Friday, February 5, 2016

The Ultimate Doom (DOOM.WAD)

Doom wasn't originally a retail release; while id left the bosom of Apogee, it was still invested in the shareware model. When GT Interactive finally got around to producing a boxed copy, someone had the outstanding idea to include an additional, fourth episode. Some might call it an incentive; since a patch was released that upgraded Doom 1.9 to The Ultimate Doom, I'd call it more of a celebration. In either case, in 1995, we got nine more official levels for the original Doom. One of the authors - Romero - was part of the original crew. This is Thy Flesh Consumed.

At the end of Doom's third episode, a doorway opens up behind the Spider Mastermind, and you originally step through it only to begin Doom II, with Hell's invasion well underway. Thy Flesh Consumed introduces a fourth episode of action in between stepping foot onto the green fields of Earth and arriving at the starport's entryway, turning a pretty quick trip into a massive ordeal. Fitting E4 in requires something of a retcon, but you can sort of make it work if you assume that the Hellish locales you traipse through are the effect of Hell warping reality from the Spiderdemon's invasion point, just as it affects the rest of the Earth. Perhaps the Icon's assault formed the brunt of the attack while the Mastermind surgically prevented our escape. It's clear that the authors didn't really care about the story's logistics, but I think there's plenty of room to dovetail it in between the original Doom and Doom II.

Thy Flesh Consumed has an interesting history. id's original side project was The Master Levels For Doom II, headed by Shawn Green and including (but not exclusively) the works of John W. Anderson (Dr. Sleep) as well as Tim Willits, who was working in tandem with his sister, Theresa Chasar. Partway through development, GT Interactive pushed for the additional, fourth episode, and work on the Master Levels halted. The Episode Four team included three of the contributors for Doom II - John Romero, American McGee, and Shawn Green - as well as the aforementioned two Master Levels authors. The final result is an interestingly varied mapset that somehow still managed to pioneer an aesthetic that's been mined to Hell and back some twenty years later.

Just what is the Episode Four theme? Well, it's sort of a mix of green marble, wood, metal, blood, and granite. Really, the most important aspect is how it contrasts with id's own Inferno, which is a mix of a lot of things but has a healthy dose of red in there. Eliminating the red on the walls goes a long way toward creating a unified look, given that the occasional techbase textures sort of blend in as more shades of brown and green. Perhaps even more importantly, where Inferno uses a bright red sky with granite mountains, E4 uses shades of orange that together serve as a fantastic contrast to E4's greens and browns. The final result has a more... Gothic atmosphere, for lack of a better term, than id's slightly more classical depiction of Hell.

The other thing that really distinguishes Thy Flesh Consumed from the previous outings is just how much more difficult it is. Admittedly, a lot of this is due to the way the mapset is frontloaded, with the scrappy "Hell Beneath" and its perfection-oriented health and ammo balance followed by Romero's absolutely manic "Perfect Hatred" which brings player exposure to a peak with the lack of cover, excess of damage floors vs. safe movement space, and a surprise Cyberdemon to boot. As for the rest, well, it varies from level to level, with one last real surge at Romero's other level, "Against Thee Wickedly".

Romero's levels come as a treat, given that his Doom maps were limited to the shareware episode. American McGee is primarily known for his stylistic and orthogonal Doom II levels, like "The Inmost Dens", and his two entries in E4 reflect this. Shawn Green only had one Doom II map, but he managed to squeeze out two more for this, and while they're not as flashy as the others, they are solid plays. Tim Willits collaborated with his sister, Theresa, for one of his levels, just as he did with ATTACK and CANYON. "Fear" is a solo techbase, though, feeling more in line with his Kick Attack! level than anything from the Raven series. Lastly, John Anderson threw in one of the levels from his Inferno series, originally CHIRON, which I'm guessing would have wound up in the Master Levels package had it not ended up in here.

Thy Flesh Consumed doesn't have quite the magic of those original Doom episodes, mostly due to its varied authors and more than a year's worth of WADcrafting experience, not to mention the canned intermission screen. It's still a fantastic mapset, though, and easy to see why so many authors have tried their own hand at the E4 theme, whether an entire episode or a single Doom II diversion. I'd give it a go - especially if you found the original trilogy too easy. Note: The level-by-level review for the original Doom has been included for posterity; just click on the titles to reveal them. If you want to read more musings on the original mapset, check out its review here.

by id Software


by John Romero
Romero opens things up with this little teaser. "Hangar" is basically linear to the uninitiated, but the armor room and more importantly the secrets offer another layer of mild adventure. It's also more threatening than some MAP01s that I've seen due to its abundant shotgun guys. All of the rooms are both distinct and pretty cool, my favorite being the tech pillar tower to the west. No truly outstanding combat, but I imagine that any one of these places is going to trip up a new player.

E1M2Nuclear Plant
by John Romero
A more substantial level that interestingly eschews shotgun guys except for the secret outdoor area with the chaingun. I'm assuming that's because this level's more open nature leaves the player more exposed to hitscan attacks and monsters just plain sneaking up on you... and because it allows Romero to control when you find the shotgun, which gets thrown out when the first thing you fight is a shotgun zombie. The most distinct aspect of this level, to me, is the optional blinking tech maze that dominates the southwestern section. It's a little disorienting and a little creepy and the free-roaming enemies making noises give you that taste of being hunted.

Toxin RefineryE1M3
by John Romero
A very cool level from Romero that has it all when it comes to sniffing secrets, including an optional key. It's also a pretty big step up in difficulty since you're immediately exposed to a bunch of monsters, including demons and specters, in the opening room. The pressure never lets up, but you're practically force-fed shells what with all the shotguns that will be laying around. I love the huge mess of optional things that makes up the map's western section, including a sewer trip for a rocket launcher and the unlock for the secret exit. Apart from the opening, the action is pretty standard corridor shooting, but there's an early taste of the infamous monster closet as the blue key trap. There are A LOT of zombies to kill, so the chaingun reigns supreme.

E1M9Military Base
by John Romero
The secret chaingun is indispensable, since spraying bullets is much safer than the staccato shotgun, but you can make it on what you're given. "Military Base" has an unusual grid-based layout, but it makes for an interesting opening where you dodge fireballs from the central cage while monsters trickle in from all avenues. Some of the rooms have pretty interesting gimmicks, most notably the first occurrence of teleporters in the northwestern room with the rocket launcher. That bit really fascinated me when I was a kid. There's also that pillar run secret area right off the exit. Just a fun, fast challenge.

Command ControlE1M4
by Tom Hall and John Romero
More freewheeling techbase action, but with a lower bodycount and lower ammo, which is appreciated. It's a network of rooms and hallways based around the central area, a circular chamber with another, smaller chamber inside which has doors that aren't opened up with the use key. Snipers are more prevalent, given the height difference, so there's a bit more exposure to boot. The cramped maze to the southwest is an excellent bout of claustrophobia, but the action doesn't really compare to E1M2; it's more a different atmosphere. The lowering computer stacks come as a nice surprise.

E1M5Phobos Lab
by John Romero
KDitD comes into its own with this jam-packed level. If you don't grab the secret chaingun, you're in for some prime dances with shotgun action from the word "Go!" to the very end. "Phobos Lab" also has its fair share of abnormalities, with catwalks raising from the slime and hidden doors opening to sealed-off sections of the installation. The winking labyrinth returns in the exit area, which can be neutered with the light goggles but works pretty effectively with the injection of the specters. I'm most fond of the western area, though, which places the player between two monster closet invasions, plus whatever is kicking around in the toxic cistern. Fun stuff.

Central ProcessingE1M6
by John Romero
Another outstanding blastathon with several arena-style fights where an open room becomes flooded via monster closets. If you're toting the rocket launcher, you'll have an easier time than most, provided you watch out for that specter running in front of you. "Central Processing" has a sort of hub design with the various wings sectioned off by keys. Each section has a clear character, and while the action of the crossroads-maze to the east is tepid compared to the big brawls, it's certainly memorable. While nukage is present, it won't really factor into your playthrough unless you're looking for the very handy secrets.

E1M7Computer Station
by John Romero
A very cool finish to E1's normal lineup. "Computer Station" is a massive, labyrinthine level that has the player backtrack through once familiar halls with monster closets opened to challenge that assumption that any area that has been cleared will stay so. It's also got some neat secret tricks, most of which are based around the lowering / raising pillar to the southwest. All the windows emphasize the feeling of exposure considering all the hitscanners prowling around, both on the inside and the out. E1M7 may not have a crowning battle, but Romero's pacing - at least, of the action - is great. The only caveat is that, well, with all the backtracking, you're liable to forget what you had to do or get lost, but if that's the case, then Doom might not be the game for you.

Phobos AnomalyE1M8
by Sandy Petersen and Tom Hall
Starts out with something more akin to puzzle play with that big pack of demons ringed by barrels. After some exploration, it's on to the finish, a fantastic reveal of the last bastion of Hell on Phobos with its gateway guardians - the Barons of Hell - and packs of groaning phantoms. The biggest threat isn't with the Barons, since you can see where they are and they move pretty slow, compared to the specters, which blend in with the floor texture and begin at every point of the star. Once you're done grinding it all out, the now famous final ambush, a great final shock. Certainly, a success in atmosphere, if nothing else.


E2M1Deimos Anomaly
by Sandy Petersen and Tom Hall
Starting things off in Deimos with a short map that lays down a few new ground rules. Teleporters become part and parcel of the experience, and you also get some personal encounters with the cacodemon, the first of which will be as it slowly floats toward you down a corridor. The monsters are pretty dense, mainly thinking of the dudes in the lower tier - the imps and sergeants - and the bunch of demons waiting for you in the marble segment. You'll also find an early plasma rifle as a secret, plus another one of Doom's secret keys, locking away more handy supplies.

Containment AreaE2M2
by Tom Hall and Sandy Petersen
The original crate maze, "Containment Area" is a sprawling level, much of which is purely optional, though snagging the yellow key for the chaingun and rocket launcher / backpack isn't a bad decision. In spite of the tech, this level has zero zombie presence, preferring to lean toward imps, demons, and lost souls, with most of the latter arriving in a secret ambush. With that in mind, this level is ideal to cut loose with the berserk, which is out in the open. It's a fun level to explore and see how Hell's taint is infringing on this bastion of reality, with unusual machinery and that long, crusher hallway to the south.

by Tom Hall and Sandy Petersen
In spite of the lower monster count, this feels like a much more dense level. Maybe it's all the cacodemons, or maybe it's the fact that you're forced to work for all of your weapons, Tyson aficionados will use the berserk in the armory to do most of the initial legwork; however you proceed, it's gonna be one heck of a start. This also marks the first appearance of the Baron as a regular, not that you won't be able to take him down considering how open the southwestern area is. A fairly action-packed ride, with only one real slow spot, the grid 64 crawlspace colonnade to the east.

Deimos LabE2M4
by Tom Hall and Sandy Petersen
This level has a very different tone if you find the first secret... "Deimos Lab" brings the threat up to new levels with more high-HP monsters, catwalks, and crushers. Granted, you can use the last one against the first, if you're so inclined. The large, (mostly) deserted hallways plus the music present a haunting atmosphere and it's got a few ominous megastructures like the circular vault with teleporter structure in the middle in the north segment of the map. I like the red herring to the northeast, which ultimately leads nowhere but buys further into the deception of the player. Cool and creepy.

E2M5Command Center
by Sandy Petersen
Another large facility, this one from Sandy. The symmetry which dominates the center of the level reinforces its origin as a man-made structure, but as you dig in, the depth of the demonic taint becomes evident, with the side-areas devolving into a Hellish nightmare. This level's got a few big shocks, most notably the bruiser brothers in the outdoor area and the sheer amount of meat running around with demons packed into rooms like sardines in some instances. There are two big secrets, one of which is a chain that leads to the exit, the other being a long walk to a plasma rifle, which is indispensable for cutting through stuff like the final ambush or, say, slaying any larger things you may have skipped.

Fortress of MysteryE2M9
by Sandy Petersen
The infamous "Fortress of Mystery" is a pure concept level, pitting you between an inevitable conflict - Barons of Hell on one side and cacodemons on the other. Slaying everything is an exercise in infighting, since the former will come out as the victors over the latter, with the added benefit of being softened up. Clearing the stragglers will only take a handful of well-placed rockets. Maybe not the most exciting enterprise once all the pieces are locked in, but it's fun to play the puppet master.

E2M6Halls of the Damned
by Sandy Petersen
Continuing the trend of player distrust, "Halls" is loaded with all sorts of traps, whether it's the disappearing floor in the foyer, the treacherous wood / tech maze that dominates the level's southwestern portion, the alcoves gloaming with demons and their Baron masters, or the annex to the north, required for one of the keys, the other three offshoots being surprises of one brand or another, including the amusing fake exit. While the dark maze exists, Sandy has a bunch of light amp goggles stashed around the place, so those who know where to find them won't be put under too much strain. Those demons roaming the halls on your way back to the exit may come as the most unwelcome surprise, since the fake exit at least has the decency to foot you a soul sphere... A diabolical map.

Spawning VatsE2M7
by Tom Hall and Sandy Petersen
The penultimate level is a fusion of tech and Hell, looking very much like a facility that's been coopted for some more sinister purpose. It's also got a rip-roaring start, dropping the player off right next to some demons, forcing you to run just about anywhere to get something so that you can fight. Lacking any armaments might make things tricky if you stumble into the demon-infested warehouse, but the invul sphere combined with the berserk will give you plenty of leeway. Once that's sorted out, the rest of the level is a bit more straightforward, with a few alcoves to explore for delicious secrets. While you have a few hardbodies to fight through, the toughest thing is getting your footing.

E2M8Tower of Babel
by Sandy Petersen
A fairly straightforward boss arena with plenty of cover, plenty of ammo, and a few lost souls that act as potential spoilers. Killing one Cyberdemon with the rocket launcher isn't too boring, but I imagine it's much more frightening when you don't already have like hundreds under your belt. And are still using tank controls. However, Cybie has an annoying tendency to get stuck in those rocket rooms, which makes him much more difficult to hit. The leadup with the broken Baron corpses is superb, though, as is the soundtrack.


Hell KeepE3M1
by Sandy Petersen
The opening of "Hell Keep" establishes that this will not be accommodating. A couple of cacodemons stashed behind the front door serve as your rude awakening, forcing you back into the topiary of Hell. And, not soon after, a tantalizing shotgun stationed on a walkway that collapses under your feet into toxic blood. This level is dead simple and not at all pretty to look at, but the show of brawn is appreciated, lest you think that this episode is going to be all smiles.

E3M2Slough of Despair
by Sandy Petersen
Ditching any pretense of structures for this bit of Hellish landscape. "Slough"'s first act has you navigating a maze-like assembly of granite in search of gunsnammo while avoiding demons, lost souls, and other lurking nasties. It's a bit of a whirlwind at first, but after that, you're free to navigate the rest of the faust - err, fault. Each finger has some sort of a minor gimmick to it, the most memorable (in my mind) being the winding metal labyrinth in the middle one and the shotgun guy coffins on the index. Combat in the fingers tends toward the claustrophobic, but if you did a thorough job exploring (and maybe picking up the hidden plasma rifle) you should be golden.

by Tom Hall and Sandy Petersen
A slight return to the more concrete layouts of E2. This one's a wild ride, kicking things off with a demon ready to box you in and plenty of stuff hiding around every corner. If you don't know where the weapons are and run around in a panic, you're going to have a bad day. It's dangerous to go alone, but there's a shotgun nearby, not that it's immediately visible. The flesh trenches to the right and the left are a pretty neat feature. Pandemonium isn't a tough level once you get your bearings, especially if you snag the secret BFG, but the layout and action encourage wandering monsters - like the multiple lost souls - to surprise you from behind. The substantial secret area to the east is a treat, tucked away via a little passageway.

E3M4House of Pain
by Sandy Petersen
"House of Pain" has the highest monster density thus far, seeming like a slaughtermap with its hallways and rooms crammed full of monsters and tucked away rocket launcher and BFG begging for use. Sandy keeps the geometry simple, outside of the opening area, but there are some cool bits of world-building with all the tortured souls on marble pillars visible from the large, southwestern chamber. He also exercises his puzzle side with that red carpet door to the southeast, requiring you to diligently wash your feet and approach head-on lest it shut unceremoniously. It's a lot of meat to grind through, and the torture traps don't make it any easier, but a little bit of caution goes a long way. Not to mention the two invul spheres.

Unholy CathedralE3M5
by Sandy Petersen
Superb atmosphere and sorcery abounds in this marble megastructure. "Cathedral" has burning runes written into the walls and an inner courtyard that can only be accessed by and absconded from teleporters. The opening is typical E3, sending you who knows where in an attempt to grab a weapon, though the shotgun in the inner yard is a pretty easy pickup. Much faster than weaving through the demons and barriers to reach the plasma rifle, anyway, which is what I did. It's also got a bunch of secret hidey-holes, including the plasma rifle alcove, sharing some geometry with E2M9 and... not really feeling like much of a secret when I found it. After the start, the only thing that will really hem you up is the optional nearly bottomless pit of monsters off the exit, a trap that's partly meant to be navigated with the BFG.

E3M6Mt. Erebus
by Sandy Petersen
Another largely outdoor map, like "Slough", but "Mt. Erebus" has much greater freedom of movement... understanding that the monsters have just as much and aren't affected by the lava that surrounds the main island. Sandy dares you to check out the various structures of the level, keeping in mind that only a few of them are straightforward experiences, and while there's a bit of a weapon hunt, your usual workhorses are guarded on an adjunct and guarded by a small army. Doing just about anything on Erebus will unleash bunches of cacodemons and lost souls, which means that you're almost always under some level of pressure, but there's plenty of ammo and a not-really-secret plasma rifle, so it shouldn't be too bad as long as you keep your eyes peeled. A very fun, action-packed outing.

by Sandy Petersen
Looks like E3M1... or is it? "Warrens" might be a "Gotcha!" moment, but any player worth their salt should know that something's up the longer it feels like a carbon copy of "Hell Keep". Of course, I dunno if they would be expecting a mini-"Tower of Babel" as the big break, after which you're forced to backtrack to the beginning, fighting new pockets of monsters until the last big surprise where you're teleported behind some cacodemons and then wake up an entire platoon of sergeants. After being swiss-cheesed by hitscanners, the final bunch of Barons doesn't feel all that bad.

by Tom Hall and Sandy Petersen
A tight level fielding under fifty monsters but using an incredibly hazardous environment, with much of the level carpeted with toxic blood, a bunch of marble teleporter coffins that must be unravelled in order to reach the exit, and a blood maze to the northeast. It's a treacherous experience, complete with a couple of large monster closets, but works as the ideal final test for anyone who's been acclimatized to everything that id has thrown at them thus far. The whole marble-teleporter-coffins-isolated-in-blood thing will likely have some players crying foul, but there are plenty of rad suits and health, making it a pretty forgiving puzzle level. A very cool gimmick.

by Sandy Petersen
The first and only appearance of the Spiderdemon in the original Doom. In spite of the fact that it's got a hitscan attack, Petersen offers conspicuously less cover in this X-shaped marble arena and complicates matters by stashing most of the ammo on the upper ledge that rings the level. The pistol start player must use the three other monsters as a distraction while you grab the rest of the goodies and then hunker down for the final fight, playing cat and mouse around the Hellish gazebo that houses the blue armor and plasma rifle. Deceptively easy for continuous players and a test of mechanical knowledge on the other side.


Hell BeneathE4M1
by American McGee
McGee kicks things off with this grueling yet small level, sort of a small marble complex with channels of toxic blood. The main feature on UV is rather a complete lack thereof, that being any health apart from a scant nine bonus flasks. In the other corner, an army of shotgun guys, many of whom appear as part of teleport traps, some of which may shoot you through false walls before being transported. And, as an additional spoiler, a fun homage to Nine Inch Nails that's also the delivery mechanism for four Barons that you will be hard-pressed to defeat with the scarce ammo. Good luck.

E4M2Perfect Hatred
by John Romero
"Perfect Hatred" opens up with the quintessential tough scenario, sitting behind two shotgun guys with a bunch of imps on the other side of a gap with the free space consisting of lava that is also occupied by cacodemons. Like Hell Revealed's "Post Mortem", which would come two years later, you spend the opening in a rad suit taking down all the fliers so that you can get a little breathing room and maybe a soul sphere. There is nothing easy about any of the following scenarios, though if you know some of the tricks, you can make the most of them, like the plasma rifle off the western chamber - which you'll use to saw through most of the Barons you encounter - and the dance around the Baron / lost soul pack, which nets you a rocket launcher which you can then use from a position of relative safety. About the simplest trick is the Cyberdemon telefrag, which nets you the BFG and spares you the indignity of grinding out even more cacodemons. It's a very tight level with tons of action, some cool scenarios, and totally unforgiving when running in blind. Love it.

by Tim Willits
A big ol' bisymmetric techbase from Willits with a lot of wide, open spaces surrounded by outer hallways that let the dudes on the outside look on in. The opening is pretty chaotic, especially if you don't know where any of the weapons are, given that there are demons, cacodemons, imps, and zombies all knocking around. Thankfully, the shotgun and plasma rifle are a short jog away. Using the teleporter comes with an unwelcome surprise, though at the very least, you won't have to deal with the baron you just telefragged. Once you get over the level's initial surprises, it's pretty standard action that's interestingly cramped in spite of how free the architecture looks.

E4M3Sever the Wicked
by Shawn Green
An action-packed outing from Green that is almost entirely rendered in wood. It's also pretty dark. While "Sever" is full of player exposure, with shotgun guys stationed just about everywhere to chip your health away among other things, you're force-fed just about all the ammo you could ever want, not that rockets are the best choice for taking care of distant hitscan snipers. The open pathways make it pretty easy to herd monsters and bust a move and I dig the staircases and especially staircase ramps that let you leap the lava channel that separates the northernmost area from the rest of the map.

Unruly EvilE4M4
by American McGee
Another tight level from McGee, but this one favors the color brown rather than green and red. It's got more health laying around than "Hell Beneath", but the monsters are a bit thicker. A berserk pack and rocket launcher are afforded via the level's main secret and should keep it from becoming a total ammo famine experience, especially if you're on your berserk game. Again, not a lot of really memorable moments amid all the claustrophobia, but I like the encounter pacing of the exit room, with your limited armaments and the horde of imps backed with cacos slowly pushing you toward the entrance.

E4M5They Will Repent
by Theresa Chasar and Tim Willits
A really cool marble and blood map from the Willits tag team. "Repent" has a ton of height variation with action taking across multiple tiers and ledges but escape from the pools of toxic blood is always a short hop away. Tracing the stream from the font at the beginning down to the channels it ultimately sustains is a neat map feature. I also dig the simple but abstract architecture with all the ledges and walkways. The action is pretty light, with a few hard points to deal with - like Barons in close quarters - but it's a small, solid adventure.

Against Thee WickedlyE4M6
by John Romero
Romero takes another whack at his trademark precipitous precipices, but it's a more substantial offering, with an intro that has you picking through a granite canyon before emerging at the tip of a marble stronghold built into the mountainside. Jumping in immediately puts you on the damage floor and you'll have to make several trips through it while you navigate the four different directions, accessed via a tall teleport obelisk whose sides are lifts. There are a fair number of rad suits stashed around, though, and an easy to miss plasma rifle in the starting area that will make some of the encounters - like the Baron guarding the rocket launcher - much simpler. Among other snipers guarding the periphery, the gate guardian is E4's second Cyber, and there's no cheap telefrag option this time around. You can kill him from relative safety or use the BFG to smoke his ass in close quarters, provided you don't get blasted in the process. Outstanding.

E4M7And Hell Followed
by John W. "Dr. Sleep" Anderson
Dr. Sleep kicks out the love with this map, containing some traits of his "Inferno". More specifically, it's highly orthogonal and dominated by crossroads, and the secret Cyberdemon fight to the south uses the same "pillars blocking rockets" gimmick that he uses in Vesperas. In spite of the symmetry, Anderson makes things a little off kilter by making the horizontal hallways large staircases that descend from west to east. The rest of the annexes have a sort of trap-thing going on, with low-ceiling slow crushers (ha!) and squads of imps in the dark guarding the soul sphere, plus the Cyberdemon and pretty much the very nature of the instantly opening doors. The courtyard featuring the exit gazebo is a pretty hectic fight to open, ringed by snipers, but with all the goodies you've amassed, you'll blaze through what opposition remains.

Unto the CruelE4M8
by Shawn Green
Green avoids the typical boss arena by giving a substantial leadup time. Now, clearing walkways of hordes of zombies isn't too terribly interesting, and it's really dangerous if you didn't tug on the torso for the chaingun, but the quest to raise the bridge to the final showdown is decent enough. The battlement area is a definite highlight, shooting monsters through the twisted trees and getting access to a bunch of goodies on pillars to glut yourself on before the final fight. Protip - the pillars are actually lifts. Use them! The boss fight itself has a ton of potential interference but between all the rockets and all the cells and heck, a hidden BFG if you care enough to find it, you should have no trouble dusting your second Spiderdemon.


This project is part of a series on

(Thy Flesh Consumed)(Shadow of the Serpent Riders)
Doom IIHexen: Beyond Heretic
Master Levels for Doom II(Deathkings of the Dark Citadel)
Final DoomChex Quest
TNT: EvilutionThe Plutonia ExperimentStrife: Quest for the Sigil
Console DoomThe Wraith Corp MegaWADs
Doom 64Perdition's GateHell to Pay
No Rest For the LivingHACX


  1. "If you want to read more musings on the original mapset, check out its review here." But there is no clickable link in that sentence.

    1. sploops! good catch. I remembered to update the review for Doom, and include a link in the opening paragraph, but the conclusion escaped me

  2. Also my favorite maps in here are Romero's, especially E4M2. Being made in 6 hours (as history seems to tell) is amazing - when you consider this is 1995! He took a few weeks even to whip up his new map in 2016.

    Oh and only one more 'licensed by id' wad to go, I don't think I need to say what it is..

    (It's not NRFTL I will say, thought it'd be nice to see that too.)

  3. Does this mean a review of WONDERFUL DOOM is imminent? (It'd be the perfect time.)

  4. I personally find Romero's maps here overrated. They both feel linear in the sense that there is only one way to play them. And the combat isn't exactly that fun, due to how the layouts are designed. I will give them that they are the most aesthetically pleasing out of all the id iwad maps, though.

    1. I don't agree. And Tech Gone Bad is good too, he's not lost his touch.

  5. Oh god this bitch is hard. E4M2 with project brutality? took me 15 tries just survive the initial attack.

    1. Well I don't play Brutality (as in Brutal Doom?) but E4M2 is one of my favorites, personally.

  6. I personally don't like Romero's maps in this episode, they are way too hard. When I played Ultimate Doom 3 years ago (for first time!) I died a lot in E4M2 and E4M6. It was a very frustrating experience! Aside from dying a lot in E4M2, I finished E4M6 with low health (like 7% health and about 100% blue armor and FULL AMMO on all weapons) and I died a couple of times to shotgunners at beginning of E4M7, so I wasn't sure whether to pistol start and start with 100% health but lose all weapons, ammo and armor or continue with low health. It was a hard decision but I continued with low health. Anyway Perfect Hatred is the HARDEST map in the entire episode and pretty much the HARDEST of all the IWADS, along with Against Thee Wickedly, Stronghold and Mount Pain from TNT. I'm not kidding at all! I haven't found Plutonia that hard to be honest, a lot of people complain about MAP32: Go 2 It but it wasn't hard because there are lots of ammo and health around. I'm serious! That map was a lot easier than all these 4 maps that made me frustrated. I haven't found a single Plutonia map that made me angry (with small exceptions of certain traps). People complain about the maze map with archviles (MAP11: Hunted) and "slaughter-fest" MAP32: Go 2 It. But seriously, what's so hard at these? Even some maps from Hell Revealed (with exception of 24 and a couple of others) aren't that hard. Yet these 4 maps, 2 from E4 and 2 from TNT, are the most frustrating for me of all the IWADS.

    About Tech Gone Bad, it's nice to see Romero returned after 21 years to make a map. I haven't played the map yet (was busy with college and exams these days) but I have seen on YouTube and looks pretty good but it's also hard thanks to those damage floors. I hope it will not be as hard as E4M2 and E4M6. :)


  7. The map that let me down the most in E4 is E4M7. It just seems like his Master Levels are generally a bit better.

  8. One of your best reviews :)

  9. So recently I finally got around to playing original Doom games and finished the Ultimate Doom on UV skill using DOSBox (100% kills/items/secrets) and I must say I am surprised how well the ORIGINAL DOS version of Doom still holds up but it's no surprise that the modding community is still active nowadays. But yeah I still had a lot of fun with the original game, even if there were some parts that I didn't enjoy, such as some of the levels being confusing and some of the outdated annoyances like infinite tall monsters, etc. I will now talk about each episode:

    Episode 1 in my opinion is the BEST episode of the original Doom and one of the reasons is the only episode I had as kid as the shareware version of Doom (like I said above, I owned shareware versions of 1.2, 1.666 and 1.9 from some shareware CD compilations with games), so I'm obviously more familiar with E1 than the rest episodes, although E4 somewhat sticks better with memory than E2 and E3. E1 is really easy even on UV, though you need to be careful with the shotgun guys in E1M1 and some of the traps in later levels, it's annoying to get stuck between demons and lose a lot of health/armor but I don't think I ever went below 65% health in the whole episode (outside of the final room of E1M8 obviously), since the soul spheres and blue armors are easily found, though you need to make an effort to find those secrets that contain them. The secret level, while I never found as kid, it's still easily remembered.

    Episode 2 is an interesting episode but isn't as good as E1. The reason is that some of the levels are a confusing mess and I got lost a lot in some of them or trying to get some of the secrets. It also doesn't help that I never played the episode as kid, so it felt somewhat fresh/new in my mind now. The Cyberdemon battle is cool and before I killed it, I made sure to destroy all lost souls as they are annoying.

    Episode 3 is also an interesting episode but much like E2, is confusing at times. The maze in E3M7 is confusing but I had to watch a walkthrough video on YouTube, like I did with other levels, especially for secrets. It helped to choose the better path. The battle with Spiderdemon was disappointing but I haven't tried with pistol start to get the intended challenge. I will leave that for another time. Perhaps sometime in the future, when I get around replaying original Doom games for last time, with a small twist: Eternity Engine source port with -solo-net parameter, to allow for extra multiplayer only items/monsters to spawn while at same time I will pistol start each level for extra challenge.

    1. (continued)
      Episode 4 is a very controversial episode and I have a lot to say about that one. First, the difficulty is VERY inconsistent. The first 2 levels are bullshit hard in terms of difficulty but all the following ones are really easy in comparison due to having enough resources (in some levels maybe a bit too much) to deal with monsters, while the first 2 have severe lack in health and ammo.
      E4M1 on UV has a lot of enemies, while there's only 9 health bonuses. This wasn't as bad initially as I cleared the first couple of parts with 91% health and 100% armor (I just took a bit of damage from one shotgunner but nothing significant) and I got my 100% health back from the bonuses a bit later, until I started losing a bit from reaching the rocket launcher secret, so I was at 88% at that point, before reaching the red key. Then everything went downhill there. Too many stupid enemies teleporting (including a BARON!) and some enemies could shoot me through walls (wtf???) and I died a couple of times, especially after I accessed the secret the NIN secret while getting blue key thanks to stupid spectres and baron teleporting here, ultimately I managed to get past them and kill the barons with RL by grouping them together behind bars, in the room which had red key earlier. I remember finishing the level with 26% health and about 70 armor.
      E4M2 also pissed me off a lot just like E4M1, I feel like it was too hard and there were too many bullshit moments and had to save/load a lot to get past this level, after you get past the cacos at beginning and barons a bit later, it will be a lot easier and no I didn't do the BFG grab through walls stupid trick, I played fairly but I of course telefragged the Cyberdemon. And I saved the soul sphere and blue armor for end of level, so I finished with 200% health and armor. It helps a lot to balance things in later levels and is what I usually did in most levels.
      E4M9 was really easy, despite the slightly more chaotic start, the level was straightforward.
      E4M3 was well balanced, it might have had a chaotic start but it helps to get invulnerability and start killing as many monsters as you can until it runs out. Unfortunately I could only get 90% secrets in this level, I don't know why the mapper tagged two secrets inside torches but I didn't want to use IDCLIP to trigger them (I don't want to use cheats at all!) so I finished the level with most I could get.
      E4M4 was probably the easiest level in entire episode. No barons and no real threats.
      E4M5 was also alright level, although I had to make sure I carefully collect all items and secrets, as later in level you can't go back to get them, I think.
      E4M6 was much better than I expected this time, I didn't have trouble with the cyberdemon and thanks to a walkthrough video which I followed carefully, I even did it without dying. I ultimately finished with 85% health and 14% green armor, I honestly don't remember why I have said in previous comment that I had around 100 blue armor when there is not a single armor pickup in this level. Perhaps I confused it with another difficult level from TNT where I had a lot of armor but almost no health remaining.

    2. (cont again)
      E4M7 was easier this time with a better starting health, no more problems at the beginning. I got surprised by one of the imps traps that opened behind me and I barely survived their attacks. But otherwise I did fine in general. I even remember handling the Cyberdemon well enough thanks to the Invulnerability secret. Unfortunately I fucked up my flawless run in this level by getting killed once by a crusher I didn't see. I have seen the first 2 but I rushed to get through them and didn't see the third one and slowly crushed me to death. :( I was so annoyed at what happened because the only levels I died in this episode were E4M1 and E4M2 (around 10 deaths in M1, around 15-20 deaths in M2) and just wanted a flawless run throughout the rest of the episode but SADLY didn't happen, although I came close with this being the only death from this level. Otherwise, a fine level that would have been better released as part of his Inferno series, much like how I wished some Master Levels authors released their levels as part of their series. Oh and just like E4M3, only 50% secrets are possible in this level, the other 2 require noclip cheat which I just didn't bother with.
      E4M8 was also really easy compared to the first levels, I mean you get so many supplies that you can easily finish with full ammo on all weapons, 200% health and 200% armor. And yes I found the secret at start of the level, if you are wondering (like I did with E1M8 as well, considering there is no results screen after M8 and it is impossible to check stats in vanilla Doom, unless you load your save in Crispy Doom or something like that) and I also got the invisibility that isn't counted as secret. Overall I'd say E4 was a bit better designed than the confusing mazes from E2 and E3, as I enjoyed most of the maps in the episode (E4M1 and E4M2 can go fuck themselves, though) so now I can see why a lot of people enjoy Thy Flesh Consumed. And I'd especially like to thank a certain YouTuber known as BigMacDavis for his wonderful playthroughs, they were really useful for me, even if he used ZDoom port to play them (and he also used NOCLIP to get those unreachable secrets), he still did a fine job and in some parts he even played better than me. But of course he had better controls too, while I was limited to a recently bought laptop with confusing keyboard controls.

      I have started Doom 2 as well on UV using DOSBox (100% playthrough) and reached Level 8. Despite what others said about Doom 2, I think I'm enjoying Doom 2 a lot more. The level design seems to be better thought out, although I'm also a lot more familiar with it as I played it as kid and the levels are better remembered. And the D2 additions like SSG, new monsters, Megasphere, etc make the game a lot more enjoyable. I'm wondering when you will do a Doom 2 review? Considering this month will be Doom 2's 24th anniversary and maybe it would be nice to review the game this month. Oh and I'm also looking forward to Heretic and Hexen reviews, considering their anniversaries are also approaching.

      Sorry if I made a very long post but I had to say my opinions about the game, considering the crappy comments I've left years ago where I had only played through Ultimate Doom (and ML and FD) only once and without getting everything, while this time I'm properly playing through them and without source ports too! So I'm experiencing the original games as they were meant to be played. :P


    3. Not sure about a Doom II review this month. Admittedly the nuts and bolts would be easy to write since I've got it pretty much memorized. Maybe I'll belt one out and then save it for December 10th. Maybe.