Wednesday, September 19, 2018

KILL! Zone Episode One: The Trek Begins (KZ#1.WAD)


Once a year or so someone starts a "Most Underrated WADs" thread on Doomworld and it seems like Donald Howard's Kill! Zone (and its sequel, KILLZON2) are perennial favorites. Don's fanciful publishing house was Heuristic Software, though whether he had anything to do with the then defunct chess game company is beyond me. A reading of the now archived Team TNT roster reveals that he is also the same Don Howard who contributed three levels to Daedalus: Alien Defense. His debut, Vile-Lab, is apparently lost to the sands of time. KZ#1 is a seven-map episode for Doom II and was published in 1996. The author did not bother attempting to establish any semblance of a narrative but if it bears any relation to the tongue-in-cheek follow-up then each of the maps represents a separate bastion of Hellspawn rather than a single adventure with multiple stages.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Water Spirit (WATRSP.WAD)


burabojunior's levels formed much of the backbone of the Japanese Community Project, featuring thrilling action on an aesthetically pleasing canvas. I loved the hidden temple aesthetic of "Riminishi Valley", the orbital platform journey culminating in "Escape From UAC Space Base" backed by Stuart Rynn's "Jailbreak", and the puzzle-driven lethal neon of "Resplendent Emerald Green". Water Spirit, a three-level Doom II minisode for Boom-compatible source ports, was his 2017 follow-up and in fact first solo release to the archives. I kind of knew what to expect from its look since I'd seen  few screenshots in its thread but I could not have guessed where the gameplay would head.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Waterlab GZD (NJWLGZD.PK3)

WATERLAB GZD
by Nigel "Enjay" Rowand


The Legacy engine got a lot of interesting features during the source port boom. Some of them didn't even last for the engine's lifetime. One to stick with Scottish sensation Enjay was a warping effect for stuff seen under the surface of water, demoed in a small level entitled WATERLAB. It so intrigued him that he felt compelled to flesh the tech showcase out but in doing so he hit upon the likely cause of its disappearance from Legacy's feature set. When the strain became too much for the engine to bear, he shipped the project to GZDoom. The end result is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II designated Waterlab GZD and if there is any doubt in your mind, rest assured that it is much larger than the original.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Rest In Peace, John W. Anderson

If you haven't already heard the news then I regret to inform you that Dr. Sleep (John W. Anderson) died in April of 2018 of pneumonia. Anderson didn't make a great many levels compared to his fellow Master Levels for Doom II authors but his dedication to detailing as it pertains to texture alignment and lightcasting solidified him as one of the early cornerstones of PWAD design. While he had numerous other accomplishments during his lifetime of 61 years (including design credits for Blood, Unreal, Kingpin, and Daikatana), he had quite a few that are specific to Doom.


  • John was responsible for the Inferno series of single map releases. While most of them ultimately became part of commercial products, the freely-available ones (Dante's Gate and Crossing Acheron) were acknowledged early on as outstanding examples of PWADs so much that the latter became immortalized as one of Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 1994. These works were an early influence on many authors including in my own personal experience Malcolm Sailor and Paul Corfiatis.
  • Because of the quality of the first two levels, five of the rest - Virgil's Lead, Minos' Judgement, Nessus, Geryon, and Vesperas - became part of the Master Levels for Doom II project. Their appearance helped to cement the gothic brick and metal style but the more subtle influence is the proliferation of his simple, starry night sky in other user-created PWADs. These levels were also included in the Playstation's Final Doom, forming a significant portion of the initial impression and no doubt leaving an impact on people whose Playstation console experience remains definitive.
  • The last of the Inferno levels, CHIRON, managed to make its way into The Ultimate Doom as a part of its additional fourth episode, Thy Flesh Consumed ("And Hell Followed"), and is thus likely the most widely-played of his output.
  • John's least-known level - apart from the never-realized Lethe, which would have concluded the Inferno series - is almost certainly a Heretic level titled Recant.


More information is available on the DoomWiki if you're interested in reading more about this early pillar of the community. As for myself, it's sad to know that two of the six Master Levels authors are gone, both within a month of each other, but I'm glad that his family stopped by to let the community know of his passing.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Back to Hell E1 (BTHE1.WAD)


Tomi Rajala had his heyday during Doom's source port boom, demonstrating the power of ZDoom's early features when he released The Hell Factory Hub One in the year 2000. He also showed his capacity to make longer, single levels with Painful Evil during the same year. Back to Hell (not to be confused with Dave Seager's episode of the same name) appeared to be his passion project and was potentially a megaWAD for Doom II but the author never finished it and the only evidence of its existence was a review of a seven-map demo by Colin Phipps on Doom Underground. I put out a feeler to see if anyone still had a copy lying around on their hard drive and Grazza obliged. Surprisingly, his version was slightly less unfinished for a grand total of nine levels! This exchange happened back in 2013 so I am happy to be playing the demo now in TYOOL 2018 so that it can finally stop riding my conscience.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Rip It, Tear It, Smash It! (RITESMIT.WAD)


Chris didn't know it when he started to help Paul out on 2002: A Doom Odyssey but he was beginning a love affair with the Ultimate episodes that has gone on until - as of right now - his Shores of Hell-themed collection, Monument, released in 2015. While most of his contributions to 2002ADO were styled after Thy Flesh Consumed, he did squeeze out "Obituary Written" for E3 and "Station Beta" for E2 before moving on to Phobos-style stuff (CH Retro Episode). Rip It, Tear It, Smash It! is a pair of Deimos-influenced oddities, uploaded to the archives at the end of 2002. As was the case with his Knee Deep in the Dead tribute, these E2M1 and E2M2 replacements have no associated story and could just as easily be tacked on to Doomguy's continued adventures through the Doomed base.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

2002: A Doom Odyssey (2002AD10.WAD)


Paul Corfiatis released a ton of maps during 1998 and 1999 and then slipped into the background for a bit. You saw a few glimpses of his work making the lineup for the 10 Sectors 2 megaWAD and he also released a few solo levels as part of his Selfish series, but he was working on much bigger things. The first was as a contributor to the ill-fated Doom: Millennium project which he started taking to task in the .TXTs that accompanied his contemporary releases. The other was 2002: A Doom Odyssey, a megaWAD for the Ultimate release replacing all four episodes and featuring the collected works of eight authors... even if pcorf is responsible for half of them.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Firetop Mountain (FTMTN_V2.ZIP)

FIRETOP MOUNTAIN
by Glen "glenzinho" McColl


The Fighting Fantasy series of books were a British innovation from the two dudes that founded Games Workshop, primarily responsible for WarHams as well as my favorite tabletop game of all time, HeroQuest. The works were choose-your-own adventure books but they also folded in pen and paper RPG elements for a more interactive experience. The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was the first of these volumes and it inspired a young glenzinho enough to make a single level for Doom II. The end product is a MAP01 replacement for GZDoom but it's a very big adventure with a monster count that swells as a result of scripted spawns.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

MAD STUFF FOR DOOM 2 (MAD.WAD)


In 2002 Paul Corfiatis had contracted a case of jokeWAD fever. Sure, the first glimpses were there with Elliot Goblet in 2001. SPACIA crystallized another side of pcorf, though, one looking to get some laughs from the community through absurdity whether it be porn in otherwise unremarkable space levels, garish MSPaint textures, or cumbersome sound replacements. MAD STUFF FOR DOOM 2 continues the trend in a different direction. The set attempts to leverage the simple AI of the monsters in order to fabricate situations where the player does not even need to fire a single shot and avoids both the smut and, for the most part, hideous colors. The .WAV files, however, are here to stay.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

SPACIA: A Silly DOOM Space Adventure (SPACIA.WAD)


2002: A Doom Odyssey is fondly remembered by a multitude of players, enshrining a stable of authors - Paul Corfiatis, Kristian Aro, Christian Hansen, and others - in the minds of many. SPACIA is much less so. Released earlier in the same year, this twenty-two level Doom II mapset followed Elliot Goblet in marking the beginning of pcorf's jokeWAD period. If bearing witness to someone's clumsy attempts at humor in the idtech1 engine is not your cup of tea, especially when it's rife with senseless softcore pornography wall textures, then you can safely sit this one out.

Monday, August 6, 2018

0scraps (0SCRAPS.WAD)


Paul Corfiatis is one of the community's most prolific authors and it's only natural that a dude who had released nearly a hundred levels from 1996 through 1999 would have some unfinished stuff that he was just disinterested with. Enter 0SCRAPS, a Doom II episode pulled off of pcorf's drawing board and released in early 2002 alongside Spacia: A Silly Doom Space Adventure. The compilation has a total of nine levels, two of which were clearly designed for deathmatch and appear here in their eerie, deserted glory.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Elliot Goblet (GOBLET.WAD)

ELLIOT GOBLET
by Paul Corfiatis


pcorf didn't have a whole lot to show in 2001 but his Doom Odyssey was in development and while he failed to make its obvious target date it did get finished the next year in 2002. In the meanwhile he published a few bits of things that don't really reflect his catalogue as a whole but probably helped to serve as a sort of relief valve during 2002ADO's development. Elliot Goblet is the least of these things, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II that only has two monsters, neither of which you can kill yourself.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Candy Choppers (PC_HERT1.WAD)

CANDY CHOPPERS
by Paul Corfiatis


1999 was a really big year for pcorf. After releasing a veritable glut of levels including The Twilight Zone II as well as Death Tormention and its sequel, he released three individual levels (the first-created entries of his Selfish series) in 2000 and cranked out a handful of submissions for the 10 Sectors contest. Four of them made it into the runoff compilation, 10SECTO2, uploaded in 2001. Candy Choppers, published later in the year, takes things in a completely different direction. It's Paul's token Heretic level! It presumably works with its vanilla executable and occupies its E2M1 slot.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

SELFISH3 (SELFISH3.WAD)

SELFISH3
by Paul Corfiatis


The first two levels of pcorf's Selfish series saw their initial release in 2000. The following year saw the publication of the third, a MAP23 replacement. By this time the author had kicked his Ultimate megaWAD into full gear, though it was still known as 2001: A Doom Odyssey and not 2002, at which time it would finally find its way to /idgames. Paul compiled his trilogy a few months later for the first of several repackagings but for now I'm focusing on the originals. As with its siblings, SELFISH3 has no actual plot, but it would later garner the title of "Lethal Hideout".

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

SELFISH2 (SELFISH2.WAD)

SELFISH2
by Paul Corfiatis


pcorf's Selfish series spanned the gap between his 1999 and 2001 releases and slowly metered out through 2005 before being collected into both vanilla and Boom episodes. The main conceit appears to have been the development of Doom II levels apart from a larger, collected work like The Twilight Zone and Final Dreams. SELFISH2 was of course the second publication by number though it appears to share the same release date as SELFISH1. It's a MAP22 replacement, initially uploaded in January of 2000, and as is the case with the rest of the series it has absolutely no fictive context.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

SELFISH1 (SELFISH1.WAD)

SELFISH1
by Paul Corfiatis


In 1998 and 1999 pcorf dumped more PWAD levels on the Doom community than most authors do in their lifetime. In the year 2000, while he was assisting with the Millennium project, it was time to take a break. Enter the Selfish series, a run of single-level releases dating from Y2K to 2005. Paul eventually gathered all of the levels together as an episode and added some bells and whistles but for now I'll be focusing on the individual titles as I come to them. SELFISH1 is a MAP21 replacement for Doom II. While it would eventually gain an appellation of "Canyon of Lava", there isn't any sort of narrative embellishment to ground the action.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Brotherhood of Ruin (RUINBROS.WAD)


In recent years Kristian Aro is recognized more for his work with his soul brother, Paul Corfiatis, but he was a pretty prolific solo author prior to joining up for Death Tormention II and later 2002: A Doom Odyssey. It's actually pretty fascinating to follow, from the very early and rough 20 Days in Hell to the functional 32 Hours in Pain, afterward hitting his stride with 1 Day of Hellish Revenge. The Brotherhood of Ruin found its way into Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 2003 but its original date of release - wherever that happened to be - was 2001. It's a seven-map episode for Doom II, was designed to be played in Boom-compatible source ports, and is primarily themed around the ancient Mesoamerican temple texture set used in Hexen II's second hub.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

CH Retro Episode (RETROEPS.WAD)


Chris Hansen did a lot of work for Doom II and then ended up helping out his brother in arms, Paul Corfiatis, with making a megaWAD for the original. I don't know whether he was craving the creation of classically-themed maps prior to 2002: A Doom Odyssey but somewhere while hacking it out he was bitten by Phobos Fever. This project began life as a single level titled CH_RETRO in 2001 and after a lot of positive feedback it was expanded to a full Knee Deep in the Dead replacement as the similarly-titled CH Retro Episode. It was ultimately released after 2002ADO was finished but during the same year - 2002.

Monday, July 9, 2018

CH Retro (CH_RETRO.WAD)

CH RETRO
by Christian Hansen


To the uninitiated, it may look as though Chris was indulging his Ultimate tooth prior to his work on 2002: A Doom Odyssey. His painstakingly arranged back catalog tells a different story, however. At the very least, Hansen had built no less than four levels for Paul's pet project before even starting his Retro Episode. While the final product saw release in 2002, the same year as 2002ADO and similar critical darling Rip It, Tear It, Smash It, it originally started as a single level before being incorporated as RETROEPS's E1M6 as "Primary Base". There's a slight parallel to The Classic Episode but CH_RETRO's development was far less publicly measured. This initial offering is an E1M1 replacement for the original Doom.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Flay the Obscene - The Third (FLAYOBS3.WAD)

FLAY THE OBSCENE
THE THIRD

by Christian Hansen


The artist formerly known as c-cooper started out trying to build his one man megaWAD one level at a time before moving to a more sensible one and done pace. His Flay the Obscene series marked a return to a serial format, the first two entries seeing release in 1999 and 2000. The Third, published in 2001, would be the last... until 2014's Reversed. FLAYOBS3 is a MAP15 replacement for Doom II, almost certainly because the previous levels originally spanned from MAP12 to MAP14. It has no secret exit so I wouldn't waste my time looking for one but there is at least one cheeky jab at the player whose purpose I only just now realized.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Phobia (PHOBIA.WAD)

PHOBIA
by Kristian "Ebola" Käll


Kristus started his authorship with pretty much the most ambitious project possible, a megaWAD total conversion. Codename HYENA: Killer Machine likely established its legacy mostly with the purveyors of the weird. The work that followed is what made him a Doom community legend. Phobia was originally released in 2001 and then greatly expanded over the course of five years, eventually published in 2006 as Phobia: The Age. Both were made to be experienced in Legacy but the original is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II. You may be wondering why I'm playing the single level release when there is, one may dare say, a superior version available. Blame it on an interest with its editorial history.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

ONEMANDOOM Rides Again

I've formally changed the title of this blog from Doomed: Doom WAD Reviews to ONEMANDOOM: WAD Reviews. ONEMANDOOM is usually how I've seen it introduced on the internet since that is its unique URL; it doesn't clash with the DooMed Speed Demos Archive (DSDA); and it has a nice, punchy rhythm.


The moniker came from the blog's original title, One Man's Journey Through Doom. The idea was to present it as my travelogue through the Doom community's offerings both past and present with the intent to emphasize that I am but one person offering an opinion on my own experiences. I didn't want to claim a monopoly on writing reviews even if I virtually had one by default. I certainly never thought that I would have taken a part in writing any of the Cacowards, though I remember thinking that it would be cool to be asked to write something for 2011.


I would like to think that I recognize where my writings over the past seven years have shaped the way that we as a community describe the experience of playing Doom levels. I also hope that by providing an example I have given others who might not even know where to begin a starting point so that they can feel comfortable discussing their opinions with their own, unique voices.


I thank you for reading ONEMANDOOM and I'd also like to thank the mappers, musicians, graphic artists, coders, writers, and anyone else who makes the Doom community such a treat to be a part of.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Codename HYENA: Killer Machine (HYENA.WAD)


Kristian Käll went on to major acclaim for his Legacy PWADs - Phobia, Ni'mRoD: IXNAY on the HOMBRE, and Phobia: The Age - and more recently his Heretic and Hexen projects, Curse of D'sparil and Curse of the Lost Gods. The first two happened during his tenure as a member of Unholy Software and their earliest release was a total conversion for the original Doom, published in 1998. Codename HYENA: Killer Machine gets mentioned every now and then but there's a hint of uncertainty behind the namedrops. It replaces the first three episodes of the original Doom - the last a decidedly Deathmatch dalliance - and has a fair bit of DeHackEd work in order to tweak the values of its core gameplay for a fairly different experience.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Quick is Good (QUIKISGD.WAD)

QUICK IS GOOD
by Malcolm Sailor


The archive has QUIKISGD listed immediately after 3PACK_1 as far as release dates go but the .ZIP for its sequel, QUIKISG2, has a bibliography of sorts that calls a lot of things into question. I believe it to be an artifact of Sailor's penchant for updating stuff to fix bugs. In the previous year, 1995, he released a couple of single levels - DARKER and RULER - before a package of three individual outings including a new version of the latter solo venture (3PACK_1). All of his 1996 stuff is timestamped in July of that year but I couldn't tell you whether he was just storing PWADs like a camel, updated a bunch of stuff at the same time, or had one really productive summer vacation. I'm leaning toward the second.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

DS-61-3 (DS-61-3.ZIP)

DS-61-3
by Malcolm Sailor

ALAPOLGYFROMDREM
LABBOOM
WASTEMESINFERNO


I think it was way more common in the early days of Doom but it was still relatively uncommon to find someone who had uploaded a .ZIP that collected single-level PWADs. The biggest exception in my recent memory would be jazzmaster's 32-in-32 series. In any case, two of Malcolm's earliest - and largest - releases were done in this style of compilation. 3PACK_1 collected one earlier level for an update and added two for an odd three. DS-61-2 doubled the fun with six PWADs and this time they were all originals. Most of its contents saw an update in 1996 as part of the DS-61-3 package. Both are named after Darth Vader's wing men in the first Star Wars movie. Based on the timestamp for FROMDREM I'm pretty sure that the original date of publication was late 1995 but I would need a copy of the first release to verify my assumption.

SINFERNO (SINFERNO.WAD)

SINFERNO
by Malcolm Sailor

DS-61-3
ALAPOLGYFROMDREMLAB
BOOMWASTEMESINFERNO


Seven levels in six WADs collected in one .ZIP file - that's DS-61-3. While every item has its own individual .TXT, only one of them goes unmentioned in the compilation's own information document - SINFERNO. It did find its way into some of Malcolm's WADographies, though, and is the last selection from its assemblage to be listed in QUIKISG2. The author didn't have much to say about it except to call it an okay Hell-themed level and mention that there were no changes between its re-release and the original, published in an earlier edition of the same package titled DS-61-2.

Monday, June 11, 2018

WASTEME (WASTEME.WAD)

WASTEME
by Malcolm Sailor

DS-61-3
ALAPOLGYFROMDREMLAB
BOOMWASTEMESINFERNO


DARKER, then 3PACK_1, and later probably DS-61-2... 1995 was likely a fairly productive year for Malcolm. The last .ZIP I mentioned had most of its contents updated and then uploaded as DS-61-3 in 1996, which is where this version of WASTEME comes from. And it's a good thing that the author fixed it! The initial release appears to have lacked an exit switch. It's still a MAP01 replacement for Doom II and while the monster count is a tad higher compared to the PWADs comprising the rest of the collection it's still shorter than the average bear. This level has nothing in the way of a framing narrative but information provided by Sailor suggests a lack of his own enthusiasm for it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Boom (BOOM.WAD)

BOOM
by Malcolm Sailor

DS-61-3
ALAPOLGYFROMDREMLAB
BOOMWASTEMESINFERNO


Like the rest of the contents of the author's DS-61-3, this replaces MAP01 and was re-released mid-1996 but probably initially published as a part of DS-61-2 in late 1995. It's hard for me to gauge what sort of early influences MS had. In the one hand, denigrating id's own Hell episode in Doom II (and I know that he's not alone in his sentiments). On the other, using ideas from "Nirvana", "The Spirit World", and "The Living End" in his own ORIGINAL COPY DO NOT STEAL maps in 3PACK_1. One thing is plainly obvious here, though, and he so much as admits it in QUIKISG2's .TXT: BOOM.WAD borrows from John Anderson's Dante's Gate and given the texture scheme I assume its aesthetic sense as well.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Lab (LAB.WAD)

LAB
by Malcolm Sailor

DS-61-3
ALAPOLGYFROMDREMLAB
BOOMWASTEMESINFERNO


DS-61-3 is a 1996 update to a similarly-titled collection that could have been released in 1995, judging by the timestamp on FROMDREM. It contained six individual PWADs, all of which occupy the MAP01 slot. The imaginatively-titled LAB is one such delight. Of all the files in the package it's the only one with a framing story. Malcolm manages to slam both schools of thought concerning Doom's antagonists into one blurb. He describing the facility in question as belonging to aliens and then goes on to assert that while you ought to "blow it to hell", it's actually "already there".

Sunday, May 27, 2018

From a Dream (FROMDREM.WAD)

FROM A DREAM
by Malcolm Sailor

DS-61-3
ALAPOLGYFROMDREMLAB
BOOMWASTEMESINFERNO


MS was a busy bee since his release of 3PACK_1 which collected his three most recently completed maps as individual files, one of them being an update. The followup was DS-61-2, a bundle of six PWADs totalling seven levels whose most recent incarnation is DS-61-3, an update made after the release of Quick is Good. The first few maps I played from this .ZIP (ALAPOLGY) were very short affairs and FROMDREM is no exception. It doesn't really have a strong hook or gimmick made manifest in the level but you may find it interesting that the nature of its design came to the author in a dream.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

All Apologies (ALAPOLGY.WAD)


DS-61-3
ALAPOLGYFROMDREMLAB
BOOMWASTEMESINFERNO

All Apologies is one of six very short PWADs uploaded to the archives by Malcolm Sailor as part of DS-61-2.ZIP. He later updated most of the contained items and re-released them in July of 1996 as DS-61-3. Both packages were named after Darth Vader's wingmen during the climactic Battle of Yavin. I probably don't need to tell you that it's a Star Wars thing, but there you go. ALAPOLGY differs from the rest of its brood; it actually contains two levels, occupying the MAP01 and MAP02 slots, but it's otherwise in keeping with the traits evidenced in Malcolm's most original subsequent creation, TEKRKBRN.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Three Kick Ass WADs (3PACK_1.ZIP)

THREE KICK ASS WADS
by Malcolm Sailor

Rule the World!Omelet FaceTEKRKBRN

The boy who would go on to create the CHORD series to much critical acclaim spent a long time cranking out short single levels, many of which were released as part of collections bundled inside .ZIPs. 3PACK_1 was the first; uploaded in 1995, it contains three such offerings. Rule the World! (RULER) was published a few weeks before and found its way into this compilation because Malcolm wanted to update it. The others, Omelet Face and TEKRKBRN, are unique to the archive. Each one has more to offer than Sailor's debut (DARKER), though its emphasis of the contrast between light and dark would go on to be an important feature of his better-known works.

TEKRKBRN (TEKRKBRN.WAD)

TEKRKBRN
by Malcolm Sailor

THREE KICK ASS WADS (3PACK_1.ZIP)
Rule the World!Omelet FaceTEKRKBRN


While his CHORD series would go on to both fame and notoriety for its survivalist-style combat and painstaking visuals, Malcolm Sailor started out making original levels of strung-together 64 wide corridors and knockoffs that combined his favorite ideas from Doom II levels. His third release was a packaged triplet of maps titled Three Kick Ass WADs (3PACK_1) which contained a previous publication, RULER, as well as OMELET and TEKRKBRN. The last, a MAP01 replacement for id's skeleton-studded sequel, derives its name from the predominant texture scheme. I think it means tech, rock, and brown, but that's a semi-educated guess on my part.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Omelet Face (OMELET.WAD)

OMELET FACE
by Malcolm Sailor

THREE KICK ASS WADS (3PACK_1.ZIP)
Rule the World!Omelet FaceTEKRKBRN


3PACK_1 was released in 1995 some three months after MS's DARKER. The latter was a dark and dreary jumble of corridors. The former actually contained three levels, all occupying the MAP01 slot, that are way different than the author's debut. Two of them borrow quite heavily from the original Doom II. I'm not sure about TEKRKBRN yet but I'll find out one way or another. RULER snagged from both "Gotcha!" and mostly "Nirvana". Malcolm cheekily titled this one Omelet Face because he assumed that it would cook your countenance. He also claims it to the best Hell map he's seen other than id's but then goes on to damn Doom II's third episode in the same breath. Ah, to be twelve again.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Rule the World! (RULER.WAD)

RULE THE WORLD!
by Malcolm Sailor

THREE KICK ASS WADS (3PACK_1.ZIP)
Rule the World!Omelet FaceTEKRKBRN


After beginning his career with the truly titled Darker mid-1995, Malcolm published Rule the World! later that year in September and then quickly re-released it after a few quick bugfixes as part of a package alongside Omelet Face and TEKRKBRN. I will be reviewing 3_PACK1 aka Three Kick Ass WADs as a whole package but first I'll be covering each of the included levels. RULER is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II and Sailor claimed it to be one of the better ones that he had seen. It's certainly more visually interesting than Darker, whose light levels prevented you from actually witnessing the map itself.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Darker (DARKER.WAD)

DARKER
by Malcolm Sailor


MS went on to dizzying heights toward the end of his career with the CHORD series, the later levels arguably setting the stage for the marriage of high skill ceiling and beautiful visuals / architecture that we see from authors like Ribbiks today. As with Matt Tropiano, Sailor was but a young lad at the onset of his career. DARKER - his first level and a MAP01 replacement - was released at the tender age of 12 in the year 1995. He would go on to downplay it alongside the rest of his non-CHORD back catalog, much like Mista_T and Dimensions of Time or Skillsaw and Sector 666. And, well, in this particular case it's hard to disagree.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Revolution! MIDI Pack (TVRMIDI.WAD)


Plenty of megaWADs have been released over the years without soundtracks, let alone all original ones. Doomworld forum superstar Jimmy has made a ton of music, too, and in 2011 he began his true passion project: creating scores for big releases that never actually had one. While he did the first one - Harmony - all on his lonesome, he tapped the entire community for an original soundtrack to The Plutonia Experiment and as of 2016 the Revolution! MIDI Pack as well. Some time in the future, hopefully, we'll see the Rebirth project bear flute. The big not-so-secret of this package is that it also contains a new level authored by Thomas van der Velden for the occasion to be found in the MAP33 slot.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Revolution! (TVR.WAD)


Thomas van der Velden began his shrewdly successful community career with Revolution!, a Doom II megaWAD released in 2001. The enterprising Netherlander would go on to produce his own idTech-based game, Harmony; contribute to the first, third, and elven CCHESTs; and serve as a major and minor player in Plutonia 2 as well as the PRCP, respectively. His most recent work? Only a brand new map secreted away in the Revolution! MIDI Pack, a project headed by community superstar Jimmy in an attempt to close the stock music gap in the original release... but that is a tale for another time.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Mortiser 4: Chemical Plant (SWMORT4.WAD)

MORTISER 4
CHEMICAL PLANT
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Woodsy's greatest lasting legacy will almost certainly be Plutonia 2, even if it took a more Slavic turn in order to take it to release. After that, probably the Freedoom soundtrack debacle, which seems less surprising now since I've read the liner notes for Omega Facility. But then there's the Mortiser series, whose resource pack - MORTRES.WAD - was pillaged for at least eleven other PWADs on the archives. Sure, it's actually Nick Baker's work, but Sam compiled this particular selection and properly credited it. Chemical Plant is the fourth level in the set and occupies the MAP04 slot. While it was released in 2002 during the source Boom, it should be playable in any port like most of Woodman's works.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

00_e2m8 (00_E2M8.WAD)

00_E2M8
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Sam all but disowned his original Testament of Judgement demo - TOJ_15B - but apparently saw fit to release this thing in mid 2001. 00_E2M8 is purportedly his first original map and it definitely looks like the sort of product someone might have as the initial, awkward forays in an editor. As an E2M8 replacement it stands in for the original Cyberdemon showdown. "Tower of Babel" was an effective boss map in its simplicity and while it's not an awful idea to try to riff on the concept it just invites comparison to something that's already been enshrined in the memories of many players.

Friday, April 6, 2018

All Screenshots Have Been Backfilled

I believe that every screenshot and image that is on this blog has been backfilled. If you find something that hasn't been, let me know. There should be no IMGUR links remaining. What I have going on isn't the greatest solution but given my limited expertise, it's working for now.

My long-term, pie in the sky goal would be to set up my own domain - as supported by Blogger - and then use the domain hosting to quietly migrate screenshots, but it's a scary thought because I've never done something like it before and I don't know what the best host would be to use for such an enormously image-heavy website like mine.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Lava City Outskirts (SWLAVCIT.WAD)

LAVA CITY OUTSKIRTS
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Before the current crop of speedmapping sessions - Abyssal and others - there was the Doomworld Speedmapping events with a 100 minute time limit. And while SW wasn't in all or even most of them, the first compilation got him in such a spirit that he made his own take on the theme of the initiating jam - "lava city" - as a sort of practice level. Thus became Lava City Outskirts, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II released mid-2001. There is no story or setup beyond the author's notes on the map's creation.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Mortiser 3: Supply/Shipping Depot (SWMORT3.WAD)

MORTISER 3
SUPPLY/SHIPPING DEPOT
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


2001 was a very busy year for Woodsy, probably the busiest of his career as he wrangled submissions to several ongoing projects, managed at least two of his own, and found some time to crack out a few maps on the side. Speedmaps, mind you; it doesn't look like Sam was big on anything that took longer than a day's work. Supply/Shipping Depot is the third level in the Mortiser series, a small group of maps. They are tied together mainly by their resource pack, MORTRES. SWMORT3 follows the same progression as the previous two levels and as a result occupies the MAP03 slot. You'll need to play it in a limit-removing source port if you want to avoid the mentioned HOM effects.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Omega Facility (SWOMEGA.WAD)

OMEGA FACILITY
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


The early 2000s had a lot of crazy stuff going on at the same time and Sam Woodman had at least one finger in each of them. Alien Vendetta, Hell Revealed II, Plutonia 2, 2002: A Doom Odyssey... Heck, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that he had something kicking around in Millennium too. There's even his One Week Mapping Contest where he played the part of the "organizer". In between all of the submissions, projects, and his Mortiser series he still cranked out the occasional level. This one is Omega Facility, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II released in early 2001. It's a medium-size techbase level consisting of roughly equal parts brick and metal. I thought that it was station in space at first but there's definitely a green grass yard.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Mortiser 2: Ice Station Alpha (SWMORT2.WAD)

MORTISER 2
ICE STATION ALPHA
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman
and Mattias Berggren


Sammy boy may not have been the most prolific author during the source port boom but he had a lot of irons in the fire. A lot of his levels made it into Hell Revealed II and he headed the Plutonia 2 project for the first half of its development, for better or worse. Woodman also submitted two levels to Alien Vendetta. One of them was folded into Vincent Catalaá's "Demonic Hordes", replacing some sort of lead labyrinth. The other either already was Mortiser 2 or became it in 2001 after being cut from the project, judging by the .TXT for SWOCKHAM. Like the rest of the series, you'll need MORTRES.WAD. One big difference - it's a joint venture with Mattias Berggren, also of AV fame! SWMORT2 replaces MAP02 of Doom II so it looks like Sam intended to string them together one way or another.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ockham Complex (SWOCKHAM.WAD)

OCKHAM COMPLEX
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Woodsy spent the year 2000 throwing his weight behind a lot of different projects. The only one that really panned out was Plutonia 2, just not with him at the helm. Ockham Complex, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, begins 2001 without a continuation of any of the previous material. Sam does mention the hotly anticipated Mortiser 2, but it's in reference to another classic megaWAD: Alien Vendetta. I guess he was waiting to see whether or not Anders and co. were going to accept or reject it and made SWOCKHAM in the meantime. Woodman did get one map into the illustrious AV - but you already knew that, didn't you?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Ballistics (SWBLSTCS.WAD)

BALLISTICS
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Where Ice Station Alpha got cut out of Alien Vendetta and remained so, Ballistics was removed from Hell Revealed II... only for it to return for the final release. That's why it initially made its way to the archive as a solo publication; Sam has an aside in the .TXT for an Andy, presumably one Olivera, talking about a few changes he made since it was excised. I don't know the full story of how it found its way back into the project but according to Woodman it was removed to make way for another level of his own construction. Given HR2's troubled development history, I assume that some of the levels just didn't come through in one way or another and SWBLSTCS felt like a reasonable alternative.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Mortiser 1: Lookout Base (SWMORT1.WAD)

MORTISER 1
LOOKOUT BASE
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


It took awhile, including three wildly ambitious beginnings, but Sam eventually hit his stride with this MAP01 replacement in late 2000. The Mortiser series constitutes his largest, independent body of work and spans five levels from 2000 to 2003. The biggest thing tying these maps together is the Mortiser resource WAD, a collection of works from Nick Baker also serving as the basis of the theme for the apparently-still-in-progress Testament of Judgement. The Doomwiki informs me that ToJ eventually turned into Plutonia 2, but in September 2000 the difficulty design doc for PL2 explicitly labels it as such while the text file for MORTRES (timestamped on 10/31/2000... though the .WAD itself is stamped in THE FUTURE on 02/20/2018) continues to talk about ToJ as its own project-to-come. Maybe someone with access to the earliest dev materials can explicitly link the two.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

maintenance mode IV

CURRENT STATUS: 98.5% complete, backfilled through August 2011

Whoa hey it's been awhile! I've published 34 reviews since I made the last maintenance mode post and crossed the 600 review threshold. Right now I'm in "not quite maintenance mode" status because I am sitting on a huge pile of reviews for Sam Woodman levels. You can expect to see single level reviews posted every five days with anything much bigger arriving once a week unless my buffer gets outrageously large. That's not going to happen anytime soon, though, because I am going to be working my ass off from the end of March to partway through May. So thank goodness for a ton of buffer.

Screenshots have been backfilled all the way through February of 2012 as well as April, May, and June of 2011. As of right now, I'm more than 85% done. Considering that the vast majority of the reviews from 2011 come from a monograph on the Master Levels for Doom II, it shouldn't take long once I really get into it.

I'm still doing review "tune-ups" but as mentioned these are from a copy-editor's perspective and don't eat into the actual reviews because I'm in no state or place to play Doom when I'm performing them.

I am still working toward the Top 2001 WADs, but I also had a lot of fun playing some chronic entries in "underrated" lists (and making fake TITLEPICs for them). My immediate end goal is to make it to 2002: A Doom Odyssey, with the itinerary looking something like this:

Revolution! MIDI Pack
Codename HYENA: Killermachine
the original release of Phobia
Flay the Obscene 3
CH Retro Episode
Rip It, Tear It, Smash It
some stuff that Paul will probably laugh at when he sees it getting reviewed
Brotherhood of Ruin
...maybe 10 Sectors part 2?
2002: A Doom Odyssey

Ah, yes, reviewing the MIDI pack. I feel partly like I'm putting myself out here but I cut my teeth on describing music by writing mini-reviews for "synthwave" albums on Bandcamp so I'm probably better off than I think as long as someone doesn't try to dunk on me for the wrong terminology.

Expect any and all deviations.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Dataville (DATAVILL.WAD)

DATAVILLE
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Dataville isn't the third iteration of the Testament of Judgement project but it is a likewise hilarious demonstration of his boundless enthusiasm. In mid-2000, the flavor of Sam's month was Hacx to the tune of a prospective new series entitled "Alternative HacX". With Nostromo's design documents in hand, Woodman was committed to building a new set of levels per the original plans. Dataville is the first and only fruit yielded by the Banjo-strumming author. It was designed for the original release but works absolutely fine with the 1.2 IWAD published back in 2010, which is what I used. The most important things to know are that it has to be played in some sort of limit-removing port and occupies MAP19.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Testament of Judgement I v0.2c (demo) (TOJ_E1M1.WAD)

TESTAMENT OF JUDGEMENT I
v0.2c
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Take two. Or not, since this one's for the original. SW put out a promotional release of his Testament of Judgement project in 1999, then for Doom II. By 2000 he had switched gears, going back from Boom to the original executable and more or less disowning TOJ_15B. While still a single map replacement, this time E1M1, Sam included quite a few custom resources including a level title graphic. He certainly seemed committed! Alas; time makes fools of us all. Sam had more luck with his Mortiser series and shepherding the Plutonia 2 project through its early days, among other things.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Testament of Judgement 1.5 promotional release (TOJ_15B.WAD)

TESTAMENT OF JUDGEMENT
1.5 PROMOTIONAL RELEASE
by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman


Ol' Sam had a long and checkered history in the Doom community with a number of small solo releases as well as major contributions to Hell Revealed II and Plutonia 2 (in fact starting the latter) and even smaller footprints on 2002: A Doom Odyssey and Alien Vendetta. While his legacy has been tainted by his music submissions to the FreeDoom project, I can't deny his importance as a vanilla proponent during Doom's source port boom. Sam had not one but two stabs at kicking off his authorial career with a one man megaWAD. Both were titled Testament of Judgement and neither really made it past the first map. The Doom II version, called the "1.5 Promotional Release", found its way to the archives in 1999. MAP01 is entitled "Spaceport" in the included BEX patch. There's a MAP02 replacement, too, but it's actually a deathmatch level, I suppose patterned after The Darkening E1 or E2 (though the finished product as advertised was to be a single-player adventure).

Monday, February 12, 2018

Triple-Play (3X-PLAY.WAD)

TRIPLE-PLAY
OR, PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH :)
by Bill McClendon


Bill McClendon's main claim to fame was as one of the authors of The Unofficial WAD Designers' Handbook which offered lots of great information for prospective authors looking to dip their toes in the Doom pool. While BM would eventually go on to contribute to Requiem as well as STRAIN (the latter also sporting his partner in crime, Ron Allen) he was initially unwilling to reveal his works for the judgment of his contemporaries. His main concern was the thought of being held to a higher standard due to his hand in assembling the guide, which among other things contains a list of typical errors including
Texture Misalignment
This is the single most common error made by level authors. Although it has been mentioned several times in this document, properly aligned textures are an absolute must. Enough said. (The Unofficial WAD Designers' Handbook, Release 2.1 by Ron Allen and Bill McClendon)
That's painting a big target on your back for someone to post a "Gotcha!" Thankfully, Bill got over his fear of retaliatory nit-picking and presented his first official release, Triple-Play, for Doom II in mid 1995. It's a MAP01 replacement like so many others and the author recommends using IDMUS 18 to invoke "Waiting For Romero to Play" as the intended, complementary soundtrack.

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Lost Seraphim (SERAPH.WAD)


Virgil started out making vanilla Doom maps including his passion project, AfterDoom 2, but he was also quick to experiment using feature-rich source ports. This started out with Boom in 2000 but accelerated to ZDoom for 2001's Lost Seraphim. SERAPH is a four-level minisode for Doom II and has some unfortunate realities resulting from the differences between the port it was ostensibly released for - v1.22 - and the inexorable progress of development. It's a shame because there are some pretty cool ideas in Lost Seraphim that contribute to an interesting early ZDoom era experience and the problems render it relatively inaccessible. Above and beyond the usual issues associated with Vick's level design, that is.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

3-Tech (VRGL_3T.WAD)

3-TECH
by Vick "Virgil the Doom Poet" Bobkov


Ol' Maligheri wasn't much of a community project guy beyond his work with Plutonia 2, but he did try to get in on a few contests during his active period. One of these was 10 Sectors, where Vick had the faint distinction of being picked for the top 32 leftovers collection, 10 Sectors 2. The other considerably less popular contest nonetheless had him rubbing elbows with Erik Alm and Doug Merrill and might also have been the genesis of his Sam Woodman bromance. Though The Metabolist ultimately collected the results as the One Week Mapping Contest collection in 2001, Virgil saw fit to publish his one entry on its own during the same year. The fancifully-titled 3-Tech is a MAP01 replacement for Boom-compatible source ports.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Marine Army 1 (M_ARMY1.WAD)

MARINE ARMY 1
by Vick "Virgil the Doom Poet" Bobkov


When I downloaded this, there were a few givens. It had a huge warning label at the top of the accompanying file specifying, among other thing, that M_ARMY1 (a MAP01 replacement released in 2001) was designed for ZDoom and had neither solo or multi-player functions. The author attempted to shroud it under the cloak of experimentation and even went so far as to command a lack of criticism. All this, and for what? A "nice surprise?" The /idgames comments were characteristically descriptive and the information offered by Virgil himself was coy, to say the least. My imagination conjured the image of some sort of scripted ZDoom event not unlike the opening of Doom 64 where a complement of marines takes on some of Hell's finest.