Demon

In the ten years since Doom's creation there have been a great many classic wads released and also some non-classics (which we like to call 'crap'). The problem here is that everyone loves the same bunch of maps. And why? Great level design, nice use of textures, great gameplay, fun to play, looks good, blah blah blah. Those are all fine reasons to think a wad is good, but there has to be a more foolproof system to deciding which levels are good, and which suck ass, right? Surely someone has come up with an exact science that will allow universal classification of all Doom wads. Well, someone has.

It's called 'Start to Crate' or StC for short. The system was invented by the great minds at Old Man Murray for these very purposes (check out the article linked above for StC analysis of various games). The system is exactly what it sounds like, but for those of you slow to catch on, the basic premise is to time the point you start a map until the point when you see a crate or a barrel. And yes, barrels (and flaming barrels) do count as crates. Why? I guess the simple answer is because you can store stuff in them (though in the case of flaming barrels your stuff will probably catch on fire). Of course we all know that crates in Doom are indestructible (unless you use a neat special effect) and barrels don't ever seem to store anything except highly explosive toxic sludge (out in the open and placed in strategic locations no less), but that's not really important. At any rate, the higher the StC time for a wad the better the better it is. It's a pretty flawless system, as you'll soon see.

For our selection of wads we dove deep into the depths of /idgames and grabbed the wads that we felt marked some of the high points in Doom mapping. Of course we had to include the id-made wads, and we even branched out into Heretic and Hexen. Sorry to all you Final Doom fans, but Final Doom isn't funny. After that, many of the classics seemed obvious. Megawads such as Requiem, Memento Mori 1 and 2 and Hell Revealed are often widley hailed by Doomers. Next we checked out some TCs such as STRAIN, Aliens TC and Batman Doom. After that we went for some of the more modern classics like Phobos: Anomaly Reborn and Alien Vendetta.

Overall many of these wads appeared in a 'best wads' list that many people seem to have. We also grabbed a couple that were very popular when they were released or that we felt set the bar a little higher for great wads of the future. Yes, this is a list that truly contains the cream of the crop and the best of the best. Or so we thought.

The following is all true, and using the exact science of StC you will soon see the truth revealed about these so-called 'classics'. I think you will be just as shocked and amazed as we were.

Ultimate Doom, Episode 1
StC - 0:00 (E1M1)
Note - Once the level loads you see two barrels

Cyb: Is it some sort of omen that the first Doom map most people ever played has the lowest possible StC?
Ling: For most people this is probably the first crate they ever saw.
Cyb: It's like looking back into a time when crates were new and exciting.
Ling: How naive we were.
Ultimate Doom, Episode 2
StC - 0:30 (E2M2)
Note - Nothing in E2M1, but E2M2 is comprised almost entirely of crates.

Ling: cratemaze.com lists e2m2 as the first "crate maze" as if that was something to be proud of.
Cyb: Tom Hall is a true pioneer in the field of crateology.
Ling: I think these are actually the first "true" crates in doom, and there's like 8 billion of them. I bet they had just made the crate textures and Tom Hall was like "Oh boy crates! I'll make a whole friggin warehouse now!"
Cyb: Damn Tom Hall straight to Hell. He's on my list now.
Ultimate Doom, Episode 3
StC - 3:50 (E3M4)
Note - No crates in the first three maps, but a lovely barrel in map4.

Cyb: I can't believe episode 3 is better than 1 and 2 combined.
Ling: Are you kidding? It's like, 7 episode 2s and, uh, infinite episode 1s.
Cyb: The math doesn't lie.
Ultimate Doom, Episode 4
StC - 1:30 (E4M2)
Note - E4M1 is crate free, but there's a barrel viewable from the start of the next map.

Ling: Now I know that the whole floor around these platforms is made of nukage, so why did they put some in a barrel?
Cyb: I think it's because they secretly knew that demons would invade one day and that a conveniently placed barrel would help in the fight against hellspawn. It's like some sort of twisted conspiarcy theory.
Ling: Uh, ok.
Doom 2
StC - 1:52 (MAP02)
Note - Nothing in MAP01, and you actually have to go pretty far into MAP02 to see this barrel.

Cyb: I think we should deduct some seconds from Doom 2's time because there's a monster stuck inside the very first barrel.
Ling: Are you kidding? The sergeant is doing his little dance to try and distract you from it.
Cyb: Ohh I get it, so it was like id trying to say "Hey, look we don't suck! That much..."
Ling: They're trying to wean you onto barrels, so when you get to that "Barrels of Fun" level you don't keel over and die.
Heretic, Episode 1
StC - 0:01
Note - Turn to the right or left at the start to see some neat barrels!

Cyb: We didn't get any StCs for the other episodes of Heretic because it's so goddamn dull. Even at the risk of upsetting its six fans, we felt it wasn't worth the coma.
Ling: All right, let me lure an enemy near one and... okay, it didn't blow up. So I guess they're just there to mock me.
Cyb: Yeah, barrels that don't explode or anything. Those crazy Raven software guys! What shenanigans will they come up with next?
Hexen
StC - 0:00
Note - Right at the start there's a vase.

Ling: In ancient times, the clay vase was the most cratey object known to man.
Cyb: We should note that despite the horrible StC, this is a huge step forward for crates in FPS games. There's actually something in that vase!
Ling: And unlike the rest of Hexen you don't have to hit seven switches and collect a random object in five different maps to open it!
Strain
StC - 1:20 (MAP02)
Note - MAP01 is crate free, but there are quite a few flaming barrels in MAP02.

Ling: This is the first wad with flaming barrels ending the StC counter.
Cyb: I always wondered why flaming barrels don't explode like the non-flaming variety. It seems like they would actually have a greater potential to explode.
Ling: Perhaps they're filled with newspaper that's been lit on fire by a hobo.
Cyb: There aren't any hobos in Doom...
Ling: Well sure not after the hellspawn invasion. The homeless are always the first to go in those types of situations.
UAC Dead
StC - 0:02 (E1M8)
Note - Turn around, lower a lift and there they are!

Cyb: What exactly makes this level a classic anyway? The StC time is painfully low.
Ling: Crates were still new and exciting back then, remember?
Cyb: Ahh, to be young again.
Massmouth 1
StC - 2:00 (MAP02)
Note - Nothing in MAP01, but after the opening of MAP02 you get a nice stack of 'em.

Ling: You know I can't help but wonder as to why Massmouth is on this list...
Cyb: I had nothing to do with it. On a side note I would like to apologise to everyone for these crates.
Ling: You know, as funny as I thought endless pictures of crates would be, I just can't think of anything.
Cyb: Yeah crates are boring. Next time we should do 'Start to Boobs' or something.
Massmouth 2
StC - 2:10 (MAP02)
Note - Nothing in MAP01, but after a short run you can find a couple in MAP02.

Ling: How exactly did that crate get there anyway. And what purpose is there in storing it there?
Cyb: I dunno, I just kinda stuck it there on a whim.
Ling: But that's a horrible place to put a crate. I mean, it doesn't exactly make for easy transport of it.
Cyb: Well I'm sorry my crate placement isn't as strategic as you'd like.
Ling: As long as you know. And knowing is half the battle!
Hell Revealed
StC - 3:27 (MAP02)
Note - After a little trek through MAP02 you get a nice bunch of scattered crates.

Cyb: Unlike most everything else in HR, those barrels won't attack you.
Ling: You know what would be cool, was if they did attack.
Cyb: Yeah, because when I played Hell Revealed I was like "that was pretty hard, but it wasn't entirely impossible and unfair."
Ling: I hear in HR2 the decorations will attack you and the powerups fire rockets.
Memento Mori
StC - 0:30 (MAP01)
Note - You need to progress through the map a little to see these.

Cyb: Hmm, I have these four barrels of nukage, but I don't quite know where to put them.
Ling: Hey I know, stick them in a big pool of nukage!
Cyb: Genius!
Memento Mori 2
StC - 6:55 (MAP05)
Note - Nothing for four maps and then, BANG, flaming barrel.

Ling: Almost seven minutes? We are truly in the presence of greatness.
Cyb: Yeah, Memento Mori 2 is clearly the best mapset ever created.
Ling: I feel I should mention that in looking through most every famous levelset we could think of, the longest StC we found was still less than 7 minutes.
Cyb: Those were the best seven minutes of my life.
Alien Vendetta
StC - 0:13 (MAP01)
Note - Kill a couple imps and walk around a corner and there's a barrel ready to pounce.

Cyb: Here's another case of a barrel by a big pool of nukage. Could they seriously not fit that tiny bit of nukage into that huge pool?
Ling: Yeah that seems to be a growing trend. Also, I wasn't aware AV was this bad.
Cyb: Yeah, I bet a lot of people will be pissed to learn they've been mislead to think AV is one of the greatest.
Vrack2b
StC - 0:00 (MAP01)
Note - You start off staring at some crates suspended from the ceiling.

Ling: The author tries to be clever and puts the crates on the ceiling. Nothing doing, I can still see them.
Cyb: How efficient is storing crates like that anyway? It seems like it would take more effort to strap them up there.
Ling: Maybe the crates are storing party balloons!

Phobos: Anomaly Reborn
StC - 0:04 (E1M1)
Note - Walk over your crashed ship and through the hole in the wall and there they are!

Cyb: I remember PAR being a lot better than this...
Ling: Look, it's a crate and a barrel, together in harmony.
Cyb: And people say doom promotes violent behavior.
The Darkening
StC - 2:31 (MAP02)
Note - After MAP01 you need to fight a ways through MAP02 to get to a stash of barrels.

Ling: You know, all these places have barrels, but nobody ever stops to think just how the barrels got there. Does a barrel full of explosive sludge improve the fung shui of these places?
Cyb: Do you want to know my theory?
Ling: Not really, no.
Cyb: I think they're grown. Someone planted toxic barrel seeds there.
Ling: ... Do you bump your head a lot?
The Darkening E2
StC - 0:25 (MAP01)
Note - Jump off the cliffs and run to one of the entrances. There're crates by both!

Cyb: Crap, all this time I thought Darkening 2 was good! So many wasted hours.
Ling: On the plus side, those crates use all new textures, so they're new in some sense.
Cyb: It's like a turd wearing perfume.
Ling: That is quite possibly the deepest thing you've ever said.
Batman Doom
StC - 0:21 (MAP01)
Note - Jump off the building and wander into the subway to see a stack of crates.

Cyb: Clearly the best place to store crates is in a Gotham City subway station.
Ling: I can't think of a better place to store... hey what's in those anyway?
Cyb: Well they don't open, but my guess would be more crates.
Ling: Clearly an evil plot by the Joker.
Aliens TC
StC - 0:05 (MAP11)
Note - MAP11 is actually E2M1 (first map in the original TC). Anyways head into the first hangar where a couple barrels are waiting.

Ling: Okay well, Aliens TC didn't exactly get a great score, but there's a consolation!
Cyb: What's that?
Ling: It's like a small bit of good news to make up for some bad news.
Cyb: No I mean, what's the consolation.
Ling: Oh. Well, these barrels are filled with explosive brown sludge. You know what that means?
Cyb: Wow, exploding poop is a consolation!
10 Sectors
StC - 0:30 (MAP02)
Note - Nothing in MAP01, but you start off witha barrel right behind you in MAP02.

Ling: In defense of the wad, when you only have ten sectors to work with, you tend to move to barrel usage quicker than normal.
Cyb: On the plus side, the 10 sector limit means people can't waste their limited sectors on needless crates, right?
Ling: That was actually the reason I created that contest. It was almost a guarentee of a crate free wad. Sadly, my hopes were shattered. MAP02 has an obscene number of crates.
Cyb: You should have called it the "ten sectors and zero crates (and yes barrels count as crates you idiot)" contest.
Ling: Yeah, but that's not as catchy.
Eternal Doom
StC - 1:21 (MAP01)
Note - You actually need to know where you're going, but the crates are by the first elevator.

Ling: We should actually scale this StC time due to Eternal Doom's huge mapsize.
Cyb: Yeah, if this were a normal sized map you would see those crates within about ten seconds.
Ling: I can't believe Eternal Doom is better than The Darkening E2. It's like TeamTNT has invaded Sweden and killed Ola Bjorling with gigantic maps.
Cyb: Poor Ola never saw it coming.

Icarus
StC - 0:01 (MAP01)
Note - Hit the switch to reveal the crates!

Cyb: And to think I was almost worried it would take too long to get to the crates.
Ling: Ahh, now this is more like the TeamTNT we all know and love!
Cyb: TeamTNT, truly gods amongst men.
Scythe
StC - 0:00 (MAP01)
Note - You start off in sight of two barrels.

Cyb: Here's another set of maps that I thought were good.
Ling: StC opens your eyes like never before.
Cyb: You know, this is starting to make me wonder if any popular maps are crate and barrel free.
Ling: I think such a thing would cause the universe to implode.
Cyb: But at least we'd have a good wad to play before we all die.
Requiem
StC - 4:14 (MAP05)
Note - After four crateless maps, MAP05 makes up for it, as you can see.

Ling: And we end off the maps with Requiem, which comes in second with a respectable 4:14.
Cyb: I'm saddened that only one wad managed to crack the five minute barrier.
Ling: Yeah, it makes me want to rethink the last ten years of my life.
Cyb: Yeah really, nothing like playing maps for 10 years thinking they're good when all the time they've really been awful.
Ling: I think we've all learned a valuable life lesson from all of this.
Cyb: Doom is the worst game ever?
Ling: That's my conclusion as well.