Friday, October 20, 2017

Phobos - Relive the Nightmare (RELIVE.WAD)


Slugfest. Doom City. Torment. All released by Shamus Young, in 1995, with original music from the author, and pulling double-duty as both single / co-op and deathmatch maps and mapsets. Phobos - Relive the Nightmare, the last of Young's Doom II works, differs in that it was published in 1996 but otherwise continues the same trends as the author's previous uploads in making aesthetically appealing levels with more complex layouts and relatively small bodycounts. The end result is a nine-level mapset that draws inspiration from Doom's shareware levels yet thankfully remains cast with Shamus's particular idioms.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Torment (TORMENT.WAD)


Shamus Young made a bunch of maps from 1995 to 1996, starting off with Slugfest and then moving on to the seminal Doom City before following up with Torment. The last is a six-level minisode released in 1995 that continues in Young's tradition of trying to make levels that are just as playable in single-player as they are in deathmatch. I can't speak as to their multiplayer quality but there's a pretty clear difference between these maps and those featured in Slugfest that make them seem more polished and less distinguishable as oriented toward player vs. player.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Slugfest (SLUGFEST.WAD)


Shamus Young has gone on to much fame as a blogger about all things geek culture. Back in 1995, though, he was making Doom WADs like everyone else. As far as popularity goes, his authorial career peaked with Doom City, a single level released in 1995 with a bunch of custom textures to simulate an actual city with far more recognizability than Doom II's abstract locales. His first publication was Slugfest, a ten-level episode for Doom II also released in 1995. Slugfest attempts to straddle the line between PvE and PvP with a series of small maps whose layouts are clearly oriented toward deathmatch but are also arranged for demon-slaying.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Post (POST.WAD)


I may not know Tony Sideris, but I know that he loves three things: shotguns, staircases, and Bjork. His love affair with shotguns began with Genesis, a two-level minisode released in 1996 that struck me as pleasantly bland. It continued on to Debut, published later the same year, but with an added abundance of interesting stair work and lighting, hinted at in his first offering. Debut borrowed its title and many of its level names from Bjork's similarly-titled solo album. Post, released toward the end of 1996, is an eleven-level Doom II episode that continues the tradition and deepens the connection in ways no other Doomer has dreamt of.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Debut (DEBUT.WAD)


The works of Tony Sideris crop up on a lot of underrated PWAD lists. While his first release, Genesis, faded into relative obscurity, the followup episodes Debut and Post still get word of mouth accolades from classically-oriented players. What amazes me is that all of these levels - a total of twenty-two - were published in 1996. It's too bad Tony didn't keep mapping into 1997; given where his skills were heading, he would have been a force to be reckoned with. Debut is a bit of a change-up from Genesis, swapping from Doom II to make an episode for the original Doom that takes the place of Knee Deep in the Dead.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Genesis (GENESIS.WAD)


Tony Sideris has left a legacy as one of Doom's underrated early authors, churning out all three of his releases in 1996 and then disappearing, no doubt into a career in IT. Most of Tony's accolades in "underrated" WAD recommendation threads are for the curiously-titled Debut for the original Doom and the follow-up episode, Post, published for Doom II. Before either, however, came a two-level minisode for Doom II by the name of Genesis. There is no indication as to the reasoning behind the title of this PWAD beyond the fact that it marks the beginning of his career; Sideris included no story in the text and implies nothing through his level design. All that's there is a pair of mild-mannered Doom II levels.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Forest Valley (FOREST.WAD)


Forest Valley definitely doesn't resemble a forest, nor does it really resemble a valley. The sky, though, is unmistakable. If you've played the Heroes collection you may recognize it as the backdrop of the second episode. Jean Serge-Gagnon is a quintessentially 1994 author, delivering some of the era's least endearing aspects in a relatively playable format. Forest Valley's final version was released in 1995 and includes a preview of his subsequent project, OTTAWAU.WAD. It's a partial episode two replacement that covers E2M1 through E2M4 as well as E2M9 with a few crude graphical accents and some new music.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Nuke Mine (NUKEMINE.WAD)


The first time I heard of Nuke Mine (subtitled "Come Get Some", linking to Nuke before Duke) was, as Never_Again reminds me through an old /idgames comment, through Sverre Kvernmo hawking it in his 1995 release .TXTs. An episode one replacement released in August of 1994, it's a word-of-mouth classic whose only real flaws are just as evident in the Serenity and Eternity episodes, making it an easy recommendation for anyone who digs the more polished works from Doom's early era. It wasn't Jason Hargreaves's first release - that would be PANIC!.WAD, which was heavily revised and released as E1M2 of this publication - but you can still see steps of improvement as you play through with a couple of leaps in his proficiency as an author.