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STRAIN 1.0 (repackaged edition)

   (21 reviews)


About This File

This is a reupload of the legendary 1997 total conversion STRAIN to repackage it in a manner suitable for modern users. The original version uploaded to /idgames on September 14, 1997 was distributed as a self-extracting LZH file, which one could run only in DOS, split into four pieces so the user could copy them to four 3½-inch floppy disks and install the WAD that way if they wanted. Because both DOS and floppy disks have been obsolete for decades, this method now serves only to deter all but the most tech-savvy users from playing it, and thus it has been repackaged as a regular ZIP file.

strain.zip contains the complete contents of the self-extracting LZH extracted with another program so that the timestamps are preserved. No files are needed to play the WAD in modern ports apart from STRAIN.WAD and STRAIN.DEH, but they are included anyway for historical accuracy.

The WAD's permissions (see below) allow it to be redistributed as long as the original text file and package are included with no modifications. Thus, the original 1997 strain10.* package is included as two separate files complete with the original /idgames archive timestamps, not only to follow the permissions but once again for historical interest. The original package also remains available on the archive itself as a separate download.

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Li'l devil


I liked this one a lot. It has lots of really neat ideas, especially for 1997. The music is very good as well.

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Very consistent megawad, never failing to deliver interesting level design and staying balanced throughout. I see many reviews calling the level design "puzzley", but it's really nothing like the absurdly obscure progression of, say, Eternal Doom. It's just creative & fun. Some of the levels are just downright weird, but in a good way. For example, in the final map I was running all around trying to figure out what the gimmick was to kill the Icon Of Sin, when suddenly it just died from some random monster hitting it, ending the level. Fancy modern wads would never allow such a thing to occur. The main issue with this wad is that the custom content is a mixed bag. The textures are very quality and fit in nicely in Doom (I noticed a few that went on to be used in the frequently-used CC4 texture pack). The new weapon is extremely ugly (just a sprite rip of a poorly-textured 3D model) but it functions okay, like a combination rocket launcher & BFG. The Revenant replacements are interesting, flying around & firing extremely slow homing missiles. The pinky replacement on the other hand is very lame, ruining the holy 1 SSG = 1 dead pinky equation. The other custom monsters I could take or leave. 

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· Edited by galileo31dos01


Done with these settings:


- Crispy Doom 4.2

- Hurt Me Plenty.

- Continuous combined with double fists start mindset.

- Saves every 10 minutes or so.


This is an interesting old megawad. Looks and feels different from the usual Doom. That is to say, it's a partial conversion, there're a lot of new textures, new monsters, new weapons, new sounds, and a new character. All of these are combined with a gameplay that is focused not only on killing monsters, but on exploring too. So yeah, Strain is pretty unique, and I liked this change of pace. There are a lot of nice visuals and detailing, not very polished but that's fine. 


As something that clearly claims to stay away from the ordinary Doom style, what predominates here are puzzles, lots of puzzles, some are good, some are obscure, and some are the entire level (map 21 ahem...). Also, labyrinths, switch hunts, corridors, lift after lift, and the incidental hordes of monsters to remember you're actually playing something alike Doom. I'm not saying the mapset is boring, no no no, it brings a lot of cool battles, brutal starts, and makes you work your brain, again not in a popular Doom-ish way, to find the exit or grab something important. In many maps, progression is far from intuitive, sometimes you'll cross a linedef and hear something opening or closing, or you'll flip a switch that opens a cabin of monsters that has a wall with different texture that you must open to progress. In other maps, it's quite simple and relies on the typical key hunt. Backtracking is heavily present in this mapset. 


About the new monsters, of all of them I liked the Minister of Pain and Dopplegangers the most, mainly because I found them quite funny, specially the mini-cyber which is adorable. Holo-bots are fine, their stealth version can be a pain in the ass. Red demon isn't more interesting than the original, it just consumes more ammo and time. Demon Lords are dangerous, I found that I could exploit their attack from a certain distance, but from close it's best to treat them as a hitscanner, that is to say, covering yourself everytime he shoots. Polydrones are another dangerous enemy, their corpses are damaging and I found myself inevitably stepping on them and aching. They might replace the mastermind but their chaingun is not the super one. Second class imps are creepy. Finally, BFG Troopers are just cheap, specially on map 30, at least they are not that common. 


About the new weapons, well the rapid pistol and shotgun are more useful, the double fists are good, the NFG is ok but I didn't like that the maximum was only 100 cells, it runs out so quickly. It also has a safety pin for whatever reason. I didn't understand the BFG replacement, it apparently functions like a slower rocket launcher, and why does it shoot stealth balls? Idk, I barely used it anyway, all I know is that it's powerful.


Secrets, there are a lot of non-secrets in the maps, almost all of them contain a megaarmor (which equals 300 not 200). The midis are good. My favourite maps are 04, 18, 22, and 24. The IoS map is acceptable, but didn't feel like a truly boss map. Map 21 is all puzzles, some without hints, I didn't enjoyed this one too much.


Overall, enjoyable, probably hasn't aged so well. If you're in the mood for anything that I said above, this is going to be your thing. One personal recommendation, there is no pistol start but fists start here, a lot of maps are very very tight on ammo and weird balanced (e.g. punching shotgunners at the start, tons of rockets and no rocket launcher, having to shotgun a lot of demons), so be patient, or try on continuous first... anyway, 6,5/10.

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A "classic" 90's wad which nevertheless hasn't aged entirely well. Some graphics (such as the Holobot or the BFG replacement) are cheesy and ugly; the level design is usually not bad, but some levels (such as MAP17, MAP23, MAP25) are too difficult and unbalanced for pistol start. The ending is nothing to write home about either. Still, the megawad has quite a lot of atmosphere and some maps are really good (MAP18).

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Puzzly levels with some excellent DeHacked work from a technical point of view. New monsters and weapons are a definite mixed bag but are sensibly employed making this more than just a curiosity. The obscurity of progression may put some Doomers off but persistence should earn the player a degree of intuition for these going forward.

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· Edited by NuMetalManiak


STRAIN has quite a legacy, although for me it's not a good-playing megawad.


the custom monsters are nice to fight, although aside from the white baron there's not one custom enemy that's really tough. the drones are slow and their revenant rockets even slower, while the doppelgangers (lost souls) are really easy. the minister of pain (mini-cyber) has a bit of scare to it but not too tough, same with the chaingun cubes. the blood demon is annoying because he tends to survive direct SSG blasts to the face which isn't cool. the white baron though? his attack frames are broken which I really hate. for the weapons, the psychic blaster is actually quite fun although difficult to use, while the plasma gun replacement has a low ammo count but the gun itself is pretty damaging. unique sprite for it too. also love the faster pistol.


on the subject of everything not pertaining to custom content, the overall gameplay tends to get me lost. MAP02 for example is a warping castle, which got on my nerves, while MAP06 and its tunnels are just bad design. some annoying puzzles exist (MAP21 although you can skip it all, and MAP31 with its specific order for getting the secret exit), and really annoying gimmick moments happen in this set, which prevent it from being truly amazing. some maps like MAP08 and MAP27 are pretty good. a lot of STRAIN's levels are varied, you can get some of the big ones like MAP08 only to follow with some smaller ones. two maps are also in Dystopia 3. some maps are unfortunately quite bugged. I get how great it was for a partial conversion but some things here really didn't click.

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Landis, Klem, Keranen, Helmberger, Windsor, Herman & Nathrath all on the same team? This would get an automatic 5/5 if they had released nothing but the TXT file. Kudos to TGH for the much belated proper!

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If you want to play it with Brutal Doom or other gameplay mods that bad then be prepared to open up SLADE 3 and delete/edit the custom monsters and weapons in STRAIN. As it stands I'm glad this got repackaged for modern users as this is a legendary megaWAD that no one should miss.

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· Edited by AD_79


No, screw your shitty-ass Brutal Doom, play it the way it should be played. Excellent wad, by the way. Ignore this.


If I could change ratings as opposed to just review text, I would gladly bring this way down to a 2, or at the very best, a 3 (2.5??? The system doesn't support those, but that's what I'm feeling). This set does not hold up well. It's got some cool ideas buried beneath a pile of "yeah this is a 90s wad" issues. I'd love to go deep into the problems in a full review, but for now: Most of the interesting monsters from Doom II were cut, with stuff like " sort of rapid-fire imp", "tankier baron" and "flying revenant with sluggish projectiles" taking their places. Actually, most of the changes made in the Dehacked don't seem to serve a good purpose, and instead boil down to "hey look we can do this, let's do that!". In addition, levels are sometimes very uninteresting and filler-y (examples: MAP05, MAP20), loaded with hallways upon hallways (examples: MAP06, MAP25) or feature progression which can seem frustrating or broken to the average player (example: MAP10). There are some solid moments (MAP02 being an early highlight), but the set is old and clearly shows its age, and I don't see much reason to play it nowadays.

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Great Classic Megawad.....But i was hoping that one day this would be reuploaded with out the custom fast imp..... so Brutal Doom would be more friendly with it.

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holy shit a release finally 10/10

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  • File Reviews

    • By silentzorah · Posted
      Solid wad with a purple color scheme and new enemies.  Music choices are enjoyable, difficulty starts off low and ramps up considerably towards the end.  MAP07's end was a total beef wall, though.  Make sure you find all the secrets in that one if you want to stand a chance.   All around, no bad maps in this wad.  Four stars.
    • By rdwpa · Posted
      This is one of Memfis's earliest maps (2008 according to the text file), which shows in the unrefined design. The opener of a promised Episode 2 replacement, Voyage to Deimos, which never came to fruition, visual appeal tends to be highest when it's dark. Otherwise it mostly looks bland. Geometry doesn't sway from the rectangular. Floors and ceilings of sectors seem left with whatever texture Doom Builder assigned them upon creation. Years later, Memfis would specialize in an appealing, clever mode of lower-detail design, but this is more of the "novice" sort.    As for gameplay, it's straightforward warm-up Doom 1 stuff: pistol to start, 'zerk early, shotgun later; lots of imps and pea-shooter zombiemen, occasional pinkies and lost souls, the rare caco.   That's nothing groundbreaking, but I won't comment on it, because once I found the berserk pack, I decided "now we're punching stuff" and did nothing else.   Health is scarce, so the cacos are a bit tricky, and shotgunners lurk the later shadows in good numbers. Without the benefit of range, I once had to platform and then box imps point blank. A partial invisibility secret enacts a clever trade-off; it can help with the shotgunners, but it complicates dealing with the imps, both of which often commingle.     The map was uncommonly well suited to that and my punching ability, and I enjoyed myself. So 4/5.
    • By Doomkid · Posted
      Played it in UV. By 1997, this was starting to look pretty basic. It's not flat-out ugly, but still pretty well below the par of the iwads in terms of visuals.   The ammo balance was totally whack for the first 1/3rd of the map, possibly because I went into an optional area in the beginning down in the Nukage that seems to be nothing more than an ammo drain with no redeeming qualities. After leaving that area I just had to zip past all opposition because I had nothing but a chainsaw. Every time you need 6 shotgun shells, the map gives you 4, at least for the first segment.   To make it more annoying, I was getting showered with endless boxes of rockets, yet next to nothing in the way of shells and clips, and no launcher anywhere in sight. By the time you've travelled for a while, you finally come across a launcher, but of course it's accompanied by caged arch-viles.   Once you get the launcher, the map gets notably easier, because the author also finally grew a heart and decided to give you some shells and a token few ammo boxes as well. It's never an abundance, but at least it's enough. You'll also get loads of cells before finally getting a PR and shortly after a BFG.   The map has some ambushes, a few of which are still creative to this day, and some of which are stupid and so numerous that it makes you roll your eyes. Have fucking mercy, stop lowering walls that are right next to me for one god damn minute! Thankfully it's usually stuff that can be handled with relative ease, but I think the stupid "things lowering right next to you" shtick could have been toned down a notch or two.   Once you get all of the more powerful weapons, the map remains pretty easy. There's a grey, stoney, winding cave bit - make sure you walk through it in all directions or walls that you have to lower to win won't come down. Probably a design oversight but it's still lame. I wandered around for a while until I realized I had to take every possible lap in every direction to make sure all the walls were lowered.   The final remaining bit of challenge comes from two Cyberdemons in a big wooden/metal room that you have just enough ammo to take down. With a couple bullets and a shell or two to spare, you can finally leave.   I found 6 of the 9 secrets (nice). Most of them were pretty easy if you're even remotely observant or wall-hump prone. The custom sounds were more annoying than most 90's wads, mainly because they were too loud and too long.   This is very middle-of-the-road for it's era. If you're a die-hard fan of 90's bargain bin Doom maps, this will be right up your alley, because it's a notch above shovelware. If you're a player seeking turf that's been run through quality control testing - give this one a miss.   edit: It's a shame I can't give this 2.5 stars or a "neutral" rating or some such, that would be the most accurate.
    • By Juza · Posted
      Saw this got some reviews and decided to check it out 'cuz why not.   Not really a challenging, creative, or unique wad. It's just a 90s wad with pretty much most of what you'd expect from a 90s wad, but with some cool combat in a few areas.... although it's quite dull for the most part, so it's not really worth your time, since you've got better stuff to play. There's nothing interesting about it. I'll give it this: at least it's not painful to look at, nor does it have some cryptic, weird progression, like most works from its time.     Edit: Doomkid's review is spot on, I agree with him on every aspect. This review of mine is so undetailed and naive because I wasn't very interested.
    • By M00DER · Posted
      I'm torn between questioning the author sexual inclination and making a salacious comment about his female genitor. But I'm not doing either since I was raised as a good christian boy.   This WAD is what happens when that kid fiddle with the editor. He needs someone to test it and you're the chosen one: buckle up because it's quite a butthurt ride.   Let's get down to it: just as the author described it, a challenging map where you need to shoot (pew pew) your way out most situations. The thing however is that you jump from one situation to another ; you hardly have time to catch your breath. I think I saved a good 20 times.   The design is pretty bad except for the last area (see pic attached), for some reason it was pleasing to the eye. Was it because you spend 99.9999% of your time fighting in dark cramped rooms? Maybe. Overall the textures slapped on each area don't make sense at all, some weird mix for the most part. I have no problem with challenging wads where the focus is on fights but I prefer when they're  a e s t h e t i c a l l y  well done too.   I had some trouble with ammo management but nothing beats chainsawing a cacodemon here and there. Played on Hurt me plenty. Also the custom sounds are bad. Firing the shotgun = firing a grenade with the assault rifle of half-life 1. My brain cannot handle so much at once. "They're waiting for you Gordon in the RIP AND TEAR chamber." "UHH!"   Favorite parts: >implying   Bad parts: That room where the archvile revives the Revenants you just killed a minute ago and you can't reach him since there's a wall of imps. Big Yikes sweetie!!   Two stars it is. Hell meh! Now if the author were to kindly send a nice 1x contribution to my paypal (where x is a 0 and the more the better), I could add another star for good measure.   P.S. Put "Down with the Sickness" by Disturbed on loop while playing this. It's quite fitting.