The Top 100 WADs Of All Time: 2000

The year 2000 saw source ports finally take off, which is reflected by eight of the ten wads on our 2000 list requiring some form of source port to run. ZDoom also emerged as perhaps a dominant port for editing with three maps here requiring ZDoom to run. 2000 also proved that team based projects were still possible, though rare, with the release of episode 2 of the Darkening, the Classic Episode and the 10 Sectors megawad which wasn't really a team project, but still required a massive amount of teamwork on the part of the DW staff.

Darkening E2 - Various

The Darkening Episode 2 represents some of the final efforts by many of the greats of Doom editing: Ola Bjorling, Derek MacDonald, Anthony Soto, Adam Windsor. Whereas the original Darkening seemed to draw inspiration from Quake, this sequel likewise seems inspired by Quake 2. A bevy of new textures clads the levels in atmospheric tech-base fashion, and each of the 12 levels is full of stunning detail as well as brow-wringing monster battles. One of the last best levelsets ever made. (Ling)

10 Sectors - Various

Certain Doom WADs are "high-concept" -- they don't revolve around the idea of making a level as much as the idea of making it a certain way. Ten Sectors is possibly the greatest of these efforts. Done as a contest for this very website, the idea is deceptively simple: create a Doom level using no more than ten sectors. A "sector" in Doom defines attributes of a section of floor area -- things like height, light level, etc -- so this meant that authors could create complex levels, but the areas could utilize no more than ten separate combinations of those attributes. The final WAD is built out of the 32 best entries in the contest, and taken as a whole it comprises a diverse, creative megawad, each tackling the fundamental limit in a different way and with different results. (Ling)

Chord3 - Malcolm Sailor

In the spirit of Chordg, Chord3 carries on with the uber-detail, great lighting and hard-as-hell (on UV) gameplay we all know and love. Chord3 is set in a wood and rock sort of place, which is an interesting theme that you don't see too often, though it works remarkably well in this case. At any rate, Chord3 features some excellent lighting and architecture as well as some great gameplay (though mere mortals may want to knock it down to skill 3 or even 2) with plenty of traps and monsters (especially arch-viles) waiting in the walls and other places to rip you apart. Good stuff, as you might expect from Malcolm Sailor. (Cyb)

Classic Episode - Jan Van der Veken, Anthony Soto, Nick Baker and Travers Dunne

Classic Episode comes from many of the minds behind the Darkening, so you'd naturally expect it to be great. Well, it is. As the name might imply, Classic Episode is, well, an episode themed in the most classic theme of all time, Doom's episode 1. While some maps give off more of an E2 or E3 feel at times, they are all stellar, both in looks and gameplay. The maps have excellent connectivity and flow, and there's always a new door opening or floor lowering to reveal more monsters in your way. The maps also start off pretty simple and get harder as you progress with more enemies and less health and ammo (but not too little). Easily one of the best episode 1 themed episodes out there, and definitely worth a look. (Cyb)

Hell Factory - Tomi Rajala

Hell Factory came at a time when people were starting to think that ZDoom scripting and Doom gameplay could not be successfully combined. Then along came Tomi Rajala to prove everyone wrong. Hell Factory, while not the first ZDoom hub, is no doubt the best. While the wording within the map is a little weird sometimes (English is not Tomi's first language) you can't deny that is looks and plays great. Plus the maps are hubbed together beautifully, and there's lots of mini missions so you always feel busy. Hell Factory also makes what is probably the best use of stealth monsters (which most think are the spawn of satan, but I disagree) with sparing use of them and in all the right places. Don't pass this one up, even if you're not a huge fan of ZDoom, this is still an excellent hub. (Cyb)

Painful Evil - Tomi Rajala

Now here's something cool, an episode 4 style map for Doom 2. Episode 4 has always been my favorite (well, the green brick ones anyway, not so much the wood ones), and this map kicks the ass of all of episode 4. The architecture is quite excellent, with great use of the stock Doom 2 textures and flats (as well as the additions of some from Ultimate Doom). The difficulty is also pretty tough (I played on skill 4), with a few rough battles including the final fight with a cyberdemon which nearly caused me to piss myself. Less experienced Doomers may want to tone down the skill level a little (I wish I had), but it's still a fun challenge on skill 4. The map's major flaw is the excess of switches that didn't trigger something in the immediate area. Fortunately Tomi was considerate enough to make sectors lower near the switches, so you don't have to wander far to find the change, though in one case I missed a switch and couldn't advance until I realized which I had forgotten. Still though, for people less dumb than I, it's a great playing and looking map. Check it out. (Cyb)

ZanZan - Edmundo Bordeu

If ever there was a wad that entirely changed Doom's look and feel, it was the ZanZan TC. It's only three levels but you'll be hard pressed to find anything that resembles Doom. ZanZan is the only TC made exclusively for the older versions of ZDoomGL (0.66) and it features some of the most peculiar MD2s you'll ever see, some beautiful maps, and some of the best dehacked work this side of Batman Doom (it's not surprising that Edmundo Bordeu was one of the faces behind Batman Doom). ZanZan puts you in the role of a recently-made-mortal god who is trying to stop another on his planet from bringing humans to them. Very cool stuff. The major problem with this TC is that you need ZDoomGL 0.66 to play it, I recommend sticking it (and the TC) in another directory and then running it without disrupting your current ZDoomGL install. If you have a newer video card you should also not bother with the included batch files, as they caused some errors for me when I used them. Instead just run zan.wad as you normally do. (Cyb)

KZDoom6 - Kurt Kesler

Kurt makes it into two years in a row with the 6th wad in his KZDoom series. This map is interesting because it doesn't actually seem like a Doom map. It's set in mountains of some kind with rolling hills and lots of trees and if it weren't overrun with demons from hell it might actually be a pretty nice place. There's also a few castle-type areas where you'll do all your switch flipping and trap avoiding. While the map isn't really in Kurt's normal style (it's more like KBrick than KMetal) or difficulty (it's pretty easy) it's still quite nice, and unmistakably Kurt Kesler, and by default worth looking at. (Cyb)

Atomic Tomb - Brad "Vorpal" Spencer

I'm not quite sure how I found Atomic Tomb, I believe I was just searching the database for 2000 wads (because we needed more) and came across it. Not sure why it was overlooked in 2000, but it's certainly an excellent map. The main issue with it is that it's pretty small. My first run through only took around 6 minutes, and I imagine a faster Doomer could finish it in much less time. However, within the small size it contains some really great fights, including a nearly epic battle with a cyberdemon and a load of other monsters, and a great spectre trap. The map also features some excellent architecture and texturing in an episode 1 theme. Overall, this is a map you'll be glad to add to your collection if you haven't already. (Cyb)

Containment Area - J.C. "SailorScout" Bengtson

Like crates? Good, because you've hit the motherload. Containment Area is SailorScout's tribute to E2M2, the first ever crate maze. Well, it certainly lives up to it's inspiration, and then some. While the majority of the map's detail is, as you'd expect, crate-like, the map carries with it some excellent gameplay and secret-hunters will absolutely love it. You only need three of the six keys to exit, yet there are doors for all six keys (and all six are present). I only had 12% secrets when I played it, and I think I only found one secret, so you'll have your work cut out for you trying to get 100/100 on this bad boy. All in all, a crate, er, great looking map with some excellent gameplay. (Cyb)