Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chosen (CH133.WAD)


When people think "Total Conversion" in the context of Doom, they're usually thinking of what's technically a partial conversion. The Aliens TC, for all its vaunted glory, still uses a lot of Doom assets (even if they're recolored or mash-ups). Chosen (v 1.33 for ZDoom) uses virtually none of Doom II's textures or sprites. LilWhiteMouse has included a glut of gorgeous Egyptian wall textures and flats that highlight the WAD's separation with the game typically played with the ZDoom engine. All sprites have been replaced with pre-rendered 3D objects, and few if any monster replacements exhibit behavior indicative of their original placeholders.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Titan Series

THE TITAN SERIES
by Jim Flynn

as featured in Super Serials

Titan ManorTrapped on Titan
Mines of TitanTitan Anomaly
The Farside of TitanTrouble on Titan

The Titan series was released by Jim Flynn in six separate installments during 1995. Its maps take place on Saturn's most famous moon, hence the title. They follow the adventures of a soldier of the "Alliance", opposite the less scrupulous UAC, as he thwarts both the incumbent demons and easily-corrupted corporation. The explanations for his involvement and justification for lack of armaments become more humorous with each episode, until his pistol is a concession from the military whose hands are tied following an unfavorable evaluation by the psychiatric department (they refuse to believe his mission reports).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Osiris (OSIRIS.WAD) and I, Anubis (ANUBIS.WAD)


Osiris is a partial conversion (well, by my now rigorous definition) for Doom II, replacing MAP01-08. It's loosely based on the 1994 film "Stargate" in the same way that "Stargate" was loosely based on Egyptian mythology, the TV series in turn being loosely based on the movie. Players are treated to a mixture of "Stargate" techbases and Egyptian-style ruins creating a science-fiction romp throughout some never-was mixture of Egyptian and Hell that's spooky, ominous, and thrilling.

Trouble on Titan (TROUBLE.WAD)

TROUBLE ON TITAN
by Jim Flynn


Trouble on Titan is the final level in Jim Flynn's Titan series, encompassing two maps included in id's Master Levels for Doom II (Titan Manor, Trapped on Titan) and four freeware maps (Mines of Titan, Titan Anomaly, The Farside of Titan, Trouble on Titan). As usual, it's set on Titan, and furthers the notion that nothing good ever happens on Saturn's most famous moon. The fact that hostile aliens inhabit Titan has finally reached most of the Federation, except the psych department, who insists you're suffering from space psychosis. Since they lobby against kitting you out against your next entrenchment, the best you can muster is a pistol (of course), with which you must put an end to the trouble.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Farside of Titan (FARSIDE.WAD)

THE FARSIDE OF TITAN
by Jim Flynn


The Farside of Titan is Jim Flynn's fifth map in his Titan series, though it's only the third of his non-commercial Titan WADs. The setting, of course, is on Saturn's eponymous moon. This time, you're infiltrating the Titan Farside Research Base where researchers were studying some alien technology (in Trouble on Titan, it's made clear that you were specifically investigating a communications blackout). From there? Who knows? I suppose you can steal the technology and raze the base to the ground...at your discretion.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Titan Anomaly (ANOMALY.WAD)

THE TITAN ANOMALY
by Jim Flynn


The Titan Anomaly is the second map in Flynn's freeware Titan series (and possibly the fourth in line overall). Following the destruction of Titan's mining facility, it turns out that the UAC (an organization rival to Flynn's Federation, apparently) discovered an alien structure on Titan, dubbed the Anomaly. A security perimeter was established around the area, one your employers want you to break into to see just what is going on. Your briefing points out such areas as the Security Holding Area, Visitor's Center, Science Admin Building, Security Headquarters, and Guard Barracks before the Anomaly Research Center proper. Looks like you'll have one Hell of a time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mines of Titan (MINES.WAD)

MINES OF TITAN
by Jim Flynn


Mines of Titan, by Jim Flynn, is the first map in his freeware Titan quadrilogy. Because of the Master Levels' staggered project cycle (it was put on hold while Shawn Green put together Thy Flesh Consumed), it's a bit hazy as to what came before what. What I do know is that, while none of the publicly released Titan maps mention Flynn's Master Levels (or that he even worked on them), the .TXT files included with his id maps mention Enigma, Interdiction Zone and Oracle, pegging their creation if not before the Mines of Titan, then at least concurrently. As such, this WAD is a natural followup to his Master Levels.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Trapped on Titan (TTRAP.WAD)


TRAPPED ON TITAN
by Jim Flynn


Where Titan Manor was an example of an adventure based within a single, large structure, focusing on puzzle-oriented gameplay, Trapped on Titan is a longer, combat-oriented adventure through a number of settings. It's got some puzzles, to be sure, but they're more intuitive, with the enemies providing the real challenge. Jim Flynn gave the two Titan maps from id's Master Levels for Doom II no canonical order, but I'd like to believe that Titan Manor portrays the marine infiltrating Titan to steal the alien technology, while Trapped on Titan involves escaping the forces of Hell after succeeding. Like Titan Manor, it uses Anderson's starry sky to separate its setting from Doom II's setting.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Titan Manor (MANOR.WAD)


TITAN MANOR
by Jim Flynn


Jim Flynn has a grand total of two submissions in id's Master Levels for Doom II. They compose the beginning of his Titan series, a set of maps occurring on Saturn's moon. In Titan Manor, a MAP01 replacement, the marine is sent to an alien building on Titan with the intent of recovering some highly-advanced technology, with which the Federation (the nebulous organization for which the marine works) expects to make incredible scientific advancements. It's a smaller map than Flynn's usual fare, and has unprecedented unity in texturing themes, I'm guessing a product of working with id.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Spooky

I just noticed that, if my update schedule remains on track (i.e. no need to shoe in some filler updates), Hell Revealed will be my 100th update.


Oracle... (ORACLE.WAD)

ORACLE...
by Jim Flynn and Scott "MadMax" Harper


Oracle is a two-map minisode for Doom II, replacing MAP02 and 03, by the duo of Jim Flynn and Scott Harper. I'm not sure exactly how the pair developed but looking in Harper's assorted .TXTs, it's likely he found a kindred spirit in Flynn, who appeared to be a source of inspiration much in the same way that Anderson influenced Flynn. Overall, I'd say these maps have two things in common. First, they tend toward more surreal, abstract architecture. Second, they are very puzzle-centric, in both good ways and bad ways. The first map is the main one, and it's VERY large, much in keeping with Flynn's design sensibilities. The second is much shorter, constrained to a small, circular area, but (as mentioned) it's similarly complicated.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Doomed Remains Scoreless

Blog readers were bitterly divided in the poll, with six votes for scores, five votes against, and two people who just didn't care. For now, Doomed remains without scores. I looked into ratings as a way to make some WADs easily identifiable as favorites via the main review index. I may still look into something down the line, like a simple thumbs up for mapsets I'd recommend. Or maybe a secret page with a rating index that's not entirely serious... Yes, yes...

Also, I'm one WAD away from Hell Revealed, the moment I've been dreading. At least I've got like a month of updates backed up.

The Interdiction Zone (INTZONE.WAD)

THE INTERDICTION ZONE
by Jim Flynn


The Interdiction Zone is a solo affair from Jim Flynn. It's a large level for Doom II, replacing MAP07. It's got a large selection of textures but the main area appears to be somewhat patterned after a library. Now, this wouldn't be out of place as part of his Enigma Episode, but as this was initially released as a Doom II level, I suppose he excluded it from Enigma (which is composed entirely of Doom II remakes of his early maps). As is typically the case for Flynn, there's some great, abstract design and plenty of puzzles to be had. It almost feels a bit like an adventure game at times.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Surrounded! (SURROUND.WAD)

SURROUNDED!
by Jim Flynn


Surrounded! is a curio for OG Doom, replacing E2M8. It's also the only WAD Jim Flynn made for the original Doom that he didn't convert as part of the Enigma Episode. Why, gentle reader? Well, it's a one-on-one fight with a Cyberdemon who you "have surrounded". Yep; Flynn of all people made an arena map. Aesthetically it's pretty boring, a giant octagon with cherry red siding alternating with some tech guts while you're ankle deep in water. There are four marble cubes bearing the IOS relief floating in the air in a square arrangement. They don't serve any actual purpose but they help make the architecture less deadly dull.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Inferno Series

THE INFERNO SERIES
by John "Dr. Sleep" Anderson

as featured in Super Serials

Dante's GateCrossing AcheronVirgil's Lead
Minos' JudgementNessusGeryon
VesperasLetheChiron

Regrettably, the Inferno series is incomplete. If John Anderson (aka "Dr. Sleep") ever releases Lethe, he will win Doomworld's Mordeth award, guaranteed. Six of its eight available levels are split between two commercial releases (five in the Master Levels and one in Thy Flesh Consumed), the two earliest entries available in a variety of freeware releases, both Doom and Doom II. The series itself is very loosely based on the first book of Dante's Divine Comedy from which it draws its name, insofar as its protagonist is named Dante, has a buddy named Virgil, and travels through Hell to find his love, Beatrice. Also, I guess, Anderson referred to each installment of Inferno as a canto.

Vesperas (VESPERAS.WAD)


VESPERAS
by John "Dr. Sleep" Anderson


Vesperas is the final canto of Anderson's included in id's Master Levels for Doom II, a replacement for MAP09. The eighth canto, Chiron, found its way into id's Thy Flesh Consumed as E4M7, "And Hell Followed', and the final canto, Lethe, in which Dante would presumably have encountered Satan, remains unfinished. The only clue to which circle of Hell this level represents is its name, which Sleep notes in the text means "evening ceremony", alternatively vespers. It could in theory be the ninth circle of Hell, where the betrayers are punished, but it doesn't really resemble the freezing ruin of Cocytus. The only thing I can tie Vesperas to is the War of the Vespers, a civil war which occurred in Dante's lifetime (rebelling against French rule) and which figured heavily into his life experiences, indeed resulting in his eventual exile.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Geryon (GERYON.WAD)


GERYON
by John "Dr. Sleep" Anderson


Dante and Virgil appear to be moving at a more human pace. Where exactly this takes place isn't quite documented as Anderson has ditched the little asides of the travelers at this point. The eponymous character is Geryon, the embodiment of fraud, on whose back Dante and Virgil descend toward the eighth circle of Hell (Fraud). As such, this could be a journey to meet Geryon, or Dante's sojourn through the circle of Fraud after arriving. It's not altogether clear, though given that Anderson wanted to spend each of his "cantos" highlighting a specific portion of Hell leads me to believe that this is indeed the eighth.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nessus (NESSUS.WAD)


NESSUS
by John "Dr. Sleep" Anderson


Having spent the past two cantos in the outer area of Dante's Inferno (the first and second circles of Limbo and Lust, respectively), Anderson fast-forwards to the seventh circle, Violence (passing Gluttony, Greed, Anger and Heresey). It's just as well, or the project would never have finished within the nine cantos Anderson restricted himself to (not that he actually ever finished!). The only hint as to where this takes place is its title and inclusion of Nessus, a centaur from mythology who in Alighieri's work guides Virgil and Dante down and across the Phlegethon (Dante's own Canto XII). Anderson's brief rendition of the event is rather humorous.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Minos' Judgement (MINOS.WAD)


MINOS' JUDGEMENT
by John "Dr. Sleep" Anderson


Minos' Judgement is the fourth canto in John Anderson's Inferno series, five maps of which were released as part of id's Master Levels for Doom II. Somewhat based on the first book of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, it follows Dante's journey through Hell in search of his love, Beatrice, with color commentary by Dante's friend, the poet, Virgil. It's merely a framework for the action of the maps, which don't really lend themselves to that kind of storytelling. It's appreciated, though, as it helps to firmly establish a sense of place for the activity of the levels.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Virgil's Lead (VIRGIL.WAD)


VIRGIL'S LEAD
by John "Dr. Sleep" Anderson


Prior to being contracted as a designer for id's Master Levels for Doom II, Anderson had two publicly released maps for Doom, Dante's Gate and Crossing Acheron. They are parts one and two of his Inferno series; cantos one and two, if you will. Thankfully, Anderson released cantos three through seven as part of the Master Levels. The series is loosely based on Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, if Dante were a space marine whose girlfriend disappeared during an attack by the forces of Hell, and Virgil was his Moorcock-esque drugged out space hippy sidekick. None of this really shows itself through the maps, but it's a cute concept.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Poll - review scores?

Ten days ago I added a poll which you can see in the site's upper-right hand corner. In essence, I'm asking whether actual review scores are important to people, and if they'd like to see them. If so, I would be rating WADs on a scale of 0-6 stars (though in practicality it would be on a scale of 1-5), with 3-6 star ratings being general gradations of "I would recommend this!" and 0-2 being gradations of "I wouldn't recommend this!". If I get enough interest I'll retrofit the current index to include the relevant information. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Complete Raven Series (RAVEN.WAD)


Before id contracted Tim Willits to contribute to the Master Levels, he and his sister, Theresa Chasar, released the Raven series for Doom II. According to an interview conducted for the 5 Years of Doom celebration on Doomworld, the series was originally a collection of maps he’d made for Doom that he hastily converted to Doom II upon its release, figuring that the series would get more exposure if it was for Doom’s sequel (a spot-on assumption, I think).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Canyon (CANYON.WAD)


CANYON
by Tim Willits and Theresa Chasar


While Tim Willits’s sister, Theresa Chasar, helped out in design for ATTACK and CANYON for id’s Master Levels for Doom II, CANYON.WAD is the only Master Level where she gets that specific credit (considering she also helped design E4M5 of Ultimate Doom, I suppose this is her one official id credit). Canyon has no official story, but anyone can guess from its title that it involves a crevasse biting into a planet’s crust.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Attack (ATTACK.WAD)


ATTACK
by Tim Willits and Theresa Chasar


Tim Willits got id’s attention with the release of the Raven series, an episode for Doom II consisting of Doom maps that had been converted over as well as some created in tandem with his sister, Theresa Chasar. id contracted him to create some maps for their Master Levels for Doom II project, which he designed in tandem with his sibling. I don’t know if Willits has any Master Levels rejects floating around his hard drive; if some existed at any point, only Attack and Canyon remain. Attack is a small MAP01 replacement, a mixture of techbase and urbane brick themes to create a small fortress.