Doom II The Way id Did. You already know what this is. You know whether or not you’ll enjoy it. What are you doing reading this?
Doom II The Way id Did is exactly what you expect, even if you haven’t had the pleasure of playing Doom The Way id Did, or the number of WADs that followed on in that vein for years. It’s a collection of 33 maps by various authors in the community, all doing their best impressions of John Romero, American McGee, and Sandy Petersen (plus maybe a tiny bit of Shawn Green and Tom Hall). It follows the same progression of Doom II, from early techbases, through cityscapes, and finally to Hell and a confrontation with everyone’s favorite demonic wall texture.
As I always say with these projects, I’m not sure how accurately it all emulates id’s various styles. At times I genuinely feel like I’m playing some long-lost Doom II map, but other large chunks come across to me like a TNT WAD. There’s even one map I refuse to believe wasn’t originally part of a Thy Flesh Consumed The Way id Did before migrating here. But like I’ve also said in the past, it doesn’t really matter. Whether or not the maps in D2TWiD pass the Way id Did test for you, they’re fantastic, classic, brilliantly ’90s maps.
One of my favorite things about Doom II has always been how unconcerned it was about its appearance — how chaotic and slapped-together it was. There’s more Sandy Petersen in Doom II, and less John Romero, if you know what I mean. You can get away with a way stranger things in a Doom II The Way id Did than a Doom The Way id Did. I love those parts of D2TWiD the most: the conflicting textures and themes all thrown in a pot with no logic behind them or transitions between them. Nonsensical designs and layouts. Just really silly, bizarre stuff… and D2TWiD shines brightest in maps where the creators just went hog wild.
Of course, unclear level progression often goes hand in hand with this more chaotic visual design. There are times when I ended up hugely frustrated with maps that refused to give up any hints about what I should be doing next. Or others that overused teleporters. But that’s also a carryover from Doom II, I suppose. If authentic Doom II is your aim, the occasional annoying and obtuse layout is part of the deal.
The only thing I really fault D2TWiD for is drawing its maps out for too long. id maps are generally quite concise and contained, but too often with these The Way id Did WADs, authors can’t replicate that particular aspect of id’s design. Their maps end up much longer and overwrought, which I don’t think works with everything else they’re trying to accomplish here.
Then again, we all know I’m getting old and my attention span is slipping.
Doom II The Way id Did requires DOOM2.WAD and should run on any source-port under the sun. If you’re not sure how to get it running, this may help. And for more awesome WADs, be sure to check these out!