I adore Peter Hawes’ OCD-Doom… even if the WAD has jack shit to do with OCD.
It’s a hard WAD to recommend, though. Its gimmicky focus means OCD-Doom has ended up with a relatively unflattering 2.5 stars on the /idgames Archive — and comments describing it as both “innovative” and “enjoyable” (5 stars)… and as “nauseating tripe” (0 stars). Hoo boy.
You could say I’m something of a gimmick map aficionado, so OCD-Doom has got that going for it in my book. I also love me a black sheep, so I might be biased. But this WAD is just fun as heck, period.
The aforementioned gimmickness of OCD-Doom stems from its use of timed switches. Each of its nine maps is comprised almost entirely of a series of switches, each with a silver and blue pillar next to it. This pillar is a visual countdown clock: once you’ve flipped the initial switch, the next one lights up, its corresponding pillar begins to lower, and you’ve got to reach that switch before the pillar hits the ground.
If a pillar timer expires, you begin taking massive damage — but you can still survive if you’ve got enough health to live long enough to hit the switch anyway.
Thankfully, Hawes dodges the obvious bullet. He does really well at directing you to the next switch in the sequence, so difficulty comes from getting to the switch rather than trying to locate it, which could have easily made this disastrously frustrating.
Each map is a variation on the theme, ensuring that it never gets old. Map22 (OCD-Doom runs from 22 to 30) is a single room that asks you to weave between increasing numbers of imps and zombiemen as you run back and forth from switch to switch. 23 is a cross-shape, with the points of the cross opening further with each switch. 24 is Doom II‘s The Chasm… but with a time limit. 28 adds another layer of pressure: in addition to the death timers, you’ve got to kill a cyberdemon before the last switch or he’ll splatter you while you wait for the final door to open.
OCD-Doom is all your awesome Doom gunplay but with any element of caution and strategy thrown out the window: basically, the fast-paced, always-on-the-move chaos Doom is celebrated for, with everything else filtered out. If that sounds like a fun change of pace for you, you’ll probably love OCD-Doom. I did.
The recommendation does come with caveats, more than maybe any other WAD I’ve talked about on here. Quality ebbs and flows wildly; Map25 looks like the ass-end of 1994 and I didn’t even bother finishing Map30. Difficulty is all over the place, with a Map24 so difficult I couldn’t finish it without intense savescumming… leading directly into a Map25 so easy it feels like a joke. And if you don’t like nontraditional Doom gameplay and I haven’t already made it clear, run.
I kind of want Peter Hawes to do a “regular” WAD — with gimmick elements maybe — at some point in his career. His style is oldschool 1990s in a really cool, beautiful way, and I’d love to be able to stop for five seconds to enjoy the scenery. Hawes’ cleverness combined with his ingenious use of voodoo dolls could add some wonderful twists to otherwise traditional gameplay.
For now, we’ve got OCD-Doom to tide us over!
OCD-Doom requires DOOM2.WAD and (contrary to what its readme says) should run on limit-removing source ports. If you’re not sure how to get it running, this may help. And for more awesome WADs, be sure to check these out!