Sunday, March 19, 2017

Temple of the Ancients (TEMPLE2.WAD)

In some ways, Temple of the Ancients is the sort of project Rex has been leaning toward since he began his authorial career. While testing his levels in ZDoom, they weren't really specific to it until he started to embrace jumping with Military Research Complex. Phoenix Rising saw him play with the idea of if not the actual mechanics of a Hub arrangement and Paranoia involved the incorporation of scripted events to push the gameplay slightly beyond the tried and true limits of Doom. TEMPLE2 then takes both of these elements and welds them together for a dashing adventure, released in 2000. While Temple of the Ancients is another five-level mapset, it sits in map slots 10-14 instead of the MAP02-MAP06 block that Phoenix Rising and Paranoia had. This is the one time I can't really guess at why it's structured as such since Claussen has used the MAPINFO lump to set skies and music.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


So far, I've played two of Rex Claussen's 2000 Doom II "TCs". The first, A Hex On You, mined the resources of Hexen II. The following release, Phoenix Rising, pulled from the world of Quake II - among other things. This time, he's set his sights on the world of Half-Life with Paranoia. It has a few superficial commonalities with PHOENIX; it has five maps, for one, also spanning MAP02 to MAP06. However, where Phoenix Rising only took the textures from Quake II, Paranoia makes a thorough bid for Total Conversion by also using weapon and enemy sprites pulled from the game's models and sort-of-kind-of-finding matches in Doom II's monsters. The result is... interesting.

Friday, March 3, 2017

No End In Sight (NEIS.WAD)

It all began back in 1997; Emil Brundage released The Beginning of the End (Part 1), laying the seeds for an author crush that saw consummation with the advent of Doom the Way id Did some fifteen years later. Xaser was (and still is) Emil's biggest fan, and while none of the latter's maps made the final cut for DTWiD, the two plied together their trades with the inimitable Chris Lutz to make their OWN original Doom megaWAD. Thus began No End In Sight, a project that did not seem to have an end in sight. However, in 2016 it exited Limbo along with its fellow offshoots (Phobosdeimos Anomaly and Doom the Way id Did: The Lost Episodes).

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Phoenix Rising (PHOENIX.WAD)

The year 2000 saw then-Gurkha Boy but future-Rex Claussen move away from the tried and true vanilla Doom II textures to experiment with assets derived from other games in a minisode format. The first theme on the list was Hexen II, explored in the cheekily-titled A Hex On You. The next on the chopping block: Phoenix Rising, a five-map minisode for Doom II that uses resources from Hexen II's sister game, Quake II. Like HEX_ON_U, it's mean for a limit-removing source port that has several features like jumping, so anything in the ZDoom family ought to work. One important note: PHOENIX begins on MAP02, so make sure you set your clock ahead one level.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Hex On You (HEX_ON_U.WAD)

2000 was a pretty big turning point for Rex Claussen. While he was still going by Gurkha Boy, he paused the manufacture of ostensibly limit-removing levels (following the trend of Military Research Complex) and returned to the minisode format of his first release, Quo Vadis. More importantly, Rex started experimenting with texture packs for new level themes. A Hex On You is the first of these "total conversions", a three-level minisode for ZDoom that uses the textures of Raven Software's highly popular Hexen II. The one thing that's not particularly like Rex is the lack of some sort of prose establishing the action, but the author has deigned to pitch the levels like a tour guide in the .TXT.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Arena (ARENA_01.WAD)

by Rex Claussen

Rex Claussen started out under the moniker of Gurkha Boy, making levels for limit-removing ports after enjoying Ian Wilson's Herian 2 as well as some correspondence. Arena, his fifth release, breaks with the source-port requirement for the first time for an experience that can be enjoyed in vanilla Doom II. It's a MAP22 replacement released in 1999, and it's also really, really easy to explain because it's actually a scant 19 monsters deep. It's literally an arena, of course, and nothing more. One of those interstitial ambushes as Doomguy travels between larger adventures, I suppose.

Friday, February 17, 2017

maintenance mode II

CURRENT STATUS: backfilled through June 2014

(the original post)

This is an update to my image hosting situation since I recently hit a major milestone. All reviews back through October 2014 (stopping at BTSX E2, the last one I had all the 1280 res images backed up for) have been backfilled. I have some others from June and May of 2011 and a few isolated stuff I did for tumblr Screenshot Showcases (like Speed of Doom) but from here on out I will be backfilling from my Imgur library, saved at a more sensible resolution of 640 / 600, depending. I did a good job at making a healthy review buffer but I will be eating through it due to working way too much overtime and my daughter, my firstborn on 11/29/16. Doom is not forgotten, but I may stretch out those Claussen episode reviews to seven days instead of the five day norm, depending on what I get done.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Military Research Complex (COMPLEX.WAD)

by Rex Claussen

Military Research Complex is Rex Claussen's fourth release in 1999 and the fourth release of his career. Like his previous level, Decimate, it's a MAP01 replacement designed for advanced source ports and tested in ZDoom. There are a few really big differences, though. For one, COMPLEX is a HUGE level when it comes to real estate, which is in stark contrast to Claussen's relatively short levels, though it meshes with the swaths of empty space in the comparatively smaller Decimate. More importantly, Claussen's previous releases specifically mentioned that they were not designed around jumping; Military Research Complex is and says as much in the .TXT. If you assume otherwise, like I did, you'll be hopelessly stuck.