Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mayhem 2048 (MAYHEM14.WAD)

Mayhem has been a Doomworld institution since 2012. TheMionicDonut had a dream, and that dream was to get as many people as possible to make a map over the course of a month - May, of course. The other part of the institution is to take as long as humanly possible compiling and fixing the darn thing, with 2012 seeing release in November and 2013 in March... of 2014. As of the time I'm writing this, the 2014 installment - Mayhem 2048 - is still not finalized, but maybe by the time this is published they'll pull together and slap the thing on the archives (EDIT: done as of Nov. 27!).

2048 is a full-fledged megaWAD (!!!) and then some for Boom-compatible ports. It had two important creative factors for its development, the first being a 2048 x 2048 playable area restriction akin to but less restrictive than 1024. Players were only allowed to leave the 2048 confines under penalty of death, but the authors were allowed to put anything else outside - as long as the player couldn't set foot on it. The other pepper in the gumbo, so to speak, was the inclusion of Team TNT's resource pack for The Return, which is basically the entire resource pack for Eternal Doom and then some. Circumstances apparently created the condition for the community to show out in force, and now we have Mayhem 2048.

2048 and RETRES are the only real things tying these maps together since there is a broad variety of contributing authors. There are a lot of deathtrap levels, especially in the latter half, but the 1024 series has always been about pushing Doom's gameplay toward its most claustrophobic extremes. The squared playing area definitely gives the players and detailing some room to breath, but you're still liable to have a metric ton of demon flesh crammed down your throat while you're twisted into uncomfortable positions as you try to snake your way through demonic hordes. "Puff," "Black and Blue", "Cold Seep", "Heat Miser", and "Imago Mortis" represent the challenge this set has to offer and do it well.

The architecture and detailing have a pretty good variety, too, ranging from really gorgeous castles to Eternal Doom circa 1994. Most of these maps emphasize the fantasy trappings of RETRES but there are some tech maps stuffed here and there, plus a few outliers like "Black and Blue" and "The Dark Tower" that do some different work with the texture pack. SFoz911 appears to discard it entirely, opting for a plain Doom II level, looking stylistically unique among its peers. That's not to ignore, though, guys like Eternal whose maps both appear to be beautiful and come paired with engaging gameplay.

Mayhem 2048 is a pretty fun play and unless you are breaking your body on the super-hard challenge levels it shouldn't take very long to finish with its small playing area. It helps that I'm a sucker for the Eternal Doom resource pack and maybe some day I'll get an Eternal Doom sequel in spirit that I can really throw my love on. Until then, thanks for bringing back those Eternal memories.

by assorted authors

by James "Jimmy" Paddock
Jimmy kicks off the festivities with this delightful little techbase romp. In spite of being a megaWAD opener it's got a handful of nasties to check you in your place, like revenants, but outside of failing at dodging revenant rockets your biggest threat is just attrition by bullets. It's got a really cool dynamic layout with all the tiers of play and the way Jimmy's sectioned them off via keys. No real standout fights beyond the opening shootout since it's the most pell mell.

MAP02The Dark Tower
by "ChaingunnerX"
ChaingunnerX takes us to the more unusual portions of the "Return" texture pack. The tower is indeed dark, as is the surrounding wilderness, which makes health a very scarce commodity. Shotgun guys lurking in the shadows are especially dangerous and they will nickel and dime you to death pretty quickly. Since the shadows are the biggest challenge to this map, it's nice that it's so short and, at the very least, beautiful.

Outpost DeltaMAP03
by "Obsidian"
Obsidian takes you through this small, tough bunker on the edge of forever. There's a lot of shotgun action and he even takes a hand at some of Boom's features with the bits of mud that will bog you down and some deep water which you'll need a diving suit for. Ammo is very tight, so try to infight where you can to conserve and hold out for that combat shotgun that crops up near the level's end.

by "Obsidian"
This time Obsidian chases the Eternal Doom vibe complete with torches that you pull to solve part of the puzzle. The opening is a Tyson fisting spree vs. revenants at the onset followed by lost souls and a pain elemental. When you get outside it's a potentially dangerous crossfire with zombies followed by a cloud of cacos trying to horn in on you. The exterior has some of the best details, including some kind of wagon that you'll need to blow out in order to summon the end of map Spiderdemon. I just hope you found the plasma rifle secret.

Mayhem TownMAP05
by Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
Walter delivers this little medieval-ish village that has something of a crowded old world city aesthetic on steroids what with all the walls blocking off the pathways. The combat is kind of claustrophobic but not too threatening. The biggest threat is a slow drip-feed teleporter on the east side that sends a variety of monsters your way but not so quickly that you can just walk away after blasting them all. I like some of the buildings, though the TV screen is an odd anachronism.

MAP06Serenity in the Air
by "Memfis"
A very cool map from Memfis that's structured around some kind of battlement. The opening is peak chaos, with a lot of threat coming from a bunch of low-tier enemies, since the hitscanners are so spread out. He has a few kickboxing skeletons worked in for surprises, though. The biggest battle is across the battlement itself, a pair of arch-viles that will attempt to push you back down the staircase if you give them an inch. I like all the bits of scenery that are there purely for visual flair.

by "Inkie"
It's a map that looks like a Cacodemon on the automap. The layout makes things kind of hard to fight out initially since you have to watch two fronts with less than optimal munitions but the snowball effect makes health the only limiting factor. The outer area is the most fun fight, fending off a cloud of cacos plus skeletons on two ends as you rapidly run about.

MAP08Sheltered Outpost
by "an_mutt"
This is a pretty cool fusion of tech and castle that's full of a lot of nasty, devious scenarios, none more tricksy than the descent into the channel past the yellow key door. It's probably much nicer if you find the secret plasma rifle; I wasn't prescient enough to discover it on my initial run and was pretty well pressured by the glut of aerial monsters, kicked off by some uglies lurking on top of and behind the ramparts. There are a couple of tricks you can perform, the most obvious of which leads to an early combat shotgun which should make your life much easier. 

by "Scypek2"
This is a pretty basic installation map but it has a very cool set piece where you blast your way through a shooting gallery and have to make it past all three waves before you can retreat. It was a nice way to shake up what's otherwise some pretty basic corridor shooting, not that the simulated crawling segment at the opening wasn't a neat cheat. The Hellish area to the south, especially the marble corridor, is gorgeous.

by "Getsu Fune"
I think this might be a shot at SLIGE, but it looks more like something from Chris Klie's repertoire as far as the layout goes. "Sligenous" has no keys but there are a bunch of switches scattered all over the place and you'll need to find them all in order to lower the exit doors. Health and ammo are pretty light starting out but finding some of the secrets should set you up for success, especially the berserk pack and plasma guns. Once you get past the survival segment, the fights are pretty fun, the northwest room being my favorite.

by "Jaws in Space"
Starts out at the bottom of a spiraling canyon and then moves to the upper tier, supposing you can de-thorn that nasty arch-vile. The worst fight is probably the rush of enemies that attacks after you grab the red key, since your opposition comes from a variety of angles. While it's a homely level, the architecture is decent and I like the canyon wall opening up to reveal that ledge of revenants.

MAP12Compound Invasion
by "z0k"
z0k knocks out this cool-looking base level that's been built into some kind of crater-valley naturalistic setting. Combat is claustrophobic all the way, with all of the hard stuff taking place outside the tech towers. The author isn't afraid to flood the map's ground floor with monsters great and small and to tell the truth I get a little tired of clearing new yet fairly undistinguished drip feed hordes as I hit progression milestones. I think the horde with the revenants teleporting in was my favorite, but it's hard to tell. Props for the fairly annoying arch-vile locking down the outside area.

Death DungeonMAP13
by Paul "pcorf" Corfiatis
Paul delivers a tight, gorgeous castle map with a lot of verticality and bunches of monsters. It's got some great set pieces like the exit portal and the pool on the upper tier and the opening is a nasty crossfire with potential for things to go south really fast with the roaming cacodemons and Hell knights stuffed in one of the only available sources of cover. Once you get past the opening, though, the level is pretty breezy, so enjoy the sights as you speed on toward the exit.

MAP14Emerald Gardens
by Justin "Breezep" Kelly
Breeze creates a cool little sewer level that feels something like Eternal Doom meets Plutonia. The map is mostly symmetrical but the author takes care to vary the major fights up so that you aren't bored. I think I prefer the wave with the revenants and demons to the Hell noble battle since it goes by a bit faster. The return battles are more or less just a case of getting the arch-vile to come close to you.

Titan Mining ComplexMAP15
by Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
Walter shows off with this little lunar mining facility, complete with a big fuck-off drill. It's short and for the most part pretty fun. I'm not too enamored of all the monsters crammed into the exit hallway since taking them out is absurdly straightforward, but the two visits to the larger outdoor crater area are nice little crossfires. The end-of-level shocker actually surprised me for once, not that I wasn't able to run.

MAP31A Calm, Yet Frank Discussion of Your Life Choices
by "ClonedPickle"
Pickle's MAP31 looks hastily put together but the gameplay is decent. Most of the difficulty is confined to starting out in the outside area with its myriad commandos with a major teleport wave that repopulates the level with shotgun guy hitscanners in the outer reaches and a huge mess of imps mixed with a few revenants in the key room. Hunting down the secret exit involves a trip through the depths of FIREBLU.

by Alexander "Eternal" S.
This is a very cool level from Russian Doom savant Eternal, drawn perhaps by M2048's resource pack. It's got a very strong sense of height difference with the various battlements and towers and features some very nice gameplay, starting off with the outdoor courtyard with tricky monsters like revenants, commandos, and arch-viles installed at key locations. Some of them will come back as you achieve your goals, and other things (like revenants) will find their way into the playing area to keep it from being a total cakewalk once you have the grounds cleared out. The real challenge is figuring out how to start the puzzle sequence since it isn't the usual location for a switch. Love the final room battle, which pushes a BFG blowout with a Cyberdemon. I also enjoyed playing peek-a-boo with the arch-vile in the library wing.

MAP16Master Plan
by "SFoz911"
And now for something completely different - a stock texture level. It's a pretty cool map with a moat of blood dividing two sides of an installation. The monster placement is pretty exacting on your gameplay, providing cover fire for pretty much every step you take. The nastiest moment is the initial dive into the bloody pit, though you have enough rockets to squander on a surgical strike against the most troublesome monsters, the zombies and arachnotrons. The final battle is a classic "kill all the arch-viles before your invul runs out" scenario amplified by the Spiderdemon, who's been stomping around the entire time.

by "Archi"
Archi delivers this very straightforward slaughtermap. Looks are deceiving, though, and unleashing the outer border of revenants plus Cyberdemons is only the beginning of the anarchy to follow. The entire horde of skeletons can be dealt with mostly by infighting, but the exit - an unavoidable trap - ushers in a wave of arch-viles into what was no doubt your killing floor. You'll need to do some very careful BFG zerging and then cross your fingers for the second wave, which has even more of the little bastards mixed in with a few surprises, albeit with a full complement of megaspheres. Fun stuff.

MAP18Black and Blue
by Michael "Marcaek" Fraize
This is an utter bastard of a level with a really cool color scheme. Marcaek's gameplay is very demanding, with the blue floor providing a source of attrition that you may not realize at first with all of the Hell that breaks loose when you so much as step foot into the blunderdome. As sections open up, unleashing even more monsters, you'll have to suffer through a constant barrage of fireballs from on high, plus an arch-vile you'll be ducking for a good while. It takes a long time to root out your enemies, but it's worth it for moments like the pillar maze to the blue key, which later transforms into an imposing cacodemon delivery system.

The Axe Murderer's DomainMAP19
by Chris Hansen
Chris makes his presence known with this very cool medieval fortress. It's loaded with enemies in a fairly complex layout that will incur a pretty decent travel time as you fully explore the gloaming outpost. Some of the fights are just plain awkward, but I didn't figure out the early rocket launcher until I'd already slain that peanut gallery to the level's north. The southern section's most valuable monsters are the commandos, which for whatever reason turn out to be hard to pluck from their perches. A fun, tricky map.

MAP20Palace of Chaos
by "Plut"
This is a tight, nasty level in the style of a cramped fortress. Plut excels at demanding, trap-oriented gameplay and "Palace" isn't much different. Most of the skirmishes involve navigating a handful of monsters in a tight room and keeping an eye out for hitscanners, but a few get progressively worse if you blitz around without a care. After such a nail-biting opening, it's interesting that the finale seems to be the easiest fight, supposing you don't have any trouble tethering the arch-vile to the gate guardian. Cool level.

by "Tourniquet"
Tourniquet's level is an action-packed cavern full of cascading nukage. After a pretty humdrum opening, the main area has monsters falling from the ceiling to do battle, a pretty neat shock. Another neat touch is the seemingly random assemblage of bricks that form the pillars over to the northwest corner. The main event is an absolute clusterfuck, where enemies of increasing threat are poured into tight quarters, from imps to demons to Hell knights and barons to revenants. And I do mean tight - if you aren't constantly killing stuff you're going to end up being ground into a fine paste. Very pretty, very deadly.

MAP22Crypt of Unsilence
by Sebastian "General Rainbow Bacon" Graham
Like MAP18, this is another level that despises the player. "Crypt" takes the brute-force approach, though, heaping a metric ton of monsters on you with an arch-vile relish sprinkled over the top. For the most part, it's manageable. You can get the Cyberdemon to do a lot of infighting with the Hell knights and then slay the arch-viles while he's indisposed and as grueling as it is the mess of resurrect-enabled enemies waiting just outside the spectre tunnels can be shelled into oblivion with the rocket launcher. The pair of exit guardians are probably pretty simple if you can find the secret BFG.

Abandon All HopeMAP23
by James "Phobus" Cresswell
Phobus delivers, as per usual. "Abandon" is a challenge gauntlet with some neat features like the Cyberdemon aqueduct on the low ground which got me by surprise when a rocket sailed past that loose wall of cacodemons into my face. There's also a moment where he pins you at the top of a staircase with fliers on one side and ground-pounders at the foot of the steps. The true star is the twin Cyberdemon finale, where you desperately try to kill one so that you can keep a clear head. The library is another nice area, even if the combat isn't as memorable apart from a series of intruders onto the central block.

MAP24Canyon Village
by Ilya "joe-ilya" Lazarev
Joe's level feels more like a limited linedef project entry given the way he's reusing the space of the canyon walls. "Canyon Village" is a plasma rifle blastathon that weaves in and out of the fun zone when you have to account for monsters coming through multiple ravines. The rest of the time is just hosing lines of enemies down with your ample firepower, dodging the occasional revenant rocket. The setup makes the only interior section deadly dull. I think the KEY sign is a cute touch.

Heat MiserMAP25
by Steve Duff
Duff kicks out a batshit insane death arena that starts out with a tough to navigate four-way Cyberdemon crossfire and quickly veers into ludicrous territory when an enormous cloud of cacos advances from the north to blanket the land. It felt like an untenable position but if you play your cards right you can get all four Cyberdemons engaged in cacoswatting and then hold out in the little office on the ramparts. It got me most of the way there, at least. Killing the handful of viles that teleports in when you grab the blue key will be the final sting in a very challenging level.

MAP26Unfair and Square
by Matthew "cannonball" Powell
This is basically a deadly obstacle course. Since it's only about fifty enemies, it doesn't take long to figure out the moving parts, but you've still got to out-perform the monsters if you want to make it to the finish line. Running across the poles with possible mancubus fireballs headed your way is one of the potential hang-ups, and is part of the trickiest section apart from just killing enough enemies to get some breathing room.

Balls on FireMAP27
by "Corsair"
Corsair gets an initial shock from the enormous ring of monsters that surrounds the playing field but they are just an obstacle that seeks to keep you moving frantically from station to station. Once you breach the threshold near the exit, a metric ton of crushers will descend to eliminate the outermost reaches, leaving you with the mop-up job on the lowest tier. The actual meat of the level is pretty simple; do some feats of dexterity to grab the blue and yellow keys to unlock the exit and then best the Cyberdemon. I like the rocket ramp to the blue key area; the baron comes as a nice surprise.

MAP28Cold Seep
by "dobu gabu maru"
dobu puts the Eternal Doom resources through their paces with this dense little stronghold. It's full of nasty claustrophobic fights, the tone set with the opening Cyberdemon among all the other monsters that are waiting for you in the starting area. You can eventually swing things your way if you hold out for a big pack of barons and Hell knights but you've still got a long way to go, including a trip through the wondrous blue of eternity cleverly disguised by a bunch of silent teleports in the map's empty spaces, plus a nasty congestion battle on an Eternal Doom dance floor where you'll find the artifact to be smashed.

Imago MortisMAP29
by "Demonologist"
The last normal map is, again, an unrelenting blood tornado that leaves you with little reprieve. "Imago" takes place in the void outside of time, and if the opening clusterfuck with revenant-baiting SSG antics doesn't clue you in, you may realize it during the imp / demon pincer attack, where you must avoid blowing your rockets on the wrong monsters. Or maybe it's the little crowd of Hell knights that keeps you pinned down on the platform while revenants rain down rockets from afar. The first Cyberdemon fight is pretty easy to figure out, I'll admit. The second, however, will be a bit complicated if you leave the first one alive, though he might come in handy for the end-of-level revenant / arch-vile horde madness. Very exhausting, but satisfying when finished.

MAP30Bloodstained Glass
by "Obsidian"
Obsidian tackles an unusual theme, here, emphasizing brick and stained glass for a neat dynamic that takes place in the void. It's still a little grid 64 for my blood, but the action is very exacting, with a couple of nasty traps on your way to the final boss arena, one of which involves a handful of arch-viles. It took me a couple of tries to realize how to slay the boss, but if you can figure it out, you should have him dead posthaste.


by "Rublev"
Rublev's outtake looks decent enough. There isn't enough eye candy to really justify it as an adventure map, though, and since your only opposition comes in the form of three revenants and two archviles, none of which can really hurt you, the overall feel is of something unfinished.

MAP3499 Red Balloons
by Matthew "cannonball" Powell
A cheeky joke dovetailing Nena with the horde of cacodemons that is this level's major hook. The actual combat is a switch-fed series of teleport ambushes in a wide-open arena. Infighting can do a lot of work for you but if you let the cacos bunch up in the center you'll have to do some crowdshaping to free up the switch alcove of your choice. The only thing that really scares me is the squad of viles that emerge as the map's finale.

by Ilya "joe-ilya" Lazarev
Starts out feeling like a "MYHOUSE.WAD" but turns into a stab at horror with the pitch black and the suddenly appearing / disappearing baron. You're waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it eventually does, but you can just run on through to the window... or lure all the monsters out into the main chamber so that you can snag the hidden combat shotgun and slay them all. It's too rough to compare to the rest of the PWAD but as a fragment of an idea it kind of works.

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. FYI: ChaingunnerX = Chaingunner from the Russian community

    1. oh, cool! good to know. the master author list has been consolidated accordingly

  2. The quality of this is pretty variable but there's probably something for everyone (along with a few duds). It's good to see so many authors participate. If you don't like a map, the next one is probably different.

  3. Thanks for another positive view on my maps kmx e xii - do you fancy taking on any of my solo efforts to see if my work measures up when not part of a larger project? I'd recommend E2MWalter or Big Woodchip, as they're recent!

    I've been keeping up with your reviews since leaving Doomworld - they make for good reading on breaks at work.


    1. I would definitely not mind playing your solo maps, but my usual MO is to start from the beginning and work my way forward... When I can. I'll definitely give E2MWalter and Big Woodchip a shot