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.