Wednesday, June 6, 2018


by Malcolm Sailor


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.

Specifically, that would be one of the 1995-era re-releases after Dr. Sleep went back and retextured stuff to match the style he developed while working with id on Master Levels For Doom II. This is a brick and metal level described by Malcolm as a "ghost town". Like DANTE, it uses the occasional occult skin banner to dress up a few walls and even has a bit of a go at imitating Anderson's narrow hallway lights but the torches are a bit too high up to really sell it and he fails to lightcast beyond the area where opposing "rays" overlap. Of course, the author improved on his method quite a bit, looking pretty sharp by the time CHORDG rolled around.

Boom is appropriately action-packed and begins with a big teleporter ambush. In some texts that accompany later PWADs, Sailor apologizes for this level in particular if you don't manage to find the shotgun. Having it turns a survivalist nightmare into a somewhat tense but not overwhelming wave of beasties. If you're fighting them, well, it's already too late. The next big segment is an outer yard featuring a long ledge filled with Doom trash monsters that just looks silly. I like the subsequent sector machinery and associated platforming; the end result is the reveal of the revenant and his imp posse.

There's something like a torture chamber, which has a really good monster layout for using almost entirely Doom II trash. I'm not sold on the Baron who sits in his little ammo / health alcove but the way you have to pop up and then immediately assess the threat of several commandos, imps, and zombies is smart stuff. The room that follows has a funky node builder error resulting in two invisible triangle-shaped ledges extending east and west of the doorway to the soul sphere ledge. I say triangular but the way you move against them they clearly don't have a diagonal hypotenuse but instead a zig-zag pattern of orthogonal lines. I mention them because they will fuck you up while you're trying to dodge around the lower level. The plasma-fueled final ambush is a good, fun coda.

Boom isn't terribly descriptive but it's another short, unassuming outing of solid quality. I would especially recommend it if you're keen on the style of the Master Levels For Doom II. I'm certainly eager to find out what the last two maps from DS-61-3 are like.


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