Monday, October 7, 2019


Kaiser has made a ton of stuff for the Doom community which is why he was the first person to receive the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award for the 2013 Cacowards. He put out more than a hundred levels with his DSV series, not to forget an impressive array of singles; was a common fixture through Community Chest as well as CCHEST2 and 3; led the Absolution team, at the time the definitive experience for PC users; took the piss during The Community is Falling 1, 2, and 3; and worked to bring authentic classic FPS experiences to modern users. He started out on Strife but eventually fulfilled the promise of the 64 TC with the Doom64 EX source port.

Samuel eventually worked as a game developer but his passion project became his career. At this time he works for Nightdive Studios and has helped to make both Nintendo 64 Turok games available to computer players as well as breathing new life into the clunky Blood engine. Powerslave EX and a commercial re-release of Doom 64 have been teased; I wouldn't be surprised if the latter is officially announced by the time I post this review (10/7/19: It was!). All of it had to start somewhere, though, and it begins with DSV. A full Doom II megaWAD, it was released in the year 2000 and you can already see Kaiser's appreciation for accessibility. The .ZIP package contains files for play with Boom, ZDoom, and Legacy as well as the now ancient MBF and SMMU. Supporting compatibility for so many ports is no mean feat!

The package has seperate instructions for running each supported port. It also implies that the DSVMAPSL.WAD found in the LEGACY folder are vanilla compatible. Each config has its own .TXT and .BAT detailing the preferred setup. The only external file - apart from the source ports themselves - will be RETRES.WAD, Team TNT's megaWAD-cum-resource pack. The level lineup is different between the ZDoom / Boom versions and DSVMAPSL, likely because of the effects showcased in "Demon Sanctuary" (DSVMAPSZ / DSVMAPSB MAP29). Kaiser changed the running order and inserted a clumsy rendering of "In the Void" in the MAP18 slot for vanilla / Legacy users, discussed in this review as a bonus feature.

The plot is pretty simple. It looks like it's post-reconstruction Earth and you are part of the clean-up crew that is systematically cleansing the world of demonic taint. You return to base and nod off to sleep only to be woken up by a ruckus. It turns out a new entity - codenamed DSV - has taken hold of Hell's forces. They've been upgraded, too, and are no longer vulnerable to your classic weapon kit. This explains why they took over half of the research base so quickly. The new breed is vulnerable to its own armaments, though, judging from the black pistol that you're given. Your mission is to wrest back control of the facility, trace the invasion to its source, and destroy it.

What ties DSV together is backtracking. Good lord is there a ton. This isn't your typical "just got the key and have to run all the way back to the locked door" kind, either. Kaiser's work here exemplifies why players get frustrated when they flip a switch and can't figure out what it did. Sometimes you will press a button that opens up a door halfway across the level and when you go check it out you find yet another switch, except this one reveals a path where you just came from. Other solutions involve dead-end backtracking, e.g. you never actively perform an action but walk over a linedef to trigger something on the other side of the map. On several occasions I opened up the exit but was divorced from both its location and its very nature. To give an example, the way out in "The Demon Outpost" (MAP26) is a pillar in the starting area. It isn't flagged and there are a handful of them so you could be forgiven for not knowing when you press a remotely-located button that you lowered it to the floor.

Many of these levels are sprawling, too. I don't mean this in the epic adventure sense but more the sheer square footage involved. Much of the material is marked by high-vaulted ceilings and broad expanses. These look okay on paper but feel empty and plain in practice. It doesn't help that Kaiser had little knack for architecture at this early point in his career. The overall experience mirrors the more banal aspects of functional 1994-1995 PWAD design. Some of these levels just aren't interesting to explore and when you combine it with all of the back and forth switch play it can be a real will-killer.

Most of the cool stuff in the megaWAD was borrowed from either Doom 64 or, sparingly, the PSX exclusives. At least fourteen levels were directly inspired by stuff made from Midway. I have my suspicions about a handful of other details but anything that makes the set more interesting to play is good enough for me. I dunno whether anyone else had tried to do D64 material in PWADs before, either. Absolution was a good three years off, yet. The scaling issues ruin some of these "conversions", particularly "Tech Center" (MAP05), "Bloodkeep" (MAP13), and "Descend" (MAP17). Not that they don't absolutely murder the originals - "ST Center" (MAP04), for example - either.

Combat is generally high bodycount and low complexity. Kaiser is big on spectacle, throwing huge monotypical packs of enemies like Barons, Hell Knights, and revenants at you. A lot of the challenge comes from awkward setups or typically loathed design decisions, i.e. stealth monsters. I hadn't had the opportunity to play a megaWAD where the latter featured and, well, this set would probably be better off without flagging chaingunners, revenants, and even Hell knights. There's nothing like slowing gameplay to a crawl or not knowing where hitscanner snipers are until they are already tearing you up.

Some of the enemies have new clothes, courtesy of Raven Software. The revenant and Hell knight look like Heretic's undead warrior and disciple of D'sparil, respectively, while the demon and Baron borrow from Hexen's ettin and chaos serpent. They don't do anything crazy different but the nobles look like their green fireballs come from a higher point of origin. Samuel does include one new monster, a plasma trooper. He is a bright blue shotgunner so he's easy to spot. This is good because the new guys are both highly lethal and fairly durable. I didn't mind them in most of the scenarios in which they appeared but one ambush in "Chill Factor" (MAP22) is terrible. Kaiser has new weapon skins, too, but they don't change the functionality at all.

Kaiser's level design shares aspects with Kristian Aro's 20 Days in Hell as well as Ian Wilson's Herian. Both are megaWAD-length debuts for authors who went on to some critical acclaim. They all echoed a lot of material from commercial PWADs, for instance. Sam and Ian both love obtuse level progression as well as Heretic and Hexen. The common link between Villareal and Aro is an unabashed desire to quickly kill the player. DSV has plenty of dickish monster placement and later portions of the set double down on the dickishness with instant death traps. "DSV's Lair" (MAP30) starts out by using TNT Evilution's "Last Call" as a template and then crams in telefrag linedefs in what feels like every few steps.

Villareal tries to up the presentation via some window dressing. Few of the effects are used with any consistency. You get an instance of a colored sector in "Stage Area" (MAP01) but it appears sparingly throughout. Kaiser also uses colormaps for areas where you're underwater or some other such muck. It's cute to see him try to do the color thing as an homage to stuff that he couldn't pull off, like the blue-light hallways in "The Terraformer". I saw a particle effect once at the fountain in "Sunken Temple" (MAP27). It doesn't really feel like a ZDoom or even Boom megaWAD but I'm thinking about the standard set by modern sector wizardry. Samuel was considerably less skilled when he started cranking out levels. It has a classic '94-'95 feel due to the simple geometry, haphazard texturing, and soundtrack. I hear a lot of Evilution tunes, suggesting more '96, but I also picked up on typical PWAD fare, e.g. Metallica and, for "First Level" (MAP31), Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

This megaWAD had a lot of novelty value back when it was released. It had one of if not the earliest iterations of Doom 64 and PSX levels done in a PWAD. Kaiser would go on to trump his clumsy efforts here, though, with Console Doom in 2002, Absolution in 2003, and eventually the EX engine for sheer authenticity. DSV still has some memorable moments but they are more in the "What the fuck?" category of 1994-ish weirdness. Both of the areas that stick out in my mind are ostensibly underwater, the first being a mess of columns and cacodemons. The second plies a roomy labyrinth and features stealth revenants and chaingunners. All of the passable level geometry is weighed down by ham-fisted combat and mind-numbing backtracking. "Demon Sanctuary" is on the cusp of fitting in with the bizarre tech / medieval hybrids from Eternal Doom but its combat is excruciatingly reliant on stealth monsters. Plus, uh, everything that I've criticized thus far.

It's far from unplayable, though, and makes for an interesting debut given the ultimate direction of Villareal's career. DSV is mainly for PWAD historians but may appeal to folks who enjoy Doom WADs with a Heretic / Hexen feel, particularly if you like scavenger hunts after flipping switches. It will be interesting to see how Kaiser's talent develops over the rest of the series.

by Samuel "Kaiser" Villareal

Stage AreaMAP01
A few rectangular rooms and a lot of zombies to kick things off. The textures say techbase but it's a relatively linear sequence of simple rooms. The red equipment chamber was a nice pop of color. It also lets you know up front that you'll have to fight the polarizing "stealth" enemies. The blue, plasma-shooting marines come as a bit of a shock vs. your weak gun but they stunlock okay. The exit area and the hallway leading up to it suggest a positive direction for the architecture.

MAP02Cargo Hold
Based on "Staging Area" from Doom 64. It's a techbase with narrow corridors and a huge bodycount. Some of the room shapes are interesting - borrowed from Randy Estrella, of course. Zombies and demon analogues (ettins) line up to be slaughtered by the super shotgun. None of the encounters are threatening with perhaps the sole exception being the closet of shotgun guys in the conveyor room. The light column forest that precedes the exit is an interesting look at how far Kaiser was from reenacting a great, early D64 moment. A decent, off-kilter '94ish level.

Warehouse 16MAP03
This sort of feels like an Evilution level, maybe a mix of Wakelin and Mustaine. It's a techbase with three large, flat outdoor areas featuring a smattering of trees. There are a ton of zombies but other beasties feature, marking the debut of the cacodemon and Hell kni- I mean, disciple. Kaiser gives you the roundabout, here, with switch effects that require backtracking across the entire level. Fortunately there aren't a lot of places to forget. At least the final route has the grace to dump you off at the exit area.

MAP04ST Center
Irregular room shapes but the chambers are the size of courtyards. This is a sprawling techbase that feels comparable to "Refueling Base" in sheer surface area. The thing placement is fairly simple, though, and woe betide the player who doesn't take the optional path to the SSG and rocket launcher. Not only will you be sorely pressed for firepower - you'll also miss out on a cool, rapidly building staircase. The underwater cacodemon fight is kind of crazy due to the interfering columns and number of monsters involved. The most effective of all the fights is a pain elemental that distracts you while two rev- err, undead knights flank you at your sides.

The Tech CenterMAP05
Based on "Tech Center" from Doom 64. It has a gray techbase look -neither bright nor dark. The core of the level is recognizable and Heydelaar has a great layout to build off of. Its portions are either highly cramped or super-scaled, though, and the debut of stealth Hell knights comes as an unwelcome surprise. The network of rectangular rooms that dominates the southeastern segment is hardly helped by the increased size. There is a considerable amount of dead-end backtracking and switch-fu. As is usually the case, though, you can figure out what's next by visiting the players where you've already been. The curved, southwestern room almost looks cool.

MAP06Main Engineer
More big, rectangular rooms. The author actually switches up the contents a bit, though. There are two decent areas. The northernmost chamber's raised platforms and columns look pretty good and would be a nice architectural centerpiece. The eastern outdoor catwalk / elbow with the teleporter invasion is a decent fight. The setup lets the outer band of monsters reach the player who simply walks on by. Kaiser also has a beefy teleport ambush arrive at the end of the string, appearing in a toxic crater.

Even SimplierMAP07
Based on "Even Simpler" from Doom 64. True to its name, the original's outer ring with the dart traps isn't present. It's just four corners full of mancubi and a handful of Barons of Hell in the center. The only thing that may mess you up are those corpses hanging from the ceiling which will block you on ports without strong zclipping. The arachnotron teleporter isn't 100% efficient but if you hang around long enough they should all appear.

MAP08The Terraformer
Based on - what else? - but "The Terraformer" from Doom 64. The scale of the architecture feels closer to reality here and while it's still stuffed to the gills with zombies it seems more restrained. It's cute to see Kaiser try to recreate stuff like the blue light armor trick with the COMPBLUE texture. The imp trench doesn't fare so well in terms of atmosphere. Of all the fights, the demon surprise for the chaingun is pretty dangerous. The northernmost area gets cool points for the walk-through waterfall and myriad lost souls. If you were looking for an approximation of the wicked-ass scripted Terraformer structure then, well, look elsewhere.

Ammo BaseMAP09
Not as obvious, here, but I think that I recognize "Alpha Quadrant" from Doom 64. The layout still has a copious amount of hallways but the contents of the individual rooms are more interesting. The starting area is a neat atrium, for instance, and the south-central staircase yard is a decent foundation. The thing that most amuses me about the level is the translation of the football field room from D64. Namely, Kaiser's homage to the bouncing platforms by putting an arch-vile in a column in the middle of the chamber. You aren't going to use it to get around, of course. It just struck me as a fun in-joke. Make sure you head north first to pick up some actual weapons.

MAP10Final Outpost 66
Another nondescript techbase. Well, Kaiser gives you oodles of cells and rockets. You will need to visit the obligatory weapon stock room to make the best use of all this but it makes for a fast map against meaty monsters. There's nothing thrilling about the Spiderdemon fight or, really, most of these encounters. The arch-vile at the blue key trap comes as a nasty surprise since you will have to sprint for cover. The other big dick move involves a pair of stealth revenants. The starting room offers an example of basic but nice architecture.

The Gate to the DSVMAP11
A gauntlet level with a techbase texture scheme. The early game is touch and go given the plasma trooper density and the layout of the blue key fight. Once you get through the imp and disciple-infested outpost, though, it's all downhill. At that point it barely even matters whether you forget to grab the plasma gun from the nukage. The northwestern torture room feels like a MAP32 Keen tree homage. The finale certainly borrows from the "Babel" archetype but not the layout itself.

MAP12The Kill Home
Such a weird level. The "graveyard" setting looks cool but it's in the middle of nowhere and only serves to mask a major progression point. For a second I found myself fighting through the red brick western annex and felt like DSV was headed out of the weeds. But, no. This level has three major slaughter encounters, two of which are just body counts. The first is the nastiest because it's a two-pronged invasion of plasma marines. Get caught off-guard and you'll die in a hurry.

Based on "Blood Keep" from Doom 64. It's a long, slow grind against armies of plasma troopers; cacodemons; and beefy arachnotrons / mancubi. The most challenging aspect is a platforming segment where an arch-vile is exposed at a moment when the only real cover involves diving into lava. This, while Hell knights command a handful of columns. You can run past the exit Fuck You of blue-clad zombies but you'll need the BFG if you want to stick it out and fight. Some of the backtracking - like the teleport destination of the blue key - will leave players completely confused. The enormous scale playing area doesn't help matters much. The marble alcove hallway near the exit is about the perfect pace.

MAP14The Infested Base
Another enormous techbase. The western half almost looks decent though I suspect that the farthest bit borrows from "Holding Area" of Doom 64 fame. The towers in the large yard are decent bits of architecture though, again, I'm weary of Kaiser's enormous, empty scale of level design. The eastern area has 1) a caged catwalk between two mostly harmless hordes of lost souls. 2) A barred crossroads with four Hell knights to hurry you along. And 3) a long and winding pillar platforming segment for the yellow key. Killing the monsters behind the fence is definitely the hardest part. If you fall into any pit in this level, though, you're a dead marine.

Castle of HateMAP15
A large fortress in a huge moat. I'll take the irregular dungeon corridors inside over the overscaled areas that have thus far tended to dominate DSV. The enormous walls to the east and west do look kind of cool, though. There is a lot of backtracking to find out what switches have done. The biggest swerves affect the two detached guard towers so good luck figuring that out. The Spiderdemon / catwalk / crusher section is pretty neat. Kasier throws all of the weapons at you up front and tons of ammo and health on the pads outside so you're kitted out to explore. You'll need it, too; the castle has bunches of tricksy arch-viles as well as three Cyberdemons.

MAP31First Level
Samuel's opening editor experiment is about what you'd expect. The progression is more straightforward but every other aspect takes DSV's sour notes and amps them up. Expect huge, open areas with next to no architecture and rote monster placement. The biggest ambush is an inefficient teleporter wave of Barons. There are something like fifty of them slowly making their way to the huge-ass yard. The coffin design requires some finesse to manipulate them into the playing area. Good luck with the other three-hundred beasties.

Why, yes, it's "Winnowing Hall" of Hexen fame. The cameo is cute but Raven Software's architecture only underscores how lackluster the first half of the megaWAD has been. The pacing differs from the campaign opener since it's crammed full of tough monsters like a complement of plasma troopers. Kaiser is thankfully eager to cram all of the weapons and more health and ammo than you really need in order to blast it all to smithereens.

MAP16The Bleed
Based on "The Bleeding" from Doom 64. It works as a sort of gauntlet level but it's slow going at first since you're limited to the shotgun against some meaty beasties. I guess that the author actually includes flowing blood, something conspicuously absent in the original. There's an infinitely-resurrecting Baron trap that is annoying rather than dangerous. I was way more engrossed when I encountered the stealth mancubi.

Based on "Twilight Descends" from Playstation Doom. The scale is, of course, amplified and most of the intricacies have been paved over. The end result is basically a big, barren slaughtermap. You can quickly chew through it but there is a clueless backtracking bit where the red key switch opens up a closet about as deep as you can get. It otherwise plays fairly quickly and lets you chew through foes with rockets and cells. Whenever you get their respective weapons, anyway.

MAP18Dead Outpost
Based on "Burnt Offerings" from Doom 64. It's a sort of gothic fortress and features a bizarre techguts temple. This is actually a pretty cool take. Kaiser keeps to a sensible, intimate scale. He puts a good twist on the opening courtyard fight by having the water flow, slowly pushing the player toward the pit. The interior area works fairly well. I'm not impressed with the plasma zombies in the skirmishing settings but they make the eight-pointed hallway a frantic fight. I liked the spectre ambush from "Burnt Offerings". Here, the demons don't die nearly as fast using the chainsaw. A reasonable translation; I even enjoyed the revenant-baphomet panels in the marble hallway.

No Way OutMAP19
Based on "Dark Citadel" from Doom 64. Heydelaar already had a pretty big scale going with this level so Kaiser is right at home in the larger rooms. The big nightmare imp yard becomes an annoying field of stationary revenants, though. You can either camp at the door or have fun running among the undead knights, swatting them with rockets while you dodge homing missiles. There is a game-breaking flaw regarding the mysterious blue vault door. It's unlocked by approaching the associated bars to the west but that particularly action can only be triggered once. A thick pack of monsters are on the other side and for whatever reason using the door as a choke point will cause it to close. The library-cum-hedge maze to the southwest is annoying in a more traditional sense. Oh, I also loathe the morass of stealth demons - not spectres - to the south.

MAP20No Escape
Based on "No Escape" from Doom 64. It loses something of its atmosphere without the flaming sky. The level already had a pretty good sprinting arena layout a la Skillsaw though Kaiser doesn't really capitalize on it. The pain elemental cave is kind of obnoxious but the shotgun guy storm in the northeastern pillar room is highly lethal. The author throws three Cyberdemons at you after handing you the BFG. I think that two of them are meant to teleport up to the balcony / tower you're in but I beat them to the floor, leaving me alone with the third. I am glad that the architecture is starting to look more complex as we move into the final episode, borrowed though it may be.

Dead EndMAP21
The scale is okay but there's nothing new in the combat. The setting strays further away from techbase and firmly into some sort of earthen / ruin location. Progression involves fighting your way to a teleporter and enduring a circular ambush from mid-tier monsters. The associated switch will open a blockade halfway across the level. If you take a look at the automap then you can probably figure where to backtrack to! A banal grind through meaty monsters. The placement in the mideast arachnotron fortification is decent enough. And, well, Kaiser is as happy as ever to give you the big guns.

MAP22Chill Factor
The author usually supplies a ton of ammo but this is the first instance where there is clearly not enough. He gives you a secret Berserk pack at the start but it merely makes 100% kills doable. You'll still have to overcome a deficit against a small army of Hell knights in what feels like a cramped room. The setting is some kind of marble construction that's networked by elevated, barred catwalks. Sort of like "The Abandoned Mines" / "Caged" meets a zoo. If the lack of ammo sounds critical then just wait until you encounter the insane chainsaw ambush.

The Rage of WrathMAP23
The start of this hodgepodge may feel a little hairy but once you make it to the lake you'll be fully kitted with rockets, a BFG, and tons o' cells. Kaiser is a little dickish, here. The backpack is the first and most obvious detail but it's followed up with a crusher trap in a demon-infested basement. More mystifying is the miniature guts maze to the southwest. Opening up the teleporter requires the player to step into the end of one of its offshoots, an instance of dead-end backtracking. The author has a few stimpacks past the triggering linedef so he may think that this is well enough bait. The maze has a bigger footprint than it looks, though, and if you manage to make it out you are rewarded by a demon clusterfuck ambush. If you find the relatively obvious rad suit / megasphere secret then the chances of you walking over the stimpacks are slim. An awkward situation. Blasting the big monsters in the eastern grotto is pretty fun, though.

MAP24True Fear
Based on "Spawned Fear" from Doom 64. The scale of the level is appropriate and Kaiser has done a pretty good job of translating the layout to Doom II. The "puzzle" element depends on whether or not you remember how the original played out. Failing that, you can always hump walls and alcoves to find the switch to open the door to the blue key and lower its pedestal. The biggest success here in my mind is the outdoor canyon. It's a little plain without the Doom 64 atmosphere but I actually had a decent time with the plasma troopers and end-of-line revenant party.

The MansionMAP25
Based on "The Mansion" from Playstation Doom. Kaiser switches things up by making a giant outdoor area for a slight element of realism. It doesn't add a whole lot to the experience, though, since there's nothing outside except for a chance to sort of see the teleporter yard. The combat isn't too annoying apart from the blinking column room to the east. The main issues to throw people will be 1) The door to the teleporter-lift chamber is effectively a secret. 2) Pillars blocking further entry into the mansion and can only be opened by making your way through a legit secret passage. It's timed and accessed via a walkover trigger that's a fair bit away from the door itself. 3) The red key telefrag maze. Kaiser making the "good" panels light up as you activate them is a great carryover. Instant death, not so much. The enormous concrete throne in the final room is a curious indulgence.

MAP26The Demon Outpost
Going back to the elevated catwalk motif. The wood gives this sort of a "Sever the Wicked" vibe but only in a vague sense. It differs from "Chill Factor" in the fact that the pathways are elevated high above water. It's a decent enough level but there is a metric ton of backtracking to pad out the impressive monster count. Some of the latter is tied up in the imp pillars in the opening room but there are also several slow, drip-feed shotgun guy ambushes. Additionally, consider the red key puzzle which teleports you back to the beginning if you pick the wrong alcove. Better than slowly killing you, I suppose. Good luck figuring out where the exit is if you aren't using a source port that flags end of level linedefs!

Sunken PalaceMAP27
For one brief, shining moment this level stands out unlike anything that has gone before. The irregular canyon leading up to the temple front and consistent vine-covered aesthetic makes this look relatively polished. The layout is super stringy, though, and becomes a scavenger hunt with each key acquired. It's a ridiculous amount of back-and-forth-tracking, God forbid you should visit the wrong leg first. The early part of the combat is kind of fun but feels dickish later on, particularly the arch-vile placement.

MAP28The Ultimate Base
A highly orthogonal techbase made up of cramped corridors with a couple of large scale chambers. I think that "Ultimate" may be a reference to the quasi-Phobos texture scheme but if it is then it bears no trace of Romero's architecture. There's a sewer section to the south but most of the confines are nondescript apart from a bunker and a long, climbing outdoor staircase. The monsters are thick; one of the megaspheres ushers in an ammo-sucking army of Barons into a tight area. More importantly, Kaiser uses the time-honored technique of dumping arch-viles on your return path. This turns into a couple of grueling road blocks that you'll have to quickly and carefully BFG zerg. All of the normal complaints about backtracking still apply. Hopefully you have the automap because the exit is in as unassuming a locale as they come.

Demon SanctuaryMAP29
Kaiser pulls out all of the special effects for this one. It's nominally an Eternal Doom-style castle and the geometry looks a cut above the average DSV level. The balance is all over the place, though. Stealth revenants and chaingunners appear on several different occasions and feel specifically placed to fuck your world. The water tunnels that dominate the eastern portion of the map are especially loathsome. There's also a trap which utilizes a super high friction catwalk. Samuel wants to catch you in the middle with a couple of mancubi galleries. The only way to really survive is to know it's coming ahead of time and hang most of the ways off as you cross. That way you can drop into the lava and take the teleporter back before you are burnt to a crisp. "Demon Sanctuary" also has the only instance of required jumping for ZDoom players. If you're trying to figure out how to get back from the room with the trees and platforms, well, just hop up. The Boom version uses a sensible lift trigger. Have fun with the exit switch puzzle.

MAP30DSV's Lair
Kaiser borrows two big elements of TNT Evilution's "Last Call", namely the soundtrack and telefrag puzzle. There are also nearly ten other ways to swiftly kill yourself as you explore the level. The author gives you no indication as to which marine corpse leads to the blue key, for instance, and trying for the key head-on will kill you. The monsters likewise suffer due to Samuel's insistence on using teleporter ambushes. This will likely result in a couple of Cyberdemon telefrags. Other weird bits include a switch hunt to unblock the boss brain where the graphical hole isn't the real one! At least there is no demon spitter.


This is plain weird but I've just now realized that it's Kaiser's tribute to the eerie "In the Void" from Doom 64. Most of this level consists of running down straight hallways where the only thing you can see is the sky. There are a ton of monsters and shit can get out of hand based on how far out pain elementals and arachnotrons are. It's nothing fun to look at and you have to run several laps through the "track" in order to reach the exit.



  1. Well written review as usual! I think i'll try this one out once I got more time.

    I got one question though. Since I have not yet played Doom 64, would DSV ruin my first-time experience with it? I just ask because rather many maps seem to borrow or are based on Doom 64 maps.

    1. They aren't going to ruin the atmosphere, surprise, or architecture of Doom 64. You probably won't even recognize them unless you play Doom 64 right after DSV and even that is a stretch considering the degredation between the originals and Kaiser's homages.