The Top 100 WADs Of All Time: 2001

By 2001 is was pretty clear that source ports were here to stay (though I doubt there was ever any worry they were going anywhere) which is reflected in seven of the top ten in 2001 requiring a source port. We also have our first (but not last) Legacy map in the top 100 wads as well as a few innovative vanilla Doom maps which prove that the old executable still has some life left in it in terms of editing innovation.

Sin City - Ed Cripps

Sin City was made somewhat early in the life of ZDoom 1.23 and was, I believe, one of the first maps to use slopes. The entire map is made of brick (except for a few underground cave areas) with pillars and sloped arches. Overall it's not really massively detailed, but the architecture is quite excellent and the lighting is top notch and the new textures really add to the feel of the map, making it an overall excellent looking map. Ed also utilizes ACS in such a way that it's not intrusive on Doom's gameplay, but rather an enhancement. It's not too tough a map either, and most won't have any problems on UV, but even so it's got some excellent gameplay. Good stuff. (Cyb)

Slayer - Richard Wiles

The first level is really tight on ammo and health, so I assumed the rest of the episode would follow suit — but after a few levels it became clear I was being paranoid about injuries and ammo use for no reason as the other levels are all generous. MAP01 doesn't really doesn't seem to fit this episode at all. The rest of the episode moves towards the knockabout Plutonia style with lots of ammo and such, whereas MAP01 is a gruelling battle and an adventure in its own right. There is changed music for all the levels, pulled from a variety of sources, all quite reasonable. Overall, these are certainly excellent levels, even if there have faults. The architecture is superb, and there is plenty of fun gameplay provided you don't mind some nasty traps. (cph)

Null Space - Russell Pearson

As you might expect from something with Russell Pearson as the author, Null Space is an awesome map. Even without the whole void thing the map would be excellent, with some truly awesome architecture, excellent fights, and just the overall feel of a good map. However one of the coolest things about the map is how it takes place in 'null space' (which is where the map gets its name from). Whenever you go outside you are surrounded by pure black 'void' areas that really add to the atmosphere of the map. Some of the larger outside areas are a true sight to behold, and I'm still amazed that this is doom2.exe compatable. Don't spend too much time gawking at the architecture though, because this is a pretty challenging map, and the toughness seems to increase exponentially the further you progress. This is just one of those maps that makes you go "woah" when you see it for the first time. (Cyb)

Doom Resurrection - Tommie "Fatal" Quick

In the spirit of Hell Factory and the KZDoom series, Doom Resurrection presents Doom gameplay enhanced by ZDoom scripting. However, DoomRes takes things even further, with a couple cutscenes and a story of sorts (nothing too complex, it's still Doom, after all) as well as some quite stellar scripting sequences, such as an bomber flyby that takes out a Cyberdemon for you. The maps are heavily Quake 2 and Half-Life inspired, and even include some of their ambient sounds (which is commonplace for most ZDoom maps) and play quite nicely. Overall, a very excellent levelset, and something no fan of ZDoom should be without. (Cyb)

The Darkest Hour - Rex Claussen

Mapper extroidinare Rex Claussen brings you the best Star Wars conversion for Doom. I know a lot of you out there like Star Wars, I mean, what sort of nerds would you be if you didn't, right? Well, here's a mapset that combines Doom and Star Wars, and it works really, really well. Another interesting thing about this TC is you play the part of a bad guy (though most people in Star Wars are bad anyways, you're fighting against the Empire, so I guess maybe you're a good bad guy...), a mercenary named Wrok Onmo. Of course you can't expect Star Wars in Doom to magically work with no effort, indeed Rex has put together an impressive collection of graphics and the maps are quite spectacular and worth checking out even if you don't like Star Wars. Good gameplay, good maps, excellent work, great TC. (Cyb)

Equinox - B.P.R.D.

Though the author is probably more well known for his nuts series (Nuts 1 - 3), this is without a doubt his finest work. Equinox oozes of atmosphere and great design. The majority of the maps take place within some huge structures owned by a company called 'Equinox' (apparently) and as you make your way through them (many of which have areas that are close to breathtaking) you'll slowly discover Equinox's evil deeds, though apparently they weren't evil enough because their buildings are being taken over by hellspawn. The author has included a variety of new and modified textures, as well as some new weapon sprites to give Equinox its own feel without meandering too much from Doom's feel. The maps are also quite a great challenge, with a few of them nearly crossing the line towards nuts-like gameplay (the final map seems almost a precursor to nuts3 actually...), though you shouldn't ever have any problems with health or ammo. All in all, a great set of maps, if you haven't yet, you need to check this one out. (Cyb)

Vrack2b - Fredrik Johansson

Vrack2 is perhaps most famous for it's gigantic size. Ask for a really large map on the forums and most likely you'll get a few people to recommend Vrack2 to you. However, Vrack2 isn't just about the enormous map size, but also about excellent detailing and some pretty challenging gameplay. Set in a (huge) space station, Vrack2 pits you against tons of cacodemons, sniper monsters from all angles, a nukage maze with pissed off revenants and lots more challenges that might possibly have you running around like a scared little girl (no offense to any little girls who may be reading this). Either way Vrack2 is an excellent map, with plenty of detail and monsters to keep you busy, and a layout that won't have you wandering around aimlessly even with the huge map size. (Cyb)

Phobia - Kristian "Ebola" Käll

Phobia is one of the few (one of two in fact) Legacy wads on our list and when you play it, you'll see why it's here. The architecture of the map is simply amazing as Ebola has made excellent use of Legacy's 3D floor capabilities, the best ever in fact. On top of that the new textures and use of Fragglescript make this map quite excellent overall. It does suffer from a few flaws, however. The first thing is the dodgy skill settings. When I first played it I didn't read the text file enough and skill 4 is horribly unbalanced (which is intentional, for whatever reason). Skill 1 will better suit everyone out there, though there are few who will realize that, sadly. I think switching skills 1 and 4 would have been a better plan given the instincts of most Doomers. Overall, amazing looking map, well worth a look, very cool stuff. Just be sure to read the text file. (Cyb)

KZDoom7 - Kurt Kesler

This is Kurt's final offering to Doom and it sure is excellent. Set in a base surrounded by huge mountains and caves KZDoom7 features a plethora of some of the more recent ZDoom features, such as slopes, along with Kurt's usual offering of polyobjects, scripts and the like, tossed into a great map with truly excellent gameplay. Though the end fight is quite a challenge (you'll need to make use of infighting) the rest of the map presents some tough gameplay, but not so tough it'll frustrate you. The architecture of the map is classic Kurt, with no overdetailing, but everything presented in such a way that it looks great. There are some really innovative ideas in this map and an excellent end for one of Doom's greatest (and fastest) mappers. (Cyb)

TVR! - Thomas van der Velden

TVR is interesting because the maps are all pretty original ideas, especially for Doom maps. Whereas most vanilla Doom maps are maps for the sake of being maps, TVR's maps are actually places you maybe could see in real life (if real life was low resolution, flooded with hellspawn and didn't have true 3D). Some of the maps get quite creative, such as one map where you must battle your way through the stomach of a gigantic worm. While some of the maps are slightly less than convincing as to what they're supposed to be, it's still a pretty fun megawad, and of course this is all done within the slim confines of doom2.exe, so there's probably very little room for change. The gameplay of the maps isn't too hard, but it's a pretty nice challenge and gets harder as you go on. All in all, if you haven't played this yet then you really should as it's quite a nice little one-man megawad. (Cyb)