Saturday, May 28, 2016

Elf Gets Pissed (ELFGP.WAD)

Everyone loves Doom. Sadly, Heretic user levels are few and far between. Is it because of the bestiary? The colorful but muted impact of its weapons? Or does juggling an inventory get in the way of fantasy run and gun? Whatever the reason, Heretic faithfuls such as myself are so blessed that Doomworld Forum superstar RottKing has been nursing his Heretic fetish over the past few years. The end product, released in 2015, is Elf Gets Pissed - a Heretic episode one replacement to be played in ZDoom. RottKing's last big dance was his 2011 duet with Ralphis, Double Impact. But, uh, I can't really compare DBIMPACT with ELFGP as Heretic's gameplay carries certain inalienable elements that prevent it, for better or for worse, from being a mere fantasy reskin of Doom.

Elf Gets Pissed marks a sort of turning point during Corvus's endless quest. Specifically, our Elfen Lad gets his mad on. I guess his more or less endless journey is treated with some sort of wry bemusement. At least, until the dam bursts. Now he's on a collision course for the head wizard in charge because he has had enough of this stupid shit and the endless armies of the serpent jockeys and nothing says "please give me my personal space" like stuffing eldritch abomination after eldritch abomination into a locker until they are crushed into a stinkularity. Just, uh, watch out for those maulotaurs. You don't want to get bullied.

RottKing's episode is an interesting mix of gimmick fights, some feeling like entire levels, merged with some pretty frickin' sweet and intricate "normal" geometry. "Mummy Roaster" pulls no punches, forcing you to use the tomed Phoenix Rod lest you be pummeled to death. Another memorable moment in the mapset involves an encroaching horde of sabreclaws that you soften up / shell to death with time bombs as you slowly back up, careful not to cede too much territory. Then, of course, the maulotaur battle in the imaginatively titled "Minotaur Spitroast", which has a... unique end screen on your death.

The author has made a few gameplay tweaks, but I'm not well-versed enough to notice any of them but the new "secret" weapon, the Lightbringer. Replacing the firemace (appearing instead in slot 8), it fires ripping rays of power that bounce off walls and start to do crazy things. While its ammo appears in subsequent levels, the weapon is only available as a secret in E1M9. You don't need it to plow through the rest of D'Sparil's armies, but I can't imagine that it would hurt your chances, what with all those stacked hordes of monsters. Its tomed attack appears to resemble the BFG's tracer component, and they seemed to make pretty short work of the final boss, not that you'd want to get close enough to bump him what with that greased lightning he keeps throwing out.

I also like the look of ELFGP. It's got a lot of cool architecture in an elegant style mixed with a selection of new textures to give Corvus's arrogant adventure a feeling of something other than familiarity. It's nothing entirely novel, of course, treading through ancient ruins, caverns, occupied cities, and the very bowels of the earth. I really like the few cute touches, like the smithy in E1M3 or the super secret ring of invincibility / shrine to Anubis in E1M1, that give the levels some interesting wrinkles as you explore them. Along the same lines, I'm also grateful that RottKing has crammed so many secrets into the layouts, often leading to large areas or alternate pathways.

Elf Gets Pissed is a wicked cool Heretic mapset that's loaded with action, adventure, and the love of a fabulous mapping machine. I don't think that it will convert anyone that didn't care for Heretic in the first place, but for us Heretic heads out there, ELFGP is a must-play. If you're on the fence, dial the difficulty down a bit and watch out for your poor little elfboy.

by Matt "RottKing" Cibulas

Mummy RoasterE1M1
RottKing does not fuck around. If you're not burning golems with a tomed Phoenix Rod, then there's no helping you. This action turns into a platform bit vs. sequential undead warriors backed by an Iron Lich, though. Protip - if you fall off, ultimately walking into the lower area and using the return teleporter, you'll be locked out of a secret ring of invincibility. The normal secret section houses, among other things, a few barrels full of chickens??? A pretty good warmup. I dig all the sector action with the staircase.

E1M2Watery Golgotha
This is a little bit more like what I expected. "Golgotha" is sharp-looking large level featuring bunches of baddies. The opening is a little manic, based around a cistern that'd be safe to muck around in were it not for all the gargoyles and the Iron Lich overwatch. The poison catwalk gauntlet to the southeast is perhaps the most harrowing experience, since the player is particularly exposed to all the fliers and lurking snipers. Plus, the Iron Lich sitting in the stairwell out of the acid bath. The exit section is a cool mix of platforming progression and a grueling crusher elbow that gives very little margin for error; if they catch you, you're one dead elf. The Hellstaff makes a welcome debut atop the fortress battlements.

Rondo of BloodE1M3
Switching gears for a twisty, open city level with tons of secrets and off-shoots. Don't miss out on the Hellstaff like I did; it's quite near the starting area and you'll be tripping over runes otherwise. RottKing reuses space wisely, giving the level a very interconnected feel as you slowly open things up, and makes it a joy to explore with fun bits like a little blacksmith shop, something like a tavern, and something resembling some stables, among other things. Speaking of the stables, it's the site of a pretty intense battle as far as sheer pressure goes, but the time bombs have a prime chance to shine. Of course, I probably wouldn't have been sweating if I hadn't missed that staff. The big rush following the green key grab isn't nearly as threatening, though the disciples from the air might throw you for a loop. Very cool stuff; I particularly liked the brazier secret.

E1M4Canyon Encampment
Another wicked outing based around a naturalistic canyon. There's one minor annoyance - if you make it to the upper tier and fall off for whatever reason, you'll have to run the southeast section to get back. Lots of cool areas like the prison to the southwest, looking cool on the automap at its 45 degree angle, and the slow elevator ride in the northwest that leaves you toe to toe with a teeming horde of weredragons and sabreclaws. I hope you're ready! I love the "lower water level to expose new passages" bit in the eastern sluice, also the site of a clever path to the secret exit, locked with a secret key. The green key trap is a nice moment of Heretic chaos.

An underground, water-drenched cavern that's pretty stingy on ammo to start. Make the most of your Tome of Power. Either one of the secrets - the Phoenix Rod and the Lightbringer soon after - will swing the battle well in your favor. I didn't grab them until I was just about done with the map, though, in spite of finding the secret switch that starts the whole darn thing. Your first trip to the exploding orb fields is pretty pell-mell with all the ground dudes stalking you, gargoyles in the air, and that peanut gallery of undead warriors. It's not as nasty as the yellow key ambush, though, unleashing a torrent of baddies that you may be hard pressed to chew through. Perhaps not if you have one of those secret weapons in tow, though.

E1M5Minotaur Spitroast
A short and simple arena fight... with a surprise ending if the bulls get you. The cramped confines make battling with the maulotaurs very dangerous, mostly due to that ground-pounding fire line attack, but there's enough ammo to keep the foot on the gas through their charging invulnerability frames until both brahmas bite it. The rest of the fight isn't nearly as tough, but if you get careless, the dual iron liches backed by a golem horde might be the one to end you.

Unholy VespersE1M6
Another cool city / fortress level with a smattering of RottKing's obstacle courses. All of the snipers in the opening courtyard drive you into the western building, which has an ethereal crossbow as a tantalizing reward. By the time you're done, though, you'll have fought an enormous cloud of disciples and held a catwalk against a column of mummies. Later, it's an alley full of weredragons backed by a nitrogolem turret and a few liches. Yikes! Of all the quirky fights, I dig the time bomb / sabreclaw tease the most, a delicate dance to avoid becoming overwhelmed, preceding a fairly nasty ambush with some gargoyles functioning as distractors that let the serpents and lich get into position. The bio-bomb cavern crawl to the exit is pretty hectic, too. The exit platform feels like a great moment; since it isn't the centerpiece of some epic showdown, it builds sheer atmosphere.

E1M7Gate of the Underworld
Back underground, but with a more... infernal theme. "Gate" has a ton of lava, and even a section dedicated to snaking safe paths through magam-spewing geysers. The main chamber is very dangerous, thanks to the undead warrior snipers in the cages and the seemingly never-ending weredragons, but you should be able to make due with a tome of power and some relatively accessible gauntlets. I really like the chain of secrets to the northwest; they add even more depth to the cavernous feel. Also, another cool exit plaform visual to finish.

Destiny's StageE1M8
The showdown, opening with a big wave of undead warriors followed by a massive brawl with mummies, sabreclaws, disciples, and D'Sparil himself. His enhanced lightning attack is pretty dangerous, but given the open space, you should be fine as long as you're not running straight out from him. Three tomes and plenty of gunsnammo should give you all you need to mop up the hordes and old D'Sporgo.

This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's 2016 Cacowards

The Top TenBest MultiplayerRunners Up
Tech Gone BadAeonDMWarphouse
Ancient Aliens32in24-16THT: Threnody
Nihility: Infinite TeethBest Gameplay ModBloodstain
MutinyDoom 4 DoomStrange Aeons
Absolutely KilledMordeth AwardEchelon
Elf Gets PissedDoom the Way id Did:Shadow of the Wool Ball
ComatoseThe Lost Episodes
Alpha Accident: Terra NovaLudicrium
Japanese Community ProjectMapper of the Year
Blades of Agony E1Lainos


  1. I hope to god that Kenshiro Corvus pic is actually in the wad. That would be beautiful.

    1. it is the intermission pic for the WAD. i added the subtitle, tho

  2. Pretty good. For a second i was hoping it was another Masters of Chaos megawad. That would be amazing.

    1. while cool, i believe that the masters of chaos dudes are expanding MoC

    2. Beautiful. Maybe we might see some screen shots in the future