lower the blue key for access. Pretty much all the action is on the rooftop and if you take your time you won't be exposed to too many rifles at once. The whole "sneaking through the checkpoint" and going up the back elevator is a nice setup.

MAP02Evil Admin
An action-packed office building that is crawling with Hellspawn. Well, not initially, but mouldy starts sending zombies and imps to punch your timecard and due to all the windows and cubicles you are under constant exposure without actually feeling like it at first, which opens you up to a lot of sneak attacks and cheap shots. The big torrent of monsters at the finish is liable to sap all your ammo, a mixture of zombies and imps. My favorite fight though is the blind drop from the ventilation duct, which surprised me since I didn't go kill the receptionist first.

Crawl SpaceMAP03
This is a cramped, congested journey through what is kind of like a three-dimensional maze of air ducts connecting a few rooms. Your weapons of choice are the chainsaw and berserk pack on account of there isn't anything else besides a shotgun that you can use to dispatch enemies. As such, combat is pretty dire without a lot of room for error. The big battle is an invul-fed teleport berserker brawl where you have to kill as many monsters as you can before the time runs out, because whatever left is going to be rough to deal with. It's a pretty good setup. The baron is an effective obstacle; there's no easy way to deal with him unless you grab every scrap of ammo from the map and root him out.

MAP04Blood and Rockets
Things get more intense in this "scenic" office complex whose main feature is a fountain of blood, surrounded by a pack of roaming demons. All of the danger is in the adjacent rooms, though, with height variation and sheer muscle making up a lot of the danger. The western annex is a pretty nasty battle that pits you between the less immediately threatening zombies behind you and a big bunch of imps with some Hell nobles mixed in. It seems like the best strategy is to weather the storm until the imps stop teleporting in, after which you're free to grab the goodies down on their end. The finale, a wave of cacodemons, isn't quite as dangerous but their multiple avenues of attack might catch you off-guard.

Time WarpMAP05
This level has a really cool gimmick that navigates between the present and what I assume is the dilapidated, run-down future. It reminds me of Evilution's "Wormhole", except there's some interplay between the two dimensions, the trigger points being fairly straightforward. At least, one of them I instantly knew was going to be important. It took me a sec to figure out how to grab the soul sphere. All of the nasty stuff is choked up in the dark realm, which is loaded with revenants and imps and all other manner of beast, but with your trusty rocket launcher and maybe the SSG you won't have a hard time, especially if you use the invul for your exit slaughter, rocket-punching away. Well, clearing the dark world out on your first visit is a little rough. Kick-ass map.

This has a pretty cool setup with the computer mainframe in the center. It's a level with lots of exposure, using an open-air layout and tons of monsters that mouldy is constantly dripping in to keep you on your toes. Some of those monster waves are tricky to deal with, especially the finale. Don't forget that you have ledges on the side; they might save your life. The real treat is the virtual reality battle which summons up stronger and stronger enemies in a psychedelic checkerboard until you are rounding them up and pummeling them with rockets, supposing you have enough space to not get cooked yourself. Nice level. 

Bad ReceptionMAP07
Well, you're finally on the ground floor, a little infernal reception area. It's basically "Dead Simple" but both arachnotrons and mancubuses are up at the same time and killing the most immediate danger will unleash a flood of Hell knights and demons from the back. It's fun times with rockets but the best twist is unleashing the Spiderdemon on an advancing column of revenants, doing the vast majority of your work for you before it finally buckles under the pressure.

MAP08Hide and Seek
A simple arch-vile level in a storage facility. Well, uh, there's a horde of demons packed in there, too, but it's basically about moving forward until you reach an arch-vile ambush, deal with it, and then keep on until the next one. The last ambush is the worst but panicking during any of the battles might put you in a bad situation. That said, some of the battles can be camped from the safe house, making the isolated east area the most dangerous.

Broken RecordsMAP09
This is a decent looking Hellish library that becomes a nightmare toward the end. The opening halls are staffed with some light creatures, namely imps, and as you open up the side doors you'll see some revenants, an arch-vile in the wings, nothing bad. Once you hit both buttons, though, all Hell breaks loose as cacodemons start flooding up the ground floor, soon to be followed by all manner of beasts, especially when the central stack opens up to reveal what will by then be some much needed ammo. The layout is great in its ability to facilitate confusion; you can't really get lost but the three wings will have you reeling in the thick of combat.

MAP10Trip Switch
The sewer leg of Going Down is a wonderfully intense experience that fields a ton of monsters in a very short space and timeframe. Once you get past that nasty hitscanner trap, you're into the chaos of the pillar bridge room, which feels as disjointed as the music as the pillars rise up and down, seemingly at random, and if you venture too far forth you'll wake up a revenant and a peanut gallery. Things only get worse as you prod forward, calling up an imp shooting gallery that guards the row of barons that you get to telefrag (nice) before flooding the channel and opposite side with monsters that, excepting the cacodemons, can be handled with a bit of patience and finesse. Excellent; the action rarely lets up.

The secret UAC demon torture chambers. It's a cramped and messy level that starts out by forcing a move into hostile territory in search of goodies, throwing out hitscanners up close and larger monsters at a fairly rapid pace. The big bunch of Hell knights is a significant roadblock but navigating both the Cyberdemon hide and seek followed by the revenant swarm that teleports behind you in random rooms is the real challenge, though the invul should help out considerably. The plasma rifle is a handy secret and might be able to expedite things in your favor.

MAP12Dead End
Ahahaha, shit. Once the elevator goes out, you're forced to take an alternate route through the building's piping. The resulting carnage is seeming chaos as the ambushes you encounter vary from play to play due to what I believe is the precise moment you trigger them. That's the difference between a mass zombie slaughter or facing down a bunch of imps and a revenant in a tight corridor and many other differences. Since you aren't quite sure what to expect, you're always a little off-kilter. Rest assured, though; what you don't fight in the first half, you WILL face down in the second. About the only battle you can depend on is for the plasma rifle.

Deep TroubleMAP13
It gets worse. "Deep Trouble" is this nail-biting stair descent where monsters are constantly pouring out into your limited space with varied snipers depending on which stage of progression you're in. At some point the staircase does a cool switcheroo where the bottom becomes the top as the former top becomes a brand new bottom and you continue your battle until the ground floor, which ushers in a nasty slaughter battle where you have to clear as much ground as you can or risk being overwhelmed and running out of health considering all you have before are some piddly stimpacks. It's all you can do to keep from taking point blank rocket damage during the ensuing carnage. That imp repairman is hilarious.

MAP14Secrets and Lies
Wellcume 2 troll map. This cramped and ruinous dungeon forces you to intuit the secret switches required for progression, and every puzzle solved floods your personal area with complete and utter contempt as your just reward. The opening pit is a special little slice of Hell that pounds you with several crossfires of monsters on ledges and airborne intruders. It also has a secret SSG annex that ultimately punishes you for digging too deep. The never-ending torrent of trash monsters on the rocket altar is a nice bit of pressure you might underestimate that is followed by those wonky teleport pillars paired with a horde of cacodemons that ultimately end in some toasty interlopers. When you finally clear all the bullshit out, the Spiderdemon seems like a joke. Diabolical.

Unsurprisingly, this is an arena encounter. After taking on the initial wave of opponents, you get to choose the order in which you receive your additional weapons, taking care to remember that none of them come without a fight. Infighting can help out a lot, especially with the inevitable climax where the attendees riot over your chain of victories. The fights leading up to it are more awkward than anything, the biggest obstacle being the fact that they come from opposing ends of the arena and sheer lack of knowledge on what is coming.

MAP31Stair Crazy
In this profoundly silly level, you ascend to the top of the tower, fighting your way through hordes of monsters that appear both in front of and behind you and, at times, right next to you. It's a narrow stairway, so being able to dodge - especially on the slippery steps - is a handy skill, especially when you are pounding a column of revenants and Hell knights with rockets. You'll have to manage fights on two fronts in the latter portions of the stair climb, though the worst of it can be handled by punching through, standing at the yellow door, and then pouring artillery into the Hellspawn as they teleport in. Oh, and look out for Imp Nukem.

Roof RageMAP32
Look familiar? The location may be the same but the combat is quite different. Don't let that initial wave of zombies fool you; once you kill the Spiderdemon, the insanity is on, including a stunning finish where you trade places with the demons, running around on the outer buildings while they occupy the roof, assisted by a veritable cloud of cacos. An invul sphere will take a lot of the sting out of the finale depending on where you use it, but there's no way in Hell you're going to be able to mop up every monster before the white light white heat fades. 

MAP16Black Mass
This warped cathedral has secrets to reveal, opening up a tiny bit of space while calling forth a bunch of monsters. The floor will be carpeted with the bodies of the dead by the time you're done. Once you start to gauge where traps are likely to trigger you're better equipped to react when something like an arch-vile teleports on to the crowded floor, or whenever guys start funneling in from the direction of the elevator. The big reveal is as expected pure chaos but snooping out the invul secret and saving it to clean house is Doom 101. I like that big pack of Hell knights which potentially results in some exposure to cacodemons as you (carefully) fire away. Safely starting this map is the real challenge, part crowd control and part not exploding yourself with your own rockets.

Rest in PiecesMAP17
A hornet's nest level like MAP14 but minus the puzzles and the layout is way more open to your poking and prodding. This little crypt is lined with charming sector coffins and venturing forth will result in the dead pushing back, and angrily so. A lot of these would be easily-slaughtered imps and hitscanners were it not for the fact that enemies tend to come at you from multiple directions, often at a trickle, so that you have to be constantly on your guard or suffer death by attrition. The finale is a random teleport siege with an occasional arch-vile jumping in wherever he feels like it for that extra dose of pain. The longer you wait to do the secret BFG fight, the more potential complications. Cool level.

MAP18Buried Alive
And now for something completely different. Following mouldy's bread crumbs will net you just about everything you need to dig into this level, but beware - once you hit the plunger, all Hell breaks loose, and you can't put the genie back in the bottle. There is so much shit going on outside that hunkering down in the elevator cave seems like the only sensible option, but monsters still have ways of getting in, and as time wears on the cave further falls apart to strip you of some of your shielding. Patience is a virtue, though, and once you thin enough shit out you can make a daring BFG grab and maybe let the Hell knights and barons kill a few of those nasty Cyberdemons for you.

200 Mega HurtsMAP19
You start out inside the saucer. It doesn't look so bad, just BFGing a couple arch-viles at a time and playing it safe. But there's more - there's so much more. Most of the rest of the level is divided between two basically identical playgrounds, but they're differently textured and one is staffed completely with arch-viles while the other is staffed with pain elementals. The only real threat in the second section is running out of ammo before you get a good start on clearing all those meatballs. The first, though, is dependent on not getting locked into a corner, because one wrong move may leave you unable to do anything until your invul fades and you are quickly fried. There's a lot of finesse involved, plus the occasional invul-fed BFG rush.

MAP20The Mouth of Madness
A pretty simple slaughtermap whose main source of pressure is a seemingly never-ending torrent of imps and later demons that pours from the eponymous mouth. When you venture forth and grab your more advanced weapons, which grants access to the BFG, you'll wake up some enemy fire on the sides, including a few Cyberdemons. The Cybs will do a pretty good job of clearing out the center isle for you if you just dance around the outside areas and maybe grab the secret rad suit to make clearing less painful. It's definitely a neat set piece.

This is a gruesome Tyson map but most of the damage you'll be doing will be via the crushers that compose the innards of this infernal beast. Given the confines built around you, there aren't too many enemies I was comfortable punching out, but some deft maneuvering will result in the crushers doing a decent job of it. The exit room is more efficient than the first, but you've also got way more room to move around in as opposed to the ford of Hell knights where you're repulsed by imps.

MAP22Constipation Station
A little light music in this unholy conglomeration of tech and bleeding Hell. All of the open windows and grates means that you're constantly exposed to potential avenues of attack, but it isn't nearly as bad as it sounds. The awkward layout makes it difficult for most enemies to pursue you and there are a couple of choke points that they simply can't get past, which lets you do your thing when it comes to looking for extra supplies - usually health. The big push near the end is probably the nastiest since it leaves you with so many monsters to deal with, plus some roaming cacos, but I'd be more worried about the guys on the elevator.

This immaculate Hellish manor requires you to retrieve seven yellow skull keys before you can enact the ritual to receive the elevator key. It's loaded with claustrophobic, nasty traps, like a Spiderdemon that literally drops in on you or the cadre of Hellspawn that lie in wait in the sewers. It's a very tricksy level, made tough through its non-linear layout, which allows you to clear the ring of rooms in one of several directions, but which may leave you lacking a rocket launcher at critical moments. The big finish is kind of an echo of MAP18, with all the arch-viles, but rather than a drip feed they immediately teleport to start raising Hell.

MAP24Bridge of Blood
There and back again - a Doomguy's tale. You start out at one end of the bridge, hold your position against monsters from across and behind, and then cross into a nasty setup that's pretty much an excuse to trigger a massive infighting clusterfuck. The two Cyberdemons and Spiderdemon are pretty much all you'll need against the demon hordes; a few cacos made it through, but all I had left were a handful of baron ilk and the final Cybie. There's one final ambush at the tail end, but if you managed to make it this far, the only reason you'd die is sheer carelessness.

Forbidden FruitMAP25
mouldy has this unusual, overgrown garden, littered with glowing, evil fruit. You've got to pop all those blisters before the dark tree holding the blue key opens up, but it's not easy, and destroying all the deciduous demon's seeds will usher in its own set of problems. Like a lot of Going Down, it looks great and is cramped as all get out, with a lot of the difficulty coming from the monster placement making it difficult to move around without exposing yourself to some kind of attack. Once you clear out a safe space you can explore the offshoots for handy items like the plasma rifle (a must-grab) and the soul sphere, taking care to watch out for the occasional mob of cacodemons and pain elementals. The finale seeds a bunch of arch-viles around the map and sets up a barricade of revenants at the elevator, all of which do a good job of pinning you down in the hollow.

A brilliant, psychedelic masterpiece from mouldy with some fantastic Boom cheats. Your normal elevator transforms into its bizarro equivalent in the blink of an eye. On exiting, it's clear that Doomguy's gone spare, as all he sees are rows of elevators arranged in a grid pattern with shadowy imps moving in the aisles. The real treat though happens when you pull the lever and the whole arrangement melts into a bloody, organic mess, which you must now navigate with lots of tough monsters on the ground and even more waiting in the wings. Of course, knowing where to run will net you some neat powerups if you can sneak into one of the sections that doesn't turn into bloody muck. It feels a bit tight on ammo as I didn't know whether I'd be able to kick the obligatory caco swarm at the end. The exit sequence is genius.

Hard CoverMAP27
This is a tight slaughtermap whose action comes in two halves. First, clearing the playing area, which is an interesting mix of red and dark gray that functions as something of a three-dimensional maze that makes it... hard... to find cover with features like slats close to foot level that you can be sniped through, plus all those cage walls that inhibit movement. It's pretty much about clearing an early safe space and then branching out from there until the red key. When you lower the pedestal, the map floods with a bunch of enemies. Thankfully, most of them are low-tier Doom II trash, but that won't save you from attrition as you vault around, blowing BFG blasts at the clogged-up pathways. Fun and chaotic.

mouldy does newschool slaughtermap at this, the ground floor of your adventure. You've seen a few glimpses of this setting, but this is the first time you really get to play around in it. A lot of the level is basically crowd control for you to grab stuff like the BFG or handling that never-ending horde of revenants and Hell knights. At peak madness, you can have four cyberdemons on the invul / mega columns while a troop of them stomp around the courtyard, plus a fountain of trash enemies from the blue key area and blood fountain, which also comes with a couple of arch-viles, all the while a trickle of Hell knights and mancubuses come in from the entrance area. Invuls will take some of the sting out of this one, and you're never in any danger of running out of ammo. You can still go from Doomguy to meat in the span of an instant, though. Cool carnage.

mouldy does a great bossmap. The encounter is pretty chaotic, taking place in the destroyed ruins of the UAC tower with an innocuous looking Spiderdemon on top with demons on the ground, but as you play on you'll see all the confounding elements, like the ring of revenants that surrounds him at the beginning, plus the walls of imps and storm of zombies as you play on. When you do enough damage, he enrages, turning red and coming down to do battle with you in person. I don't know how long the fight takes without burning your BFG ammo on his stupid face, but I killed him before all of the reinforcements could arrive. The several stages approach helps it from being just ye olde Spiderdemon shootout.

MAP30Game Over
Uh, not just a credits map. It might take you a minute to figure out, but your apartment isn't totally free of demon nonsense. When you finally activate the icon, you're stuck holding out until your front door opens and you can take another elevator... down. It's a more appropriate use of an icon for this megaWAD than the typical Doom II MAP30 and a nice coda. Enjoy the bungles.


This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's 2014 Cacowards

The Top TenBest MultiplayerRunners Up
Going Down32in24-13Bauhaus
The Adventures of SquarePushBloody Steel
Back to Saturn X: Episode 2Rage CTFMayhem 2048
PlasmaplantBest Gameplay ModWhitemare 2
Shadows of ChronosDemonSteeleYou Dig
Monster Hunter Ltd. 1/2Mordeth AwardThe Wailing Horde
ResurgenceDoom 2 in Name OnlyReconstruction/
Mayan MishapMockawardDecomposition
Urban Brawl: Dead of WinterBrutalist Doom
Thy Flesh Turned Into a Draft ExcluderMapper of the Year


  1. Map19 has different enemy arrangement and type in lower skills

  2. This is everything a concept wad should be. Not all the maps are immortal gems and some even have, let's say, suspect gameplay, but oh wow, I had fun in all of them... except perhaps the first two. It's like mouldy gradually lures you into his world and when the elevator gets underground, you just accept his game and you enjoy whatever crazy idea he throws at you. mouldy certainly is a creative guy and has no problems establishing a "mapper identity". One of the best 2014 releases for sure! -dew

  3. Mouldy's debut was Bad Blood, released on the forum before giving it to the Nova project IIRC. The Eye followed.

    1. i think of the eye as the real debut since long-ass development schedules tend to muck everything up

  4. Just now remembered one thing.
    Music track, that plays on the wad's 4-th map is the same music from Cyriak's "chimpnology" video:
    Don't know about the rest of the tracks, but they remind me of Cyriak's music sometimes.

    1. it only stands to reason since mouldy = cyriak

  5. An impressive year 2014, to have two awesome one (or almost one) man megawads to come out (this and Resurgence). Both I think ought to become future classics, and GD is especially unique/special even more so than most.

  6. I'm finally getting around to playing this and I have to say the say the single greatest accomplishment here, besides the brilliantly simple idea and the amazing executions, is giving me a new appreciation for the stock texture set. What he's done with it is nothing short of a masterwork; the mad scientist lab in Demonology alone is breathtaking in its creativity.

  7. One of the best wads I've ever played.