Wednesday, December 29, 2021


One reason that I have been working my way through Memfis's entire back catalogue is because when Kuchitsu was given a Cacoward in 2013, it and Voyage to Deimos: E2M1 were his only solo releases that I had played. I was intending to start my journey back in March of 2013 but I've always been biting off more than I can chew. It was more convenient in the long-term to wait, anyway, since he had several dozen levels crafted from 2011-2014 that weren't uploaded to /idgames until June of 2014. Download is a three-level minisode for Doom II that was published on Doomworld a year prior in 2013 before eventually making it as part of the mega-dump. It's intended for limit-removing ports, specifically using prboom-plus's vanilla ruleset (-complevel 2).

Monday, December 27, 2021

Subversion (SUB-EP.WAD)

Pablo Dictter was a community fixture during the source port boom, releasing a slurry of small maps and also contributing to a couple of larger products, chiefly Alien Vendetta. He was a contributor to several different original Doom productions as well. One of them was No Hope For Life Episode One: Back to the Fight. The E1 replacement had PD working alongside Community Chest regular Andy Leaver as well as Jay Trent, now of The Becoming fame. Somewhere during the process of building NHFL, three of Pablo's levels were cut as they had too many darn maps. Dictter picked the castoffs up, dusted them off, wired them three more levels, and sent them to /idgames in July of 2001 as Subversion. This is a partial Episode 3 replacement for the Ultimate Doom spanning E3M4-E3M9.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Blind Alley Y., "Dissolution" (BNDALYY.WAD)

by Gene Bird

BNDALYY is the fifteenth and currently final release of Gene Bird's Blind Alley series, published in early April of 2004. One could argue that Community Chest 2's "Desecration" is an honorary member, but from what I can glean it was built expressly for CCHEST2. The author has a few more BNDALY entries knocking around on his hard drive, perhaps not to see the light of day. So, for now, there is this MAP01 replacement for Doom II. Earlier entries in the series had a fixed space in the running of a grander mapset but Gene does not appear to have had a particular place for this or the previous release, Forlorn (BNDALYX). If it had followed the same scheme, then this would have been MAP34.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Blind Alley X., "Forlorn" (BNDALYX.WAD)

by Gene Bird

Gene's main claim to fame is his Blind Alley series, slightly more than half of which showed up in the first Community Chest and CCHEST2. I'm not much of a forum historian but the man himself informed me that his presence in both megaWADs is largely due to the same reason that Adam Windsor has so many "filler" maps in Requiem. That is, people dropped out of both projects toward the end and the kindly authors helped to make them whole. Forlorn, aka BDNALYX, was born too late to make the first CCHEST and I assume that Bird did not think highly enough of it for it to offer it up for the second when his services were required. We are now past the point of there being any correlation between alpha-numeric characters and level slots in the original slot; if there were, then this would have been MAP33. As it stands, Forlorn is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II that was released in December of 2003 - the last of the year, in fact.

Blind Alley 8., "Retribution" (BNDALY8.WAD)

by Gene Bird

The Community Chest series might be sleeping, supplanted as it has been by institutions like MAYhem, but it was a pretty big stepping stone in marshalling the Doomworld community. A bunch of authors who were making PWADs from 2000-2003 contributed with a fair number going on to fame if not fortune. CCHEST is notorious if for nothing else than a high number of previously-released contributions from Gene Bird, Sphagne, and Daniel "Bad Bob" Trim. GB's levels all came from his Blind Alley series, a rainy-day mapset that he had developed since 1997, then taking the time in 2002 to finalize and publish maps as individual releases. Retribution, aka BNDALY8, is one of his older works, as the author takes care to point out. It was originally slated for MAP08, hence the 8 as an alpha-numeric designator, but as presented here is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, published nearly four months after Redemption in October of 2003.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Blind Alley W., "Redemption" (BNDALYW.WAD)

by Gene Bird

If we take the Blind Alley letter scheme to its logical conclusion then BNDALYW ought to have been developed as the series' MAP32, a super secret level. The .TXT, however, informs us that it was originally slated as a MAP20 replacement, which would make it brought to you by the letter K (BNDALYO being built for MAP24). I am guessing that Gene just felt like keeping on the same roll that he had been on since publishing Waste Processing, Deja Vu, and Necrophobia. BNDALYW's other name is Redemption and it is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, originally released almost two years after the prior BNDALYV.

Blind Alley V., "Necrophobia" (BNDALYV.WAD)

by Gene Bird

The Blind Alley series was released from 2002-2004 and eventually accrued some fifteen levels, all of which were built for a mapset that Bird had been making since ~1997. Necrophobia was the eleventh to see publication, released about a month after Deja Vu in May of 2003. Like the rest of these levels it's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II. Gene intimates through the .TXT that the V in the naming scheme indicates that it's a MAP31 replacement (1-9, A-W) though folks who have peeked ahead know that this falls apart for X and Y. BNDALYV is extra special as it's the last level that GB uploaded prior to the release of the first Community Chest. Perhaps not coincidentally, it's also the last of his published works to find its way into CCHEST!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Blind Alley U., "Deja Vu" (BNDALYU.WAD)

by Gene Bird

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines déjà vu as "the illusion of remembering scenes and events when experienced for the first time"; "a feeling that one has seen or heard something before"; or, "something overly or unpleasantly familiar". It is also the title of the tenth level in Gene Bird's Blind Alley series. BNDALYU is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, released in April of 2003. The character U places it in the MAP30 slot of the theoretical compiled mapset that each of these levels were published from, though this scheme became less definitive as GB continued to upload stuff. Unlike the previous level, Waste Processing, Deja Vu also saw release as MAP04 of Community Chest 2. Slightly more than half of Gene's output was either part of CCHEST or CCHEST2, making him a foundational feature of this Doomworld institution.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Blind Alley T., "Waste Processing" (BNDALYT.WAD)

by Gene Bird

I'm continuing my whirlwind tour of Gene Bird levels here with BNDALYT. His Blind Alley series was released piecemeal from 2002-2004 from a set that had been in development since roughly 1997. I call it a "rainy day megaWAD" because of how many releases ultimately accrued but GB's original intention was for something the size of a Doom II episode. Each entry debuted once the author was comfortable with its given level of polish. The alpha-numeric designator T signifies that this was originally designed for the MAP29 slot, I suppose arriving after Spirit World - Headquarters. As it was published in 2003, however, Waste Processing is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Blind Alley B., "Octagon of Fear" (BNDALYB.WAD)

by Gene Bird

Gene Bird had been a Doom hobbyist for some time before releasing the pieces of his Blind Alley series. It was basically a rainy-day megaWAD, developed since 1997, that he started polishing to publish in 2002. Eight of the fifteen maps made their way into Community Chest and CCHEST2, back when the folks involved were more enamored of the idea of pooling their levels together to make a megaWAD. (As opposed to, say, the level of quality control imposed on - most recently - CCHEST4.) It's sad to think that Bird is unfavorably remembered as a provider of filler levels, though I suppose that it's better than his peer and correspondent Kevin Reay's divisive legacy. Almost every entry in the Blind Alley series has an alpha-numeric designator and Octagon of Fear is "B". This references its slot in the to-be-finished megaWAD's running order, in this case MAP11. As it is presented here, however, it is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, released in March of 2003.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Rise of the Wool Ball (ROTWB.WAD)

It took awhile to get there but the modding capabilities of (G)ZDoom have led to a growing number of people making new games based on Doom's framework. Some of these are commercial prospects, the fact of which is great, but others like MSPaintR0cks's Wool Ball series continue the grand tradition of TCs (Total Conversions) in offering novel AND free experiences. Shadow of the Wool Ball, released in 2016, was a snazzy Wolfenstein 3D clone with some interesting environmental hazards. When I wrote my review I was positively anticipating a future iteration that ditched the Wolf3D flat plane of action for something with more vertical depth. Lo and behold, 2017 brought - among other great mods - Rise of the Wool Ball. Prepare to shoot, kick, and now BOUNCE your way through another 18 maps of catastrophic carnage.