Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Zen Dynamics (ZENDYN_X.WAD)


I don't know much about the progression of the ZDoom modding scene. I do know that early works like Tei Tenga and Hell Factory are lauded as being watersheds of things like hubmaps and cutscenes, and I also know that Xaser's Zen Dynamics is heralded as the progenitor of most modern weapon mods in one way or another. Released in 2005 (with an update in 2006 making some major changes and adding a level), Xaser replaced every weapon in the Doom arsenal and added a few more just to give you something to think about as well as threw in a ton of new enemies for you to ponder on. At a modest ten maps, you get something of the feel of how these things change gameplay, as well as what the ZDoom engine was capable of at the time.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Indespensible T_DUNNxx.WAD Series - For Heretic (T_DUNN03.WAD)

THE INDISPENSIBLE
T_DUNNxx.WAD SERIES
- FOR HERETIC

by Travers and Alister Dunne


Travers Dunne has had a long mapping career; his T_DUNNxx.WAD Series encapsulates the various scraps of his work from 1994-7. The Definitive T_DUNN01 was for Doom, and the Authoritative T_DUNN02 was for Doom II. Interestingly enough, T_DUNN03 isn't for Final Doom or any of that, but for Heretic. Yes, Travers Dunne has a Heretic level to his name, and he even preferred it to his Doom levels from around the same timeframe! T_DUNN03 is a single map in the E1M1 slot that has no real attached story beyond Travers bemoaning the fact that he couldn't stay interested enough with Heretic mapping to make any more levels.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Authoritative T_DUNNxx.WAD Series - For Doom 2 (T_DUNN02.WAD)


Travers Dunne gathered up his scraps up to his '97 work and sent them off to the archives in three separate packages, presumably washing his hands of them and moving on to such projects as The Darkening E1 and The Classic Episode. Where he described his early Doom levels as "Definitive", his Doom II levels are "Authoritative", making this The Authoritative T_DUNNxx.WAD Series. Like Definitive, Dunne's levels fit into several different slot sections, so they're kind of spread out. Here, you've got MAP01-07, 17, and 21-24, for a grand total of 13 Doom II levels to suffer through. As before, I'm ignoring the pure deathmatch maps (MAP18 and 32).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

RCK2 (RCK2.WAD)

RCK2
by Rich "CROW" Kyanka


Almost anyone who could get their hands on an editor made a map for Doom back in '94. Some of the outpouring vanished into the ether, never to be archived, while other works are being diligently reuploaded as the opportunity comes. This is RCK2, a level for the original Doom made by none other than Rich Kyanka, aka Something Awful's Lowtax. It's not his first level - that honor belonging to RCK.WAD - but it's a pretty early Doom level. MISSION1 is the only Kyanka level not available in any capacity I'm aware of. If you have it, it'd be interesting to check it out. In spite of being the second level he made, it occupies the E1M1 slot.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Robot Junkyard Workshop's Doom Pack (RJWDP.WAD)


Nick Baker wants you to be certain of one thing - he isn't the same Nick Baker as NiGHTMARE. Also known as Robot Junkyard (Workshop, I guess), he published his debut nine-map episode / Doom Pack for Doom II in early 2014. While it is theoretically compatible with vanilla, RJW only tested it in ZDoom, and that's what I played it in, so I can't speak as to the existence of any of the typical ZDoom follies. His notes suggest using a limit-removing port at the least, but if you want all the bells and whistles you'll need something capable of processing MAPINFO lumps, or else you'll miss out on the rearranged skies and music files.

Friday, July 18, 2014

RCK (RCK.WAD)

RCK
by Rich "CROW" Kyanka


1994 marked the beginning of Doom's stone age, an era where pretty much everyone was just stoked that they could make a Doom level and upload it for the rest of the world to enjoy. Standards eventually improved and tools became more sophisticated so that it's pretty rare, now, to see something like a '94 level appear on the /idgames archive without the author asserting zero effort or deliberately trolling people. RCK, though, is sheer '94 enthusiasm, and from Rich Kyanka, to boot. You might now him better as Lowtax, the Something Awful guru. Back in '94, he went by CROW, a paean to what was undoubtedly one of his favorite programs, Mystery Science Theater 3000. In spite of being his first level, it's set in the E1M4 slot. I think this usually meant that the author preferred its music?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Definitive T_DUNNxx.WAD Series - For Doom (T_DUNN01.WAD)


Travers Dunne has done a lot of mapping for several different eras of Doom. The T_DUNNxx.WAD Series compiles his Doom, Doom II and Heretic levels, with a timestamp circa '97. I'm not sure why he opted to package his stuff together and release it in this format; it almost looks like a scraps and oddities release at the tail end of his mapping career. This one, The Definitive T_DUNNxx.WAD, is for the original Doom, with the levels spanning arbitrary map slots - E1M3, E2M2-M5, M7, and M9. E2M9 is actually a deathmatch map - I'm not covering it here. Oh, these works also list Alister Dunne as a co-author. Probably his brother?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Odessa Series


as featured in Super Serials

ODESSA_1ODESSA_2ODESSA_3ODESSA_6
ODESSA_7ODESSA_9ODESSA11ODESSA12
ODESS_13ODESSA14
SiluresExcalibur

As I mention in the beginning of my review for the first Odessa map, it feels weird to be able to write this article. I've joked about it several times, but I didn't seriously think that I'd ever be in a position to play the rest of the (released) Odessa series. And, yet, here I am, and while it's not exactly what I expected, I'm happy to have experienced them all the same. For a long time, these levels were effectively banned from redistribution, as all of them had a clause restricting them to Compuserve. Eventually, the service changed its scope and with it went the entire user PWAD archive. The only way you could play any of the Odessa levels besides ODESSA14 was, funnily enough, via the shovelware PWAD scrapes that Evans's clause was meant to hinder. Any discussion of them inevitably led to heated exchanges on Doomworld, where authorial intent is followed to the letter.

Odessa 13: Anaxis Courtyard (ODESS_13.WAD)

ODESSA 13
"ANAXIS COURTYARD"
by Bob "Odessa" Evans


Bob Evans was making LORDDOOM, a seventeen-map megaWAD showcasing his own tastes, when he began releasing individual selections to get a feel for his impending reception. LORDDOOM was never finished, though, and those maps that were released would have fallen into the abyss of time were it not for Bob Evans's return to the community. It's a community that has grown less receptive to the ball-busting puzzle play his style espouses, but some of us are still quite happy to have our brains picked. Odessa 13 comes in at a pretty late number compared to the rest of the series, but if I'm not mistaken, it was the first map he released after Odessa 1. For that reason, there isn't much of a plot; Evans spends more time discussing the fact that there is, of course, a courtyard. There's a bit more to it than that, though.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Odessa 12: Chambers (ODESSA12.WAD)

ODESSA 12
"CHAMBERS"
by Bob "Odessa" Evans


If you've been following along, you know the drill, but here's the skinny for those just dropping in. Bob Evans released most of his Odessa series back in 1995 as single levels for Doom II, then contributed the most diabolical levels of Eternal Doom, finally kicking out Odessa 14 before disappearing off the face of the earth. In the interim, Compuserve - the sole host allowed to keep the '95 maps - died, thus creating a situation where the only place you could find any of them was via the very shovelware discs his restrictive distribution clause was designed to prevent. Thankfully, Evans came back to Doom, re-releasing his stuff so that I can now tell you about Odessa 12. After clearing out the underground bunker from Odessa 11, you move on to this, a silent complex housing a torture chamber where the aliens are tormenting your fellow soldiers. Of course, it falls to you alone to wipe them out.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Monster Hunter Ltd (Part 2) (MOHU2.WAD)

MONSTER HUNTER LTD
PART 2
by "Didy"


Didy published the first part of Monster Hunter Ltd in late March of 2014, and then after a grace period of about a month (maybe to make sure everything worked right since both maps were meant to be part of one great big level), he uploaded the inevitable Part 2. The first part detailed your actions as part of the company, Monster Hunter Ltd, which operates in a post-apocalyptic world where monsters now / still dominate the Earth. In the previous installment, you were tasked to retrieve a... highly valuable painting from what appeared to be an industrial complex. After returning home, you fall asleep, only to find that the demons have encroached in the morning, starting out with wrecking up your place. Being a Monster Hunter is never easy!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Monster Hunter Ltd (Part 1) (MOHU1.WAD)

MONSTER HUNTER LTD
PART 1
by "Didy"


Every now and then a kickass Doom release sneaks under the radar because the author just uploaded it to /idgames with virtually zero hype. Monster Hunter LTD is one of those projects, what was once a huge Boom map that got split in two because of technical constraints. Whether the narrative depends on any context to Doom II is anyone's guess. Basically, the world is in some post-apocalyptic state and monsters now (or still) dominate most of it. You're part of a company, Monster Hunter Ltd, who apparently functions as a mercenary organization that does things in the infested parts of the world. In Part 1, you're tasked to retrieve a valuable piece of art, which you've tracked to an industrial complex. If the monsters did in fact steal the painting, the "why" isn't really elaborated on, but that's fine because any excuse is a good excuse to go kicking demon ass.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Chapel of Chaos (CHACHOS.WAD)

CHAPEL OF CHAOS
by Chris "Mr. Chris" Pisarczyk
and Joonas "Jodwin" Äijälä


Chapel of Chaos is a MAP21 replacement for Doom II, to be played in Boom-compatible ports. It's also a collaboration between Chris and Jodwin, though who did what, I don't know. What I can tell you is that Chris lists himself as an "Oblige RMG participant", which kind of puts me on edge, but I'm sure either author (or the tester, SuperJamie) can shed some light on the situation. The map actually has a plot, but it's pretty simple and presumably fits right into the Doom II storyline in place of "Nirvana". You arrive in Hell and first encounter an enormous, infernal chapel, a bastion used as a staging point for the invasion of Earth... or perhaps Hell's first line of defense? In any case, you have to clear the stinking fortress before you can move on.