Best DM Level

Dynamite Deathmatch - Rottking

Naming a "Best Deathmatch" level is always difficult.  As a rare visitor to the world of online competitive Doom, I don't have a strong basis for judging a good multiplayer map (seeing that all anyone plays is Dwango, it seems most of the DM community has poor taste as well).  The other reason is that there just aren't a lot of deathmatch maps made during the year, or at least there aren't a lot of noteworthy deathmatch maps.   Of course there was Crucified Dreams, the 8 year in production DM megawad.   I've been told the DM quality is a mixed bag:  some terrific, others awful.  Plus, it had already been named a couple times this year :P  Taking that into consideration, the winner this year is no slouch; Dynamite Deathmatch is just that, DYNAMITE.

Before writing this article, I decided to playtest a game of DD on Skulltag to see what it was like.  An hour later, having lost every game, I can say that Dynamite Deathmatch is definitely a thrill and rightfully the best DM wad this year.  It's just too bad nobody will stop playing Dwango5.


Worst Wad

Auferstehung - Dark Exodus

Worst WadSince the first year I began the Cacowards, "Worst Wad" was always a difficult category to name a "winner".  When this category was introduced, it was too easy to name Doom Rampage Edition as the worst of the year and leave it at that.  Since then, I was tasked with finding a wad that is so bad it deserves the superlative modifier "worst", separating it from a plethora of atrocious levels made during the year.  Last year, while true to form since the influx of 1994 wads definitely the "worst" element of the year, it wasn't a single wad.

I thought for sure that this year I would once again be scrapping the barrel to find a terrible wad I could name "worst" of all maps this year.  I had played deathz0r Online: The Internet made stupid and was pretty sure it was terrible, but not the caliber of a "worst wad", since it was more in line with Mockery, and intentionally created to be terrible.  I was concerned I might just have to pick a bad wad at random.  Just when I thought I was in trouble, Nazi Auferstehung: A DukenDoom Adventure was secretly released. How did I find this gem, you ask?  I was browsing PlanetDoom when they mentioned the release of this project on the Doom Wad Station.  Since I make it a point to play every Doom project I can, so I can best represent all wads on the Cacowards, I tried it, but I was unprepared for what awaited me on the DWS...

"Apparently, from what I can gather, the author of this TC gathered sprites, etc... from various resources and placed them into one resource, then used SLIGE to create the maps"

SLIGE maps?  I was in for comedic gold.  The wad is 30 generic SLIGE maps with Wolfenstein textures applied to them, with various Duke Nukem 3D resources stolen and used for the sprites.  Even better?  The wad was over 165 megs when unzipped, containing multiple copies of the Doom 2 IWAD, spread out over some 20-odd wad files.  There is a staggering number of MP3 files that never end up playing as music in the game, and maps 30-32 are just texture-replaced copies of the original maps.   It gets better, too.  After the release, the "author" of the wad began espousing about being autistic and trying to fix his wads.

Nazi Auferstehung: A DukenDoom Adventure takes its cues from DRE and easily becomes this year's "Worst Wad".


Mordeth Award - Released project with the longest development time

Crucified Dreams - Various Artists

Mordeth Award I'm starting to think that Mordeth Episode 2 will never be released, and Millennium, while I have seen it with my own four eyes, will be in a perpetual state of limbo for *snicker* eternity.  While those two infamous projects have still not seen the light of day, Crucified Dreams gives hope that, one day, we will see the release of those projects.

Crucified dreams was started so long ago. I remember viewing screenshots of the project while I was still in high school, that's how old it is.  Then, eight years later, the website announced that the project would finally see the light of day.  Of course, the Doom community was absolutely elated at this news and clamored at /idgames for a chance to download it.  Doomers then thought, "Having been in development for 8 years, will this project appear dated?"   Doomer's expectations of quality have advanced since 1999, and could Crucified Dreams live up to the expectations we once had of it?

Fortunately it did, and it looks absolutely breathtaking. I have not had a chance to play deathmatch in these levels nor have I heard much about it.  It doesn't really matter, since nobody will stop playing Dwango.


Mockaward - Best comedy wad of the year

How Not To Be Seen - Wills

This year was not really a year for "mock" wads.  Besides a number of terrible levels which are comical for being terrible, I noted three distinct wads that would be eligible for the Mock Award this year.  Dotims was an early favorite, but it was caught in limbo somewhere between "Worst Wad" and the "Mockaward".  Dotims certainly had its moments of humor, but by now Mockery style has worn itself thin.  The only other wad worth even mentioning is Do it Again; however, suicide is not a humorous topic, and the author should feel bad about himself.   Therefore, the only choice was to award the Mockaward to How Not to Be Seen.   I must admit, I actually chuckled out loud when I saw this wad; it is definitely worth watching. (And why shouldn't it be, since it is based off a Monty Python sketch?)


Hey guys, I hate to interrupt the festivities, but I would not be able to live with myself if I didn't interject a comment about what I think is the best "comedy" WAD of the year, even if it's not really strictly defined as such. I refer of course to

TurboCharged ARCADE! - Xaser

which is such an amazing and innovative WAD that I am left wondering if Scuba simply missed it, because I can't see any other reason why it would be omitted. TurboCharged ARCADE! is not intended to be screwy, but to be different. An experimental wad by nature, TcA focuses on putting the player in odd situations, which require different techniques and ideas to beat them. It's sort of a throwback to the old days of arcade games, with short, sharp levels and a bit of freedom to choose whichever type of level suits your fancy. In TcA, you can take a journey to foreign hellish landscapes, dive across rooftops whilst dodging bullets in slow motion, escape from insanely overpopulated prisons, and face off against the devilish Adolf Hitler in a showdown for the ages. And yes I just stole that boilerplate from the text file, but I am lazy and I don't care. In any event, if you don't try TcA you are missing out on one of the weirdest and funnest, I mean most fun, WADs of the year.



Mapper of the Year

Dutch Devil

I don't like nominating a mapper of the year.  It's not that I can go wrong, since the winning mapper is never contested; they are always a deserving individual who has contributed volumes to the community.  The problem is that it undercuts so many people who also did outstanding work.  Some people become multiple candidates, yet I voluntarily chose to not nominate the same person twice.  Kaiser released at least 3 projects this year, including an astonishing Strife map, and has his current overambitious project, Community is Falling 3.  Despite community animosity, love him or hate him, Tormentor has been working on a staggering amount of projects as of late, and Kristus released his seminal masterpiece Phobia: The Age.  Since there can only be one "Mapper of the Year", I went with someone who, quite often, flies under the radar:  Dutch Devil.

This year I have seen somewhere in the vicinity of 4 releases by Dutch Devil, and a quick glance at Wads in Progress reveals 11 more projects by him in the pipeline.  Making a lot of maps, in my mind, does not make you a great mapper.  Gamarra's Story has, at the time of this writing, 8 installments, and, according to community consensus, none are worth playing.  That's what separates Dutch Devil:  quality in mass quantity.  Last year, he had one wad honoured in the Cacowards, another honourable mention, and at least 4 other releases that year.  This year, his released projects have been just as beautiful, including what seemed like a weekly release of a 1024 map which he placed in a seven-wad file called Zero Tolerance, and level for Paul Corfiatis's abandoned megawad.  It seemed every time I browsed the Doomworld Forums that if there was a post by Dutch Devil, it was "New level in the works, screenshots inside".  Every level of Dutch Devil's over at Wads in Progress looks stunning.

I commented that Dutch Devil maps "under the radar" since I don't hear his name shouted in the halls of IRC or other Doom sites.  His attitude, when confronted by praise, has been one of thanks, but reminding others that he does it for himself, for fun.  Really that's the only reason to map, and we appreciate his efforts in the Community.

2006 Cacowards

Page 1

  • Phocas Island 2
  • IC2005
  • Hellcore v2.0

Page 2

  • Newdoom Community Map Project
  • Operation Overlord
  • Vae Victus 2

Page 3

  • Phobia: The Age
  • Foreverhood v1.0
  • Classic Episode 2: Singularity Complex
  • Crucified Dreams

Other Awards

  • Best DM
  • Worst
  • Mordeth Award
  • Mockaward
  • Mapper of the Year


Did You Know...

July 3rd marked the 2 year anniversary of Action Doom.

Did You Know...

Mordeth and Millennium were still not released in 2006, despite almost nine years of development?


The Cacowards are not arranged from best to worst or vice versa?  They are just the 10 best wads of the year.

Best Wad NOT Released

I had the opportunity to play a beta release of Raynor's Tale, and I was saddened when I came to the realization that the project would never see the light of day.  Had it been released, it would have been one of the most astounding projects created for Doom.  All we have of the project is a Wads in Progress Page.

Ogro Power Facility is a damn fine wad, which may or may not have been overlooked by the Cacowards in 2004.

The 13th Annual Cacowards was written by Scuba Steve.