Thursday, February 25, 2021

Evil's Playground (Diabolique part two) (EVPL.WAD)

Time for another curveball in Pablo Dictter's portfolio. This publication primarily exists for Evil's Playground, released - I believe - in 2001. The subtitle is Diabolique part two, a reference to a previously-created level called - you guessed it - Diabolique. I'm not sure when the latter was created but it was included in the release of EVPL as something of a bonus, isn't available otherwise, and both were purportedly part of the Diabolique project. Pablo had his hand in like three or four different Doom avenues alongside his River of Fire series, Good V/S Evil (where An Infernal Place came from), and a couple of others that released later. Even if he was compelled to carve up The Gates as a failure. This dead-end PWAD couplet replaces E3M1 and E3M2 of the original Doom.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Blind Alley S., "Spirit World - Headquarters" (BNDALYS.WAD)

by Gene Bird

Spirit World - Headquarters marks a bit of a turning point in Bird's published level design. I would characterize all of Gene's maps released thus far as stringy and linear with occasional hubs and spokes. BLNDALYS is not overwhelmingly different in its execution but there is one big change in how he executes this trope, somewhat heralded by his previous release, Monster Mansion. The "S" designator denotes the level's position in the overall running of what could have been a late-occupying episode for Doom II. BNDALYR would have been MAP27 and this would have been MAP28. Things change, though, as the letter "Y" was ascribed to MAP15. Spirit World - HQ is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II and was released in early 2003.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021


by A.o.D.

I was strolling through the Doomworld Forums in TYOOL 2021 as is my wont and saw a WAD name that caught my eye - TROUSLED. Someone tried to be helpful to the author and linked them to the mod posting FAQ without any context so I foolishly decided to be a bit of a wise-ass. In the process of doing so I dug a little deeper than I probably should have and raised some questions that I decided to answer for myself. In the process I saw the INTERPIC at which point I realized that the mood of the PWAD was probably Undertale-related. I'm tangentially aware of UT but not familiar enough for this mod's title to have clued me in. Trousled is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II meant for play in GZDoom.

Titan 1024 (TITA1024.WAD)

It feels like a long time ago but, back in 2014, the author of the Titan series pointed me toward his then recent entry: Titan 1024, a sort of re-imagining of the then ten-year old levels within the 1024 limit. I said that I would do one better and play both the original as well as Titan 2 before checking out TITA1024. Well, after six and a half years, here we are! Sorry for the wait, Ixnatifual. Titan 1024 is a ten-level episode for Doom II to be played in GZDoom. It was originally released in 2012, some three and a half years after his last publication. The author notes that jumping is acceptable, but crouching is forbidden. The number of situations where the former comes up is... not big, but try not to forget that it's an option.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

ea Speedmap 3 (EASPD3.WAD)

by Erik Alm

There's a sidestory to a lot of these authorial careers who had their heyday in the early '00s that I've been glazing over. 2001 was the birth of the community speedmapping event, I mean insofar as it was officially documented on /idgames. Whether it was Doomworld, NiGHTMARE, or SargeBaldy, people came and did the best that they could within 100 minutes. Erik Alm apparently never applied to any of the DWSPD festivities but he was a fixture of both NTSPD and SBSPD. ea Speedmap 3 was actually created for NiGHTMARE's #3 session in December of 2001. Alm's connection died while he was submitting it, though, so rather than let it go to waste, he uploaded it to /idgames in early 2002. EASPD3 is a MAP01 replacement for Boom-compatible ports.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Metamorphism (META.WAD)

by Brad Spencer and Karthik Abhiram Krishna

Mapping has generally been a highly personal endeavor, the exercise of an author's absolute authority over a microcosm. Shared credits for single levels are the exception rather than the norm and even some of these instances are less collaborative and more finishing or altering a map after the original creator has moved on. Sometimes, though, a few people just really hit it off and pass a level back and forth a la Double Impact. Metamorphism is such a product, the work of two then-acclaimed authors: Brad Spencer and Karthik Abhiram Krishna. META is a circa 2003 MAP01 replacement for Doom II and is vanilla compatible thanks to some hard-workin' folks.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Love You With Poison (LUWP.WAD)

by "Memfis"

Memfis made quite a few maps that leveraged resources from classic PWADs like Requiem and Memento Mori II as well as more obscure releases, e.g. Phobos - Relive the Nightmare. Love You With Poison, a MAP12 replacement for Boom-compatible ports released in 2013, is a bit different. The author decided to make use of the monsters and resources of JCD's Survive In Hell, a 2012 megaWAD that drew from - among other things - slaughter standards. LUWP is not a slaughtermap but it is a pretty tough play for a healthy variety of reasons. Note that you WILL need to load the SIHR2FIX PWAD in the correct order with LUWP in order to play the level.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

An Infernal Place v1.1 (INFERNAL.WAD)

by Pablo Dictter

An Infernal Place v1.1 is a Doom II conversion of an E1M1 replacement that Dictter had made a few months prior in 2001. The original iteration was published on I assume his hosted website as well as Doom WAD Station, where you can find a few of his maps that never found their way to the archives. It was apparently meant for a larger-scale project called Good V/S Evil that never really took off in his esteem. In any event, v1.1 changed the format to Doom II and made some changes to sectors and thing placement that make for a somewhat different play. Worthy enough of being considered for a separate review? By my reckoning, yes. After all, I did decide to cover RRW_D201. This revision of INFERNAL is a MAP01 replacement that purportedly plays back in any port. The original might, too, for all it matters.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

An Infernal Place (INFERNAL.WAD)

by Pablo Dictter

Pablo was a boundless fountain of youthful energy around 2000. He made a ton of very small levels, the earliest of which are ferreted away in his personal archive. Some were never uploaded to /idgames, instead appearing on Doom WAD Station. An Infernal Place is a slightly weirder situation; it was originally released as an E1M1 replacement on DWS, where it is still available as such. The version on /idgames is v1.1, a Doom II conversion with a few alterations. Nowadays we typically think of maps as either stolidly for one game type or the other but it's not all that unusual when you consider how many 1994 authors converted some of their PWADs to Doom II. This review is for the original publication of An Infernal Place, timestamped 03/04/01. It is purportedly meant for play in a Boom-compatible port.

Blind Alley R., "Monster Mansion" (BNDALYR.WAD)

by Gene Bird

It's been something of a comfort playing the levels of the Blind Alley series. To phrase something 40oz once said (concerning ...And the Bloodshed Began), sometimes you forget what sort of a demon murder machine Doomguy is. The current trend of encounter design involves escalating difficulty by exerting pressure on the player in new and exciting ways. Gene Bird is from an older school of thought, though. Monster Mansion has the alpha-numeric designator "R" which, if "E" is to be believed, pegs it as MAP27 of an episode that continued to grow in spite of the author's humble intentions. Many of its levels were individually polished and released over 2002-2003 as well as featuring as significant minorities of Community Chest I & II (and a few yet remain...). This one straddled both years, being finished / uploaded in 2002 and officially interred in 2003. Like the previous instances, it's a MAP01 replacement.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Beta 64 (BETA64.WAD)

For many years, authors were mostly content with attempting to bring the magic of Doom 64 to the PC. Sure, some folks made episode-like mods for The Absolution TC (like The Outcast Levels, Redemption Denied, and The Reckoning), but there just wasn't the same level of love as with Doom I & II. Maybe it's a "mod of a mod" thing. The disparity persists after the release of Doom64 EX, but someone - Doomworld Forum superstar Antnee - stuck it out for the long haul and fabricated the first ever user-created megaWAD for Doom 64. Beta 64 is a thirty-one level mapset for Doom64 EX, soft-released in late 2018. It isn't officially "done" or uploaded but if the author comes back to fashion MAP29 then I'll update this review.