Tuesday, August 20, 2019

One-Week Megawad (ONEWEEK.WAD)


Sam Woodman was bitten by the bug. Inspired by the Quake community, Doomworld was hosting Speedmapping Sessions on a weekly basis. Another site, Doom Center, kicked off a week in tribute to Knee Deep in the Dead. The intrigue was amplified with a contest where authors had a fortnight to craft an E1-themed level, to be judged by John Romero. Metabolist ultimately settled on hosting ten consecutive invitationals. The turnout was... less than spectacular as far as numbers go. He received an average of 1.5 submissions per event. The eleven that Sam did not reject were collected and compiled into the One-Week MegaWAD. Released in 2001, this Doom II episode is generally limit-removing but ought to be played in a Boom-compatible port due to MAP10 at the very least.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Catacombs (AP_009.WAD)

THE CATACOMBS
by Alex Parsons


AP_009 is the ninth entry in the World's End series and is the last to feature in sequential order. Alex never released parts 010-012, instead skipping ahead to 013 and 014 (Installation A and B). We also know that Parsons considered his two Community Chest submissions, "Ground Floor" (MAP03) and "Mandrel" (MAP11), as 015 and 016, respectively. Like the rest, The Catacombs is a Doom II MAP01 replacement for limit-removing ports. It was released in 2002 but has a couple of interesting deviations. The most obvious is that it draws direct inspiration from American McGee's level of the same name. It's the first time for the author to reference any sort of influence. He also explicitly suggests that players use idmus to play something other than D_RUNNIN. Specifically, MAP22's "The David D. Taylor Blues".

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Relive X2 (RELIVEX2.WAD)


Memfis loves classic PWADs. If they're relatively obscure, then even better. Shamus Young made a couple of things that he really enjoyed though the Doom City tribute wouldn't come until 2013 as a part of his Kuchitsu. RELIVEX2 is his little love letter to Phobos - Relive the Nightmare, a Doom II episode that drew inspiration from the names of Knee Deep in the Dead's maps. This couplet - originally released in 2012 - is a limit-removing minisode which occupies MAP01 and MAP02. It doesn't require Shamus's PWAD as a resource since it incorporated all of the relevant assets. The author forgot something along the way, though, because MAP02 references textures which aren't included.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Abyssal Speedmapping Session 6 (ABYSPED6.WAD)


The Abyssal Speedmapping Sessions have been going relatively strong since 2013. These events get a group of community members together to create maps based around a choice of themes with two hours for the raw sector work and fifteen each for texturing and polishing. Unless you go by Alfonzo, in which case you use a third hour so often that it gets named after you. The sixth occurrence happened in May of 2014 and resulted in eleven Doom II levels for play in a Boom-compatible source port. Two other maps were made during the allotted time - one by scifista42 and another by Doomkid - but the organizer did not include them in the final package.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Other Side of Phobos (OSP.WAD)

THE OTHER SIDE OF PHOBOS
by Karthik Abhiram Krishna


K.A. had a lengthy span of small solo releases. His most active period spanned 2001-2003 during the slow burn following the source port boom. Karthik's main claim to fame is 2002's Congestion Control, which found a coveted spot in Doomworld's Top 100 WADs of All Time retrospective. I would not have guessed this while playing most of his pre-CCT material, though. The good news is that 2002's OSP is a giant leap forward in terms of level design. This makes the transition from rough and semi-competent to award winner a little less jarring. The Other Side of Phobos is an E1M1 replacement for the original Doom.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Magnum Opus (MAGNUMOP.WAD)

MAGNUM OPUS
by John "Spook" Bye


It's interesting that Bye felt comfortable using this title since he would go on to craft the Cygnus IV episode / megaWAD and then tag team The Talosian Incident with Malcolm Sailor. Not to forget his two submissions to The Darkening E1, of course. Magnum Opus occurs relatively early in his career history. This MAP01 replacement for Doom II was released in 1996 and marks an important turning point that points the way toward his future productions. First, John tries his hand at crafting his own soundtrack and delivers a simple and moody piece. Second, the author was apparently dissatisfied with the amount of time spent making the level. He vowed to spend his future on less "huge" levels, possibly creating a series composed of smaller ones.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Max Saga: The Doom Dragon (MAX2.WAD)

MAX SAGA
THE DOOM DRAGON


Impie is now best-known for his impressive portfolio of mods and TCs but his career circa 2014 had him playing around with standard Doom II gameplay. The plots still drew on other properties, of course. They just didn't mess around with "advanced" engine features. Three of these releases ended up as part of Strange Aeons's fifth episode and this one is no different, appearing there as "The Vaults of Zin" (E5M3). The Doom Dragon is unique because it is actually an E1M1 replacement for Heretic, of all things. As far as I know, any limit-removing port that supports it ought to be able to play MAX2. If not, well, then I can personally vouch for ZDoom.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Mayhem 1500 (MAYHEM15.WAD)


Every May since 2012 Doomworld community members have gotten together in an attempt to make a megaWAD in a month. It isn't polished and finalized by June, though, and it might not even be finished during the same year. The 2015 session followed in the grand tradition of MAYHEM13 insofar as it wasn't released until 2016. It is also the second of the projects to reach the symbolic status of a full game replacement, occupying MAP01-MAP32 with additional bonus levels in the MAP33 and MAP34 slots. MAYhem 1500, like its forebears, is meant to be played in a Boom-compatible source port. If you play it in something that supports a brand of MAPINFO, though, then the secret levels will transition smoothly into the extra stuff.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Mossvale Dungeons (AP_008.WAD)

MOSSVALE DUNGEONS
by Alex Parsons


Alex made a bunch of maps for his World's End series but he's probably known better for being a contributor to the first Community Chest. His peers Gene Bird and Sphagne submitted levels that they had originally released as standalone singles. Parsons's maps are however exclusively available as part of CCHEST. I dunno whether they were sitting on his hard drive before he submitted them or if he made "Ground Floor" and "Mandrel" specifically for the 2003 project and then retroactively dubbed them a part of World's End. Whatever the case, Mossvale Dungeons is the eighth level in the series and was published back in 2002. Like most of his solo stuff, it's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II and targets limit-removing ports.

Monday, July 22, 2019

MM2MEM01 (MM2MEM01.WAD)

MM2MEM01
by "Memfis"


Memfis has published a ton of material, most of it in small packages. His early works displayed his infatuation with classic PWADs both popular and less so. Requimem used Requiem's resources, of course, and actually consisted of remakes of its first two levels. MM2MEM01 was released in 2011 but not uploaded to /idgames until 2014. It continues in the same tradition as far as using another PWAD's assets, in this case Memento Mori II. It doesn't purport to reimagine Dennis Moeller's "Outpost", though. It is a brand new level for Doom II that merely occupies the MAP01 slot. You'll need MM2 in order to play it without any missing textures. The .TXT also implies that it is meant for limit-removing source ports.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Smooth Doom (SMOOTHDOOM.PK3)

SMOOTH DOOM
by "Gifty"


Hundreds if not thousands of increasingly complex Doom mods have been made since the advent of ACS and DECORATE in ZDoom. Many of them offer significant gameplay changes but others are of a more aesthetic variety, "polishing" the game's appearance. Smooth Doom was born out of a proof-of-concept from SgtMarkIV. Gifty took the cue and pursued the idea to its logical conclusion, first releasing it on Doomworld in 2014. It remains one of the community's most beloved mods, particularly for those folks who still enjoy the look of the stock resources but can't stand the staggered animations. Since ZDoom's retirement, Smooth Doom requires a current revision of GZDoom.

Mid-Year State of the Blog: 2019

Mid-Year State of the Blog: 2019


Longtime readers may have realized that the pace of reviews has been faster as of late with all of the single-level posts. As of the beginning of July I have already posted more reviews than I did in 2017 overall (63 vs. 48).


What this looked like, in summary:

Friday, July 12, 2019

Out of Phase II (OPHASE2.WAD)


It's 2002 and I have one map left to go before Karthik gets his shit together to make the sort of level that I would expect to see in Doomworld's Top 100 WADs of All Time. Out of Phase was a paradigm shift from the awkward construction of Ick and Chaos Punch. Its sequel, OPHASE2, has more of the same aesthetic and isn't much different on its face. Some of the elements hint at his potential, though, and have me excited to see what sort of critical leaps he'll take between now and then. I was surprised to find that Out of Phase II is actually a two-level minisode, replacing MAP01 and MAP02 of Doom II. When you consider its origin, though, it makes a bit more sense.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Maze - BIG IS BEAUTIFUL (MAZE.WAD)

MAZE
BIG IS BEAUTIFUL
by "Spooky" John Bye


This is the second level that Bye authored and it's sort of a disappointment after having seen the conceptual promise of CyberDoom. I'm almost prefer to play his highly orthogonal lighting experiments. The title is Maze and while this accurately describes its main setpiece it fails to fully encapsulate the more banal aspects of its level design. The subtitle, BIG IS BEAUTIFUL, can be true especially when we're talking about the macrotecture that typifies high skill ceiling mapsets. Not for MAZE, though. This was originally made back in 1995 and is an E1M1 replacement for the original Doom.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Max Saga: Escape From Skull Dungeon (MAX1.WAD)

MAX SAGA:
ESCAPE FROM SKULL DUNGEON
by Mike "Impie" MacDee


Valley of the Gwangi might have been a pretty esoteric reference for the Doom community. Derceto put Impie's oeuvre back in the fold by drawing on Alone in the Dark, a PC survival horror game. His aborted Max Saga pulled from another property, this one the Mighty Max line of toys. Ol' Maxie even went on to have his own kickass cartoon series, which I still remember fondly. The toys were typically little clamshell playsets shaped like monster heads and the backs of the packages had small comics. I didn't know that they were originally British but I was fortunate enough to have a ton of them during my childhood. Not Skull Dungeon, though, which this level is sort of inspired by. Mike's first entry is more like Gwangi's Palace insofar as it is a Doom II MAP01 replacement for any limit-removing port.

Monday, July 1, 2019

DoomCenter E1 Mapping Contest (E1CONTEST.WAD)


Doom Center was an important fixture of the community during the post-source port boom. It was something of a media hub in its promotion of PWADs and their authors. It eventually deactivated with the death of its host but some of its staff went on to join Doomworld. Snapshots of the site were thankfully preserved via archive.org but most of its content and enthusiasm have not figured into its legacy. I only know of Doom Center's existence because it hosted a map-making contest during a week that celebrated the shareware episode in 2001. John Romero himself judged the submissions; the winner received an autographed copy of the Ultimate Doom.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Mossvale Estate (AP_007.WAD)

MOSSVALE ESTATE
by Alex Parsons


The original Community Chest had a variety of reasons to be notable. One of them was the inclusion of levels by authors like Gene Bird and Sphagne which had been previously and individually released as parts of their own solo serials. Alex Parsons differed from the others in that his two such contributions - part of his World's End series - debuted in CCHEST and remain exclusive to it to this day. Mossvale Estate is the seventh part of his tour of duty. Like all the rest, it is a MAP01 replacement and is meant for play in a limit-removing port. I didn't see any necessity for robust Z collision a la AP_007 but your mileage may vary.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

MEM_OLD1 (MEM_OLD1.WAD)

MEM_OLD1
by "Memfis"


I almost feel guilty characterizing Memfis as a fan of the community's golden age. It's hard not to, though, when he wears his heart on his sleeve while releasing map packs like Requimem, MM2MEM01, and Icarumem. I haven't gotten to the latter two yet but MEM_OLD1 hails from the same period of the author's career. It's a something between worlds, though, since he appears to be evoking Icarus: Alien Vanguard in some regards while referencing the more esoteric content of user levels through select resource use. It was posted on the forums back in 2011 but didn't make it to /idgames until the Great Archive Dump of 2014. Some folks will be happy to know that this limit-removing level is actually an E1M1 replacement for the original trilogy.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Sigil (SIGIL.WAD)

The TITLEPIC / title screen for SIGIL.

John Romero made a few maps for the original Doom back in 2016. He had withdrawn from idtech1 level design following the publication of The Ultimate Doom and Thy Flesh Consumed. Tech Gone Bad and Phobos Mission Control saw a broad range of reactions from the community, none of which surprised me. What did was the announcement of Sigil at the end of 2018 in celebration of Doom's 25th anniversary. John made an entire episode of maps and while it was going to be released  for free he was also including it along with some physical goods. These took the form of a regular-sized box and funsies as well as the larger and more expensive Beast Box. The material stuff saw some production issues that ultimately delayed the publication of the free download but the package is on /idgames as of 05/31/19. The finished product replaces Inferno for source ports that don't support MAPINFO and the like (SIGIL_COMPAT) but it otherwise makes its own room, slotting in as a fifth episode. It won't play in pure vanilla but it ought to work in just about everything else, including the HEX-hacked "Doom+" executable.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Dying End (TDE.WAD)

THE DYING END
by Chris Lutz


Phobos: Anomaly Reborn gave way to Deimos: Anomaly Unleashed. Lutz lost his muse, though, and didn't produce anything for about four years. The Dying End was released in 2007. It's a Boom-compatible offering that replaces Doom II's MAP29 and came as an oasis in a drought of chaos. It would be another four years before Icebound and his participation in DTWiD. This gave way to working with Xaser for No End In Sight. Thus energized, he would make a strong case for 2017's Mapper of the Year as a triple threat with Hellscape and Dark Tide. At least, it looks that way when I held the door open for NEIS to grace the 2017 season.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Fruit Salad (FRUIT SALAD.WAD)


Grain of Salt is someone who I was peripherally aware of as a member of Doomworld's slaughter fan brigade, a contributor to community projects like Slaughterfest 2011. I actually did play one of GoS's levels back in 2013, a bonus map from Hadephobia ("Scotch Bonnet"). I also downloaded a solo release, Green Goddess, though I have failed to actually do anything with it. Fruit Salad is her second personal publication that I'm aware of, a six-map episode for Doom II for play in Boom-compatible ports. It was released in late 2018 and might generously be called a holiday-themed set since its themes are split into ice, mountain, and Christmas. The last one isn't entirely festive but the colors are there.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Remains (REMAINS.PK3)


2019 appears to be Serious_MOod's year for excavating past endeavors. Outbreak of Evil was a remake of their debut 2013 episode, Opening. It punched up the architecture, detailing, and gameplay to the author's standards some six years later. Remains isn't a retread, though. It is an attempt to deliver on the promise of a project that died before it ever really began. S_M was working with partner in crime ChaingunnerX and devived]asts[. They had built up a resource pack for a prospective megaWAD but it obviously never materialized. Serious_MOod took what remained of their dreams and then crafted a single level plus an isolating coda, occupying MAP01 and MAP02 respectively. The finished product is meant for play in GZDoom.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Phobos: Anomaly Reborn (PAR.WAD)


Chris Lutz has a more or less independent property in marshaling The Chaos Crew's Caverns of Darkness. His earliest obsession, though, was to reinvent the original Doom under the guidance of his own image. This started in 1998 with the release of Inferno and was followed by some work on replacements for The Shores of Hell and Knee Deep in the Dead. His passion project took a backseat when he joined CoD, though, and by the time he got back to the trilogy he was so displeased with his older works that he began anew. Thus we were fortunate enough to receive Phobos: Anomaly Reborn. This episode one replacement was released at the beginning of 2003 and imprinted on Doomworld's curators enough to find a spot in their coveted Top 100 WADs of All Time. Lutz identifies Boom/MBF as the target port and his language implies that it ought to work with either but it was also found to be compatible in a then-contemporary version of ZDoom. There are some caveats, though, and I'll get to those in a bit.

SubP:AR (PAR.WAD)


When I hunkered down to look into Phobos: Anomaly Reborn I learned one of the community's best-kept secrets. There are four other levels contained within PAR.WAD, occupying E2M5-E2M8. They constitute the stealth release of SubP:AR, a collection of outtakes from Christopher's Inferno period (1997-1999). The author originally intended to make Lutz-ified reimaginations of Knee Deep in the Dead and The Shores of Hell, too, but he joined up with The Chaos Crew and these levels fell by the wayside. While he eventually got around to Phobos (and, though incomplete, Deimos) it was with a few good years of authorial experience under his belt. I don't know whether these were necessarily designed for BooMBF but it was probably the last port that Chris used to test them. I'm reviewing them separately from P:AR in spite of being contained in the same PWAD because I don't want to bloat Reborn's review and I'd like to give these curiosities their time in the sun.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Out of Phase (OPHASE.WAD)

OUT OF PHASE
by Karthik Abhiram Krishna


OPHASE is a pretty important stepping stone in K.A.'s authorial career. His earliest /idgames releases - Ick and Chaos Punch - contained strange design mannerisms that suggested a lack of familiarity with editing tools. His work process appeared to consist of making room spaces and then drawing freestanding structures inside of them, the latter functioning as walls. Out of Phase moves past these oddities to deliver a highly claustrophobic techbase map. It's also the first of Karthik's Doom II releases, being a MAP01 replacement, and was published in 2001. The second part - OPHASE2 - wouldn't be released until the following year in 2002.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Hall of the Mountain King (HALLMONT.WAD)

HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING
by John "Spooky" Bye


Bye's early authorial career showed that he was willing to work with some crazy ideas. CyberDoom portrayed a virtual world whose structures represented hyperlinked websites in cyberspace. Gardens of Delight dialed back on the madness as a fairly mundane chateau / castle kind of thing. Hall of the Mountain King went even further, taking the promising static light work of GARDENSD and cranking it up at the expense of any semblance of interesting architecture. It differs from his earliest material in that it's actually an E1M1 replacement for the original Doom but it still hails from 1996.

Monday, June 3, 2019

New Page

I've added a new page that you can see at the bar of quick links at the top and front, "Begin Here". For Doom's 25th Anniversary I acknowledge that I've generally run this as a hyperlinked journal and was generally unconcerned with whether any readers might be new to the community and end up confused as to where to start. The goal is to supply people the information to get started and clear up any misconceptions that might exist about stuff like source port compatibility. Long term I would like to offer up curated lists of WADs in order to quickly answer questions like "What are some cool Hell-themed OG Doom episodes and what do they offer for me".

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Derceto (DERCETOV3_UDMF.WAD)

DERCETO
by Mike "Impie" MacDee


Mike is more popular for his total conversions that explore a host of other universes, some his own and others from preexisting properties. His earliest efforts plied this same angle but stayed within vanilla Doom II's combat stylings. The references served as springboards for the imagination, allowing you to fill in the details left out by using id Software's stock textures. Derceto is a tribute to the original Alone in the Dark - a landmark survival horror title - and was originally released in 2014. It saw a significant facelift in 2015, though, where Impie gave the adventure a new coat of paint. The original is still available on /idgames if you're curious but this review covers the updated version that can be found on the author's personal website. Both are MAP01 replacements for Doom II. The first release targeted limit-removing source ports with jumping as a feature. The second has a much narrower band as it utilizes the UDMF format. Eternity should still be in the game, then. (G)ZDoom ought to work for sure.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Ni'mRoD: IXNAY on the HOMBRE (NIMROD.WAD)


Most of Kristus's career has shined a light on the periphery of traditional Doom gameplay. His debut, Codename: HYENA, established himself as an author who was ready to make changes to Doom's core gameplay. He threw his artistic weight behind them, too, and while the overall look may fall flat to the average player its raw ambition cannot be ignored. Phobia showed a willingness to embrace new tech. Specifically this was Legacy and its "advanced" features like scripting, free-standing surfaces, swimmable water, and dynamic lights. Ni'mRoD: IXNAY on the HOMBRE continued the relationship with a 2002 Doom II release that replaced MAP01-MAP10. It's also playable in GZDoom - more on this later.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Highlands (AP_006.WAD)

THE HIGHLANDS
by Alex Parsons


I played five of Alex's levels before coming to AP_006. I saw that a few of them were almost certainly tested in ZDoom but nothing appeared to stray outside the realm of plain limit-removing ports. The Highlands is the first of the World's End series to correct my assumption. This is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II and was released back in the summer of 2002. The author recommends an "advanced port" but I strongly suggest an .EXE like (G)ZDoom, which implemented z-collision beyond idtech1's original infinite height. Eternity and Legacy ought to work fine as well. The last is the chosen port for the only demo that anyone has ever recorded for AP_006!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Requimem (REQUIMEM.WAD)


Memfis was known for his love of classic megaWADs but this rarely reflects in the particulars of his level design. His typically less-hardcore monster density is counterbalanced by exacting ammo balance and his layouts display modern sensibilities on how to make levels feel interconnected and fun to move around in. I never took the opportunity to pursue a direct comparison but REQUIMEM made it easy to do so. This two-level set was initially released in 2011 but didn't make it to the archives until 2014 during the great Memfis dump. It's actually the first two levels of Requiem, remade, and thus requires its .WAD for the reused resources. The tested port was PrBoom-Plus using -complevel 2 so it ought to work okay in modern limit-removing .EXEs.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

quake2doom (Q2DOOM.WAD)


The source port boom was co-incident with the release of texture packs from other games. These resources were obviously floating around on the Internet in one form or another prior to 1999, judging by the appearance of Quake textures in Kurt Kesler's work. The community also had a history of using the similarly-formatted assets from Heretic and Hexen. Many of these packages started to formally arrive on /idgames, though, one being Q2TEX. Bryant Robinson aka Gunrock went on to fame and fortune with 2002's Dark 7 and its associated Mission Pack. QUAKE2DOOM appears to be his official debut, originally published in 2000 / 2001. It's a nine-level episode for DOOM2.WAD that claims to work in Boom-compatible ports but is clearly designed for ZDoom. The author recommends the now defunct ZDoomGL "for full impact" so, then, GZDoom if you don't want to do some source port archeology.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Chaos Punch (CPUNCH.WAD)

CHAOS PUNCH
by Karthik Abhiram Krishna


I'm on K.A.'s third map, the second released in 2001, and the gap between his level design and Doomworld's standards for their Top 10 WADs of 2002 seems vast. He never meant for anyone to see his first proper level, of course. KARTHIK2 was only made available after the fact due to nostalgia on his part. Ick was a big step but still showed someone coming to grips with what they were able to make in idtech1. Chaos Punch is an E2M1 replacement and shows a lot of the same design decisions, just turned outward instead of within. It does have a pretty strong gimmick that ties it together, though, and which sets it apart from a lot of PWADs. Excluding the stuff in the MAP21 slots of megaWADs like Scythe II, anyway.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Garden of Delight (GARDENSD.WAD)

GARDEN OF DELIGHT
by John Bye


Bye went on to have a career in the games industry but he got his start by reviewing user maps for Doom. It wasn't long before he began to make them. John's work is glazed over in current discussions of the community's history because his peak style does not reflect the overall trend toward action-oriented mapsets as depicted in Erik Alm-centric retrospectives. In some ways his goals as a level designer were and remain diametrically opposed to the zeitgeist of what we are calling the "modern" era. Garden of Delight is as good a showcase as any of his tendencies. Released in 1996 after CyberDoom, it's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Gwangi's Palace (GWANGI.WAD)

GWANGI'S PALACE
by Mike MacDee aka "Impie"


At this point Mike is best-known for creating a host of total conversion that explore other worlds including console games and his own fictional universe. He also made a few levels for Doom (and Heretic!), pre-dating his massive Strange Aeons by about a year. Three of these oldest maps were actually re-dressed and included as part of his fifth and final SA episode, appended in 2016. I believe that Gwangi's Palace is the oldest of the 2014 levels, at least in terms of when it was initially released. It is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II and is meant for play in a limit-removing source port.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Outbreak of Evil (OUTBREAK.WAD)


The original version of Outbreak of Evil was released in early 2013 as Opening, not to /idgames but the Russian Community. Serious_MOod went on to craft a bunch of additional content for the original Doom - Dark Side of Deimos, Beta Labs, The Day of Chains, and BLABS2 - sometimes with partners in crime. 2017-2019 had S_M reworking their premiere debut, releasing the finished remake / remodel in early 2019. Outbreak of Evil is a full Knee Deep in the Dead replacement. The author specifies PrBoom-Plus as the port to use but my outdated copy of ZDoom worked just fine. I dunno of any reason why it would be required over another limit-removing executable but you might keep it to Boom-compatible just to be on the safe side.

Opening (OPENING.ZIP)


Serious_MOod's /idgames debut was Dark Side of Deimos in 2013. There was another, though. S_M's first episode release was actually a Knee Deep in the Dead replacement titled Opening. This little mapset was originally released in the Russian Doom Community - also in 2013 - and underwent extensive remodeling in 2017-2019. The remake saw a broader publication in 2019 as Outbreak of Evil. The author provided it to me for a potential before / after evaluation and I decided to review it in full because it exploits some niches that its remake abstains from and is a worthy production in its own right. Opening only replaces the eight regular levels. I don't think that it requires a specific source port but I would go with a limit-removing engine to be on the safe side.

Monday, April 29, 2019

CRINGE! (CRING666.WAD)


In the Doom community, Mark Klem is known primarily for his musical contributions. He was responsible for the entire score of the original Memento Mori but had a major role in the soundtracks of other classic projects like Requiem, S.T.R.A.I.N., and MM2. He made maps, too, for the same megaWADs as his good friend Eric Sargent. However their partnership began it made its official debut with CRINGE!, an episode two replacement for the original Doom. Released toward the tail end of 1994 (and uploaded specifically to the /idgames archive in 1995), it is a perfect example of the raw weirdness perpetuated during the community's early years. I suspect that the majority of modern players will hate it with a passion. The ones who don't, though, may be drawn into its unearthly delights.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Sinistrad (AP_005.WAD)

SINISTRAD
by Alex Parsons


AP will not go down in Doom history as one of its greatest authors but he was a solid contributor during the source port boom. Part of his legacy involves Doomworld's Community Chest series, the first of which he helped to round out. He was in like-minded company; Gene Bird and Sphagne were two other contributors who also released most of their levels as single map releases. Alex was building his World's End series, named after the first level in the set. Two of its entries are exclusive to CCHEST but this one - Sinistrad - is not. AP_005 is of course the fifth part of the sequence and, like the rest, is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II for play in a limit-removing port.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Voyage to Deimos map02 (VODEIMO2.WAD)

VOYAGE TO DEIMOS
MAP02
by "Memfis"


VtD has an interesting history that partially resembles Sam Woodman's aborted Testament of Judgement project. Memfis only ever released / finished two of its levels - the other VODEIM21 -and the existing material is split between the original Doom and its sequel. VODEIMO2 was actually one of the first levels that the author ever made, back in 2007. It was only uploaded in 2014 as part of Memfis's epic archive dump after an approximately year-long period where he had effectively boycotted /idgames. True to its name, this leg of the Voyage is a MAP02 replacement for Doom II. The .TXT specifically cites it as being tested in prBoom+ using -complevel 2 but it should work in any limit-removing port.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Doom64 EX (DOOM64.EXE)


Doom64 EX was one of Samuel Villareal's passion projects, a source port developed for the express purpose of playing the original Doom 64 on the PC as accurately as possible. It also has its own level editor, allowing fans to make their own PWADs using the same features that the original designers used. As opposed to, you know, painstakingly recreating it all using a source port like GZDoom or Doomsday. The latter was the base of the Doom 64: Absolution TC, a project that Kaiser had a hand in and which is featured as one of Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 2003.

Doom 64 (DOOM64.WAD)


Doom has been ported to a staggering number of platforms but a select few of the commercial releases hold a special place in the hearts of a generation. The Playstation and the Nintendo 64 each got their own version (two in the case of the PSX's Final Doom). Both were created by Midway games and used the talents of three of the same authors: Randy Estrella, Danny Lewis, and Tim Heydelaar. They also featured haunting, atmospheric soundtracks from Aubrey Hodges. I am reviewing the 64 iteration first even though it was released later. Roughly a year and a half in 1997, to be exact. No offense to the PSX fans; there's just way more meat for me to sink my teeth into.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Ick (ICK.WAD)

ICK
by Karthik Abhiram Krishna


KA was a fixture of the early source port BOOM era. He started out making vanilla compatible levels and while he eventually moved on to mapping for engines with raised limits he never gave up the basic set of features. His biggest claim to Doom fame is his Congestion Control, one of Doomworld's Top Ten WADs of 2002, but he also worked with Brad Spencer - one of the core components of the Alien Vendetta team - as well as his brother Varun. Ick wasn't his initial finished level - an honor afforded to KARTHIK2 - but it was the first one that he felt worthy of uploading to the /idgames archives. Released in 2001, it's an E2M1 replacement for the original Doom.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

KARTHIK2 (KARTHIK2.WAD)

KARTHIK2
by Karthik Abhiram Krishna


Karthik had a solid string of releases from 2001 to 2003, working with both his brother as well as Brad Spencer of Alien Vendetta fame. He even garnered a coveted spot in Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 2002 with Congestion Control. Every author has to start somewhere, though, and while he never uploaded this particular level to the archives it was his first finished creation. KARTHIK2 is an E3M1 replacement and was finalized in late 2000. As far as I know it's only available on his personal website alongside a couple of sector tag 666 experiments.

Friday, April 12, 2019

CyberDoom (CYBER.WAD)

CYBERDOOM
by John Bye


1994-1996 was a watershed period for the Doom user community. A significant minority of folks in the games industry got their start making mods during this time. Heck; as of right now one of them is running id software! John Bye started out by reviewing PWADs before delving into a level editor himself. He would go on to publish a large solo project, Cygnus IV, as well as his idtech1 swan song in 1997 (The Talosian Incident). Bye kicked off his authorship in 1995 with the relatively reviled Sacrifice but his /idgames career opens on CyberDoom, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II. The core of his person is evident in its construction but if you only knew his levels for their careful sector-based lightcasting then this may come as a shock.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Shadows of the Nightmare Realm (SOTNR.PK3)


Alexa Jones-Gonzales started out making vanilla Doom levels for the publicly-released and then rescinded Kill megaWAD. Later, in 2010, she created One Doomed Marine for the Doomsday engine. With 2016's Extreme Terror YukiRaven appears to have taken to roost in GZDoom since this subsequent minisode (and, looking ahead, the next two) is for the popular GL engine. Shadows of the Nightmare Realm is a four plus one secret level experience for Doom II. It technically has a skill selector intro map, too, bringing up the total to six. The work builds on many of the tropes developed in EXTERROR with room-over-room geometry and colored lighting but SOTNR has a very different feel.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Extreme Terror (EXTERROR.PK3)

EXTREME TERROR
by Alexa "YukiRaven" Jones-Gonzales


Alexa has been making Doom maps since the classic days with the as yet unfinished one-woman megaWAD, Kill. One Doomed Marine's release in 2010 broke from form, a five-level Doomsday minisode that tried to take advantage of its capacity for scripting and dynamic lights. It would be six years and an engine change before her next publication. Released in 2016, Extreme Terror is a MAP01 replacement for GZDoom to be played in Doom II. Like ODM, it also has a custom soundtrack written by the author for this specific occasion. It's a more technologically advanced outing than its older sibling, too, since it makes use of features like room-over-room geometry and slopes. Not to forget GZDoom's own brand of scripting. The one big thing you might not be expecting given all of these niceties - you're strongly advised against (but not expressly forbidden from) jumping. Keep that in mind.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

One Doomed Marine (ODM-V1.1.PK3)


Alexa received accolades for her work in GZDoom - Shadows of the Nightmare Realm in 2017 and, more recently, 2018's Umbra of Fate - but she has had a lot of prior practice in Doom editing utilities. Much of it went toward her incomplete one woman megaWAD (Kill) but her advanced source port debut was in the Doomsday engine with One Doomed Marine in 2010. I'm pretty sure that Jaakko's .EXE was my first community port since it was the target for Kaiser's D64: Absolution TC. It looked a bit different back then, though, and the gap between this five map minisode's original release (made for v1.8.6) and the current version of Doomsday (v2.1) has introduced a number of complications in its functionality.

Friday, March 29, 2019

MS5 (MS5.WAD)

MS5
by Malcolm Sailor

MSSCRAPS
MS1MS2MS3MS4MS5


The last act of the boy wonder was to publish all of his unreleased outtakes and incomplete fragments as Assorted Scraps and Leftovers. Uploaded to the /idgames /prefabs directory at the end of 2000, the intent was to allow them to serve as the inspirational springboard for any aspiring author. A handful of these maps were actually fully functional (if not realized) levels. He collected six of them into MS1.WAD for Doom II. MS5 has the distinction of being Malcolm's second release for id's original trilogy after 1996's SKULL. I doubt whether it uses any advanced source port features but Sailor implied that no serious bug-quashing was performed. You might be better off playing it in any limit-removing .EXE.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

MS1 (MS1.WAD)


MSSCRAPS
MS1MS2MS3MS4MS5

Assorted Scraps and Leftovers was Malcolm Sailor's final gift to the Doom community, a collection of previously unreleased materials split into five different PWADs. The package was published in late 2000 and ranges from fully functional levels for Doom II (as well as the original) to deathmatch outtakes and aborted scraps. The majority of the items, which are found in MS2.WAD, are not "complete" levels per se. The author considered another seven to be fully functional in single-player, though. MS1.WAD contains six of them, all designed for Doom II. They are probably - mechanically speaking - vanilla compatible but the author did not polish them for release so I would play them back in a limit-removing port just to be on the safe side.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Foul Ruin (AP_004.WAD)

FOUL RUIN
by Alex Parsons


AP was a pretty cool dude who made a bunch of maps starting in 2002. His World's End series was named for the first of the set and spans twelve levels, two of which were only released as part of the original Community Chest alongside other craft single makers like Gene Bird and Sphagne. Foul Ruin is the fourth entry. As is the case with the majority of his /idgames uploads it's a MAP01 replacement published in 2002. It's also probably not compatible with the original Doom. I don't think that it uses any ZDoom-specific features but it was Alex's only testing port. It should work in any limit-removing .EXE.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Disjunction (DISJUNCT.WAD)


Disjunction had its genesis in TerminusEst13's Doom Upstart Mapping Project series. DUMP is similar to several other events (e.g. The Joy of Mapping) in that it is all about getting people psyched to make levels. floatRAND was a participant in the fantastically bloated DUMP3, dubbed the BFG edition. His or her three entries - "Felt" (MAP45 there and MAP05 here), "Lambda Base" (MAP57 cum MAP02), and "Electron" (MAP09 nee MAP65) - formed the foundation of a single episode, released in 2017 as Disjunction. The final product is an eleven-map replacement for play in Boom-compatible source ports.