demo, MIDI

H2H Czech Series 1, from March 1995 (and CAYDE.MID)

Some authors cottoned on to clean, sane map design earlier than others – here’s an early example of a map which feels IWAD-worthy while introducing its own small quirks. H2HCZEK1 provides pressure by piling on the zombie grunts while restricting the health supply and punctuates that with Revenants, to deliver knock-out blows to anyone who scrapes through the crossfire! The locale is base-y and reminiscent of Knee Deep despite heavy usage of sequel textures; space to fight is provided, but slip out of that space too early and you’ll be waking up the deaf enemies hiding around every corner. Another comparison to Doom’s shareware episode you could make is that there are hardly any traps built into the map – excepting one sneaky cupboard full ‘o Demons, the enemies are already at their battle stations and it’s Doomguy’s choice how to approach each battle.

Also includes a one-way barrel deathtrap for players who have become a little to accustomed to gleefully throwing themselves off cliffs and down holes, because there’s “always” an escape route. Bravo! 😉

I wrote CAYDE.MID over the past two days and the overall idea of the song changed many times, leaving it a little confused, but it’s built on a doomy Doom reference and unfolds into something that sits squarely in the middle of the funk/prog/crap spectrum. In a good way.

demo, MIDI

DMOMEN, June 1994 (and ROBFRIPP.MID)

An early map by a husband and wife team who later contributed to the fascinating and incredible Eternal Doom, DMOMEN is a hellish base replete with red-brick and toasty human remains. Love that dark tunnel full of demons and vines – such simple design but perhaps the optimal place for snug pinkies to live!

The opening room is the hardest part because of the nature of the shotgunner – sometimes they just kill you! Luckily, rushing over to the rocket launcher room creates a safe strategy where many of the enemies approach you and get caught up in little fights of their own. The rest of the map is largely clean-up, but it’s pretty clean-up in an environment on par with the IWAD hell maps. Just thought I’d share this interesting little level with everyone – grab it here! I couldn’t find any demos for this WAD on DSDA but I’ve learnt that all levels from 1994 go by many names, some less intuitive than others. =P

ROBFRIPP.MID is an incredibly disingenuously-titled funk tune, since I love the idea of dark funk accompanying doom guy’s jaunts to the underworld. There’s a little humour and Parliamentary formula thrown in, plus not too much guitar!

map, MIDI

Sheer Poison and POGCHAMP.MID

OK, here’s a level I made! Don’t expect me to review it or do a demo, that’s your job! =P

SHPO1.ZIP (i’ll get this up on /idgames/ when that’s functional again)

Using Ultimate Doom, pick E2M1 to play and I recommend Hurt Me Plenty. I’d be impressed by anyone finding their way through to the secret exit first time around!

The tune inside is all orchestral-progressive stop-start sometimes-rock, intentionally fragmented and hopefully interesting enough that it can loop for a whole hour while you wander around levels at least this strange. 😀

demo, MIDI

D2RELOAD MAP 11 “Phobos Lab” and THISASA.MID

“Phobos Lab” is a reprised name from Doom’s history, but the old map didn’t have a zillion chaingunners. Your reason for traversing the labs this time around is to find the means to teleport yourself to the planet surface below, and the trip takes you through dark, infested labs, storage areas and the level set’s trademark corridors, neatly book-ending the episode.

The level is dense with monsters in general, with the lobby fight on your way back from unlocking the warehouse appearing to be the stand-out encounter; the ambush is volatile and resistant to a simple solution because an incredibly PSYCHIC Arch-vile seems to naturally step in and cause chaos as soon as you’ve decided how to approach everything else! That’s the sign of a well-planned encounter, especially as the battle can get entertainingly out of hand without ever quite rendering the level unbeatable.

THISASA.MID overbears with nonsense chords and anti-orchestral instrument usage to mock old synth units. Poisoned rock in 20 sugary flavours. I’m proud of it but at the same time I know how lazy the tune is and how much better it could be with actual transitional work and and and

I won’t be continuing to make tunes for the next episode of Doom 2 Reloaded, or at least not for quite a while; I remembered that the blog is meant to be about levels from before the year 2000, so it’s time I revisited some old Doom 1 PWADs next!


Doom 2 Reloaded, maps 1 to 11

D2RELOAD’s strict adherence to the plot of the original Doom 2 is both a blessing and a curse because, as a single-author megawad, the three major themes the plot suggests become familiar too quickly and tiresome before the episodes are over. On maps one to eleven, surgical grey and brown are quite the fashion, as are linear pathing and straight corridors filled with breather enemies, all contributing a degree of predictability to the gameplay although you could suggest that it’s a way of maintaining a certain pace. Other key recurring traits of D2RELOAD are secrets which mollify key battles by overfeeding the player with ammo and/or armour.

This all sounds bad, but all these traits also argue in favour of the casual player, who will know exactly when to save, when to search for secrets, where to go, when to jump off crates (always, in this case =P) … generally the maps do an excellent job of being learnable and intuitive. They also seem deliberately designed to resist speedrunners – a lot of the secrets involve jumping or squeaking along tight passages/ledges, many corridors force you to face down chaingunners which, at high speeds, are too deadly to risk missing with the SSG and the linear nature of the maps tours the player around every single enemy in the level, making UV-Maxing less frustrating but harder at the same time!

This scoring system doesn’t really mean anything in the real world, but purely for tie-breaking various megawads against each other, I’m giving the first episode of Doom 2 Reloaded a 65% score. What I mean by that in this case is that these are very confident levels which ultimately play a little too safely – the only surprises arrive in the form of enemy ambushes. I’m a Doom player who welcomes amateur design choices, whereas the author here has chosen to steer clear of any unintuitive pieces of progression or unfairness. So 65% is about right in terms of me respecting the levels while preferring other styles.

Map 9 is an exception, that’s a 95%. Go play map 9. =P


“yak 001”

im lazy

I’ve collected my fave recent tunes and put them here on bandcamp as a £whatever release. Not really expecting money since the Doom community is rabidly pro-FREE EVERYTHING and I don’t at all disagree, but it’s there as a donate button if you like the site or for any other reason!