70. Doom City - Shamus Young (1995)
I’m still not entirely sure whether this map is beloved because it was considered good for its time or because it’s just so purely innocent – but it’s iconic either way, and it’s an essential part of any Doomer’s classical education. With its pseudorealistic city details and custom textures that denote real-world locales, this cheesy little eight-building town is mid-90s mapping in all its questionable glory.
69. Hazmat Hazama - Toooooasty (2016)
Japanese Community Project Map29
This dizzying, gleefully insane map is set in what I can only guess is some kind of trash compactor at the heart of the universe, sucking in bits and pieces of structures from different worlds and cobbling them together into a layout that, owing to the sheer talent of the map author, somehow makes total sense. The opening moments have you stepping from gothic castle to techbase to Plutonian jungle ruins; it only gets weirder from there.
68. Hobb’s End Horror - Devon West (2006)
Hellcore 2.0 Map09
Every map in Hellcore 2.0 is highly memorable for its sense of place, each one telling its own complex story, most often through the quiet emptiness of its once-inhabited cities. Like all of them, Hobb’s End Horror uses its exquisite attention to detail to enhance the forlorn post-apocalyptic mood, but what really sets it apart from the rest is the unsettling calm-before-the-storm atmosphere building up to a massive Zerg rush of Pinkies.
67. Undervilla - Paul Corfiatis (2009)
Whispers of Satan Map16
Your mileage may vary as to which of Paul and Kristian’s Hexen/ice-episode maps packs the strongest emotional gut punch, but for me it’s always Undervilla, with its desolate opening view and haunted atmosphere. The mournful music, also composed by Paul Corfiatis, completes the mood as the otherwise cute, quirky megawad suddenly shifts gears and descends into darkness and despair.
66. Skagway - 40oz and Super Jamie (2010)
UAC Ultra Map10
This relentless map keeps the pace up and forces you to deal with it on its own terms as you smash your way through heavy opposition across an almost entirely irradiated canyon landscape, juggling radsuits as you go. The setting is totally kickass, and the map lets you appreciate it by focusing on speed and ferocity rather than grueling challenge, even in the awe-inspiring final arena.
65. Candlecove - skillsaw (2015)
Even if it’s smacked down into the early-middle of a megawad that’s brimming with memorable maps, there’s something about Candlecove that just seems to do it for people. Call it the romantic atmosphere, perhaps – the moody, flickering torchlit grotto, the pools of blood like fine wine, the beautiful architecture, the scenic views – I, for one, would have half a mind to grab my favorite Arachnorb and start waltzing if I weren’t busy trying not to die.
64. Eagle’s Nest - Huy Pham (2008)
Deus Vult 2 Map13
Fitting for Deus Vult II's sunglasses-wearing dual-pistol-toting protagonist, "Eagle's Nest" is an adventure map in scenes, boasting a whole mapset's worth of rich vistas. Ascend a vertiginous cliffside, liberate the abandoned observatory, hold off an infinite legion of hell knights, unlock the astral crypt that leads you... into the cosmic abyss? a DDR simulator? ice cream? DV2 was never finished, so no one can say for sure, but thank badness for what we have of it.
63. Dead.wire - Xaser (2015)
Doom Community veteran Xaser is no slouch when it comes to map design, but dead.wire is a work of a different caliber. With a revamped weapon loadout and nearly every enemy plus the level itself under a shroud of signal static, dead.wire introduces a new genre into the Doom scene: "Static Punk?" "Fuzzcore?" "Technogothiwave?" Whatever you'd call it, I guarantee you won't forget dead.wire's gradually-revealing world of grungy metal, bloody tech, and gothic corridors anytime soon.
62. Time Gate - Sverre Kvernmo (1996)
Eternal Doom Map05
Eternal Doom may be remembered more for its puzzles than its storytelling (what little there is), but there's enough worldbuilding packed into Time Gate alone to justify the price of entry for lore-seekers. As the title suggests, Sverre's second outing sends the player on a quest to power up a high-tech time machine and hurl themselves into the past to face the wad's more "ancient" offerings... provided they don't screw up and pick the wrong destination era, where a few nasty surprises await. It's cool as hell and does a fantastic job at linking the megawad's two primary themes together... for a few maps, at least (*glares at MAP31*).
61. Maskim Xul - Obsidian (2018)
Maskim Xul Map02
This deeply eldritch megamap is a tribute to both libraries and the Lovecraft mythos, and the uncanny atmosphere and cleverly designed encounters with new enemies will play equal roles in keeping you unsettled for the entire time you spend skulking its halls. I don’t know which is etched more strongly into my memory, the battles against the Shoggoth bosses or the maze that turns upside down.