What’s Awesome, Doom?: Mano Laikas: A road to Gamzatti

Nicolas Monti is an artist. Maybe the Picasso of Doom mapping. I’ve made a point of playing all his recent releases as they come. That includes my 2014 WAD Of The Year, Apostasy on Amalthea; one of my favorite WADs of 2015, Desecration on Thebe; and his most recent and expansive work, 2016’s Mano Laikas: A road to Gamzatti. Rounding out that roster is Erkattäññe, in my opinion Monti’s weakest WAD and yet the only one to win him a Cacoward. Erkattäññe didn’t work for me in large part because it was a Doom II WAD. Doom II‘s textures just don’t jive with

What’s Awesome, Doom?: Doom the Way id Did – The Lost Episodes

If you’ve played Doom the Way id Did, its Lost Episodes are essentially more of the same. A little less id-like, maybe, but with a wider quality spectrum. Doom the Way id Did: The Lost Episodes, to put it indelicately, is six episodes of leftovers and cut maps that didn’t make it into the official DTWiD release. What you have to keep in mind when saying these maps were “cut,” though, is why they would have been cut. The strict rules of DTWiD mean that submitted maps could easily be, and often were, rejected not for being of low quality but

What’s Awesome, Doom?: Sacrifice

Sacrifice is the second WAD I’ve reviewed by a creator who is no longer with us. And that’s two too many. Just this past Sunday, news made it to Doomworld that Ty Halderman, one of the most prolific and beloved members of our community, had died on July 31st. I never knew the man, but everyone knows just how vital he was to Doom‘s legacy — and to the longevity of its modding scene. If not for his efforts to archive and catalog Doom WADs over the last twenty years, who knows where we would be now? I almost certainly

What’s Awesome, Doom?: Flashback to Hell

Past few days, I’ve been working my way through the meaty innards of Flashback to Hell, a megaWAD by Stormwalker, a name I admit I’m not at all familiar with. There’s some Cacoward talk surrounding it already, so you can pretty safely assume it’s good, but all I knew going in was this: it’s a classic-styled WAD. 15 levels. And with a story — something that a lot of WAD-makers leave out but I really appreciate when it’s there. I dove in with some definite expectations. I knew what I was getting into; I expected your standard oldschool WAD. All

What’s Awesome, Doom?: 900 Deep in the Dead

I’ve done a small amount of modding across a few games in the past and found that one of the most rewarding things is seeing what you can do within that game’s limitations, to see how far you can push it and what tricks you can come up with to fudge it the rest of the way. In the Doom community, this is high art. Actually, they take it a step further. The Doom engine is already pretty confining, but Doom people like to take it to new heights by imposing their own artificial limitations. The limitations of Doom aren’t

What’s Awesome, Doom?: Reverie

I’ll admit right from the get-go that I’m probably a bit biased when it comes to Michael Jan Krizik’s Reverie. If you take a look in the readme, you might see why: I did a little playtesting for this WAD back in the day, when the pieces were still coming together. I’m not sure my feedback was all that helpful, but just being able to play a WAD before it’s released publicly has a way of endearing you to the final product more than you might have been otherwise. That’s not to say Reverie is bad and I’m giving it

What’s Awesome, Doom?: High/Low 1

I’m trying to keep a good balance on here between the kind of short, sweet WADs that can lure in new Doom players who aren’t sure if they want to get their feet wet yet, and the sort of massive epics that I live for. Chris Hansen’s High/Low 1 is firmly in the first category. This is the kind of WAD I probably should have started with: finely tuned and straight to the point — wonderful for testing the waters if you’ve ever been interested in Doom mods but haven’t taken that first step. I’ve never worked in a place

What’s Awesome, Doom?: Back to Saturn X Episode 1: Get Out of My Stations

A great Doom WAD is an emotional experience for me. I feel more invested in a good WAD than I do in 90% of videogames. The minimalistest story, some level design that makes me feel like I’m progressing and accomplishing something, a strong soundtrack — that’s all I need. The last one most of all. Really; music will make or break a levelset for me, and when is makes it, it makes it. If you’re not a big Doom person, I wouldn’t blame you for not believing me here, but I honestly think the world of Doom WADs hides behind

What’s Awesome, Doom?: Wire Brush

In an attempt to offset the daunting scope of the last two WADs, this month I’ve got something short and sweet: rf’s Wire Brush. As much I enjoy single-level WADs, they don’t usually stick with me the same way bigger megaWADs do. They don’t leave that indelible impression on me the way the Suspended in Dusks do, or the Memento Moris, or the STRAINs. So the fact that I remember this one years later is a pretty good indicator of awesomeness. (Disclaimer: It may also have something to do with me just really, really liking rf’s stuff, and also also

What’s Awesome, Doom?: Suspended in Dusk

You can’t talk about Doom WADs without mentioning Suspended in Dusk. In the Doom scene, it’s a modern masterpiece, and if you ask a Doomer what his or her favorite WADs are, you’re almost guaranteed to find Suspended in Dusk on the list. It’s on mine for sure. To cover some history, Suspended in Dusk was created back in 2005 by Esa “Espi” Repo, self-proclaimed “Finnish Doom freak.” Espi is best known for this and his followup, Back to Basics, but he also worked on some smaller WADs and contributed to a number of community projects and speedmapping sessions. So