No Rest for the Living - Nerve Software

When Final Doom was released in 1996, it was assumed, rightly so, that we would never see another officially sanctioned Doom mapset again. Yet, here we are in 2010, with 'No Rest for the Living'.

No Rest for the LivingThis nine level episode for Doom 2 was created by Russell Meakim and Richard Heath of Nerve Software. While any well connected Doomer can get their hands on a PC copy, the only legitimate way to play the latest episode is purchasing Doom II for the XBox 360. Despite the slightly more restrictive requirements to play this episode, it is still worth your time. I breezed through all 32 levels of Doom 2 on Ultra Violence without too much difficulty, then introduced myself to the new episode. During my twelfth attempt at trying to beat Map05: Vivisection, I realized the authors clearly took the modern skills of Doomers into account and ratcheted up the difficulty for these maps. Some of them are downright brutal and really push your skills.

I don't think it's enough that these maps just play well, but they are also, visually, quite impressive vanilla maps too. The quality is as good as some of the better community produced maps. I think there is a certain gravitas that comes with being an official id Software sanctioned episode. While I would have probably given 'No Rest for the Living' a Cacoward anyways, it is that good, but being the first new official episode for Doom in almost 15 years is pretty significant.

-Scuba Steve

Arcadia Demade - JP LeBreton

When I signed on to do this years Cacowards (again), I was looking at the list of Cacoward nominees and was having trouble picking a wad that I was really fond of, and Scuba suggested to me that someone should review Arcadia. I read a quick overview of the wad, and while I took it, I didn't have a whole lot of faith that I Arcadia Demade would like it, with its emphasis on atmosphere over gameplay. And I was very, very wrong.

Arcadia Demade is a remake of a Bioshock map of the same name. It features an organic, open environment with plenty of atmosphere and a new palette. It's plenty dark, very gloomy, and has new music to match the visuals, creating a completely engrossing environment. The map has somewhat slow and easy gameplay, and while I understand thing placement was also heavily inspired by the original, it could have used some Doom flair. Still, that isn't what this map is about. It's about the exploration and discovery of a very intriguing environment, and in that effort the map is definitely top notch. It's the sort of map you'll check out more than once. Recommended for everyone, even if you've never touched Bioshock. 

Scuba Note: Jean-Paul LeBreton, author of this map, was also one of the level designers for Bioshock. This isn't just a remake of a Bioshock level, it is a Doom remake of a Bioshock level by the same person who made the level in Bioshock. Check out the link above to read his thoughts on Doom and an essay on what makes Doom mapping unique. 


Curse of D'sparil - Kristus

I distinctly remember the first time I played through Heretic. It was an almost uncanny parallel between the feelings of awe I felt when I first played through Doom. Heretic's first episode carried the same clout that Doom's first episode did for me. The music, the way you could distinguish each monster from its peers, the way the weapons felt...all of those elements tie in together to form the same manner of nostalgia and wonderfully simplistic yet deep gameplay that Doom pulls off so effortlessly. Heretic is a great facsimile of Doom; it just wears a different style of clothing. As I think back on my nostalgia for this game, I become a bit melancholic. If only there were more Heretic maps out there that could reproduce that same level of character, especially given all of the port advancements these days.

It would seem Kristus took notice of this void and decided to fill it. Bless him.

Curse of D'sparilCurse of D'sparil is one great gem in the small, scummy pond that is the body of community-made Heretic maps. Certainly it isn't the only one, but it is such a rare sight to see something of this caliber made for Heretic that I absolutely had to pick it for a Cacoward this year. Kristus applied his usual amazing skills to craft what is probably one of the best Heretic experiences I've had since playing the original episode. The maps themselves, totaling to 9, are filled to the brim with beautiful architecture fitting with Heretic's feel very well. Even with Heretic's limited texture selection, Kristus did an amazing job stitching together the visuals. The gameplay too is very polished, if a tad bit more difficult than the original, which is a welcome deviation in my book. The overall presentation screams Heretic. It's not meant to change or enhance the original mechanics, but rather work within them to their fullest potential. And because of that, Curse of D'sparil will likely be one of my personal favorite Heretic map sets for a very long time to come. If you haven't played this by now, don't rob yourself of an opportunity of a great Heretic experience.


2010 Cacowards

Page 1

  • No Rest for the Living
  • Arcadia
  • Curse of D'sparil

Page 2

  • UAC Ultra
  • Unloved
  • Valhalla

Page 3

  • Speed of Doom
  • Drip Feed
  • Epic 2
  • Stronghold

Other Awards

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


What are we waiting for?

What significant projects are still awaiting a release?

  • Knee Deep in KDIZD
  • Marines of UAC
  • Doom Beyond
  • RTC 3057: Episode 2
  • KamaSutra 2
  • VaporProject
  • The Shores of ZDoom
  • Demon Eclipse
If you said Millennium or Mordeth, you're wrong... those projects don't actually exist!