By now you’ve probably noticed that I lean more toward bigger WADs and megaWADs to talk about on What’s Awesome, Doom? As a result, I have a growing list of one-map WADs I’ve either enjoyed or been meaning to play that’s just been getting longer and longer for years now… You know what the means! That’s right — it’s time for another special episode! Welcome to the One-Map WADstravaganza: eight single-level releases from the last five years or so. Let’s jump right to it, before I get wrapped up in some long, masturbatory introduction! Presented in alphabetical order:
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.
Breach is beautiful. “Intricate” or “detailed” would also be accurate descriptors, though you’ve often gotta steer clear of those words in Doom circles. I think both terms are starting to transition out of bad word status — in part thanks to creators like Viggles and projects like Breach — but in the past they were too often associated with maps that either include so much detail that the architecture interferes with player movement, or that focus on detail as a substitute for any kind of stimulating gameplay. And trust me, I wouldn’t be talking about Breach if either were the
Chris Hansen is the God King of the single-map WAD, and virtually his entire two-decade body of work, outside of the occasional community project contribution or collaboration with Paul Corfiatis, fits that mold. Hansen has been doing what he does, and doing it brilliantly, for a very long time. So, of course, here comes Monument to change all that.
Limitation projects. Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no escaping them. You see a lot of the standard bemoaning about the concept — “Why can’t anyone just make a normal WAD anymore?” — but the truth is you could do a lot worse with one of those “normal” WADs than you could with 50 Shades of Graytall. Of all the limitation projects that’ve come out in the last decade or more, 50 Shades may be the most compelling. The idea behind all these projects is to put creators in increasingly restrictive boxes — to force them to be more creative,
Oblivion is a Doom 1 episode by Stormwalker, who last year gave us the spectacular and surprisingly underrated Flashback to Hell. This is a lighter, more bit-sized release than Flashback was — one that you can probably finish in an afternoon, especially since it’s nice and easy on the challenge. It plays pretty casually, even on Ultra-violence, until the last couple maps, where the stakes rise, and rise quickly. In Oblivion, like Flashback to Hell, Stormwalker’s mapping style is unmistakable. Every room he creates is polished to perfection, without getting caught up in unnecessary details or going nuts with sector
Favillesco Alpha Episode: Apostasy on Amalthea was my personal WAD-of-the-Year in 2014. I came for the promise of a WAD made entirely out of Doom alpha textures, and I ended up staying for Nicolas Monti’s one-of-a-kind mapping technique and bizarre stylistic sensibilities. This year he returned with an unexpected sequel, Favillesco Alpha Episode 2: Desecration on Thebe, and I had to know if lightning could strike twice.