Sunday, January 29, 2017

Vrack 2b (VRACK2B.WAD)

VRACK 2B
by Fredrik Johansson


The original Vrack was released back in 2000, inspired by Dystopia 3's MAP04 and LucasArts's Dark Forces. The name of the game was a base in space, and a big one at that. Fredrik's orbital platform was a pretty novel setting, but it didn't quite catch the eye of the public as strongly as Vrack 2 did, leading to its enshrinement as one of Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 2001. There are actually two versions of the sequel on the archives, original and extra crispy (2b). All of the changes are under the hood, adding Deathmatch starts, a REJECT table, and cleaning up the artificiality of space; the original remains for demo compatibility purposes. That said, this review was written on Vrack 2b, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II and designed for Boom.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Vrack (VRACK.WAD)

VRACK
by Fredrik Johansson


Vrack 2 gets all the accolades as the face that launched a thousand space base levels, but Fredrik Johansson started out with just plain Vrack back in the year 2000. If you don't know who Fredrik is, well, you may have seen him up at the top of Doomworld's Post Hell. He's also done some other really cool things for the community, like create the Omgifol tool used to create those lovely automap-type images and start up the Doom Wiki project. The original Vrack is his first publication, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II to be played in Boom-compatible ports. The story about as threadbare as can be ("somewhere on a base located somewhere in space") and references contemporary Doomworld forum member Mewse, so just take it for what it is: an excuse to go slaying demons on a big space base.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Null Space (NULSPACE.WAD)

NULL SPACE
by Russell Pearson


Russell Pearson started making maps back in the early days of the community but then took a break until 2000, where he started looking over his unreleased works originally created as part of a TC entitled DoomTown3. Pearson ended up putting his past behind him while working on a level that better reflected his changed sensibilities as of the year 2000. He even went so far as to axe a section of level that he liked but felt did not fit the spirit of what he was trying to do, leading to 2001's Deleted Scene. The final product is the much beloved Null Space, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, also released in 2001.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

DoomTown (DOOMTOWN.WAD)


Russell Pearson didn't start publishing Doom maps until the year 2000, but he was working on his token ambitious TC back during the early days of Doom modding; 1995 by his estimation. DoomTown3 was probably planned to be a megaWAD, but Pearson released several select levels from it - Blastem2 and Tunnel Run - as well as a small deathmatch level (Close Kill) before publishing the remainder in a small map pack called DoomTown. I imagine that the author felt compelled to break from his history. Released in 2001, this is a three-map minisode for Doom II, to be played in any port owing to its pre-source origins.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Deleted Scene (DELETED.WAD)

DELETED SCENE
by Russell Pearson


Russell Pearson released his seminal Null Space at the tail end of 2001, but not before nixing some material. Where some authors would be content to just slash and burn, though, Russell took the extract and released it on its own as a sort of extra. Deleted Scene is thus just that, plus a few small sections from the originating work so that it's a fully functional level. The end result is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, released in 2001 for any vanilla-compatible port. Its origin as an outtake is the closest thing you're going to get to a story, though it's interesting to read Pearson's author notes, which talk about why he cut it but also posture it as a sort of teaser for the impending Null Space.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Tunnel Run (TUN-RUN.WAD)

TUNNEL RUN
by Russell Pearson


Russell Pearson was one of several authors to come to the forefront with the advent of Doom's silver age resulting from the release of source ports like Boom and ZDoom, but where guys like Kurt Kesler and Ed Cripps were playing around with The New Technology, Russell remained to hack it out in plain vanilla. At least, until he released Crypt of the Vile. His first big project was supposed to be a TC called DoomTown3, but he doled out two of its planned levels - Tunnel Run and Blastem 2 - as single level releases before publishing the other three as Doom Town proper. This review covers the second release, Tunnel Run; released in late 2000, it's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Blastem2 (BLASTEM2.WAD)

BLASTEM2
by Russell Pearson


If Russell is to be believed, he started making his initial crop of maps back in 1995. The goal: a TC called DoomTown3. In 2000, he published two select entries from the TC; the language in his releases leaves room to interpret that DoomTown3 was shaping up to be something ambitious ("presented here as a straight forward Doom2 level") but I am more inclined to believe that TC was to Russell what megaWAD is to me. DoomTown3 was never finished as Russell envisioned it, but we have its finished bits and pieces. Blastem2 was the first of Pearson's levels to ever see publication, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Sin City (MA_SINC*.WAD)

SIN CITY
by Ed Cripps


Ed Cripps had a pretty unassuming series of releases before his Big One; a little Doom II water plant, a new Icon of Sin level, and a pair of Knee Deep in the Dead-styled Doom maps. He knocked off single player for awhile and did some deathmatch mapping before returning almost two years later with this, Sin City. Like his previous levels, it's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, just a bit later in 2001. Unlike his past works, though, it was made for what was at the time the cutting edge, a beta release of ZDoom, showing that making stuff for rev versions and non-release Git builds has a long and storied tradition.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Reunion 02 (REUNION2.WAD)

REUNION 02
by Ed Cripps


Ed Cripps's Reunion series is only two levels long, both made in 1999 before entering the spotlight with Sin City and parts beyond. For whatever reason, after starting out with the Boom engine Ed dialed it down to vanilla. I assume that, like so many authors before and after him, he was attempting to cut his teeth on a familiar style. Both Reunion levels are patterned after Knee Deep in the Dead in their texture themes. Reunion 02, also like Reunion 01, occupies E1M1. While the map has roughly the same amount of monsters, the number of each is a bit different, and while it still has that angled-off corners feel that makes it feel more organic, Reunion 02's approach to level design has some key differences.