Sunday, July 12, 2015

32in24-14: How the Hamburglar Stole Christmas (32IN2414.WAD)

32in24 is a Doomworld community institution, an event where participants make as many multiplayer levels as possible in a very short timeframe. Recent iterations of the proceedings have given the participants time to polish and punch-up their contributions. 32in24 doesn't really tread on the singleplayer / co-op side of things; Diet 32in24 has gone down as an interesting experiment but I've rarely seen it talked up, and it seemed that it would remain the only foray into demonslaying that we would get. Then, of course, there came 32in24-14: How the Hamburglar Stole Christmas. The rest, as they say, is robble robble. This is a 42 (!) level megaWAD of Boom-compatible levels, but if you want to mess around with the bonus levels, you'll need something that can play beyond the usual limit. MAPINFO is recommended as the other stuff is set up in its own special episode.

32in24-14 has a comedic acid trip for a story, in fitting with 32in24's current fixation on food... and burgers. The absolute masters of foodstuffs, primed by an exhaustive research into Scottish culinary arts and cattle breeding, produced the ultimate burger as an act of redemption for the Thanksgiving tragedy documented in 32in24-13: A Thanksgiving Without Burgers. Of course, there wouldn't be a story without a conflict, and this one comes in the form of the nefarious Hamburglar, who couldn't resist such a lure. Thankfully, the decoy sandwiches filled the rogue's gut before he could eat it all, and the rest were shipped to his hideout for research and, we assume, inevitable consumption.

As a megaWAD, 32in24-14 is in line with most community projects. The things tying it together are 1) the 24-hour period for map creation, which makes most of these entries fall on the shorter side of things; 2) the texture pack, which is some fantastic fusion of multi-colored techbase, Gothic, Egyptian, and winter; and 3) participants could use any portion of a previous level in order to build their level. The third was kind of hard to pick out at first. I had my suspicions, but without actually looking through the history of 32in24, I wouldn't have actually known until encountering enormous 32in24 Frankensteins like nub_hat's MAP38 and Dusk's MAP41.

I was kind of dreading playing this, because my expectation was a selection of 42 unremarkable, undistinguished levels. Thankfully, this was far from being the case. A good number of authors took some big risks with gameplay and they help to break up what is otherwise some perfectly serviceable level design. Obsidian's level has enemies frozen in ice, and every step of progression frees up cacodemons in addition to some minor benefits on the player's side, turning things into a survival nightmare. The Mionic Donut provides the token Tyson level along with some of the more tasteful multiplayer Frankensteins. jmickle's "Chrismrace Challengemas" blows by so fast I was left wanting more. Heck; Dusk's secret level has fluids that switch properties and colors like an LSD trip, going from least to most damaging in a matter of seconds. Kassap's MAP28 is one of craziest "normal" levels, featuring extreme vertical height variation in a small space and invisible wall mazes that will no doubt frustrate many players.

The "normal" levels are still anything but what I'd expect from a selection of maps bearing the 32in24 moniker. Xaser and Mechadon provide the largest and in some ways most complex levels of the set. Tropiano and Jimmy show off with a decidedly Plutonia-esque flair while Tango plays with wide, open spaces bred for casual slaughter. Skillsaw does what he does best in an intense, action-packed level riddled with teleport ambushes; Stewboy's outing has the same sense of action, but with an entirely different setting and pacing that ends in a surreal journey. Esselfortium channels supreme difficulty in a gorgeous map with barely a safehouse to be found.

Some of these authors go for short and violent morsels. Marcaek goes grimy and gloomy with a pretty punchy but ultimately forgiving level. Breezep's map is exceptionally harrowing for its short duration, as is RottKing's with its Cyberdemon overwatch. NoneeLlama, JCD, and Gothic have moments of demanding action surrounded by lighter fare. Tib's obsession is Egyptian, with some nice layouts to match, and Wartorn works in the "surge" style that propels the player forward in search of guns and ammo. FranckFRAG and Walter Confalonieri feel pretty light in comparison. AlexMax stitches a couple of multiplayer maps together for some fun and fast action. Zakurum has the only big, super-cramped base level, which might be a tad bit more fun to clear if it wasn't so mired in the Hell Revealed II style of packing the level with high-HP but fairly ineffective meat. Conversely, Shadow Hog's doesn't do a whole lot with a lot of the space that it has, excepting the finale.

As for the bonus maps, it's abundantly why these didn't make it to the main lineup, though they're mostly all playable. Some of these levels are cute, but lack substance, or are pretty rough. A few are, again, stitched together multiplayer maps with little care spent toward making them anything more than glorified corridors haphazardly populated by monsters. And then, there's MAP42, but you don't need to hear about that. I can't say that I find any fault with the choices made by the compilers. It's a festive Christmas megaWAD that would almost be fit to dethrone H2H-Xmas... But I'm still holding out for something with just a little more holiday cheer.

by assorted authors


The Krusty Krab Kwanzaa KaperMAP01
by "Wartorn"
"Frozen Egypt" is already an odd aesthetic, but it's a refreshing take on the winter texture scheme, which is usually trapped in rock and ice. There isn't enough ammo to sit and take out every enemy in the spiral, so I recommend taking out the hitscanners and then rushing ahead, picking off the zombies, until you make it to the box of shells. Then you can ease up. Once you get past the spiral it's pretty standard ruins clearing with a combat shotgun for your troubles. The final room has the most fun, with several staged revenants, plus the obligatory SS Nazi. Watch out for Pinhead Larry.

MAP02Santa's Got the Shotgun
by Matt Tropiano
A perfectly serviceable Plutonic outpost with several yards gated off by wooden palisades. The hills are thick with revenants - and arch-viles - making this a pretty big step up in difficulty. All the ammo and weapons are found in the thick of it, forcing you to wake up the monsters and then deal with your decision if you want make it out alive. They're all pretty big upgrades, but you can kind of cheat the rocket launcher by running back around to the first gate you came across and punching through the arachnotrons so that you're not constantly standing under revenant fire. Not that you'll want to do this if you can find the invul sphere. Most of the level's hatred is focused in the combat shotgun area, which also comes with a wicked cool cascade.

Jewish Space Lizard Counter-Christmas StrongholdMAP03
by "Tib"
This is a pretty straightforward Egyptian ruins level with a neat layout. The difficulty is a little heavy with the weight toward hitscanners and all the barons and other powerful guys running around when you're barely fielding the shotgun, but once you make it outside you'll get a combat shotgun to ease your woes, and there's a rocket launcher a little later on... but getting in to the setup is kind of nasty, especially when you've got to deal with a few zombies, an arachnotron, and an arch-vile as a sleeper. Love the layout.

MAP04Krampus Academy
by Norbert "NoneeLlama" David
Another medium-size ruins map, but there is an injection of Hellish marble and FIREBLU in other parts of the level. Nonee uses a lot of high HP enemies but makes things easy on the player with an early SSG pickup. The rocket launcher cavern is a little treacherous, but the resistance that arrives is only alarming if you've let your precious health dwindle. There's also a plasma rifle and enough ammo to feel comfortable using it. The teleporting arch-vile at the end is a nice scare, even if he's pretty much completely ineffectual.

Belligerent Bauble BastionMAP05
by "Obsidian"
This is a wintry techbase in Obsidian's particular "married to the grid" style. The main gimmick is that many of the monsters are trapped in ice and the switches you hit free them from their frozen prison, It's got some pretty tough monster placement; the belligerent baubles are cacodemons, of course, and when you're packing the shotgun they're nasty ammo sinks. Toward the end of the map, you'll have to evade an arch-vile while skidding around on ice, and the smart move is to run back to the rocket launcher that I guessed had been freed up and then using it to off archie before he revived too many gasbags. The Cyberdemon / cacodemon fight is a neat setup but kind of awkward at first, and the regular shotgun is a pretty poor weapon to finish him off with, but ducking aside and watching those rockets just fly into the cloud is pretty satisfying.

MAP06Christmas on Deimos
by Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
This is a short, little slice of Deimos from Walter. It's mostly Doom monsters but there are a couple of revenants and chaingunners in there to mix things up. The beginning puts some nice pressure on the player, pinning them between a wall of shotgunners and demons, after which it turns into slow shotgunning some meaty monsters (cacodemons) to death. The imps / zombies aren't as bad and you get a rocket launcher for the inevitable showdown with a baron.

Cold CoffeeMAP07
by James "Jimmy" Paddock
A very cool base level with filthy, coffee-stained water. Outside of the exit room, it's pretty straightforward, with a lack of nasty ambushes. The finale more than makes up for it, though, since there's not nearly enough rockets to shell the horde into oblivion. You're better off luring the arch-viles outside, where they will expose themselves on the high ground, and then blasting them from the safety of the java. There are a lot of directions to go at first, which adds some mystery as you poke around at the resistance and look for some weapons.

MAP08Your Subscription to Egyptian Addiction, CE
by "Tib"
Another Egyptian level from Tib. This one is a bit shorter / compact, but it's got a neat hook that raises a bridge from a vantage point you might have explored earlier to the red key, after which is a short trip to the exit. All of the hitscanners make things pretty deadly but there's a bunch of health around. You will have to shotgun down two Hell knights and a baron, which is slow going, but at 45 monsters it blows by pretty quickly.

I'm Dreaming of an Orange Christmas (In Space)MAP09
by "Breezeep"
A fast and furious space level with orange fringe. The opening is pretty nasty, throwing three unassuming zombimen as a roadblock when the lion's den lies right beyond. You'll want to dart in and grab the combat shotgun, with which you'll do all of your work, but that involves fighting off revenants, arachnotrons, and pain elementals once you've got your prize, with a handicap of whatever the shotgun guys managed to chip off. The blue key area is a little simpler, even more so depending on which route you take. The exit room is just chock full of revenants, which is - all told - a pretty classic encounter compared to what you've just been through. Fun stuff.

MAP10Hey Guys Romero Actually Showed Up This Time
by Michael "Marcaek" Fraize
A short, grimy map from Marcaek. This level isn't quite as brutal as what I've come to expect, but the author is still one to make you run for some actual decent weaponry rather than give you something usable off the bat. It isn't that tough to grab the combat shotgun, since you'll have all the arch-vile cover you need, but once you have it, you'll have to tango with a number of beasties and even more archies. The plasma gun comes with a pretty cool shootout. And, hey, you even get Romero's head without the boss shooter!

Chapel of ChristmasMAP11
by Alican John "Tango" Oksasoglu
A cool, engaging level from Tango. It's got the feel of his silky smooth layouts but a sense of scale that feels more appropriate for Hell Revealed. The outdoor areas are full of snipers, be they arachnotrons or mancubuses, and Tango is pretty good at putting pressure on the player in strange scenarios. I really like the fight with the gaps to the west, which sections off the platforms preventing the monsters from just swarming you but eliminating some of their predictability since they're playing zone defense. The northeastern section's layout, which includes heavies on the ground and two arch-viles in the air, is another fantastic moment of testing player maneuverability and spatial awareness. Very nice!

MAP12A Very Tyson Christmas
by "The Mionic Donut"
This is a relatively humble little base level with a strong bent toward Tyson-style gameplay. The vast majority of the work will be done with the chainsaw, so I hope you're up for jousting. Three of the level's switches lower the chaingun pedestal until you can grab it while the other one grants access to the blue key. The chaingun is essential to slay the mancubuses; I mean, you could use your pistol for the job, but the former will be so much faster. There's some wiggle room in the bullet department, but I think that you'll have to chainsaw at least one of those cacodemons, or at the very least engineer some infighting.

Reindeer ProcessorMAP13
by James "Jimmy" Paddock
Jimmy belts out a solid Plutonia map that has plenty of places to go at the onset, even if every square inch is controlled by snipers of all kinds. The first order of business will be to grab the combat shotgun, which is available pretty quickly and will make most of the level go smoothly supposing you don't squander every health pickup by catching bullets, fireballs, and rockets in the back of the head like I did. The rocket launcher is also available early, but there are some encounters that it's better saved for. There's even an optional leg requiring a yellow key that grants a blue armor and a soul sphere. The exit area has some neat encounter dynamics going on; I knew it was trapped, but the actual reveal is pretty cool. A fun, frantic level.

MAP14Grilled Mormons
by "Gothic"
Gothic takes things in a bit of a different direction. That is, an undeniably gothic direction. This is a charming little section of snowbound fortress, opening with an encounter that's basically just a giant horde of demons and imps. After that, three Hell knights in front of the red key door. About partway through I guessed that there was probably something better than the regular shotgun lying around and after surging forward grabbed the combat shotgun and went to work. The action picks up, then, attempting to sandwich you between a pack of demons and a handful of revenants, and getting even trickier when you put your newfound blue key to use in an arch-vile / skeleton / pillar scenario. The rest of the level is more slow meat, so enjoy the panic while it lasts. Cool castle.

Buntaluffigus Mountain and Generic Caps (also, Baby Jesus)MAP15
by "The Mionic Donut"
This is a pretty hard-hitting colorful base level with an obligatory crate storage area and a Hellish outdoor leg. The layout gives you plenty of move to room in, which you'll need, considering all the heavies that TMD has used to populate the level. Most of the action is pretty straightforward but it feels like revenants are trick shooters, here. Once you grab the blue key, you usher in a new wave of Hellspawn that's just dying to get at you. The mixed packs are vulnerable to rocket suppression and infighting, but it helps that they come from two different directions. The outdoor area would normally be a nightmare to navigate, but the BFG makes things pretty simple provided you have an assault path in mind. The secret exit is opened via a series of timed triggers you'll have to activate in quick succession. The automap is the key.

MAP31How Santa Claus Screwed Up Keycard Valley's Water Supply
by "Dusk"
A pretty harsh secret level from Dusk with a very memorable gimmick. Keycard Valley's water supply switches between blue, green, red, and lava, most of which will damage you. Your end goal is to un-fuck the water supply by acquiring a yellow key, but doing so involves running several gauntlets worth of total chaos enemy placement, like balancing your attention between the pain elemental / cacodemon crowds or the big show when the Egyptian ruins spring up and the arch-viles burst forth. There's an alternate path to the exit that lets you skip some of that stuff, but you'll be depending on your rad suit holding out against a bunch of demon road blocks and a final assault of pain elementals and arch-viles. The secret exit is a setup I've never seen before, and I think it's pretty clever, if a bastard to figure out.

Jingle HellMAP32
by Alican John "Tango" Oksasoglu
A very cool green and red slaughtermap from Tango. Most of the action is based around a courtyard with Cyberdemon overseers, but you get some cool clusterfuck fights like the teleportation chamber to the north and the very cool arch-vile / demon pincer attack in the northwestern chamber, which has triggered columns that will mess most players up the first time they hit it. The finale is just a big ol' brawl that's best handled with some infighting orchestrated from a safe vantage point.

MAP16Chrismrace Challengemas
by "jmickle"
A very cool switch-up from jmickle. This level uses scrolling floors to "race" you through three different tracks, each one with their own particular obstacles. The first one is easy to just blow through, though if you miss the jump, you'll end up battling an arch-vile. The second punishes you with a couple of revenants if you fail at a bamboo pole turn. The third is the main event, an infinite loop bordered by pockets of revenants and imps and some even on the track with you. The goal is to shoot out the skull switch targets, which opens up the exit. A great concept; I'd play more of these.

Let it SnowMAP17
by JC Dorne
JCD offers up a solid little outing to a bittersweet melody. It's got kind of a Gothic fortress look and has a few nasty fights. Most of the action is in the southwest chamber, which has a bunch of hitscanners to start with and is then invaded by a bunch of imps, a few revenants, and a mixed pack of cacodemons plus one pain elemental. The outdoors has some spread out mancubuses on ice, which is kind of annoying to navigate, and ends in a battle against two Cyberdemons. Things are slippery, and there isn't enough cell ammo to really finish the job, so you'll have to make a run for the Christmas presents in the back which will give you what you need.

MAP18Assault on Mount Crumpet
by "The Mionic Donut"
Another base level from TMD, but it's got a neat little outdoor area that adjoins the indoor sections. The northwestern section is a cool track of staircases and floors that surrounds a Cyberdemon that is a source of pressure while you clear the outer ring. If you kill him, you get a soul sphere! The eastern area has a decent damage floor gimmick and an arch-vile balcony that serves as its main agitator. The finale room has another Cyberdemon and a Spiderdemon, though not necessarily in that order. It's the least interesting of the areas since it's just big mixed teleporter hordes, but diligent players will find an atomic rooster tucked away in the periphery.

Violent Night, Holy ShiteMAP19
by Paul "Skillsaw" DeBruyne
A very cool level from Skillsaw. The emphasis on the bright white of the snowy landscape contrasted against the ruins you fight through brings to mind his Lunatic. The outdoors areas are locked down by arachnotron and mancubus snipers and the interiors subject you to tiered teleport ambushes that excel at putting pressure on the player. The plasma rifle lake, for instance, conjures forth an army of revenants that blocks off the now rising staircase, and the rocket launcher fight soon after dumps demon and Hell knight meat that you'll really just want to punch through and jump back into the lake. The elevator stuff in the northeastern section has a fun and frantic melee with two arch-viles and teleporting lost souls to dissuade you from just spamming rockets. The red key fight isn't as interesting from a numbers point of view, but the terraced landscape plus spread out skeletons makes for a tricky dance.

MAP20Air Jordan
by Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso
Essel provides is with this very gorgeous and crushingly oppressive level. Snipers oversee just about every aspect of the experience and many of the outdoor guys will be sticking around for a long time. The arch-vile nest will be one of the worst thorns, but an early rocket launcher will give you what you need to root them out. Just don't squander them all. The northwestern area with the tower is one of my favorite bits, though the Hell knight passage is almost beyond the pale. The upper tier that immediately follows is a bit of a nightmare. Killing the arch-vile as soon as possible is an absolute must or you'll have to cede ground and figure out a less annoying way of dealing with all the fliers that want to drop down the elevator shaft. I think the imp / vile room is pretty clever, too.

One Flew Over the Reindeer's NestMAP21
by Stuart "Stewboy" Rynn
Stewboy takes things in a surreal direction with this multi-colored, static-painted nightmare. Rynn submits you to a variety of encounters that twist you into uncomfortable positions. Many of them are weighted toward revenants and arch-viles, which will polarize players, but Rynn is pretty inventive in the battle layouts. The nastiest of them grants you an invul sphere, but you'll have to lure them away without succumbing to rockets on the ground or fire from above and then sprint past. You'll still get knocked around like a ragdoll, but if you position yourself right, you can get blown into a computer panel that greatly simplifies things. One of the encounters even has a safe house that you can hide in, though you'll probably have to sneak out if you want to kill the archies in any reasonable timeframe. The outro is fantastic.

MAP22Rockets on the Fir Tree
by Franck "franckFRAG" Livolant
A minor echo of franckFRAG's Swift Death style. It's lacking most of the punch since it's weighted toward Doom II trash enemies but there are a few surprises to contend with, the main one being the cycling lift that reveals a considerable number of skeletons. The rest of the stuff you should be more than prepared for, though the arrangement of the red key battle might catch you off-guard.

Walken in a Winter WonderlandMAP23
by "Shadow Hog"
It's a long way to go for a Christopher Walken pun. The level is kind of annoying in its huge scale opening with little to show for it except for a lot of imps and other Doom II trash monsters to shotgun / chaingun down. It's great to get the combat shotgun in hand once you hit the sewers, and the action kind of picks up, but then it's on to a big hedge maze where the biggest thrill is picking out the lost souls as they flagrantly disregard the labyrinth to see to you post haste. The circular arena that makes up the penultimate battle is one of the most dangerous, mostly because there are commandos lurking around pillars, revenants at the far end, and tons of enemies shuffling around in an unpredictable fashion, waiting to take a bite out of your butt.

MAP24All I Want For Christmas is a Masterbowl
by "AlexMax"
A short blastathon in two parts from AlexMax. I recognize the outdoor area you start in as the final segment of MAP15. It's still a clusterfuck, but the enemy placement is quite forgiving. It can get a little grindy due to the sheer amount of meat that arrives when you're pinned down in the SSG bunker, but it's pretty easy to weather. The second area is more claustrophobic since you have to thin some of the beasties out in order to keep a move on, with a handful of mancubuses spread around as area hogs. It's a very fast play, though, and pretty fun.

Winterfresh Gum DictatorshipMAP25
by Matt "RottKing" Cibulas
RottKing gives us a level that's pretty rough on the player. It's kind of a fortress layout that starts in the very center before the walls come down, revealing among other things a pair of Cyberdemons that will hound you through most of the level. There is no easy out when killing these guys; you'll have to slowly chip them down through a combination of rockets, shells, bullets, and what little infighting you can scrounge up. They add a lot of pressure on the player, though, which you get a mild relief from when you go up topside. I'm not entirely fond of taking down two Cyberdemons the slow way, but it serves as a pretty strong gimmick.

MAP26A Very Patrick Swayze Christmas
by "Zakurum"
A long, dense, winter-bound base map that's gloaming with high-HP monsters.The author is fond of placing arch-viles in corridors of slaughter, or at least, it seems that way. Cramped rooms give way to revenant invasions that will have you backpedaling for some space. Thankfully, Zakurum isn't big on completely flooding entire areas. I like the presentation; it's got more of a Doom-realism thing going on which distances it from some of the more abstract levels. It also ends in a four Cyberdemon showdown that's mostly spamming plasma ammo. Watch out for some silly secrets.

No Festivus For the LivingMAP27
by Xaser Acheron
Well, uh, I knew that this level had a good chance of bearing Xaser's iconic, circular architecture, but I had no idea it would be this big. "Festivus" has the grand scale of an enormous slaughtermap, but tends toward something more slaughter-lite. It's not big on teleport ambushes, just tons of enemies installed on ledges in the various caverns that you fight through. Both of the big teleport fights are almost exclusively demons, augmented with pre-existing beasties. I like the second, located in the half-circle staircase to the northeast, but the real action is in the first cavern you explore, which has the sky for a floor and a giant yin-yang that floats below. The various homogeneous monster packs (well, they start out homogeneous) force you to make your own real estate and there's a Cyberdemon overseer you'll have to watch out for. It also has a great, frantic finale with Spiderdemons and caverns filled with cacodemons and revenants, a true blue BFG frenzy. Exploring is fun and most of the fighting you'll do is done with the rocket launcher, an interesting twist. Fantastic map, featuring an enormous Festivus pole.

MAP28Christmas Eve in the Pie in the Sky Diner
by Chris "lupinx-Kassman" Kassap
Christmas desserts floating in the infinite. This is a tough, bite-sized level that would feel right at home in Kassap's Nebula series. The height variation and exposure combine to make a challenging layout where you must consider every sniper / turret, dispatching each systematically so as to risk as little exposure to yourself as possible. You're just about done once you make it to the outer ring, but you have one big pitfall ahead of you, a showdown with a Cyberdemon in a cramped, invisible maze. Making it to the BFG and then surviving long enough to spam and weave it to death is going to be tricky. Cute and cruel.

by Brett "Mechadon" Harrell
A harsh, winter wonderland. This is a complex base level that starts out pretty constrained, but as you move around and flip switches, it rapidly opens up until you have just as much mobility as your loathsome foes. Since Mechadon starts you off with the TOW missile, you also get your fill of Doom II's toughs throughout the entire level, whether it's ledges of revenants, packs of mancubuses, or the occasional arch-vile. The finale lowers the obvious final battle area (the western tier) into the ground and exposes a bunch of Cyberdemons, with all the apertures serving as monster invasion points that will quickly overwhelm you if you don't grab that BFG and get to blastin'. Fun stuff.

MAP30Christmas Dinner Pizza
by "nub_hat" and Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso
Well, it starts out like a slow-paced puzzle map - dig that bit with the voodoo doll and the soul sphere - but once the boss shooter area opens up it's time for total chaos. There are a ton of monsters stomping around the grounds and you don't really have the time or ammo to systematically deal with them all. The only real solace is that you're offered the BFG and the fact that Romero's head doesn't require you to figure out any sort of vertical timing, just that you open up the hatch with a shot and get some breathing room in the attack booth. Busting up that welcoming posse is a real pain.


Raging Red YuletideMAP33
by "Baratus"
Baratus kicks off the bonus episode with a simple level with one centerpiece, a step pyramid staffed by tiers of imps and revenants with an arch-vile at the center. The steps are just high enough that hugging the "wall" will protect you from arch-vile fire, so it's mostly about balancing mobility against most of the other monsters against imminent fiery death. It's... cute.

MAP34Milk and Sugar
by "Cacowad"
The layout is really basic but better rugged naturalism than a literal box canyon. This level has a nice, rarely-seen gimmick used where you have to take the keys back to the beginning, depositing them on pedestals. Once you have all three, the wall will open to the final battle between a Cyberdemon and a loose assortment of his teleporting fellows. The action is a little dull, though. The west and north paths are mostly imps and revenants with the occasional arch-vile for a panic spoiler. The eastern area has the best fight, because it throws two arch-viles at you and you're forced to using the pillars at cover while avoiding death from the other enemies that have just teleported in.

Egyptian XMas Party (That You're Not Invited To)MAP35
by "Blackfish"
A short map built out of caverns with some Egyptian ruins and an inexplicable techbase section. The rocket launcher is available pretty early, but you won't have the ammo to cut loose with it until the final fight. Most of this map will be spent using the shotgun and the combat shotgun, once you get around to finding the latter. Pretty standard room clearing, though the rocket launcher ambush is a little tricky since the pain elemental is in a pretty awkward spot compared to the pack of cacos that surround it. The final battle is pretty decent; I tethered the boss to some of the roaming enemies, and after killing the pain elementals, went back and fried it with the plasma rifle.

MAP36Fuck Christmas, I Just Want to Read!
by "Philnemba"
A super short level from Phil. You start off in a library that has some hitscanners on the upper deck and get your choice of two dark portals to walk through. The west leads to a brightly lit ice cavern fielding arachnotrons and mancubuses in fairly wide passages while the east has a circular chamber filled with cacodemons, imps, and one skeleton that you can let infight to death. Grabbing both keys accesses the library's north half, which pits you against two Cyberdemons with a BFG and plenty of plasma ammo in hand. Well, enough to BFG bump them to death, I think.

It Came Upon a Midnight BlackoutMAP37
by "Getsu Fune"
Getsu tries to get color and shadow to work in a level that reminds me of Welcome to Hell's MAP06. This is mostly narrow corridors, though, with the occasional window. The gameplay is resultingly claustrophobic and pretty pedestrian. My favorite section is the toxic pit, which has some semi-hidden lost souls and a two-sided ambush thing going on once you grab the red key.

MAP38Christmas the Flag
by "nub_hat"
The thought hadn't really occurred to me that someone might take a whole bunch of capture the flag maps and stitch them together. Well, uh, here is the proof that it could be done! Due to the nature of the CTF layouts there isn't a lot of nuance when it comes to clearing these maps, just lots of monsters in corridors that are slowly ground down with the combat shotgun. Once you get the BFG - and some ammo for it - you can speed along the process. I kind of blitzed through the final area and killed the boss brain, thankful to be done.

Candy BaseMAP39
by Ilya "joe-ilya" Lazarev
Kind of a hot mess of a techbase, but the low lighting does a lot to obscure the rough edges and there are actually a few really cool fights. My favorite is the finale, which pits you against arachnotrons in an awkward, "L"-shaped outdoor area where your only cover is behind switches on either end, but the big staircase of imps is pretty decent, and the opposing mobs at the rocket launcher are a nice surprise. The opening is kind of rough, or I'm just good at squandering all the health that Ilya put on the map. It seems like the arch-vile is a real pain, but joe has given you all the cover you'll need.

MAP40Chocolate Swamp
by Ilya "joe-ilya" Lazarev
Now, I'm pretty sure that this level could use a bit more health. It's kind of an outdoors area with a lot of brown (harmless) puddles of... chocolate, I guess. This map is also pretty dark and that makes it likely that you'll get surprised by at least a few of the monsters roaming around, like the commandos holding out in the eastern bunker or any of the monsters that wander into the structure that separates the two parts of the crate yard. I do like the double staircases that lead to the exit cavern, but doing all this work with the combat shotgun - especially the mancubus-filled outdoor area to the north - is kind of grueling.

The Day When Santa Captured the FlagsMAP41
by "Dusk"
Dusk does pretty much the same thing as MAP38, but the monster placement is pretty much imps, plus the occasional cacodemon and zombie. Oh, and there's a Spiderdemon, but I didn't even have to shoot to kill it. The initial panic is the hardest part of the map, since the combat shotgun is a pretty punctuated method of thinning out the hordes, but grabbing a rocket launcher does wonders for the pace of the level since the imps are all told pretty sparse considering the map's size, leading to a pretty empty feeling.

MAP42Plumbing Work on Christmas Eve
by "nub_hat"
A level you really don't need to play. The first area is a copy-pasted labyrinth flooded with berserk packs with the occasional combat shotgun countered with SS Nazis and the occasional Hell knight. Your health is basically unlimited as long as you don't get trapped. It's a decent concept, just done to death. Hitting any one of those tantalizing switches turns out the lights, which Gets Worse. Somewhere in there is a BFG and a yellow key, both of which you'll want for the sewer section, which is loaded with spectres and blinking lights and interstitial arch-viles. I was kind of hoping that the toilet bowls would all have goodies in them, but most do not, and doing any actual fighting in the drink is suicide since the combat shotgun / green armor combos are just about useless and you can't hardly see all the other pickups. If you can somehow manage to make it to the yellow key door, there are a bunch of cacodemons behind it, plus Romero's head, which is a nice change. However, I caution against playing this level for any reason other than to laugh with it, at it, or at yourself.

This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's 2015 Cacowards

The Top TenBest MultiplayerRunners Up
SunlustDon't Be a Bitch RemasteredDoomed Space Wars
ErkattäññeChaosCore CTFCrumpets
SkulldashBest Gameplay ModPrime Directive
Swift DeathDoomRL ArsenalPinnacle of Darkness
BreachMordeth AwardOl' No Name
ValiantChaosCore CTF32in24-14
50 Shades of GraytallMockaward
Sheer PoisonInstaDoom
dead.wireMapper of the Year
Return to Hadrondannebubinga


  1. haha, no wonder you were gone for the week, reviewing this beauty must have been some work, but some fun work i'm sure

    1. it really has nothing to do with this - the review had been ready to post for maybe two weeks now

  2. Cool review. As the person that pretty much lived inside these maps for almost two weeks after Christmas until I could only feel numbness, indifference and my own body odor, I appreciate the thoroughness. A few points you missed as a filthy SP casual:

    - map10's title pokes fun at Romero's promise to show up at a few organized events over at Zdaemon and Zandronum. He, of course, always stood us up.
    - Donut's maps are actually also frankensteined together from various CTF and DM maps of the past sessions. They just blur the seams much better, which in turn helps the monsters feel at home as well.
    - AlexMax's map does the same, but uses just maps that made it into the IDL compilation (Masterbowl, nudge nudge wink wink).
    - nubhat's map30 uses an obscure CTF map as a base for the final showdown arena (fairly obvious from the colour patterns), but also incorporates Shaikoten's historic 32in24 map01. RottKing does the same with the latter, although in a cheekier, smarter way.
    - Kassman and philnemba revisit their own DM designs from the past sessions.
    - nubhat's final gem frankensteins together two Nautilus joke maps from 32in24-13... a few billion times over. It's like a Youtube Poop video cut together from Rob Schneinder movies. For like 5 seconds I was tempted to actually report on the bugs caused by poor copypaste stitching, but then I realized there are lines of self-humiliation one does not cross.

    PS: "Peace sign"? :)

    1. I know it's a ying yang, and after I typed out peace sign I thought about changing it, but my brain must have locked up from 32in24-14 overdose

    2. The obscure CTF map nubhat uses in map30 is my map24 "Kass Fortress part 2: NOT A DUEL TOWER" from 32in24-4. The more you know! *Eighties Rainbow Effect* More useless personal trivia: the name of said map is a reference to my 32in24-3 map "Kass duel tower", which was included as a small deathmatch-only arena in cc4 map21 =P

      There is one cute detail I liked about joe-ilya's map40: the zombiemen warming their hands up around the burning barrel at the start. Zombiemen are down on hard times these days.

    3. it's hard to get a gig in this era of overblown difficulty

  3. I find that maps in here from authors that have made plenty of their own works (like FranckFRAG), and/or have contributed quality outings to other community projects like BTSX and/or Community Chest 4, to largely be the cream of the crop, most worthwhile outings here. There's a few doses of quality from a few other authors too, though.

    I would say in general the overall quality is a good bit better than H2H-Xmas, which is pretty much mediocrity when it comes to the levels, while I think it's safe to at least say a solid half or so of the levels in the main 32-level megawad here are pretty good.

    1. 32in24-14 is really good in terms of level design but it is far less cohesive a Christmas experience

    2. I wasn't talking about the Christmas-ness of it, I was saying I feel the levels by the authors I mentioned in the first comment are much better designed & more enjoyable than H2H and also generally the ones in this set really worth going after

    3. well yeah but that is basically a no-brainer

    4. Different anon here. I agree with KMX E XII in that its a no-brainer. You have to remember that H2H Xmas was made way back in 1995, where mapping standards weren't nearly as high as they are now.

    5. (Same anon as first two here)

      He's a bit stingy on his appraisal for some of the maps IMO, especially those by BTSX alumni after praising BTSX so much. They never fail to make quality maps and don't forget, these were made in a day or two while BTSX maps may have been made over a period of years! Jimmy, Lupinx, TMD, and FranckFRAG are no letdown either (to name the first/most obvious few that come to mind).

    6. your point (correct me if i'm wrong) seems like you're taking issue with "It's a festive Christmas megaWAD that would almost be fit to dethrone H2H-Xmas... But I'm still holding out for something with just a little more holiday cheer." i think that h2h-xmas can have a stronger christmas theme while potentially sucking in terms of gameplay. a bunch of slick maps with a vaguely winter-ish theme, the occasional DoomCute sector christmas tree, and holiday midis is cool. but it doesn't have the same commitment to the christmas theme that h2h-xmas does, which is where that ending statement comes from.

    7. Actually no I'm not talking about Christmas-ness anymore at all, as to be honest I don't really care if it's a Christmas megawad or not. I'm saying there's quite a few authors involved in this that have churned out plenty of quality works in the past and I'd be willing to say that almost without exception, their work here doesn't disappoint (in neither design nor gameplay), especially for the build time but for the most part even as maps in general. I'd have expected a bit more appraisal for said maps, a bit less of a lukewarm approach.

    8. "I'd have expected a bit more appraisal for said maps, a bit less of a lukewarm approach."

      Huh? I saw plenty of praise in this review.

    9. i think that i've overreacted to what you had to say. you are absolutely free to not like the way that the review is written, but i don't know what you are looking for outside of some sort of unilateral seal of approval, which isn't going to happen

    10. Nah definitely not anything to that level, just a little recognition somewhere in the review that there are undeniably some long-time quality authors that contributed quality maps to this wad

  4. Nice review, KMX. I made map 09 when I wasn't all that good at mapping in general. I've been improving ever since, and I'm looking forward to seeing your NOVA 2 review when the wad is out of beta.

    1. Your designs seem very influenced by Scythe (2/X) and Valiant. Not bad to draw from. :)

    2. it is always a treat to play a new map for doom

  5. Great review! I am tempted to try this megawad right now but I think I will save this megawad for Christmas, which is best suited for.

    BTW I just noticed a small mistake in review: On the first map of the bonus episode, you said "Baratus" as the author name, yet you said "Bartatus" in the description of the map. Which one is correct? I may be thinking Baratus being correct as the Fighter's name from Hexen.


  6. I like how no one ever comments on wad reviews on this site...until a 32in24 review gets posted. Then suddenly everyone strolls in to make their opinion known.

  7. Are you considering giving diet 32in24 a go? It has a weird but unique theme: advertisement-ridden commercial dystopia in a Gothic city. Starts off a bit rough but gets more interesting throughout the wad.

    Then there's the forgotten single player 32in24...32in24-2, also known as 32in24sp. It didn't reach its 32 map goal, and most of the maps aren't too hot, with a few exceptions like esselfortium's map and a few others. Given the history, it's not surprising there was some skepticism behind making a "successful" SP 32in24. But it's cool to see where it all began.

  8. Quite a few mappers in this I've come to expect nothing but quality levels from, and even with the short build time it doesn't look like it'll disappoint:


    Add in a couple nice treats from less known authors, and I think you have a reasonably successful solo 32in24.

    Heads up about 32in24-sp (AKA 32in24-2): The first 11 maps are a mixed bag. After than, don't even bother.

  9. Happy to see a runner-up here, cause while it's no Valiant or Sunlust, and doesn't really have a particular 'hook' like Swift Death and 50 Shades do, some of the maps in here - regardless of their theme - really are nonetheless quality work for a rather short build time.

    1. 32in24-14 has some really cool things in it that no one should miss but the experience as a whole left me cold, which is par for the course with speedmaps (recognizing of course that that's also the scope of most if not all of Swift Death). i tentatively slotted it in for an HM and no one argued against it, at least not while i was present.

      certainly, some people will be less than ecstatic that this didn't get a coveted golden caco, especially over erkatane and sheer poison (unavoidably perceived as fringe picks), but i will again say that i absolutely look forward to the next 32in24 single player edition. the only thing i'd ditch is templating those multiplayer layouts.

    2. Actually, I had meant to say (must not have come out well) that I agree with 32in24-14 'only' getting a HM, but on that topic do feel it definitely deserved one. The wad has its weak links, certainly more than the likes of true cacoward-winners like CC4 or BTSX (and obviously not even close to as polished as BTSX) but as we've both already said in our comments above, some of the maps are well worth the price of admission.

      Regardless though, if I was to suggest another megawad that should have been considered for a golden caco (and have either Sheer Poison or Erketanne moved out to accommodate), I'd have thought of both 2048 Unleashed (PCCP2) and especially NOVA2 before this one. But in a year of so many releases, and those two coming out rather late, it's nonetheless understandable that you didn't have a fair chance to get around to them. (I think Alfonzo actually likes NOVA2 also, I was watching a stream of his, but obviously he didn't push hard for it like Hadron.)

    3. he mentioned it but it didn't come up again when we decided the actual awards.

    4. It was played in July, so I guess it's a case of 'good wad but not good enough to truly remember' (in his opinion, that is).