16/04/2006 @13:55:41 ^15:27:46

Joke wads

Joke wads come in many forms, from deliberately and thus ironically bad, to creatively wacky. These two are from 2002, nowadays making joke wads is a bit played out and they all seem to be for ZDoom which you can do more with, what with scripting and that.

The NEW DOOM v1.0 (1337.wad) is 31 levels of bad mapping cliches made in 2002. There is a history behind it which explains why there is no MAP29 and MAP30 is called "you've been had" but it doesn't matter. The best things about this wad are the accompanying text file, which is hilarious for many reasons, and map 23, "Tribute to E1M3"

Spacia is 11 maps in a space environment followed by 11 maps in a nursery or something. The space maps aren't so bad, they're just a little, I don't know, exaggerated in some ways, like size. There's very few monsters and so on. The nursery maps are textured in childish drawings and stuffed with megaspheres and wolfenstein soldiers. The sounds are all replaced with daft stuff like samples of Kevin Bloody Wilson songs and the DeHackEd patch changes the message strings to stuff like "horse cock launcher"

Proper stuff

These are all from /newstuff 272.

Mad Lab replaces E2M1. With lots of demon faces, the grey-green STONE3 and those dark blue flats CEIL4_{1,2,3} being used a lot, it is mostly in the style of E2M4 although there are obvious inspirations from E2M7 and E3M3 as well. The exit is on the far side of a courtyard you can see from the start, and see from different sides as you progress. There are some barons in cages which are quite easy to telefrag if you know what you're doing. I don't normally complain about texture alignments but in this case the author doesn't seem to get how to use the upper and lower unpegging flags around windows, and it's very noticable. But it's still a fun map so who cares?

Fortress was apparently made in 1997. It is a castle with surrounding environment but it's pretty odd. There are over 400 monsters, many large, but it's easy because you get full ammunition at the start and there are several more huge caches available as you go. There is kind of a plot, which makes it slightly more interesting. The hardest part is the "magician's bunker where the hated wizards and their enchanted lackeys work their disgusting magics" (a bunch of archviles, basically) I found it quite enjoyable, it typifies that 1996/7 era "large Doom2 map with a half-arsed plot" style. The text file suggests setting aside an hour but it took me 24 minutes.

Sarin The text file is in UTF-16 if you want to read it. This is marble and wood map using a few Boom features. It divides up into four sections, firstly a small start area with an extremely fast monster teleporter (the chaingunners appear the instant you touch the key, it's great) Then there's a wooden octagon which I just ran round in a circle taking potshots. After that a small library lit by torches, spot the one that's a different colour, and finally an outdoor thing where you raise bridges to switches and things teleport in. Note the switches have to be pressed on both sides, except the last one which is a teleporter (Boom switch teleporters, yeah) It's one of those maps that's easy if you know how and hindsight, well, foresight, is everything. Pretty good.

The Last Fortress of Hell This is another castle thing which you start outside. There's two buttons on the front that raise the drawbridge but they're awkward and if you fall in you're stuck. Inside you must fetch the three keys in and around the courtyards, including a switch at the top of a thin, precarious climb that is fatal if you fall off. Ledges kind of annoy me but oh well. After the yellow door there's a couple more courtyards and mazes, one of barrels and another of tiny rooms. This map offers excellent opportunities to fight archviles with your fists, but was ultimately unsatisfying.

Horror in the Caribbean Sea I like this. It's an industrial complex built on a rocky island in the middle of an ocean. The architecture is built on a large scale or grid setting and, together with the openness of the level, is quite reminiscent of the excellent Moon 2000 in some strange way. This map is quite nonlinear and the best order to do it in is not obvious. There isn't a great deal of ammunition and there are cyberdemons guarding each of the keys, however there aren't a great deal of monsters other than that, indeed a lot of the map feels quite empty. Still, even if the gameplay is slightly flawed, it's one of those maps that just appeals to me for some reason I can't put my finger on. Excellent.