End Game is a compilation of 8 maps by various authors, released at the start of 2004. According to the compiler's homepage it is his final work for Doom. I don't know about you but I think announcing you're going to leave a community is a bit daft but still this is a good wad so I'll say no more about it. Indeed I remember thinking "oh that's bound to be good I must play it" when it came out but never got round to it until a few weeks ago. I'm glad I eventually did though, and I think you should too!
- "Arctic" A reworking of Classic 11. It's slightly different in a few places and probably easier, although the start can be nasty if you're not expecting what's coming up. Design-wise it's an E1/E2 base like all the good maps in the Classic series, and leaves you thinking that this was what Doom Episode 2 should have looked like in the first place.
- "Old School" A smallish Doom 2-style base, mainly green and metal. It's simply done without masses of detail but the layout is complex enough to make it interesting. It's not difficult, provided you keep your wits about you. It's possible (but quite difficult) to get yourself locked in the first room, so be careful.
- "Morsel" Another classic Doom 2-style base. This is very reminiscent of a certain era of Doom mapping, when people were getting good but coming up against the limits of the original executables renderer. For example there is good lighting but it's stark, not graded and softened. Also the texturing is a bit rough around the edges - there is an indoor lawn next to the start position which looks odd in the middle of of a metal and brick area in a base, for example. However the player has a complex map to explore, being able to follow several routes to find the keys and exit; and a lot of the lines on this map are not parallel to an axis, which is good to see. It's slightly harder than the previous two maps although not much - I managed to conquer it first time but I was quite lucky when I met the archvile.
- "Garrison" Typically competently built map from the author of Scythe. It's fairly large with E1-style architecture but not E1-style textures, if that makes any sense. It's apparently full of speedrunning tricks too but I didn't really spot them, unless you count a couple of jumps to secrets. A couple of traps that can be nasty if not expected. Oh, and shoot the barrels, that's what they're there for!
- "Zylstra" We change style to a less futuristic setting. This brick fortress map is very remindful of maps from Memento Mori, or its sequel. The large number of zombies and relative lack of health don't make it easy. The route is basically linear but immersive as you get to see many future areas before reaching them. The atmosphere is enhanced by your steps being dogged by a cyberdemon that appears occasionally and then teleports away. Fortunately as it turns out you don't actually have to fight it, which is a relief because most of this map's areas aren't really big enough to guarantee success against one!
- "Chaostile" Still back in the past - more convincingly so, with use of the gothic textures - we are presented with a complex and detailed castle map. You start off being swept along by a strong current to the back entrance; it uses a Boom special effect to do this, but it's apparently compatible with doom2.exe nonetheless. Play is difficult even if you know what you're doing, there are monsters hiding everywhere and it's easy to take damage. Indeed the ending features a battle with two cyberdemons in quite a small courtyard, but you can soften them up a bit using infighting and some windows overlooking the exit. With plenty of hellknights, chaingunners and more than a few archviles hiding in the darkness, this map is a challenge but a rewarding one.
- "Water treatment facility" Dark metal techbase full of special effects and lighting tricks that all work in doom2.exe, apparently. It centres around a river which flows through a facility which, for all its technical sophistication, is in fact based around a fairly simple layout. It's pretty easy, too, the monsters used are mostly zombies, so if you can avoid running out of health you won't have too much trouble keeping the kills counter ticking over. While you're doing this watch for the lighting and the doors that open from the top and bottom at the same time and the switch that floods out the entire facility!
- "The Beauty Of Evil" "I wanted to design a slaughter type map ala "Hell Revealed". It's really just a cheap excuse to BFG lots of enemies" That's a pretty fair description! This is a pit of rocks and lava (fortunately not harmful) out in the open air, and crawling with monsters. It is extremely replayable despite a number of issues I have with the gameplay: namely that the monsters get in the way rather a lot. The good weapons for slaughter maps are quite hard to get hold of, none more so than the BFG which is very well hidden, and which you have only one chance to get before the area becomes overrun with monsters which seem to crowd around all the places where you want to be! You will probably find that you get caught in a loop of jumping into the lava to escape the horde of monsters blocking your path and then teleporting out again, right back into the same crowd of monsters. There's no way through and then you just die. Maybe I've just not found the right route, but there aren't any demos for this map on the DSDA for inspiration either. If you do manage to finish it - I had to use lots of savegames - you'll find you have a lot of ammunition left. The balance is wrong, really... Still if you look past the problems this is a very believable and three-dimensional map full of jumps and routes. Indeed it's interesting to compare the contrasting styles of this map and the previous one, in the context of maps 6 and 24 of Alien Vendetta. These two authors' styles do complement each other very well.
And speaking of the DSDA, some of my stuff is, at time of writing, on the front page, which is always nice