100. Wow - Paul Thrussell (1999)
Few of us remember our very first maps. Even fewer thought to release them. Paul released his, however, and the mapping community took immediate notice. The map consists primarily of a BFG, some ammo, and - le pièce de résistance - a cyberdemon stuck in a lowered sector with no bottom-texturing to create the effect of an "illusio-pit." A product of early mapper innocence, "Wow" distills the essence of authorship into a tiny experimental map, harkening back to the days when every mapper flailed about in the darkness of their own creativity, hoping to one day fill it with a light to call their own.
Or maybe it's a giant meme. I don't know.
99. Black Rain - RottKing (2007)
Community Chest 3 Map12
Black Rain arguably codified the concept of “magnum opus syndrome” – the idea of mappers sticking a gigantic odyssey into the middle of any given community project to make it stand out. Regardless, it’s an awesome map that few are likely to forget, a substantial but well-paced journey through grungy techbases, mossy canyons, and dark nukage tunnels with a few hellish twists toward the end.
98. Runaway Train - Enjay (2001)
Back in 2001, ZDoom modding wasn't quite as refined as it is these days, and conceptually strong outings like Enjay's Runaway Train were hard to come by. The premise is simple -- make your way to the front of the train before it crashes -- but the execution was nothing short of revolutionary at the time, with scrolling textures & moving objects working together to make a convincing moving train effect in the Doom engine. Multiple community members have cited this exact level as their inspiration to start modding in the first place, which is a testament of its own.
97. Grove - B.P.R.D. (2004)
Alone in an alien fairy tale, hunting for the keys you need to escape and the tools you need to survive: that’s the premise of this Myst-like puzzle level. With nothing to guide you but a crude map and the silhouettes of the trees against the twilight, you’ll need a sharp eye and some careful thinking if you want to find the way out, much less even begin to understand the mysteries of this weird little world you’re in.
96. Formalhaut - Mechadon (2016)
THT: Threnody Map10
Mechadon's offering to long-time community pillar Ty Halderman's tribute set is a winding journey through the immensely complex, gorgeously interlaced interior of an overrun UAC facility. It climaxes in an outdoor brawl to be remembered: a vast network of water-eroded caves, and the bloodlusting hordes that flood it. In the end, corpses will blot out the planet beneath it, and you will stand atop it all.
95. Entryway - Charlie Patterson (1997)
The map title may not jog your memory, but fans of STRAIN will immediately remember "the one with the rocket launcher". There's no launcher at all in the first nine maps of STRAIN, a rarity for any megawad, and when it finally makes its glorious appearance in MAP10, the floors crumble beneath your feet before you get a chance to pick it up... again, and again. It's a bit of a one-trick pony, but given the designers went out of their way to exclude a staple weapon from 1/3 of the entire megawad to pull it off, we've got to admit that it's a really, really good trick.
94. Toxicity - Ola Bjorling (2000)
Darkening 2 Map12
Released in 2000, The Darkening E2 (only very loosely/tangentially related to E1 in either theme or style) was immediately striking for its never-before-seen, custom-made resource pack, featuring tons of new textures at a then largely unprecedented level of completeness, cohesiveness, and craft quality. No doubt feeling compelled to put these to good use, the design team assembled a dozen maps in varying tech/industrial, and wasteland themes, fueled individually and as a collection by the bespoke art assets, in a fashion presaging a vibrant design trend of coming years. Of these, the finale, by Ola "Citrus" Björling, cemented itself in the minds of players not only for its slime-drenched/rust-caked twilight setting, but for its subtle oppressiveness and initially daunting complexity, requiring many runs through its toxic canals before finally making it out to ride off into the sunset.
93. Netherworld Citadel - NaturalTvventy (2016)
No End in Sight E3M7
The sheer complexity of this intimidating abyssal fortress makes it a fascinating puzzle to unravel, and it’s bound to leave you wanting more if you can pick yourself up off the ground by the time you’re through. NaturalTvventy is a master of getting the most out of Ultimate Doom’s narrower scope of gameplay, and this expansive nonlinear map offers plenty of ways to tackle its challenges, including massive secret sidequests.
92. Void and Rainbow - Serious_MOod (2017)
The constantly shifting rainbow of colors, ambient music, low gravity, and floating space-garden atmosphere combine to make this one of the most ethereal experiences you can have while playing Doom, and the familiar-but-different weapons and enemies add to the sense that you’ve stumbled into an alternate universe. It’s like playing a dream.
91. Ancient Navajo Wolf Warp - skillsaw (2016)
Ancient Aliens Map01
Somewhere in the vast stretches of the American Southwest, there lies a ceremonial pipe that, when smoked, will whisk you away on a psychedelic, alien-filled spiritual journey, throwing you onto the path to uncovering the secrets of a vast conspiracy. A great introduction to an amazing 32-map expansion for Doom 2, the first map of Ancient Aliens is a short, yet difficult, action-packed map that immediately sets the tone for what's coming next. Now, I've never tried peyote myself, but hopefully the trips are just as entertaining, but less deadly.