Saturday, August 19, 2017

TV1998 (TV1998.WAD)


Thomas Van Der Velden has enjoyed a pretty prestigious authorial career, releasing Revolution! and its sequel, Harmony, all on his lonesome. He also made contributions to the much-lauded Plutonia 2 (among other things). TV1998, a collection of twenty-two (22) levels for Doom II, was released in 2004 but all of Velden's heavy lifting was performed before Revolution! in 1998 with a little bit in 1999, hence the title. Its release appears to be one of those happy accidents where someone finds a forgotten backup of materials long thought lost. TV picked it up, dusted it off, wired it some new skies and a TITLEPIC, and sent it back into battle.

Friday, August 11, 2017

SlayeR (SLAYER.WAD)


Richard Wiles started mapping during the advent of source ports in 1998 but remained part of the vanilla vanguard.. His output remains highly lauded, with his highly-varied DICKIE series (well, technically DICKIE10) named one of Doomworld's top 10 WADs of 1998 and clinching repeating nods in 1999 for the brutal but acclaimed Crusades as well as his contributions to The Darkening E2 in 2000. SlayeR, a ten-map plus one secret mapset released in 2001, appeared to be his Doom swan song but Wiles would come back five years later to author the Monolith series. Dare he return some ten years later in 2017? Probably not, but stranger things have happened!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Equinox (EQUINOX.WAD)


Equinox followed right on the heels of the ridiculous, engine-crushing Nuts toward the end of 2001 implying that the former - a Doom II thirteen-level mapset for limit-removing source ports - had already been in development for quite some time. Both were created by the mysterious B.P.R.D. and while Equinox is much closer to traditional Doom level design there are enough instances of large areas and mixed monster packs to suggest that full-on monster infighting was more woven into the author's Doom DNA than the casual silliness of Nuts (created to test the /idgames upload process) suggests. Looking at this and B.P.R.D.'s subsequent releases, including the magnificent yet maligned "Mucous Flow", it's clear that the author has enjoyed a considerable legacy of influence with today's level designers.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Inquisitor 3 (INQSTR3E.WAD)


I played Shadowman's Inquisitor and its sequel back in 2014; both are experiments originally begat by Russian "freakmapping" contests where a procedurally-generated layout is used as the foundation for people to make their own levels. The original INQSTR was controversial for its political / sexual undertones focused around a mysterious, metaphorical allusion that sullied an otherwise pretty cool castle adventure stylized after Hexen II. The Inquisitor 2 pushed in a different direction, attempting to channel the dungeon crawler combat of the Diablo series complete with an overworld town and quests that you could accomplish to further your power, exploring a fair variety of dungeons all within the space of a single level. Its bold aspirations were tempered by highly claustrophobic combat and boxy architecture.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

maintenance mode III

CURRENT STATUS: backfilled through February 2013

I haven't played Doom in maybe three months and any notion of wanting to keep abreast of the cream of the community crop, when coupled with the time I've been working and wanting to spend time with my baby, has sapped me of any will to keep up with this hobby in my free time. It's been a long time coming but I officially withdrew myself from the Cacoward panel; I hope anyone who read the things that I wrote for the Cacowards appreciated them, even if they hated the piss out of some of the selections.

This blog is now bereft of any romantic notions of keeping up with weekly updates. My priorities are

1) finish the review for INQSTR3, maybe the biggest millstone around my neck if only because it's been half-assed for so long, but it's been mostly written (with a whopping 20 paragraph "overview" section... so far) DONE!
2) finish backfilling all of the screenshots so that the blog stands as a complete archive of my reviews, if nothing else
3) play and review WADs free of any imagined responsibility to the Doom community

(the original post)
(the squeakuel)


Sunday, April 23, 2017

DooM Resurrection Episode One (DOOMRES.WAD)


When Doom's source ports started incorporating "advanced" features like scripting, I believe that there was a sort of fevered excitement as though these things would "elevate" it from a 1993-era FPS to something more in line with at least the late 90s, like Quake, Quake II, and Half-Life. Over time, the enthusiasm for expanding Doom's gameplay beyond the niche it rather robustly occupies waned and we are now up to our knees in vanilla and Boom-oriented maps and mapsets that continue to mine new depths beneath its rugged exterior. There's still a solid brace of people making highly inventive things with source ports, of course, but the days of people like Kurt Kesler churning out little ZDoom mini-adventures appears to be gone, its peak madness left back in the early '00s.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Trust (TQTRUST.WAD)


Tommie Quick made a couple of vanilla maps back in 1997, took some time to tour with TNT and their deathmatch megaWADs, and then jumped into ZDoom modding with several releases in 2001. Trust came first; it's a Doom II mapset with what technically amounts to seven levels, but the first three are pretty much just iterations of MAP01 that I assume exist due to technical limitations with ZDoom at the time. Trust shares some details with 2000's Paranoia as both of them crib some ideas from Half-Life, then still hot on the minds of FPS fans, but Trust remains much more grounded in Doom's universe.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

UAC Headquarters (TQMAP02.WAD)

UAC HEADQUARTERS
by Tommie "Fatal" Quick


Tommie Quick slid in at the end of Doom's Golden Age, releasing a few levels in 1997 before hitching his wagon to Team TNT and helping to crank out a few deathmatch megaWADs. UAC Headquarters is his second publication, but I get the feeling that it's actually kind of old, perhaps a relic of an unreleased portfolio that he simply felt good enough to push out the door. Like his Flood Mines, it's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II. That one was sort of an underground earth / tech split, though, where TQMAP02 is all tech and while the vast majority of the level does not take place outside, most of it occurs within the titular UAC Headquarters. Why you're clearing out another UAC installation isn't mentioned but any reason should come fairly quickly to the imagination.