- Conflagrated, Theshooter7, TheMisterCat, Peanut, Zeberpal, et al.
The three men gaze at each other in silence. Yellow's eyes dart back and forth, contemplating whether to fixate on Red or Blue. Once a party of six, only three remain, their dwindling numbers a testament to the raw fear that had been eating away at Yellow since awakening in the dusty old museum: a murderer had been walking among them. Yellow's trembling hands grip the pistol tightly as he spares a glance at the old mirror in the room, once more spying the desperation in his own eyes. A sudden burst of movement and a thundering crack later, and Red is on the ground before Yellow becomes conscious of his own actions. The murderer now lies dead at his feet. He was sure of it. All evidence had pointed to Red: the suspicious movements, the time he spent wandering alone. It had to have been Red, right? Yellow's final question was answered swiftly as he felt the icy blade of a knife piercing his back...
That's not an excerpt from a (rather bad) mystery novel. That's a description of actual gameplay from WhoDunIt, a brilliant new gameplay mode for Zandronum (formerly Skulltag) centering around deception and paranoia. It's a simple enough concept: each round, one person is secretly declared the Murderer, and it's their job to silently kill off the other players while remaining undetected. What really makes the gameplay shine, though, is the chaos that often results from the "innocents". The beautiful film-noir-esque maps are littered with improvised weapons and the occasional firearm, as a means for innocents to defend themselves... in theory, that is. In practice, a "suspicious" act by an innocent can find him slain at the hands of his fellow non-murderers, a deed which does not go unpunished. Matches often slide in the murderer's favor in such a manner, with the evildoer himself rarely getting his hands dirty. Now, who's the real monster?
This sort of tension is unlike anything I've ever played. I've fond memories of hiding in dark shadows on a server somewhere, huddled behind my knife, silently gazing onward as rampant paranoia claims yet another victim. It's not often you find a gameplay conversion of this scale turning out so well, even moreso in a multiplayer setting. As such, even in the face of solid CTF sets like Velocity CTF X and 32in14-12, WhoDunIt takes the crown in my eyes.
Of course, that won't be stopping everyone from playing nothing but dwango5, but if that describes you, you may want to watch your back. There might just be somebody creeping up with a knife...
Best Gameplay Mod
- PillowBlaster -
Picking a single best gameplay mod is a tricky business. It's a very new award category, and since only one mod can snag it each year, that often leaves several other cool candidates lying by the relative wayside. So although TerminusEst13's Samsara and WildWeasel's Nazis! v2 are both solid releases, I simply can't hand this year's award to anything that's not Russian Overkill.
Just take a look at this video. It's worth roughly a zillion words, as if Michael Bay were to have made a Doom mod only to have someone respond "Hah! That's cute. I can do better." And did. Hard. This hyperbeast of a mod features an overabundance of superpowered military gear like explosive miniguns, swarm rockets, portable tank gear, beam turrets, orbital cannons, and MIRV nukes. Friggin' MIRV nukes! Oh, and if that wasn't enough, comrade PillowBlaster has come up with so many obscene ways to blow things up that he's already released an expansion pack, Reinforcements from Moldova. It's like double-Christmas!
So yes, while it's not exactly practical for blazing through your typical wad (though there are some difficulty settings that crank up enemy health to a rather hefty degree), it's impossible to describe how fun it is loading this bad boy up alongside DV2 or Sunder and having at it. My final verdict is that Russian Overkill is simply a work of art, and the medium is explosions. You just don't know what life truly is until you level a third of the population of nuts.wad in a single Yamato blast. Repeatedly. Because you can.
Hmm, I feel as if the previous sentence perfectly describes the best, and only, reason for this wad's existence. Because why the hell not?
- Released project with the longest "development time"
Community Chest IV
None of the releases this year had so long and sordid development history as Community Chest 4. Someone wiggled his way into the usual project leaders and pushed to start things up half a year earlier than intended, afterward leaving the community due to drama associated with another ongoing project. The Green Herring, stoic as ever, soldiered on as mapper interest appeared to wane. It wasn't until Phobus called attention back to the project in late 2011 that things started getting done; even so, Baker had to endure some overly aggressive playtesting.
Lots of great works were released during CC4's development, and some I wager were started during that period as well, including fellow Cacoward winner Doom the Way id Did. It just goes to show that even though a project might be getting long in the tooth, you don't have to put it out to pasture. I just hope The Green Herring gets the time off he needs before tackling the next community undertaking.
Mockaward - Best comedy wad of the year
Surprise, fools! The Mockaward is back. There was some hushed talk about reviving it specifically for a particular nominee, when Scuba descended from the heavens and made it official. Inconcievable!
Call of Dooty II
Honestly, the most impressive thing about Call of Dooty II is that Chubz didn't just dump a few new maps and weapons in here and slap a "TWO" on the titlepic. A ton of work has gone into this wad from top to bottom, and it stands as a real testament to Chubz, who didn't want to just coattail this one into the Cacowards.
A great narrative already makes Call of Dooty stand out in the pantheon of Doom campaigns, but where it really sets itself apart is the addition of player choice and consequence. It's a brilliant riff on the traditional Doom campaign design, and, combined with the additional cutscenes that flesh out the story, creates a narrative worth replaying.
Shooting is as fun and precise as ever, and alongside the abundance of gigantic explosions and intense firefights, it feels like the closest thing most of us will ever get to starring in an action film. In that sense, Call of Dooty is the classic Doom formula at its best. Combined with the host of subtle and overt improvements to the array of other systems, the additions to make it more appealing to eSports, and the more fleshed out Zombies mode, this is not just a fantastic Doom mod, but one of the best wads of the last decade.
Mapper of the Year
The title of this award only half does its recipient justice. Khorus has actually been etching his name into the plinth of this year's Cacowards since the days of Base Ganymede E1 in 2009, which marks roughly the point of drawback before his upward swing to dominance. His numerous contributions to the community are the product of a self inflicted learning curve (itself partly responsible for this award), which can be seen within the experimental nature adopted by many of his maps. Indeed, when Doom becomes old enough -- and provided a surviving community -- I envision the introduction of a Lifetime Achievement award for outstanding contributions to the game (and Strife!)
to be thrust immediately in the face of he who displays a similar sort of longevity in enthusiasm. Who else would set himself the task of mapping one per day until a megawad quota had been filled and then stick to it, of all things (well, I could think of a few people... though I'm certainly not one of them*)? Yes, it's good folks like Khorus who keep the community trucking.
And what of his body of work? Base Ganymede? Speedy Shit? Absolute Order. Strife. To create such quality for a nineteen year old game with frequency and earnest (no less for one that's getting ready to disappear completely) is to declare your love for map design and the community that breathes it. No, there is no doubt in my mind as to this year's winner. Much more than for the brilliance of his output is this award bestowed upon him. His sound advice, willingness to commit and kindly attitude are the hallmarks of a champion whose place within the community must not go without mention.
Well done, Khorus. Fine stuff... but Jupiter has four major moons, not one. Get back to work!
*Don't look it up.
- Doom The Way id Did
- Strife: Absolute Order
- 5till L1 Complex
- Community Chest IV
- The Eye
- Combat Shock 2
- Winter's Fury
- Base Ganymede: Complete
- Best Multiplayer
- Best Gameplay Mod
- Mordeth Award
- Mapper of the Year
Did You Know...
September 8th marked the four year anniversary of Action Doom 2: Urban Brawl.
Did You Know...
Mordeth and Millennium were still not released in 2012 despite over fourteen years of development.
Wanna Give id More Money?
Doom's far from dead, even in the eyes of the big game industry. Just this year, id+Bethesda have re-released the classic games in two new packages, Doom 3: BFG Edition (multi-platform) and DOOM Classic Complete (PSN-exclusive). Even though you think you may own 'em all, the first is notable in being the first official release of No Rest for the Living on PC, while the latter includes no less than Doom, Doom II, Final Doom, and the Master Levels (in a non-alphabetic order for once). If you've got a little cash to burn and find yourself missing a piece of the full collection, grab 'em today.
WHAT THE POPE?!
Shoot me if you must, but I feel like it would be a cardinal sin to let the 'Wards pass by without mentioning what is clearly the most psychotic thing released this year: Grezzo 2 (NSFW link). Think pretty much every ZDoom mod ever created, mashed together in a blender, then sprinkled over with an extra layer of whatthefuck. It may be a ridiculous rip-fest, but it's so ludicrous that it wraps all the way around the quality scale into "so bad it's awesome" territory. I mean, seriously -- you can fight the Pope using a cannon that also fires the Pope. Holy gigatripe!
Pelican of the Hour
This year's hotly contested Annual Pelican of the Hour award goes to Pacwad! A big thanks to all 24 members of the community who voted in for their selected candidates. We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm.
I'm still bored!
Build a map depicting the twisted entrails of a recently deceased Barghest. The map must not contain any Archviles, Arachnotrons or Spiderdemons. The beast must lie in Yorkshire.
Post your maps in the Cacoward thread. Deadline is January 21st 2013.
The hosts of the 19th Annual Cacowards would like to thank the Doomworld staff (especially a few key members -- you know who you are) for the chance to help make the 'Wards happen. We hope it's all up to snuff, and that the plethora of content makes up for last year's slight lack thereof. Happy Belated Doomsday (both of them) from all of us at the Cacowards Bunker, and may we wish you all a very merry [NON-OFFENSIVE HOLIDAY NAME] season!