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


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


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


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


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.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Horalky (HORALKY.WAD)

HORALKY
by "Memfis"


In my mind the Russian Doom Community is perhaps the most tightly knit of all the idtech1 diaspora. Looking back through their history I see tons of little mapping competitions and many of these had their entries included in larger projects like Heroes' Tales or Whitemare. Horalky originated as a prospective submission to a "Grid 64 Contest" but Memfis didn't finish it in time. I'm not sure whether the project ever saw completion. At least, it doesn't look like it was uploaded to /idgames and I'm not willing to spend my time researching its fate on iddqd.ru. We have this, though. It's a MAP01 replacement and should work in any limit-removing port.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

RRWARD04 (RRWARD04.WAD)

RRWARD04
by Richard R. Ward


Rich's levels don't constitute a series as much as they share the same general filename. His first two maps, RRWARD01 and 02, were single releases in 1994 and served as self-contained adventures. The other two, RRWARD03 and 04, made up the only bits of an episode replacement - Nocternal Missions - that he felt comfortable releasing. They were also released a good bit after his debut, the former showing in 1996 with the latter arriving on the archives in 2003 (though it appears to have been finalized in 1999). RRWARD04 stands out from the rest insofar as it is an E1M8 replacement but it should play in most any engine. The author does mention some visual bugs in the now ancient glDoom source port but I doubt whether it concerns the average player of today.

Monday, March 11, 2019

AOL Girls Museum (AOLGIRLS.WAD)

AOL GIRLS MUSEUM
by "Capone"


Duke 3D mods were popular dumping grounds for smut but Doom wasn't entirely innocent given themes/x-rated/i_am_old_enough_to_look_at_this. It just didn't kickstart horny nerds by including strippers and other things that seem really cool when you're a teenage boy. Capone released a handful of levels from very late '96 to '98 but the one that he will probably be remembered for is AOL Girls Museum, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II which was made in '97 but released during the following year. My intro implies otherwise but AOLGIRLS is not in the /x-rated /idgames directory because it lacks any nudity unlike, say, SPACIA.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Outlands (AP_003.WAD)

THE OUTLANDS
by Alex Parsons


The World's End series is mostly notable because a couple of its levels were exclusively released as part of the original Community Chest. It had similar company in the works of Gene Bird (Blind Alley) and, to a lesser extent, Sphagne. The Outlands is the third level in the series, following World's End - for which the sequence of releases is named - and The Underground. As was the case with the previous entries, it was released in 2002 and is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II to be played in any limit-removing port. There are some other similarities, too, and they show that Parsons had a definite style coming out of the gate.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Kukuku (KUKUKU.WAD)

KUKUKU
by "Memfis"


2012 wasn't as big a year for Memfis as the previous one as far as solo releases went but he did manage to squeeze out a few. Kukuku is the second of his uploads from 2012. It's a single level for the original Doom which is technically similar to the previous Beware of False Prophets. The latter is an enormous E4-style map, though, where this E1M1 replacement is better-primed to kick off a more or less traditional Knee Deep in the Dead episode. The title actually has a citation this time and is explicitly mentioned as being the catchphrase of a thirteen-year-old anime girl. I doubt whether it directly informed the construction of the level.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

RRWARD03 (RRWARD03.WAD)

RRWARD03
by Richard R. Ward


Rich published a couple of large and wicked cool levels back in 1994, RRWARD01 and RRWARD02. In 1996 he uploaded part of the remains of his aborted Doom episode, Nocternal Missions, to be followed by a last gasp in 2003. RRWARD03, the first of the two later releases, is just as much an E1M1 replacement. It's a very different level in scope, though, which makes me wonder just what Ward was up to with the entries that didn't "[work] out very well". .TXT appears to describe the mapset as it was intended to be and mentions "bad jokes, weird maps and lots of bloodshed as only DOOM can bring it to you". My interest is certainly piqued; the author is unfortunately some fifteen-odd years distant from being convinced to show us the rest.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Titan 2 (TITAN2.WAD)


The advent of source ports with "advanced" features drove authorship in two additional, different directions. One of these strove to make Doom closer to the popular first person shooters of the time, making mapsets featuring hub systems and missions (Quake II) or using scripting to augment the story with cutscenes and the like (Half-Life). The other path was more comfortable using graphical enhancements, e.g. slopes and room-over-room geometry, as well as scripts to render an experience that was relatively close to Doom's gameplay, just slightly more dynamic. Ixnatifual was definitely a disciple of the latter trend. TITAN2 was released in 2009, some five years after the publication of his debut, Titan. It is a ten-level episode for Doom II and was designed for play in GZDoom.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Dock 69 (DOCK69.WAD)

DOCK 69
by "Capone"


This author didn't make a lot of levels but of the four he released, three were based on previously-published maps. The only one that I could find for a before and after comparison was Ryan Hilman's Fortress of Doom which revealed how little work Capone had put into the map when it came to linedefs and thing placement. Whatever differences there are between Dock 69 and the level it was edited from probably amount to a paint job. It's interesting to think that the main draw of the one level he made with apparently original geometry - AOL Girls Museum - is essentially copy and pasted photos from the internet. Like the author's first two releases, DOCK69 is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II and was uploaded in early 1997.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Underground (AP_002.WAD)

THE UNDERGROUND
by Alex Parsons


Alex Parsons was one of the contributors to the original Community Chest. Most of his World's End series was released as single levels on the /idgames archives but two of the entries are only available as a part of CCHEST. The Underground, released mid-2005, is the second step of the journey and as was the case with AP_001 it is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II for play in a limit-removing port (even if it comes inside a folder called ZDoom). I hate to say it but I have a feeling that I'll be sick of D_RUNNIN all over again by the time I make it to Community Chest. It certainly looks that way from a perusal of the Mossvale Dungeon .TXT.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Beware of False Prophets (BOFP.WAD)

BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS
by "Memfis"


I'm not sure how Memfis feels about Paul Corfiatis's Doom II levels and I'm too lazy to ask him while I write this but based on what I've read regarding 2002: A Doom Odyssey I think it's safe to say that he's a fan of pcorf's episodic stuff. It wouldn't surprise me if he'd made a level inspired by 2002: ADO or, say, the trilogy of Thy Flesh Consumed tributes known as the Death Tormention series. In fact, that's a pretty good description of Beware of False Prophets, Memfis's first solo release of 2012 as well as an E4M1 replacement meant for play in limit-removing ports.

Monday, February 18, 2019

RRWARD02 (RRWARD02.WAD)

RRWARD02
by Richard R. Ward


Rich was a pretty cool dude who published a couple of fantastic 1994 levels. The promise of his early work gave way to the aborted remnants of an episode for the original Doom, published in 1996. I enjoyed RRWARD01 in spite of its sometimes featureless rooms and corridors. It's cool to blast through, features some great larger areas, and has a neat twist partway toward the end where the monsters start to come through the walls. RRWARD02 is a bigger level and while it's no less complex I think that it takes the weakest aspects of his debut and merely reshapes them. It's still a great E1M1 replacement, though.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Abyssal Speedmapping Session 5 (ABYSPED5.WAD)


The Abyssal Speedmapping sessions changed hands a couple of times but it's still going strong. At this point I'd go so far as to call it a Doomworld institution. The general idea is that a bunch of authors get together on a group Skype session and then kick off a two-hour limit for making a map. Once the initial period is up they get 15 minutes to change textures and pick music and then 15 more for bugfixing. Excepting chaps like Gus, who was notorious enough for taking an extra hour that doing so was dubbed "The Alfonzo Treatment". Session 5 was released in May of 2014, replaces MAP01-MAP12 of Doom II, and is meant to be played in Boom-compatible ports.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Fort Scar (FORTSCAR.WAD)

FORT SCAR
by "Capone"


If Capone has any sort of claim to fame it's as the author of AOL Girls Museum. A dubious measure, to be sure, but it beats his previously released material. The author's pre-AOLGIRLS modus operandi appeared to be editing relatively old maps. I couldn't gauge the level of artifice involved in Capone's Pit because ol' Scarface had apparently forgotten the source material. Fort Scar, on the other hand, comes from 1994's Fortress of Doom by Rylan Hilman. Both levels are MAP01 replacements for DOOM2 but this one was published in 1997 during the author's brief flurry of activity. Metallica fans may note the inclusion of a "Fade to Black" MIDI.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Fortress of Doom (FORTRESS.WAD)

FORTRESS OF DOOM
(2)
by Rylan Hilman


Many of the mods made during 1994 cannot hold up to the aesthetic standards of a community that has dissected and built upon the vanilla executable but a lot of the early energy seems to have come from the sheer novelty of being able to make a level and then share it. Fortress of Doom exhibits a few of the tropes, firstly because it professes to be compatible in both single player as well as deathmatch. It's also part of the first wave of Doom II levels, standing as a MAP01 replacement. I initially believed it to be a conversion of an earlier level made by the author, hence the parenthetical 2, but in the .TXT for MAZEDOOM he distinguishes between this and I assume FORT.ZIP for the original Doom.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

700 reviews

700 reviews sure sneaks up on a person. Gosh, that's a long time and a lot of words to be writing about a twenty-five year old computer game. To mark the occasion, I decided to post my review of Kama Sutra a little earlier than it would normally have been and further stepped up the timetable in the running by posting each one a day earlier than usual (e.g. two instead of three for single maps).

In review:

Kama Sutra (KSUTRA.WAD)


Plenty of people have offered their opinions on the Promethean works leading up to the high difficulty / slaughter genre but Hell Revealed is the big one. It ultimately served as a monograph that crystallized notions about the style, establishing a baseline for future experimentation. The first big wave of HR progeny was largely Scandinavian in nature and took several different routes. This resulted in 2001 / 2002's Alien Vendetta (organized by Anders Johnson); 2003's Hell Revealed II (largely characterized through Jonas Feragen's work); and Erik Alm's run from '01 to '03, culminating in Scythe. Adolf "Gusta" Vojta's Kama Sutra, a full Doom II megaWAD released in 2005 with some assistance from Jakub "Method" Razák, is a synthesis of all these influences.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Mayhem 2013 (MAYHEM13.WAD)


The MAYhem series is sort of like a speedmapping session but the target for making maps is the very merry May. Sometimes the polishing phase wraps up a few months later. At other times it doesn't finish until, say, March of the following year. The first session - MAYHEM12 - wasn't really centered around a gimmick unless you counted its three suggested themes but it did have a much-maligned texture set. MAYhem 2013 elected to use the Community Chest 4 pack but actually ended up with one less level. Maybe that's because of the 2MONSTER gimmick. Released in 2014, the final product is an eleven-level mapset for Doom II that's meant for Boom-compatible ports.

Friday, January 25, 2019

World's End (AP_001.WAD)

WORLD'S END
by Alex Parsons


Besides kicking off a Doomworld institution, the original Community Chest is notable for including levels that had been previously released on a serial basis or were intended as such. Alex Parsons was one of the big three and his particular solo series shares its title with the opening level - World's End. This is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II and can be presumably played in any limit-removing port, even if the folder inside its .ZIP archive is labelled "zdoom". The only guidance offered on that front is "advanced port needed"; the author hints at potential visplane overflows. I can vouch for it running fine in modern ZDoom, though, and I didn't see any sort of exclusive features.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Kurogane (KUROGANE.WAD)

KUROGANE
by "Memfis"


The previous Green Day had the author on some sort of an upturn in terms of making moods in Doom levels. Kurogane takes itself more seriously, pulling back from the DoomCute elements and then developing a heavy atmosphere through careful lighting and his customary, highly-tuned thing placement. It's a MAP01 replacement as well as his final solo upload in 2011. As usual, Memfis abstains from including any sort of framing narrative. He also neglects to explain the title. Given his deference toward manga I assume that it refers to a work bearing the same name and apparently translates to "Black Steel". There are plenty of other potential sources, though.

Monday, January 21, 2019

RRW_D201 (RRW_D201.WAD)

RRW_D201
by Richard R. Ward


Rich released a couple of well-regarded levels in '94 and then went through the trouble of converting his very first release (RRWARD01) to Doom II. The end result is RRW_D201, a MAP01 replacement released in 1996. Ward may have eventually intended to bring RRWARD02 up to the same sort of package as his later publications since this "port" includes his common custom status bar and difficulty settings, a few of which appear to contain Monty Python references. He appears to have been done with Doom as of '96, though, after releasing the finished portions of his failed Knee Deep in the Dead replacement.