|Action Doom - "Scuba" Steve Browning and Company
It's not often we see a mod, especially for Doom, that attempts to be more than just a new level; even some of the most ambitious projects still contain the core Doom game play. Even more rare than projects that attempt to transform their respective game or add a fresh face are those that strive to impact the player themselves or become something more than just a game mod.
It may be a hotly contested issue as to whether Action Doom succeeded in engrossing not only the player, but also the community, with a feeling of silly early 90s nostalgia of ads and promotional tie-ins. Whether it worked or not may be debatable on an individual level; however, the effort put into the project is nonetheless impressive on a scale not seen outside a professional retail product. The project's progress was marked by blog advertisements, scuffles with the ACTION Quake team, contests involving prize giveaways like tee shirts, and even a physical Action Doom boxed copy complete with instruction manual.
With all that effort put into projects outside the wad itself, it was fortunate the author found time to make a mod that was equally as impressive. The game play tried to mimic that of the shoot-'em-ups of the late 80s and early 90s from the golden era of gaming, like Contra or Metal Slug. While most were impressed with the project itself, some found the lack of health and game play style unsuited to their tastes, with some degree of good reason, as Action Doom was easily frustrating at times due to the one hit kill nature of replicating action games.
Whether you hopped on the hype bandwagon for fun, or paid any attention to the ridiculous ads, you'll probably remember Action Doom for at least one reason or another, long after it's gone from your hard drive.
Decade - Russell Pearson
This past year Doom saw its 11th birthday. The year before saw its 10th anniversary and Doom's foray into the teens. Despite the 10th anniversary being in 2003, we were blessed in 2004 with the great 10-year tribute wad, Decade.
In a similar vein to Phobos Revisited, Decade is a collage of classic Doom locales assembled into a ZDoom map as a tribute to 10 years of Doom. The author of Doom Raider, one of last year's top ten nominees, used his full creative talents to make Decade. You may feel as though you recognize an area, yet it feels off enough to be fresh and new. Combined with great ZDoom scripting, Decade is a fantastic level.
RTC-3057: Hub 1 - Team Future
Occasionally we are gifted with the release of add-ons for Doom that are more than just "an add-on". Projects like Batman Doom, Daedalus and Aliens all brought more than just more maps for an archaic video game. They used the ease and speed of the Doom engine as an advantage, rather than the burden for mapmakers that it can be. With advanced ports that allow for near limitless imagination when designing levels, authors are now beginning to bring all the elements together that make a great game today into the Doom engine. RTC could very well be that project that combines all the things we come to expect from modern games.
RTC boasts an actual storyline, a massive logbook the player can read at his or her leisure, gorgeous level design, and some of the most fantastic music this side of any modern game. Elemental music will begin at tense moments to build atmosphere, and scripted events occur around every corner as beautiful new textures and sprites adorn the levels, all of which push the boundaries of an already ancient game engine. Many Doomers were left with feelings of confusion as the storyline abruptly ended with the ending tying up few loose ends; fortunately, Hub 1 is just one in a series of three which we all hope we be released soon. The RTC trilogy, if completed, may go down as one of the most ambitious and amazing projects conceived and carried out for Doom.
Super Sonic Doom
The Ultimate Doomer
It seems to be a year of reviving classic gaming elements and merging them with Doom. Super Sonic Doom isn't Sonic in Doom; no, quite the opposite, it's Doom as Sonic. With some of the most creative boss battles ever concieved in the Doom engine, Super Sonic Doom is definitely a fun project.