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Fragport

   (111 reviews)
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About This File

A 21st century DooM 2 episode that is big, innovative, good-looking, and of course, HARD! This wad features desert and mountain levels, and there are plenty of levels beside the sea. There are also city levels and hi-tech levels. But - every style is represented here, even if it is only 1 level! (except the Spirit-World style)

For those of you who like secrets, there are at least 3 in each level (except 25-27 and 29-32 where there are none). And you'll be pleased to know that the secret levels are VERY well hidden........

This episode combines the speed and fast-paced action that makes DooM so special with the realistic world-like adventure of newer games like Quake 2 and Half-Life.


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Book Lord

· Edited by Book Lord

  

Stephen Clark, a.k.a. @The Ultimate DooMer, is one of the key figures of the Doom community in the early 21st century, an author that is best known for his important ZDoom contributions and for amazing creations in the worlds of Heretic and Hexen. I had no chance to examine his extensive body of work, but his Boom-compatible entries in the Community Chest series allowed me to experience his technical competence and design habits. When the DWMC chose his first vanilla megaWAD for March 2023, I approached it with a mix of curiosity and concern.

 

Fragport was Clark’s debut on idgames, and it was no humble beginning. Not only it was a full 32-map replacement, but it also included custom sounds, additional textures of practical purpose (most notably the revolutionary ALPHABET used to write signs and marks in maps) and sector tricks that must have been innovative for their time. Another exclusive feature was the seamless progression between levels: the starting zone of the next map was always seen before hitting the exit line or switch, and in the same fashion the player could turn around from the start and get a glimpse on previously traversed areas. Surely it was an expedient to break maps that were too large for the vanilla engine, but it also improved immersion and storytelling.

 

The player impersonates the top marine Jody Russell, sent to the remote city of Fragport to investigate after communications with the local military bunker suddenly ceased. His ‘call sign is 'Kill Crazy' because (he) kill(s) like crazy and love(s) every minute of it’, so he was the best choice for a dangerous mission into the unknown. The protagonist is shot down by demonic alien invaders, is captured and moved to a desert prison, presumably for execution. He escapes instead and begins a long trek through the brown stone mines and wastelands surrounding Durncrag town. He leaves with a motorboat and manages to sink an ironclad ship carrying monster reinforcements. After a detour on a remote island, Jody crashes his second boat on barren shores and slowly approaches the military installation, disarming the demon-operated defence system and then navigating the sewers into Fragport. Fighting from district to district, he discovers that the invasion started on an artificial moon hosting a tech city, which he promptly reaches by boarding on a spaceship. He resists the assaults of the hellspawn and their vicious traps, until he finds the reactor core and blows it up. He barely escapes the moon and returns to Earth to be celebrated as a hero.

 

I could not omit a plot summary when presenting Fragport, since the unfolding story and the adventures of Kill Crazy were a prominent feature. A lot of effort has been put in creating a plausible journey, building varied places to explore, and providing realistic connections between them. I admire The Ultimate Doomer for the method, the rigor, and the creativity he put in his Doom efforts: the progression in his maps tends to be a little obscure, but ultimately it becomes clear thanks to the visual hints, achieved by writings and colour codes. Nevertheless, Fragport could not cancel my bias against his lack of restraint. Sometimes he could not realise that too much was too much, and that a stale part of a level could act like a ball and chain.

 

The megaWAD had a few exciting combat moments and an outstanding construction for 2001, but for the most part its gameplay was grindy and repetitive. Despite a brown palette dominating 20 consecutive maps, there was enough variety in the environments and nice Doomcute props to make the exploration interesting, but when I reached MAP13 I was sick and tired of searching for three keys in every level. The mechanic stayed firmly in place until the end, with coloured switches being added to string out the progression even more. Maps tended to last 18 minutes on average for less than 10 hours of total completion time, placing Fragport in the vanilla age that preceded the sprawling limit-removing creations of the following years.

 

I played continuous on Ultra-Violence, with savegames mid-level (not during encounters to cheat the RNG or to facilitate anything), and I spared myself the ammo deprivation issues reported by pistol starting DWMC members. Still, I found myself nearly out of ammo at the end of MAP24, and levels like MAP30 did not accommodate for a wasteful behaviour. Besides a resource distribution favouring continuous play, the difficulty seemed rather flat throughout the megaWAD, with only a few harsh monster deployments taking place in the third episode. I felt more challenged by the exploration and the occasional puzzles, especially on MAP29-30 and during the unconventional trial that was MAP32.

 

The author invested all his skill in the super-secret level, based upon a British gameshow and reproducing both its challenges and settings with the Doom engine. It must be noted that Stephen remade this map for GZDoom in 2016, inspired by “The Crystal Maze” new live attraction in London, and that it counts as his last submission to idgames. This meticulous undertaking perfectly represents The Ultimate Doomer as a mapper, showing his pros and cons, and it aptly stands as the current alpha and omega of his successful career. If the secret levels were worth seeing, and their uncovering process on MAP15 was one of the nicest moments in Fragport, the standard secret compartments seemed casually placed. The statement ‘for those of you who like secrets, there are at least 3 in each level’ confirms they have been added just for completeness, and it surprised me that some were nearly mandatory in the later maps.

 

The original megaWAD used stock music, but I chose to play it with FragportMidiPack_v1.0, released for the 20th anniversary. The compilation included popular songs, mostly rock and heavy metal music that predates Fragport’s release, with only a few tracks being an exception. I do not mind the soundtrack very much, except when it feels created exactly for the maps, but I generally enjoyed @P41R47’s choices. They usually matched the pacing of the map or had a thematic connection with the environment that got a smile out of me.

 

Fragport was a bold experiment in 2001, an attempt at bringing Doom on the same level of more advanced games like Quake 2 and Half-Life. Stephen Clark compensated for the engine shortcomings with his own creative solutions, bringing a huge one-man project to completion where most people would have given up. A 32-map megaWAD is an exhausting effort for a single author though, as confirmed by the lack of fresh ideas in some parts of the second and third episode. In retrospect, the boxy level design, the monotone texturing of large areas, the repetitive mechanics, and the copy-pasted encounters caused the experience to become less and less engaging as Jody Russell progressed towards his objective. This should not discourage vanilla enthusiasts from giving Fragport a try, since there are small wonders to be seen in addition to the highlights listed below. A super-solid first submission from a staple of the Doom community, after more than 20 years it shows its age and limits but also the power of method and resolve, two qualities that The Ultimate Doomer possesses aplenty.

 

Best maps:

MAP 11 – Military Bunker

MAP 13 – Pipe Factory

MAP 15 – Freight Depot

MAP 23 – Monad

 

Other standout maps:

MAP 01 – Desert Prison

MAP 19 – Dockside

MAP 22 – Tech City

MAP 28 – Sub-Level 05

 

Special mentions map:

MAP 32 – The Crystal Maze

 

Detailed commentary of each map can be found in the March 2023 DWMC thread.

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P41R47

  

I have a real blast while playing this megawad. Think that Quake is not brown enough? You will get the ultimate browness here. I think that, beside the simplistic ugliness of it, it gives a good cohesive look to all the maps. And this one are really big and fun to explore. The ideas of cities, fortresses, islands, canyons and caves, and finaly tech base on moon, are really neat and some looks really good.

The story of the wad is pretty good, too. I love the liberties that the author takes while doing this mapset. As i played a lot and i found this kind of ideas in a few wads along the way.
What i didn't like it much, is that there wasn't other skies than the episode one sky from Doom 2. Again, i think it is that way for a cohesive storytelling, but anyway, it would be cool to feel the sense of time in the maps with different skies and shadows deploying in differents ways along the maps.

This could be the Eternal Doom of doom stock textures, but the linearity of the maps, aside from the somewhat empty but interesting areas to explore, departs slighty from the formula, and there are not soo much details as one might expect from a mapset like this. Don't get fooled by that, even with the somewhat Heretic-like linearity, the maps are fun, gorgeous in its brownway and pretty challenging.
 

I recommend this megawad to anyone that likes to explore and have a challenge in the vein of the best of team TNT mapsets.

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Nems

  

Despite the browns and grays that are prominent in this megaWAD, I found it to be fun. I also found it to be quite the challenge. The first map gives you a taste of what to expect in terms of enemy encounters. The author makes good use of mid-tier enemies to apply pressure on the player. Monster count for most of the maps barely breaks the 150 mark but, as said before, the use of mostly mid-tier enemies puts pressure on the player. I also like how the megaWAD handles level progression. Most of the levels you go through consist of caves, cities, islands, and tech bases in space. In fact, there's only one real Hell-like level and even it's within the confines of the moon base you fight through in maps 21 - 30.

 

About the only gripes I have with this megaWAD are with regards to maps 32, 29, and 30. I know the text file and map 31 give warnings about map 32 but there really should be some kind of alternate exit in map 32 instead of trapping you in place if you don't pass one of the puzzles. I wasn't a fan of how close quarters the IoS fight was in map 29, especially since it can get cramped quickly with monster spawns. Finally, the randomization of what keys spawn during your escape in map 30 isn't fun either. 10 minutes seems like plenty of time but between navigating the vent system (again) without light goggles and dealing with mid-tier enemies, that 10 minutes can get eaten up really quick.

 

Overall, it's still a fun megaWAD. I'd recommend at least giving it a shot.

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Gato606

  

It was a nice enjoyable megawad, entertaining gameplay, played with msx project.

It was disappointing the last 2 levels, going through a maze of tiny vents in pitch black, cheated with the infrared powerup giver.

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Varis Alpha

  

i just really love this wad unconditionally. the level-design isn't really the best out there, or the most prettiest, and the gameplay is kind of there, but i always keep getting drawn back to Fragport regardless. if you like Doom levels with a bit more of a focus on exploration and "realistic" level-design, like Hellbound and (a bit of) Doom 2 Reloaded, and you like the gameplay being a bit slower, then this wad's worth playing still. just bring a music pack with it.

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Combinebobnt

  
I like how this wad can be used as a long, sprawling adventure type of a megawad. Too bad every map is browner than quake 1.

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subject_119

  
even I is not as overrated

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Guest

  
Enjoyable. Would play again.

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Doomkid

  
I always loved this wad!

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Guest

  
Great detail and creative style to the levels. You can't stop playing. Each level continues on from the last quite smoothly, instead of going from one random destination to the next. Nice atmosphere and cool sound effects as well. Overall, a wad worth playing. 4.5/5

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Guest

  
Crappy poop

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Guest

  
Given the skyhigh ratings, I was very disappointed. Lots of work, but most of the layouts are too basic, decoration simple, and the texture use plain ugly. Most textures are unaligned. Gameplay @ UV is too simple, repetitive thus predictable, and often just awful, not the least due to the very weak monster placement. Overall it is repetitive like hell. Playing it gave a quite enthusiastic but too amateurish impression. 2* for the amount of work, and nofi, but I really have no idea why on earth this got 5*.

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Guest

  
Purely amazing. Possibly the best that I have ever played, and better map designing than both actual dooms. I don't know what else to say about it, it's just so good. 25/5.

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Guest

  
Good job with this it's one of the best megawads I've found yet.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Kick Ass WAD! 5/5

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Terrible wad. Big, ugly, undetailed, broken levels. Unexcusable in 2001. Trash.

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Guest

Unknown date

  
WOW! This is excellent, absoloutely brilliant!!!

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Unknown date

  
Stephen Clark gave us with this great megawad a perfect example of what means "gameplay". Yes, I agree for the lack of details, but, obviously, it was not in his mind, and he was right. Most of the time, you can't look around to admire, cause of monsters appearing very often where there was apparently none. It's extremely well done, and it should be considered as one of the best megawads ever made by a man alone!!! 5/5 -Jive

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Unknown date

  
Despite the maps being somewhat bland, they manage to pull of a charming mood on their own. Some ideas are very creative and fun. Challenging overall, sometimes annoying, but definitely worth the d/l (just for map 32 alone I´d say), oh and map 28 is a bitch ! 5*

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Unknown date

  
Ha ha.. It's a meagwad is it?! No wonder it's taking so long. Qulaity is not quite as good as 007, but still above average. My only gripe is the fab looking maze levels has time lock-outs! Very bad. This level looks amazing, but i can't be arsed to play it.

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Unknown date

  
Excellent pacing and monster placement (except the hyperpolyarchvilism) . I had a better sense of place with everything in this wad than the vast majority of much more "detailed" (read: visually noisy) maps that seem so popular nowadays. Love how you start where you left off from the previous map. 5. --Vaecrius

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Unknown date

  
Ns!

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Unknown date

  
Visuals are pretty meh, but it really playes quite well, so it gets at least 4.

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Unknown date

  
Whoever said this wad is bad needs to be socked in the face 5 stars

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Unknown date

  
You really are "The Ultimate DooMer". 5 stars

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  • File Reviews

    • By MeriMemesX · Posted
      OMG I LOVE THIS MAP   Let's start with the fact that they literally give us free rein to explore the map with our pretty shotgun and I will always appreciate those things.   I love the ending because it is very silly and requires preparation to do it.   This map is beautiful and I love it.   PD: Contamination for you 
    • By MeriMemesX · Posted
      Well, for 1994 it is incredible   I love that verticality is used, I even love the level design, especially the puzzle of the doors, I love it   For the last part of the map it seemed like a medium high difficulty but when I killed everyone on the water ladder I was pleasantly impressed, I quite liked it.
    • By Amaruψ · Posted
      I played up to The Crusher and... frankly, it soured the taste in my mouth to the point that I don't want to continue and try all of the maps.    Surprisingly hideous and wonderfully claustrophobic architecture, with monotonic texture usage and gimmicks at every turn of the map. Then of course the Arch-Vile maze because apparently it's a necessity to copy the Casalis at least once in your mapping career. The crushing ceiling was just the cherry on the top. Not a fan.
    • By Xouman · Posted
      It was interesting,sometimes fun,sometimes hard,sometimes annoyingly hard but we later smile about it(Going Down feeling you know?),i loved the fact that everything feels and look different in terms of level design,sounds,texures and visuals,and the music is here to say to you "you're on a vacation/exploration trip...but not too much,it's Doom !",and technically some levels are great creations,obviously with a modified Id Tech 1,because the original one couldn't do things that some level showed i guess.   Ancient Aliens have a very good overall feeling to play,it's Doom,with a bit of Blake Stone,Star Wars,System Shock and maybe others inspirations,it's very risky to merge differerents inspirations into one big work.   DeadLostSoul,Commander Keen,EvilMarines new enemies are nice too.   My favorites Levels :   Arachnotron Arrival (Nice constant spider in the middle that keeps the pressure on you to move or hide,i liked the monster placements and traps too)   Last Refuge Of The Anasazi   Sinkhole Showdown   Dare To Fly Where Eagles Soar   Ancient Aliens   The Nectar Flow (Huge Level and fun to play)   Polychromatic Terrace   Blazing Boulevard   Wormhole Junction (Damn this is a Going Down Style level !)   Leave Your Sol Behind (A three time height ramp/elevator[don't know how to call that]in Doom? Didn't know that was possible,and flying saucers travel to others worlds,seriously?,didn't expected that o_O,loved the creativity on this level)   Daylight Under A Dark Sol   Culture Shock (A level in the clouds and touching the sky,successive teleporters,a tv working,ropes to elevate yourself,real scales,we need more levels like this,It reminds me that WOW EFFECT i had with Zeal World in Chrono Trigger when i saw all that,too bad it was short,but fantastic idea)   I Skipped Illuminati Confirmed (Too many details and enemies,lags as hell can't do anything,it looked like an insane level)   I Skipped Trinary Temple (Too Much Lags)   I Skipped The Ones Behind It All (Too Much Lags)   The lasts levels lags a lot on Brutal Doom,but that's not your fault,i don't want to play Vanilla Doom,BD is way better to me haha.
    • By Walter confetti · Posted
      A half completed partial conversion based upon the late 90s anime franchise of Tenchi Muyo, that i'm aware It exist and It was relevant in the western anime fandom, despite i know It marginally but i saw a special (Tenchi Muyo in love!) and my first anime figurine it's one of Ryoko... Oh, and a pair of compilation wads using charatchers from this series (Mihoshi and... Ryoko maybe?) downloaded eons ago from anipike, only the site name will make you understand how old It was when i got them, if you know It. Back on the review topic, the levels itself are... Really crappy and cramped as i remembered them when i played this the same 00 decade period i talked before. MAP01 is a small structure that... I suppose it's... Uhhh... A prison? The Matrix massive glitching? Mihoshi fever wet dream? A schizotypical delirium in Doom level form? Anyway, it's a small abstract structure with a yellow key apparently missing from the map, with a central hub sex dungeon where unhappy Hitler cacos portrait are watching your suffering navigating uncanny small areas finding a way to progress in this place; MAP02 Is set in the titular orbital airship from the show where cutesy, badly paletted sprites from the RPG game welcoming you in the living quarters of the ship; MAP03 Is a unfinished Island map with a temple structure reachable only by idclip It. I gave up in this point and didn't played  Sprites and graphic work in general is... not that bad, actually, despite the raw nature of It. I liked the movie wall in MAP03 and the simple succubi sprite in MAP01. Music choice is a joke and have almost nothing to do with the original source over that... Japan and anime are involved somehow, but now i want to make a level where a slow blue lights walls room is rising up slowly while "Cruel Angel Thesis" MIDI blast from the speakers giving to all of this a bizzarre feeling. Cruel Lift Thesis, AH! What a funny guy i am! Overall a small weird project unfortunately not that good to be acceptable, but weird and "bad" enough to be remember in ages. Also, another "War and Peace" piece of review for a mediocre but bizzarre wad that i wrote after a very long time! Thanks Tenchi Muyo Doom!
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