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Ancient Aliens

   (117 reviews)

27 Screenshots

About This File

Ancient Aliens is a megawad featuring 32 colorful, action-packed maps for Boom compatible ports.

Go on a journey to discover the truth about the enigmatic origins of human civilization...

I'm not saying it was aliens, but... the truth is out there.

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There's not too much for me to say about this one. While it isn't exactly my jam 100% of the time, I'm struggling to see how any creative endeavor could entertain me so thoroughly, throughout all the 32 parts of it. Ancient Aliens is charming, somewhat challenging, mysterious, well-paced... I could iterate over plenty of different variations of lavish praise, but I guess that in and of itself describes my feelings: AA is remarkably well-rounded. A DOOM blockbuster - and I use that description as an honest compliment rather than the pejorative it's sometimes thought of. One for the ages, and it'll be one of the WADs to which many of my future experience will be compared.



In case anyone cares, these are my favorite levels (yeah, there's a bunch):


MAP04 - Bad Medicine Men

MAP07 - Dare to Fly where Eagles Soar

MAP09 - The Nectar Flow

MAP15 - Wormhole Junction

MAP16 - Leave your Sol Behind

MAP21 - Cyberbullying: Beyond Earth

MAP22 - Acerola Orion

MAP23 - Trinary Temple

MAP26 - Egyptian Metaphysics

MAP29 - The Ones Behind it All


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I love SkillSaw's work and this is a magnificent wad, but I am writing this review to mark it for folks like me, who would love the level design, but wouldn't connect with the gameplay. Which is fine, no wad is made for every player.


What didn't work for me in this megawad - as far as I checked it out, playing several levels from different packs - was gameplay geared towards maneuverability and making it without strong weapons and much ammo.


To me Doom is a shooter. When faced with a lot of strong enemies, I would like to be able to get them down with a double shotgun or a rocket launcher. These levels are more about running around quickly with a gun, a berserk pack and a shotgun with only a few shells. In he middle of the level you typically get a chaingun.


And that just turns the game into a platformer for me, which is fine, just not my kind of gameplay.


The design and music are top notch. Even the menu is eye candy. I wanted to adore this project, but I just cannot connect with it.


I will, however, keep it on my hard drive and return to it from time to time. Will update this review if I ever get it.

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it fun


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Osmosis Bones


I'm starting to think maybe it was aliens

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baja blast rd.


973 out of 1012 stars


An all-time classic that is a shining model of how to seamlessly integrate gameplay, visuals, concept, music, and meme into a thoroughly enjoyable package that appeals to both experienced players and newcomers alike. 


There is still clear room for improvement -- most stars were lost for failing to hit the McGeeism quota, and a few maps (especially the esselmap) called for a stewboy rearrangement of Toto's "Africa" -- so here is hoping the sequel is even better.

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This map is beautiful to look at and amazing to play. It reminds me of a something I'd see from a map in the late 90s and I love it.

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I forgot to review it when I first finished it, but I played it again with final doomer so I think it's time.


Ancient aliens is beautiful, and it plays as well as it looks.  SkillSaw gives some of his best maps in his career, only matched by his heartland performance.  But the heavy lifting is really done by the presentation, stewboys midis always fit, and the fact the soundtrack is bespoke is incredible.  I personally enjoy all of the maps, only the secret maps have any issues fitting in, and secret maps are allowed to not be great.  My only issue with the wad are the inconsistent 3rd episode, and ironically it's skillsaw's work in that episode that is probably the worst (So good, but not as good as the earlier work in the wad) as the rest of the team turns in great work.  

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Are we moving on from the NUTS meme reviews and making serious Ancient Aliens reviews now?


Okay, here's mine:


I have played this, and I plan to play it again...

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i loved this wad! the theme is pretty good, and the music is nice!

the thing i disliked about it its basically the thing you grab a key and automatically... archvile. Besides that i really loved this wad :))

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Taw Tu'lki


Nice and very beautiful atmosphere. Good WAD. I love it. 5/5

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Jacek Bourne


I did not enjoy this at all, however it is very well made and mostly looks very nice. I cannot rate it lower than 3 without becoming unreasonable.

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How could i miss this gem for all this time...

This is going to inspire me so much, level design is fantastic, top level creativity and a nice challenge. Texture usage is perfect and new sprites and monsters fit in perfectly.


1000/5, easily one of the best megawads ever made!

Thank you Skillsaw!!

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Ancient Aliens is one of those WADs that, once you play it, you'll understand exactly why it won a Cacoward. Skillsaw designed this 32 MAP masterpiece, a HUGE step up for me since all I've cleared besides stock Doom and Doom II was Eviternity.


The WAD starts with a quiet desert day and a peyote pipe, and launches you into a hectic level set filled with Archviles, Cyberdemons, annoying Arachnotrons, and a couple of new enemies: the Stealth Alien who runs around cloaked until it stops to shoots bolts of plasma at you, and the Alien Guardian which looks like a floating skull-cube that pumps a triple barrage of Revenant missiles at you. The HP on these guys is thankfully low, but the monster placement is (mostly) so well placed they don't become as much of a pain as you might think.


The environments are extremely pretty to look at; the first episode has you in a sort-of New Mexico/Egyptian vibe with stone structures and sunset skies. The second takes you to the stars as you explore massive alien structures and study strange hieroglyphics. And finally, the last has you starting on a distant planet, exploring the landscape to discover who the aliens are and what they want with you. Skillsaw's use of textures is fantastic. Deep purples and blues really sell the vibes, and some borrowed bits round out a great space for the player to fight in.


Another great factor is the music. Stewboy lays down some great tracks, with everything from upbeat techno to Native American sounds. One of my favorites is The Incessant Flow of Time, paired with MAP 02 it sets a great tone for the WAD. You can find the soundtrack on Bandcamp and I would highly recommend listening to it, even if you don't play this WAD.


Finally, the levels are top notch. Skillsaw has a style you soon learn to recognize. He gives a little and demands a lot out of you with interesting traps and tricks to make the player adapt to new conditions and really consider their next move. The rocket turret of Ancient Navajo Wolf Warp, the frantic arena of Wormhole Junction, the berserk-fueled rage of Crash Landing, and the mini levels from Leave Your Sol Behind. Ancient Aliens has fantastic level design with fair fights and great surprises.


There are a few notable outside contributions: Joshy puts up two great levels (even with one having a very nasty Archvile trap), AD_79 comes in with Code later in the third episode, and the famous Culture Shock by Chris Kassap with some changes by Skillsaw. Stewboy even throws in a great MAP 31. However, there are a few poor maps: Acerola-Orion by esselfortium is great except for the inability to explore the level again after entering the final arena (something that Skillsaw always seems to remember for those of us who want to kill first and find secrets later); Trinary Temple by Pinchy is a slog for the first half, having to deal with distant hitscanners and a nasty final room with 2 Cyberdemons in an enclosed space; and Egyptian Metaphysics by Tarnsman is practically Plutonia with the Ancient Aliens skin, as there are WAY too many chaingunners for my tastes.


But overall, this WAD is a masterpiece. A fantastic challenge for both new and old players, this WAD will test your abilities and force you to improve or die. What's the best map pack of 2016? I'm not saying it's Ancient Aliens, but...

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Skillsaw is a genius. This is a legendary megawad with amazing level design, unique visual style and tones of new ideas. Levels are very non-linear, mostly arena-like. After every ten levels you lose all your weapons and start over, making berserk packs much more useful. One complaint: There's just too many teleporter ambushes. 

Brutal compatibility: The map pack is playable with Brutal Doom/Project Brutality, only with some minor graphical glitches, except for around three maps by the end of the game that contain too many monsters for the scripts to handle. Had to iddqd through a few encounters on those maps because FPS dropped to single digits.

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Decent slaughtery WAD with cool palette, interesting levels (although lot of cheap traps in the second half), and an amusing theme.

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[McD] James


I really can't think of anything to nitpick about this masterpiece. Probably the best megawad I've ever played through. 

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Even though I do not like the idea of aliens being the doom demons, I love this wad, is beatiful because uses the things I love, the space bases and exploration of the universe


the second and third episode, they are really masterpieces because you see the amount of work of the creator and you really see his dedication


also some maps are ruins something that really valued since I am a lover of history so it was fascinating


Although I got stuck on some maps since the switches were too hidden, I managed to get through


I think the only thing I find bad is that their palette destroys a few mods, but if you do not care about the colors, then this is a wad that I recommend!


and also the end, it's something that really, you say



but they are details and if you like the pretty and funny maps I recommend it


5/5 Gaia74

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· Edited by SilverMiner


Overall that's cool wad. (I said that's cool of only two lumps here: the PLAYPAL and the COLORMAP, ok the graphics and maps too :)


But... It said: Boom compatible. But I can't run this in Boom.

( Hehe, they thought I won't check this :)


And so on, ofc, action scripts were used these only work afaik in Eternity 3.40+ and not old Zdoom.


I don't like Eternal Doom sounds and also arach's and mancubi's sprites.


And again, that's cool wad


my rate was (5/5)




I've grown up a bit, and replayed this wad. The maps are too booo...oooring and my eyes and head were hurt on this. The colours are too epileptic... There's no even a bit of enthusiasm in any map.


Pushing player on a distant archvile without strong weapons IS NOT GOOD IDEA.


Forcing player to find keys and switches to lower the pillars where the keys are being IS NOT GOOD IDEA.


I really love killing large lovely hordes of lovely skeletons with only chaingun, oh yeah ^_^ (no)


I really love locked doors which look like lamps :3 (nohoohooo)


This wad weighs around 130 MBytes. Why. It loads for an hour on my gran's comp.


And more, this wad being boom compatible cannot be runt with Boom202 (OH YEAH, AND THEY THOUGHT NOBODY HERE WON'T CHECK THAT)




It'd be better if guys who made THIS got on to make a LOVELY OLDSCHOOL ADVENTURE like Monkey Island.


It's name on the idgames starts with "aa" so it smells like an OVERHYPED CLICKBAIT WAD that is even underrated by its authors at the back of their mind already.


I suggest authors of this wad to play Knee Deep in Zdoom and see that their work is total crap relating to kdizd.



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· Edited by elend


Ancient Aliens is an incredible achievement and maybe one of the most unique megawads out there. Not only does it looks vastly different to stock Doom, but the maps also „feel“ different. The first couple of maps have a certain: "Oh, it's one of those gimmick things..." feel to it, but very quickly one realizes that there's much more effort put into the maps, than they first let on. This feeling only grows with each map, culminating in one of the most creative mapsets I have seen so far. The use of architecture, game mechanics and overall feel of the maps is - stupid pun intended - quite out of this world. Towards the end I found myself swarmed by too many enemies, though, but I am not a really good player, so others might have no problems with it.


All in all, amazing texture work, great music, great maps, just overall one of the most enjoyable projects to emerge from the Doom community.

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Shreddy Krueger

· Edited by Shreddy Krueger


My new favourite set of 32 maps. Definitely the best MegaWAD that Skillsaw has ever made, destroying Valiant. Lots of unexpectedly cool ideas can be found within these solid maps. From the very first level with the neon "Wolf Warp" you know that you're in for a real treat. "Leave your Sol Behind" also blew me away with the whole space ship travel gimmick.


In terms of difficulty: I was playing with Project Brutality on its equivalent of Hurt Me Plenty, so that amped up the difficulty considerably. A couple areas really constrict you for ammo, and according to Skillsaw that was supposed to be a main feature of the WAD but was dropped for a majority of the maps. Occasionally you encounter some slaughter-like areas and maps but nothing that got bland or seemed like a crutch for bad level design. You will face a considerable number of Cyberdemons and Spider Masterminds, which is par-for-the-course when it comes to custom Doom maps.


In my opinon, some guest maps sucked (Nectar Flow) while others fit very well (Culture Shock, Acerols-Orion). Maybe some could say that the second episode did start to blend slightly together from level to level due to the visuals, but I would also say that the second episode had the best content for the MegaWad.


So all in all I'd definitely recommend this Wad to anyone who plays Doom and is looking for a beacon in Doom map design.

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These maps are poopoo >:O

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One of the best megawads I've played in last few years. Great design, gameplay, story. 5/5

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· Edited by Agent6


And here goes yet another megawad, still done on UV, and well well, what a journey it was. I must say that I expected something completely different than what AA really is, more exactly that it's not very difficult, but I jumped into the deep end and did my best. In fact, I daresay that having played and finished Alien Vendetta right before AA, AA undoubtedly puts it to shame in terms of difficulty, the standards have surely been raised since the days of the former. AV is little more than a walk in the park compared to how challenging AA is. There are some slaughter like levels towards the end, such as MAP18, MAP28, or MAP29, but these aren't the main focus of the megawad. In fact, they were among the easiest levels from my POV due to their nature and style of gameplay involved, after all the most efficient method of finishing MAP28 and MAP29 is just strafing, firing BFG blasts or rockets, avoiding damage, and nothing else. But as I said these were among the easiest levels, because the majority of the maps in AA rely on strategic enemy placements, and skillful and mindful gameplay on the player's end in order to survive, and while all maps do feature a few hundreds of enemies, none of them count on their sheer numbers to overwhelm the player, after all getting cornered by dozens of enemies is neither fun, interesting, or challenging, and the people who worked on AA understood this, although there still are instances when the player does get trapped and a significant number of enemies teleport in to crush him, more or less forcing him to take damage, same for the moments where you have little to no resources left, take an elevator, and surprise, you're assaulted by a few Revenants once you reach the top. Some of the levels also feature a significant amount of Arch-Viles as well, sometimes at the very end of the level, acting as a sort of final, deadly trap. One such example is MAP26 where a bunch of Arch-Viles (like 4) wait for the player in the final (tight) room. Oh, and if this isn't enough a small wave of Hell Knights, Barons, and Revenants will also teleport in after the (unavoidable) trap is activated. There are also some very interesting ideas regarding enemy usage as well. For instance, MAP01 has a Cyberdemon that you have to more or less use as a turret to kill the few waves of enemies who teleport in, and at the end you telefrag him.


If wads such as AV were more forgiving, not to mention much more predictable, this one shares none of these traits. It's unpredictable, you never know when and what enemy is going to pop up and in what numbers, and some encounters are simply merciless. All this leads to a very simple conclusion: This megawad is definitely not targeted at average players. I actually fall somewhere around this category, but my point here is that it's very difficult, so if you do decide to take it on and are not a skilled or experienced player, and also doing it blindly like myself, your day will suck, there's no doubt about that. Expect a lot of trial and error, raging, and frustration in a few levels. Moreover, also expect a few forced pistol starts similar to what's seen in Scythe due to suicide exits, which from my own experience weren't needed as I haven't had many resources left. Always be on your guard. There isn't really any difficulty curve in AA, or not using the same traditional formula. By this I mean that it starts a bit difficult and tricky and from the very first levels you're made aware of what you're getting yourself into, and it only becomes more difficult as you progress, however by MAP18 it reaches the maximum difficulty so if you survive or do well in this level, you'll survive what follows, that's basically as far as it goes. Megawads such as AV on the other hand start very slowly and nicely increase the difficulty in steps, with a few occasional spikes.


My favorite levels are going to be MAP23 and MAP24. MAP24 is also the most unique level as it's a map where the action takes place in a heavenly dimension, radically different from other maps where the action takes place near or inside ancient ruins on exotic islands, though there are some very futuristic maps present as well. The name "Culture Shock" fits MAP24 like a glove. As for MAP23, there's nothing really special about it to make it stand out of the crowd like MAP24 but simply a personal favorite due to its great size and large open area, it's epic and atmospheric, especially after clearing the outside area and spending a few moments admiring the vastness and beauty of the level and its music. Invigorating, uplifting, peaceful and soothing.


There is no final boss fight at the end of the megawad. In fact, MAP29 is the last level where you face anything, MAP30 acting as a sweet thank you for playing from the authors in which you return to the same island where you embarked on the expedition instead, now inhabited by lots of scientists, presumably waiting for the hero.


AA also introduces a new and amazing soundtrack along with high quality textures for all its maps, including replacements for some items, they're all beautiful and really add to the overall quality and atmosphere of the megawad. It also comes with a brand new menu, status bar, ENDOOM screen, and teleporters usually take you through a black and purple tunnel with various drawings before reaching the destination. Some enemies such as the Arachnotron and the Mancubus are also retextured or use new sounds. Moreover, there's a few new enemies introduced, a slow red flying sphere with an angry face that fires a lot of homing missiles. They are weaker or just as weak as a Lost Soul, but are especially deadly and also inflict damage upon death, so make sure you keep the distance. Another new enemy introduced is a small black trooper who turns invisible while running and fires the same plasma the Arachnotron uses. Of course, this means they're also very deadly since they are fast and also invisible while moving, on top of instantly locking on the player once spotted sometimes, but have easily recognizable sounds so watch out when you hear them. Luckily, they're also very weak, a fire from the Chaingun or the regular Shotgun kills them. But if you're careless, you think Chaingunners are bad? You'll be surprised by what they can pull off, they can be much, much worse. If there are no Arch-Viles or other dangerous enemies in a small or big wave of enemies that includes a few troopers it's best to kill them first. I'm not very sure how infighting works with those guys, yet I am pretty sure you can't turn them against each other, or I've never witnessed this behavior anyway. They're probably similar to Arch-Viles in this aspect.


On the technical side of things there's not much to say, only that PrBoom+ (on which I played AA) doesn't seem to be able to run some of the levels at a constant, very high framerate. I myself noticed a decrease in performance in the outside area of MAP18 and MAP23 when a lot was going on, but it was still noticeable even after I silenced the enemies, mostly while looking in the distance from certain points. I suppose it's just the high quality assets and the large size of the levels that push the source port to its limits, but note that these performance issues are very far from something major or serious, just a mild inconvenience, and results will likely vary with each source port.


All things considered, this megawad is without a doubt very solid, not to mention challenging. You're free to try your luck but remember, it's not for the faint of heart, especially if you decide to go for it blind like I did, and perhaps even if you watch a walkthrough before. Otherwise, best of luck to anyone who embarks on the journey, it's well worth the time.

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Very nice maps, nice design, spaces, many details in the geometry and elements that makes it look different to other megawads I've seen, interesting work on mixing the colorful textures.  The only downside for me was the constant ambushes and slaughterfest setups, I think it looks like overdoing it, it would have been an enjoyable mapset without the constant ambushes and innecesary slaughter.

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Finally got around to playing this through recently. Most of the maps were good but there were some that were especially good; Culture Shock is easily my favorite because I love sky levels and the last few levels with a fun little ending. Also liked stewboy's secret hunt on MAP31 and managed to find all of them in an hour.

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  • File Reviews

    • By Robo_Cola · Posted
      Very cool mod that does exactly (for the most part) what it sets out to do.  If you like the more horror/oppressive side of Doom (or even the palette of the original Diablo), this is your pick.  It looks particularly good in Software mode with the diminishing lighting not shifting the reds (as much), and the lighter blues look absolutely *gorgeous* in particular with the Plasma Rifle.

      Love it or hate it, it's worth a play-test.
    • By Obsidian · Posted
      This is a bit of an interesting one to revisit for me: Whispers of Satan was a mapset I played fairly early in my mapping career and it's influenced my approach to level construction and visual design more than I initially realized. At the time I ran out of steam around MAP22, but recently I decided to take another stab at it and finish all the levels. Which I did! Having done so, these are my thoughts.   Gotta start with the big one: Whispers of Satan is a damn good-looking mapset. Excellent texture usage and attention to detail were big draws for me when I first played this years ago and I ended up mimicking it a lot in my own work: to some degree I still do, honestly. Maps like MAP10, MAP16 and MAP28 stand out as particularly good examples of this school of design, with all the detailing work coming together to craft an excellent sense of place. This is bolstered by the custom soundtrack, which has some absolute bangers in it (in my decidedly unmusical opinion :P).   I also gotta shout out the fact that Paul and Kristian undeniably had fun putting this together, as can be evidenced by the silly little easter eggs and gags that are present throughout. There's the secret and super secret maps of course, but you can also spot a little bit of silliness in the main lineup and it's a touch I appreciate in the way that it gives a mapset life and charm. Again, it's something I was inspired by in my early mapping career and you can thank WoS for any gaff or joke you find in my own maps.   There is however an elephant in the room that I have to address and that is the map design itself. Other reviewers have pointed out the excessive symmetry that plagues a lot of the map architecture, but there is also a general sense of formula that can wear on you as you progress through the megawad: by the time you're in the final third of the main block of maps, you can distinctly see them falling into the same gameplay pattern and it starts chafing in a big way. MAP25 and MAP29 are two big culprits in my eyes, but there are plenty of early maps that follow the same formula and get a pass simply because of their placement in the megawad and (relatedly) the length of those experiences. This formulaic approach also creeps into the gameplay and monster usage and serves to make the latter half of the megawad something of a slog to get through, which explains why I didn't progress past MAP22 all those years ago.   I ain't gonna say that it doesn't deserve its Cacoward or anything though: I can appreciate the work that went into creating Whispers of Satan and the influence it had on what came after. It definitely has its flaws and as a gameplay experience it doesn't really hold up, but I can still admire it as a piece of Dooming history and I wouldn't be the mapper I am today if it didn't exist.
    • By Walter confetti · Posted
      Take a shot at this editor on dosbox and it's pretty impressive for such a old editor! Pretty easy and competent program, looks like a ancient version of the most popular Doom Builder editor.
    • By Maribo · Posted
      Heaven, with a blue coat of paint.
    • By JudgeDeadd · Posted
      A 10-minute long map with fairly unremarkable gameplay. As is the case with many old maps, its main strength is the visual variety of the different locations. Still, there's not that much in terms of exploration or branching paths; a good part of the map is just going from room to room and shooting at the anemic groups of monsters. Not terrible, but not a classic.