Sunday, July 22, 2018


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.

The layout is pretty simple. The outdoor segment is a rugged, molten mountainscape and all of the action takes place high above some lava. There are two structures at the west and east ends of the chasm. The former gives you something to aspire to if you go there first since it's clearly locked with the blue skull key. The other route leads you down through the mines and the opposite end of the structure that's been built into the Hellish rock. The naturalistic landscape is a treat to run through, both above and below ground, and the northeastern yard where you glimpse the building's exterior is similarly nice. I like the toxic cistern's wraparound staircase.

It feels as though UV wasn't playtested very much. The difference between it and HMP comes down to about twenty more monsters with zero additional pickups to compensate. It may not seem that bad on paper since there's a berserk pack and a plasma gun plus a whopping 240 cells available in secrets (alongside a megasphere!) but they're still hidden and the PG isn't accessible until besting a tone deaf ambush at your most vulnerable moment at which point the difficulty rapidly drops off, making for an uneven experience. If you choose to play on Ultra-Violence then expect survival-style combat for much of its time with an awkward, claustrophobic flavor.

The start is pretty fun regardless. Once you step outside the starting cavern and round the bend you'll be exposed to a revenant standing quite a ways away while a cluster of cacodemons quickly closes in from the background. To make things worse, when you keep on moving you have to leap a gap where a pair of eager demons stands on the other side. You'll only fall onto the path you just came up if you get blocked but that extends your aerial exposure. It's not instantly overwhelming but it's plenty to react to so early on in the level and may lead you to rush into inopportune situations immediately after.

While I think that it could be improved with some more care in thing placement to balance out the additional monsters in UV, SELFISH1 is still a pretty cool pcorf level and it will be interesting to see where this well-practiced author takes Doom II from here.

The original SELFISH1 is available here for historical curiosity but the average user is probably better served to find either the vanilla episode or similarly accessed Boom version and


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