Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Darkest Hour (DARKHOUR.WAD)

Hexen II... Quake II... Half-Life... Quake III... Dark Forces. 2000-2001 was a pretty busy period for Rex Claussen and saw him play with a lot of different themes, adopting resources from an assortment of games as he embraced the ZDoom engine as more than just another limit-removing port. First designing Military Research Complex for jumping, he later incorporated scripting into Paranoia and hub systems in Temple of the Ancients, finally including actual monster modifications in this, The Darkest Hour (DeHackEd, I know, but work with me!). DARKHOUR, a Star Wars-themed 2001 release, was Rex's only publication of the year and consists of seven maps, one of them a secret requiring you to use the force... of a rocket. At your feet.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Temple of the Ancients (TEMPLE2.WAD)

In some ways, Temple of the Ancients is the sort of project Rex has been leaning toward since he began his authorial career. While he may have tested his levels in ZDoom, they weren't really specific to it until he started to embrace jumping in Military Research Complex. Phoenix Rising saw him play with the idea of if not the actual mechanics of a Hub arrangement and Paranoia involved the incorporation of scripted events to push the gameplay slightly beyond the tried and true limits of Doom. TEMPLE2 then takes both of these elements and welds them together for a dashing adventure, released in 2000. While Temple of the Ancients is another five-level mapset, it sits in map slots 10-14 instead of the MAP02-MAP06 block that Phoenix Rising and Paranoia had. This is the one time I can't really guess at why it's structured as such since Claussen has used the MAPINFO lump to set skies and music.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


So far, I've played two of Rex Claussen's 2000 Doom II "TCs". The first, A Hex On You, mined the resources of Hexen II. The following release, Phoenix Rising, pulled from the world of Quake II - among other things. This time, he's set his sights on the Half-Life universe. Paranoia has a few superficial commonalities with PHOENIX; there are five maps, for one, also spanning MAP02 to MAP06. However, where Phoenix Rising only took the textures of Quake II, Paranoia makes a thorough bid for Total Conversion by also using weapon and enemy sprites pulled from the game's models and sort-of-kind-of-finding matches in Doom II's monsters. The result is... interesting.

Friday, March 3, 2017

No End In Sight (NEIS.WAD)

It all began back in 1997; Emil Brundage released The Beginning of the End (Part 1), laying the seeds for an author crush that saw consummation with the advent of Doom the Way id Did some fifteen years later. Xaser was (and still is) Emil's biggest fan, and while none of the latter's maps made the final cut for DTWiD, the two plied together their trades with the inimitable Chris Lutz to make their OWN original Doom megaWAD. Thus began No End In Sight, whose final release continued to elude its authors. In 2016, however, it exited Limbo along with its fellow offshoots (Phobosdeimos Anomaly and DTWiD: The Lost Episodes).