Hi-Tech Hell 2: Alien Tech - Simo Malinen
For the past
several years, one of the silliest complaints raised against Doomworld's "Best
of" lists is the lack of wads taking advantage of ports other than ZDoom. Let's
be honest. A good wad is a good wad regardless of port, yet it just so happened that many
of the best creations happened to come from ZDoom (mind you last year's WORST was also for
it). This year, Hi-Tech Hell 2 should help to quench the bloodlust of those who feel
"port envy", as it is for Legacy only.
Let's be clear about this: Hi-Tech Hell 2 is not here out of
pity, but because it is truly one of the best maps this year. HTH2 showcases things
I had no idea Legacy was capable of, and is the first project I've ever seen to
successfully integrate 3D floors into a map without making it feel like a gimmick.
The maps in this offering are some of the most impressive ever seen in Doom. You have 3
floor flights of grated stairs rising to multiple levels of a sewage plant and scripted
events galore. The story plays out very well, and the levels are magnificent.
If you missed this one before, play it now. This is the best that Legacy has to offer; for
that matter, one of the best the community has to offer.
Temple of Chaos 2: Warped Reality - AgentSpork
often that an author has two releases in Doomworld's "best of" offering, but for
an author to have two in the SAME year is unheard of. AgentSpork had time to release
a megawad and this gem in the period of one year. We should be fortunate that many
of his individual levels became part of Simplicity, or else this year I would have had to
rename them the "SporkAwards".
Temple of Chaos 2 is a bit more impressive than the maps
found in Simplicty, and, being standalone, why shouldn't it be? The flow of this level
is excellent, and the visuals are top notch, exactly as you would expect from AgentSpork.
The level plays between Tech and Hell, teleporting you back and forth between the
two at certain intervals. The trick is how seamless the transition is; one minute
you're fighting imps, the next the level changes dramatically and cacodemons are
everywhere. Temple of Chaos 2 plays much like Simplicity, very linear and very
quick. Not a moment goes by you aren't bombarded by traps and enemies.
Crimson Canyon - J S Graham
the best releases are unannounced, such is with Crimson Canyon. While we were busy
anticipating RTC-3057 episode 2, Doom Millennium, Kama Sutra, and Mordeth (haha just kidding),
Mr. Graham silently released this masterpiece.
While not as renown as some of the wads listed this year,
Crimson Canyon is definitely not worth missing. Released the same time as Kama
Sutra, it appeared as though this mapset was overshadowed and forgotten, cast aside to the
obscurity of idgames archive. The levels have a bit of everything for everyone:
cramped tight maps, Hell maps, and gothic architecture we love so much... even a bit of
Hell Revealed here and there. If you missed it the first time, don't forget to catch
it this time around. It's a great series of maps indeed.
Total Control - Dutch Devil
Another subtle release, Total Control is a fantastic level by
Dutch Devil. A reminder, this level is not to be confused with the Total Control released
earlier this year by Chris Burgess (or for that matter, Episode 2 of Regaining Total
Control: 3057). Like Simplicity, Total Control keeps ZDoom in the
background by limiting the use of gaudy, generic ZDoom effects and relying on the solid
architecture and gameplay. What I believe separates a good level from a great level
is new artwork. Total Control may have been just a good level, but is raised a notch
by non-stock Doom textures.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Altar of Evil
While you're looking for good levels, don't forget to try out For Whom the Bell Tolls by
didy, and Altar of Evil by Dutch Devil. Both are very nice wads; if one of the chosen ten
had not been released this year, one of these two would have taken their place.