Monday, August 29, 2016

Somewhere in Time (INTIME.WAD)

At the risk of repeating myself... Plenty of Doom authors have opened up the editor and, imagination brimming, set out to make a full megaWAD. Sometimes things work out but they often don't. In Katamori's case his vanilla magnum opus - Somewhere in Time - suffered a major setback when he lost some of the work around the MAP15 hump and beyond, I believe due to a computer malfunction / hard drive failure / something of the like. After attempting to muster enough gumption to push through, Schmidt gave up instead capping off the work he had finished and released this fifteen (well, sixteen) Doom II map set in 2016.

The story is par for the case as far as Doom II megaWADs go. There isn't a whole lot of initial context but Doomguy appears to be battling Hell on Earth again, perhaps as a sort of mop-up operation after returning from the inferno following the events of Doom II. Once you make it to some sort of sky base you travel to several other worlds overrun by Hell, one a barren wasteland and one an infested metropolis, in an attempt to the invasion's path back from our home to its source. Will you be victorious? For this outing, perhaps, but the only thing I know for sure is that Doomguy's adventures never end.

Katamori cites Reverie, Revolution!, and Scythe. As of this writing I've yet to play TVR! but I see parallels in the comfort with which Reverie embraces vanilla gameplay tropes found tiresome by some critics as well as abbreviated level sizes that more mirror the length of Scythe's sojourns. Somewhere in Time feels like less a sweeping Iron Maiden epic and more a series of vignettes. They make Hell's entrenchment seem scrappy as opposed to stronghold, like they threw all their weight into the invasion of Earth and left behind only the forces required to secure their supply lines. For the player this means levels that feature a good bit of action and are over fairly quick. They are often complicated with height variation and teleporters, though, staying pretty far away from flat map syndrome.

The opposition starts out pretty light as befits MAP01 but ramps up quickly. I think Katamori has a greater love of lost souls than I've seen in awhile but the monster placement is otherwise unremarkable and leans heavily toward incidental encounters as well as traditional monster closets. I'm actually pretty fond of the "Dead Simple" level. Using the combat shotgun to take on mancubi on a higher tier will be a frustrating experience for min/max Doomers but it's a rare gameplay dynamic. The end effect stretches out the period during which you're dodging fireballs because half the pellets are likely to hit the ledge below plus the dead time involved with the SSG's "reload" frames. The arachnotron segment is a similarly inspired encounter, showing that Katamori works well in the context of pitched battles.

INTIME is a comfortable mapset and great for a break of light gameplay when you've been hitting the Plutonia bottle too hard - or, rather, those moments where it's beating you. In time, perhaps, we'll see the Iron Maiden megaWAD that haunts his daydreams.

by Zoltan "Katamori" Schmidt

Into the UnknownMAP01
A small, isolated base built largely from red brick. It's a decent megaWAD opener, a bit too convoluted in its progression and height variation to fit the idea of an easygoing "Entryway" clone. Imps on pillars in the outdoor area and several monster closets in the cargo room - one with the appearance of FIREBLU warping reality - point the way toward interesting things to come.

MAP02Hidden Storage
Another red brick compound, this one full of crates... and meat to match! Cacodemons and Hell knights appear to take your shotgun blasts. The SSG secret, situated after you've likely killed all but one of the monsters in the level, would feel like an insult but for the fact that it will be indispensable for continuous players. I appreciate the blocked-off cargo room and boxed-off passages that suggest a greater level depth. The two cacodemon tango is my standout encounter.

Metal CorridorsMAP03
Katamori steps things up with this dark, grungy, and teleporter-rich level. Players who hang out too long in the opening yard - a fairly easy thing to do - must handle a slow-rising pain elemental while wielding a paltry shotgun. There are also quite a few revenants in the lower halls. Most of them will be slain by way of the rocket launcher. While dangerous in cramped confines it can be used to great effectiveness in the outdoor miniboss encounter with the dual mancubi. All the teleporter navigation in a small space leads to a slightly confusing experience but it's quite alright.

MAP04The Sleeping Factory
Another tight map, putting some pressure on the player. You'll have to battle through two hallways each staffed by a handful of imps and two mancubi. After that, your only real threat before the finale is from hitscanners hiding behind mesh screens in the dark, and there aren't many. The final surprise is a doozy, though, dropping you in the middle of a pack of imps and Hell nobles assisted with an arch-vile. You've got to be quick to get behind cover and then surgical before you go putting your boot into some Baron ass. I mean, you could always run, but you're the Doom marine! It's a cute level, complete with a big, silver helipad.

The Parking HouseMAP05
Even larger, and this time themed after a parking garage. The concrete theme gives the level a certain edge over its more abstract forebears, and the increased monster count - even if a lot of them are just in a big sloppy horde at the bottom of the structure - is a nice twist. The sequence of switches you need to hit in order to enter the garage proper is a bit laborious, but it's preceded by a very small underground maze that's hidden on the automap. The only tricky element comes in trying to reach the super-secret, a tribute to the author's earlier publication, Katamori 1024. I like the punchy action and oblivious demons viewed from windows and air ducts.

MAP06Sky Raid
Starts out with a fairly manic outdoor section that pretty much begs you to keep running for the combat shotgun (yes!). Once inside the installation you'll get the meat of the level, some sort of floating station in the sky fielding a few staged sniper monsters as something of a joke. Most of the enemies are on the big walkway that leads to the southeast. It starts light but moves quickly to a cavalcade of Hell knights and then a mix of cacodemons and pain elementals for the return trip. The final switch guardians might put some fear in you but they're really easy to handle as long as your eyes don't glaze over.

The Black VoidMAP07
A little bit different from your basic "Dead Simple" clone if only because the monsters are largely incapable of physically infringing on the player. They have the firing advantage, though, and the first fight - with the mancubi - is made difficult if only because the combat shotgun is less than ideal for confronting monsters on a ledge. The arachnotron bit in the infernal void has the spiders very far from the player. You've got to use the rocket launcher while a bunch of lost souls act as a spoiler and a damage floor on the outer ring limits your playing area. Not to forget the instant death if you leave the platform.

More Hell in the void rendered in a forsaken library outpost that's claustrophobic and populated by heavy monsters. The combat shotgun comes easy but the rocket launcher is in a weird room with a cloud of lost souls for maximum spoilerage and the plasma gun isn't available until you reach the exit. I imagine that it serves as a great way to both escape and handle the final teleporter trap, though. Just a tight, highly atmospheric level.

Ode to NovemberMAP09
A regular and super shotgun blastathon with a lot of imp snipers waiting on the surrounding cliffs. It's an earthy level at the outskirts of a fortress with a nasty dead tree where you begin. You pick your way to a marble temple and then back, invoking a light arch-vile battle before the first Cyberdemon of the set. Just be careful you don't clip into one of those poles while you're dodging rockets! The gnarly tree is a nice set piece.

MAP10Jungle Dusk
A small techbase bound by a crude forest. Action is VERY slow; Tyson masters will make great use of the Berserk pack offered at the beginning. For everyone else it's shotgun and chaingun time except for the timed arch-vile showdown. You'll want the secret plasma gun for that fight unless you're looking to get cooked. The small arms emphasis allows the outdoor teleport ambush and red key traps to put a lot more pressure on the player, original Doom style. The question will be whether you're ferocious or frustrated. The ZIMMER jungle that surrounds and intrudes upon the level is very DoomCute.

Wasteland FactoryMAP11
This one sort of reminds me of "Metal Corridors" because of all the small hallways and teleporter action. It's less drab and more STARTAN with some gore like a blood-flooded cargo area and bodies piled high outside. Speaking of which, most of the thrilling action is in the outdoor area, the inside mostly imps and incidental hitscanners. It's a very short level, fielding less than 40 monsters to start.

MAP12The Fallen Stand
Another misbegotten outpost but the scene has changed to a ruined city. Katamori differentiates his previous bunkers by creating a cracked and broken path underlaid by lava and overseen by imp snipers and other beasties. The player must climb it in order to reach the upper level. Plutonia survivors may have a bad reaction to the main trap, a breakaway wall containing a bunch of revenants and chaingunners. Oh my! The cacodemons on the final push add a nice bit of pressure. The caged imp in the last room... not so much.

The Wasted LegionMAP13
A short and straightforward romp through the still burning underground city. I detect a hint of "The Waste Tunnels" in its execution especially in the northern section with the crenellated hallways full of lost souls, the successive switch-opened monster closets, and the caged enemy basement. Nothing too crazy; I kind of like the pillar-humping fight with the arch-vile who serves as the level's climax.

MAP14Arch of the Valkyrie
Another very short level in a sort of Gothic brick and metal style. The "arch" is the outer area of the map and has two legs, with a switch at either end. Pressing the switches unleashes identically staged forces that you then must fight through using combat shotgun and chaingun. After the opening cramped lost soul fights the rest is pretty light fare. I imagine that some players may have trouble navigating the four Hell knight finale around the blue key.

Hellstorm's EyeMAP15
A superfast boss shooter level in the heart of the city, minus the brain. You may burn all your invul artifacts before you figure out how to reach the exit. There's a room hidden in the level's periphery that houses the switch which opens up one of the obvious doors, then granting access to the exit. If you're not too scatterbrained the invuls plus the BFG should make this a simple experience.

MAP31Thanks For Playing! :3
Relaxing on Katamori's private island, a cute way to close out the mapset. Since E3 doesn't need its sky it works out rather well.



  1. I've always been inclined for playing complex, heavily edited map WADs; if this WAD is any good of adding different versions of the original map sets it might be worth a try. I guess its due to me being involved in the Doom mod community since last year and not even being born around the release of Doom, so any WADs under the year 05 is usually skipped over, but there are a few gems from back then.

    1. very little of this pwad borrows from Doom or Doom II, and i would not describe it as complex or heavily edited.