The Top 100 WADs Of All Time: 1995

1995 was the year of Doom, with several Doom level editors released and no other FPSes remotely like it to distract authors. In 1995, level makers began to learn more about what made a level look good and what didn't, and more than a few people began to experiment heavily with custom textures and sprites in order to transform Doom from its basic state into something completely different.

Fava Beans - Sean Birkel

Replacing all of Episode 1, Fava Beans is one of the more popular early release levelsets for Doom. As with most older maps, Fava Beans is pretty easy and somewhat plain by today's standards, however for '95 it's quite excellent. It has a consistent theme, good texture use, good map flow and good, though easy, gameplay. Overall Fava Beans is a solid E1 replacement, and if you haven't played it then you should give it a spin, as it won't take too long and you might enjoy it. Plus it's a classic and you've gotta play the classics. (Cyb)

Infinity (Serenity 3) - Bjorn Hermans and Holger Nathrath

The authors of Infinity must have been glad that the original Doom only had three episodes as they must have been running out of eight-letter words to name the WADs after. Infinity completes the Serenity/Eternity/Infinity trilogy, replacing Episode 1. Once again, the levels have somewhat improved over their predecessors, with even more simplistic faux-lightsourcing and the now-trademark letters adorning each level in turn. We're not just including Infinity to complete the trilogy -- this episode really is as good as the first two, although by mid-1995 it was looking less special. (Ling)

Boothill / Fistful of Doom - Various

Boothill and Fistful of Doom are actually entirely separate WADs but they share the common thread of being based in the Old West. They are both great examples of the creative spirit found in early WAD makers where completely off the wall ideas could actually be done quite well within the confines of the Doom engine. Boothill was the first and as a deathmatch WAD it shows some good ideas in bringing the Western theme to Doom. However, A Fistful of Doom is unquestionably better, with new enemy sprites of varmints, hombres and vaqueros, as well as very well done architecture in the two levels. (Ling)

H2H-Xmas - Various

H2H-Xmas is by no means a pretty mapset, in fact most of the maps are somewhat bland, however, we can't forget about our demo-recording friends, and also Christmas... apparently. H2H-Xmas has it's origins in the old H2HMud contests held oh so many years ago. This set is a compilation of all the competition maps (which were originally ultra-hard, a sort of precursor to Hell Revealed, but toned down a bit for this release) along with a good deal of new maps (around 20 or so) with some extra Christmas stuff such as music and a few sprite replacements. Great many thanks to Grazza for this info as well as recommending the mapset. (Cyb)

Gather2 - Daniel "Stormin" Norman

Gather2 is a mini-episode for DOOM2 consisting of five medium- to large- sized levels, each with a varying monster count and detail level from map to map. The real meat of the matter begins with MAP03 of Gather2, which gives the player the first real impression of what is in store for him over the next few maps -- huge landscapes, creative texturing, a strong editing style work to establish a firm sense of atmosphere. However, like the two maps previous, MAP03 of Gather2 is quite weak when compared with MAP04 and MAP05. MAP04 of Gather2 is, in a word, mammoth. A level of monstrous proportion, clever puzzles, carefully disguised secrets and non-linearity are the key features of MAP04. It is nicely populated with an assorted bestiary from the DOOM2 crowd and, when played on Ultra-Violence!, will prove frustrating to many players. MAP05 continues the non-linearity precedent established by MAP04 and, once more, Norman invokes a stylish sense of place in the player. MAP05's construction consists of non-right angled walls, lighting effects and careful use of darkness, all pervaded by the macabre sense given by DOOM2's hellish textures. (Mattrim Dixon)

Artifact - Paul Schmitz

Artifact is a three-level mini-episode, but it was originally intended to be a single level. That should give you an idea of how big it is. Paul Schmitz found that the level was so large that it would crash the game upon saving, so instead he split it up into thirds, with the end of each level leading into the beginning of the next. One of the nicest aspects of this levelset is the attention paid to items and secrets -- among other things, there are secret "recharge rooms" crammed chock full of health and armor, but every time you use one, you remove access to a powerful item later on. This gives a nice dynamic where you sometimes have to decide between short and long term benefits. (Ling)

Nostromo's Run - Rich "Nostromo" Johnston

Nostromo's Run, like many wads on this list, is a classic. The level features some nice detailing and lighting, even though it was created back in 95. It's also not as easy as other maps from 95, and presents a pretty nice challenge on skill four with plenty of enemies to keep you busy. The theme of the map is somewhat mixed, starting you off in a wooden area, and then sticking you into a tech base and, well, it keeps changing after that. Still, despite that the map is still very good, even by today's standards it's a nice map, and definitely worth checking out. (Cyb)

Obituary - TiC

Obituary is the last of The Innocent Crew's WAD efforts, although the team unofficially went on to spearhead the Memento Mori series. It's also their only release for Doom 2. But not only did TiC make use of all the new monsters available, they decided to add a few of their own. Anyone who's ever played Obituary will (not) fondly remember the rocket trooper, which as its name implies, is a trooper with a rocket launcher. But troopers are much too weak to withstand a rocket blast, you say. Well, yes, they often blow themselves up in the process, but all in the name of killing the space marine. There's also a super imp and a Predator-like cloaked enemy for you to hunt as well. (Ling)

Enigma - Jim Flynn

From one of the authors of Boom and a fairly prominent member of TeamTNT comes nine maps of action. I'll be honest, and you probably already know what I'm going to say, but by today's standards these maps are nothing special. While they do have nice layouts and pretty good gameplay (they're not uber-easy, nor impossibly hard) the detail is sparse and the lighting is really, really bright. Still, you can't blame Jim, these maps were first released in 95, only a year after Doom's release. Still, if you don't mind odd-looking maps that play nicely (and who doesn't?) then you may want to check these out. This was also a pretty significant release back in the day since Jim already had two maps in the Master Levels and everyone was primed for TeamTNT's Evilution. (Cyb)

Dwango5 - Various

Dwango5 earns a place on this list simply due to sheer popularity. All the maps were made by different authors and 'stolen' for use in Dwango5 and it seems nobody could be happier. Looking on the vast majority of online Doom servers you will find a good deal of them have Dwango5 loaded up. Of course, few people ever play past map01 (also known as D5M1) of the wad, but either way, it's Dwango-frickin-Five. How could we not include it? (Cyb)