The Dying End - Lutz

As some of you know, I'm very reserved when it comes to people thinking of half-assed ideas like "let's make a Doom level in the style of one of the original levels" because seriously, it doesn't take a genius to come up with a brilliant idea like that, it takes a FOURTEEN YEAR OLD. However, it doesn't take a fourteen year old to turn a half-assed idea into a brilliant level—it takes a genius like Chris Lutz to deliver the goods and make it entertaining to boot, otherwise you'll end up with something like a certain entry in this year's Cacowards that Scuba is writing about.

So what makes a remake of MAP29 so appealing that it deserves to be listed as one of the top 10 single player WADs of this year? Oh, I dunno, maybe because it's just so damn fun to play through that it's easy to forget that it's simply a MAP29 remake when you're too busy trying to save your own ass from the endless assault of projectiles that pretty much goes on from the very beginning of the level. I wish that Lutz had added co-op starts to this level, which would have been extremely trivial since it is not scripted, and there's nothing that stands out to me as being a hindrance in co-op. Why Lutz, why did you neglect co-op?!

Sine Die - didy

One complaint I see repeated in numerous map reviews and beta tests is... make it less linear.  If that is what the community wants, then didy was certainly listening when he created Sine Die.

What I love most about this map is just how broad and open it is.  While the majority of the two levels take place inside techbases, they are very non-linear.  You begin on a rocky cliff face and enter the enormous complex with a wide array of directions to go.  Sure you must find keys and switches, but you can get to them from numerous ways... and I never really felt lost.  I always made my way back to locales once I had the key or had hit the switch I needed.  The layout is terrific and guides you well... without leading you by the hand.

This says nothing of the fact the levels looks magnificent.  Textures always help add personality to a level, something besides the stock Doom/Doom2 used so frequently.  Sine Die uses them well to create a really nice environment that is refreshingly new, yet still comfortably Doom.  Translucent bay windows allow you to look out on the outer landscape and several creative switches show off some extremely impressive boom effects.  Like any good wad, the difficulty ramps up as you progress... and certain paths will certainly yield safer results for you.  Sine Die has everything you want in a wad; looks, tricks and slaughtering... what more could you ask for? Incidentally, Sine Die was a last minute change for the Cacowards.  The original wad that was supposed to be here was didy's Beluga, which is also a great level.  Unfortunately I did not learn of Sine Die until I was writing the Cacowards and realized this was didy's finer work.  That is what happens when maps slip through /newstuff.

Knee Deep in ZDoom - Various Artists

Every year I write the Cacowards, I invariably make decisions that people dislike.  This year will be no different.  However, I stand by my decisions, and those uncomfortable with them can write their own list.  Ironically, the Cacowards are the one time of the year I try not to troll, so remove the hype, take away the bias, and I think you are left with a good wad.  I, of course, refer to Knee Deep in ZDoom.

What started as a community effort to create a ZDoom rendition of Episode 1 turned into a massive undertaking... spending almost 3 years in development.  Projects that spend a long time in limbo begin to develop either very high, or very low expectations... and KDiZD was no different.  When it was released, the reviews reflected that division.  If a friend, who was new to Doom, asked what maps were fun and showcased what was possible, I would certainly point to KDiZD as a suggestion.  The maps are marginally based off the original maps, but you would be hard pressed to find any original architecture.  Not only are the original maps revamped, there are countless new additions to each level that extend the gameplay. Stacked sectors, cameras, 3d bridges, dozens of new monsters, and scripted events showcase what has been added to the aging game to keep it fresh after 14 years.  Many of the levels really are a sight to behold and showcase some very impressive effects, particularly the new additions.  With so many Doomers and so many different tastes in gameplay, it is hard to accommodate everyone... but I believe KDiZD offers a decent experience.  I will briefly mention that KDiZD could have been a much better experience.  Forgetting hubris and drama... the team seems to have lost track of the project's scope along the way and created a monster they could not control.  In the end, I still think it turned out to be OK, but mod makers take heed from KDiZD: focus your project and keep a level head... your project will be better served.  Again, I stand my ground; Knee Deep in ZDoom is one of the 10 best wads released this year.

2007 Cacowards

Page 1

  • Genesis of Descent
  • Cheogsh
  • Songs of the Damned

Page 2

  • The Dying End
  • Sine Die
  • Knee Deep in ZDoom

Page 3

  • Community Chest 3
  • Epic
  • Ultimate Torment and Torture
  • The Outer Darkness

Other Awards

  • Best Multiplayer
  • Worst Wad
  • Mordeth Award
  • Mockaward
  • Mapper of the Year


Best Wad NOT Released

Early this year, Cyb disappeared and got a real life and met a real girl.  Rumor had it Cyb was working on a sequel to Void, Void 2.  I had a chance to play it and realized that everyone is missing out on this not being released.  So if you see Cyb, beg him to finish it so you can play this great level.