DARK DEITY'S BASTION
by "Vordakk" aka "Stormwalker"
Doomworld forum superstar Vordakk felt so gracious as to supply Heretic fans with a followup to his Call of the Apostate episode, an E1M1 map replacement. Much like his previous work, Dark Deity's Bastion is pretty much Heretic+. There are scant few ZDoom features, mainly adding in the final bosses as well as some puzzle hints in slightly cryptic lyrics, but in practice this is basically Heretic minus limits. There is no included story in the .TXT, but by the title you can more or less intuit the action. Corvus is in some misbegotten citadel, the bastion of a dark deity. Whether he's actively hunting something or just hanging out on his endless trek back to his homeworld is left up to the player's imagination.
Apparently this little work began as LilWhiteMouse's first ZDoom project. Considering the version of Chosen I reviewed is circa 2003, that makes Chibi Rebellion's foundation quite old indeed. It saw several phases of development, with the most recent leading to a 5.0 idgames release. And yet, it moves... This article covers the 5.9 release of Star Wars: Chibi Rebellion. Yeah, some stuff's been added since. CR was released to little fanfare, which is a shame. This is a quality game on the level of some of Doom's most ambitious total conversions. Though it may lack the polish of works like Action Doom II, it's worth a play. It'll be a long one, and my only hope is that LWM continues to preen this product.
Duke Caribbean is the fondest-remembered of the licensed Duke 3D addons. Duke it Out in D.C. had some great maps, but generally lacked the funny. Nuclear Winter was just awful. Caribbean was colorful; had new sprites for all the weapons, collectibles, and monsters; and plain just had interesting and varied level design. Joseph "DoorHenge" Otey decided to bring the magic to Doom (as DooM Vacation) using the ZDoom engine as his canvas. The story is pretty token; essentially Doomguy lands in the ocean after killing another boss brain, only to end up at an island resort chock full of evil.
Deimos Entry is a short replacement for the first level in Doom's second episode by one Paul Corfiatis, done in the '94 style (compatible with Doom 1.2). It's got a few homages to the original, but the general elements are quite different. You start out in a pit, already alerting some riffraff, and are immediately confronted by yellow and red key doors (and some sinister marble facades). There's a combat armor nearby which will make the rest of the map breeze on by. The room's got a funky arrangement, with the piping cleverly aligned so that the bloody section just barely presents where it meets the red surface on top.
Johns Romero and Carmack played Rise of the Triad into the grave like two dudes on the same side of an air hockey table. People still love it, though. Sure, it's limited to 90 degree walls, but it's so delightfully arcade with the coins and jump pads and bodies exploding into ludicrous gibs... I'm sure some people wondered what RoTT would have looked like using Doom's engine. Well, through the miracle of science, Leon "El Zee" Zawada and Simon "5hfifty" Rance arranged such a thing! Actually, let's not kid ourselves. Return of the Triad isn't the Doom engine circa '93; it's the ZDoom engine as of '11. But WOW does it look so good. The story is pretty simple; H.U.N.T. discovers a Triad base (Episode One) that is merely an outpost of a much revived organization, dealt with in Episode Two.
When I was a kid, I had several recurring nightmares. One of these had me walking to my room upstairs and seeing an Alien through the crack between the door and the frame. And even though I knew there was an Alien in the room, I couldn't stop myself from going in. In a way, Aliens: Colonial Marines (and the Justin Fisher TC before it) is a cathartic experience. The difference between the game and the dream is that, while I know There Be Aliens Here, I have just the slightest bit more control over my situation. Colonial Marines as a whole is much more lethal than the '94 relic, though it has some new toys and, as it's in GZDoom, a plethora of features including dynamic lighting, 3D floors, and other things to help set up its frightening atmosphere. The architecture is great, with a fairly realistic layout that only adds to the atmosphere, especially in the third area, the "Atmosphere Processor", and other places like those hallways to the east in the first area look like they were ripped right out of the movie.
"Sonar" is the third map in a loose trilogy of sorts by Russian Doomer Lainos. Objects 32 and 33 came before; 32 was a solo release and 33 was the final level of Clan [B0S]'s Da Will. The map as can be expected is for limit-removing ports that support OGG music (the preferred platform I'm guessing is PrBoom+). I'm not entirely sure what the intended story is as the description in the text file appears to be abruptly cut off. From what I can gather, you've been sent to an underwater UAC research facility. I'm guessing that communications were lost, sometime after making a discovery on the ocean floor, and you're supposed to investigate the disturbance, as well as find out what the station uncovered.
Whitemare is a Russian Doom Community project, steeped in the theme of winter. Near the tail end of 2010, iddqd.ru had a speedmap competition; twelve levels produced from the event form the base of this megaWAD, some undergoing serious renovation. The other six were added in after the fact, forming the eighteen-map work released near the beginning of 2011. It's got a rudimentary framework-plot to boot. Demons can't abide by Christmas and New Years celebrations so it's Doomguy's job to stop them from ruining everyone's fun. And, yes, this WAD has a very slight Christmas theme in addition to the general winter feel, if the numerous Christmas trees made out of level geometry didn't tip you off.
It's been a long time since I said I'd play the Vaporware demo. And, well, here I am! The only time I've used the Eternity engine in the interim is to check bugs across different ports in a few isolated instances, which after playing this seems like a gross misuse of a fantastic product. Vapordemo won a Cacoward in 2011, in part due to the belief that this was about as far as the project would ever progress. I sincerely hope that isn't the case, because this single excerpt from Vaporware (sadly the only Eternity Engine project besides Mordeth I can even name, excepting a few dual-compatible projects and the canceled TC) is a simply fantastic yet all too brief offering from Sarah "Esselfortium" Mancuso. When it was done, I wanted more, so at the very least it's fulfilled its basic criteria insofar as it's designed to get me interested in the full release.
I can think of several reasons why the name of this GZDoom WAD is appropriate. First and foremost, you will at some point enter a mandrill's ass. Seriously, it's an important plot point. Second, it's got some very colorful maps, for the most part breaking away from the stock Doom II resources we're intimately familiar with. It also has a humorous edge hiding behind the gameplay, with short dialogues and little sidepieces setting the tone, as well as some outlandish scenarios. Finally, as Aluqah points out himself near the beginning of MAP06, Mandrill Ass Project's acronym is MAP. Really, he couldn't have chosen a better name. Especially because of the part where you have to climb into a mandrill's ass.