Rest for the Living - Nerve Software
When Final Doom was released in 1996,
it was assumed, rightly so, that we would never see another officially
sanctioned Doom mapset again. Yet, here we are in 2010, with 'No Rest for
This nine level episode for
Doom 2 was created by Russell Meakim and Richard Heath of Nerve Software.
While any well connected Doomer can get their hands on a PC copy, the only
legitimate way to play the latest episode is purchasing Doom II for the
XBox 360. Despite the slightly more restrictive requirements to play this
episode, it is still worth your time. I breezed through all 32 levels of
Doom 2 on Ultra Violence without too much difficulty, then introduced
myself to the new episode. During my twelfth attempt at trying to beat
Map05: Vivisection, I realized the authors clearly took the modern skills
of Doomers into account and ratcheted up the difficulty for these maps.
Some of them are downright brutal and really push your skills.
I don't think it's enough that these maps just play well, but they are
also, visually, quite impressive vanilla maps too. The quality is as good
as some of the better community produced maps. I think there is a certain gravitas
that comes with being an official id Software sanctioned episode. While I
would have probably given 'No Rest for the Living' a Cacoward anyways,
it is that good, but being the first new official episode for Doom
in almost 15 years is pretty significant.
Demade - JP LeBreton
When I signed on to do this years Cacowards (again), I was looking at the list of Cacoward
nominees and was having trouble picking a wad that I was really fond of, and Scuba suggested
to me that someone should review Arcadia. I read a quick overview of the wad, and while I took
it, I didn't have a whole lot of faith that I
would like it, with its
emphasis on atmosphere over gameplay. And I was very, very wrong.
Arcadia Demade is a remake of a Bioshock map of the same name. It features an organic, open
environment with plenty of atmosphere and a new palette. It's plenty dark, very gloomy, and
has new music to match the visuals, creating a completely engrossing environment. The map has
somewhat slow and easy gameplay, and while I understand thing placement was also heavily
inspired by the original, it could have used some Doom flair. Still, that isn't what this map
is about. It's about the exploration and discovery of a very intriguing environment, and in
that effort the map is definitely top notch. It's the sort of map you'll check out more than once.
Recommended for everyone, even if you've never touched Bioshock.
Scuba Note: Jean-Paul LeBreton, author of this map, was
also one of the level designers for Bioshock. This isn't just a remake of a
Bioshock level, it is a Doom remake of a Bioshock level by the same person
who made the level in Bioshock. Check out the link above to read his
thoughts on Doom and an essay on what makes Doom mapping unique.
Curse of D'sparil
distinctly remember the first time I played through Heretic. It was an
almost uncanny parallel between the feelings of awe I felt when I first
played through Doom. Heretic's first episode carried the same clout that
Doom's first episode did for me. The music, the way you could distinguish
each monster from its peers, the way the weapons felt...all of those
elements tie in together to form the same manner of nostalgia and
wonderfully simplistic yet deep gameplay that Doom pulls off so
effortlessly. Heretic is a great facsimile of Doom; it just wears a
different style of clothing. As I think back on my nostalgia for this game,
I become a bit melancholic. If only there were more Heretic maps out there
that could reproduce that same level of character, especially given all of
the port advancements these days.
It would seem Kristus took notice of this void and decided to fill it. Bless
Curse of D'sparil
is one great gem in the small, scummy pond that is the body of
community-made Heretic maps. Certainly it isn't the only one, but it is such
a rare sight to see something of this caliber made for Heretic that I
absolutely had to pick it for a Cacoward this year. Kristus applied his
usual amazing skills to craft what is probably one of the best Heretic
experiences I've had since playing the original episode. The maps
themselves, totaling to 9, are filled to the brim with beautiful
architecture fitting with Heretic's feel very well. Even with Heretic's
limited texture selection, Kristus did an amazing job stitching together the
visuals. The gameplay too is very polished, if a tad bit more difficult than
the original, which is a welcome deviation in my book. The overall
presentation screams Heretic. It's not meant to change or enhance the
original mechanics, but rather work within them to their fullest potential.
And because of that, Curse of D'sparil will likely be one of my personal
favorite Heretic map sets for a very long time to come. If you haven't
played this by now, don't rob yourself of an opportunity of a great Heretic
- No Rest for the Living
- Curse of D'sparil
- UAC Ultra
- Speed of Doom
- Drip Feed
- Epic 2
- Best Multiplayer
- Worst Wad
- Mordeth Award
- Mapper of the Year
What are we waiting for?
What significant projects are still awaiting a release?
If you said Millennium or Mordeth, you're wrong... those projects don't
- Knee Deep in KDIZD
- Marines of UAC
- Doom Beyond
- RTC 3057: Episode 2
- KamaSutra 2
- The Shores of ZDoom
- Demon Eclipse