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Dark Encounters

   (8 reviews)
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About This File

"I knew they would come back some day...The leaders and generals of the world were content with their victory...my victory...heh. Never been much for parades, so I slipped back into my role as a good-ole space marine. I argued for a time about the potential for another invasion. Like before, they said their "new" technology would handle any threat. Yeah...sure it will... I...knew...they...would...come...back..." ***Please see text file for gameplay information.***

In This Wad... No jumping, mouse-look encouraged. Gameplay is in the style of the original Doom 2. Difficulty is slightly harder than Doom2 with encounters of varying difficulty thrown in through-out the maps. Survival will require accuracy, agility, ammo management, spacial awareness, and the following...

****On Hurt Me Plenty**** Employ at least ONE of these approaches to avoid running out of ammo, or use them all to have ammo-a-plenty. 1.Find the secrets (most are not hard to find)...or 2.Explore the entire map...or 3.Use the berserk/chainsaw on targets of opportunity (my personal favorite). ****On Ultra Violence**** Employ at least TWO of the above approaches to avoid running out of ammo, or use them all to have ammo-a-plenty. ****On Pistol Start**** Employ ALL THREE of the above approaches to avoid running out of ammo.

For best effect use dynamic lights, but sector lighting is implemented for better performance.

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oh, if only the main downloads page could be fixed, it's quite outdated, especially considering i'm reviewing the original Dark Encounters and not its actual 2019 re-release which actually replaced the file.


so Paul Dechene seems to have a fixation for Dark stuff, as you might know Dark Universe was a Cacoward winner, and that one was quite dark overall. here we have a 32 level megawad for GZDoom, levels usually are of medium size and combat is generally mild. now, the rerelease definitely fixes some bugs and actually makes the set more mod-friendly, utilizing scripts instead of UDMF thing actions as well as linedef actions instead. the levels are compounded with metal tracks of sorts, which may or may not help in the action, I didn't care for them. there's certainly a lot of 3D in these levels too, which could get confusing, but not so much when you factor in the level layouts, which for the most part are medium sized but there's not an obtuse moment of progression. there's a bit of a story too. odd how jumping is not considered allowed, but mouselook is. this is certainly an oddball mapset, not the greatest for sure, but compared to other ZDoom megawads that could go overboard with things, this is nice, workable, and nowhere close to bad.

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Played first chapter (MAPS 1 ~ 11) in UV and the rest on HMP. The first chapter of this megawad sucks because of lack of ammo/good weapons. For example, the first sign of SSG is in MAP 07 and in maps like 03/04/05 there're more than 200 enemies, meaning the player must rely in shotgun/chaingun only to kill cacodemons, revenants and hellknights. The second and third chapter of the megawad is way better, the ammo is more abundant making the gameplay looks more good. But, in general the author is very stingy with powerups; rarely in maps you'll come across a megasphere or even soulsphere, and that on HMP. Overall there're better options of megawad with a lot of monsters but way more balanced (ammo and items-wise) as EvilTech, Zones of Fear or Good Morning Phobus.

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I played on Hurt Me Plenty, continuous.


What I Did Not Like

- A few alignment issues

- I encountered a couple very odd bugs

- Secrets were very easy, even simplistic at times

- I found "Mouse-look encouraged" to be inaccurate. It's definitely necessary to max, and I'm almost positive necessary to beat a few maps (shootable switches). Still, I only used it like five times the entire megawad.

- Some areas underdetailed - long stretches of same texture 

- A relatively weak set of maps in about the low to mid 20s

- Props for custom music all the way through, but I found it a little repetitive and indistinct

- A noticeable number (but not a noticeable percentage) of barons of hell that were used somewhat annoyingly (grind)

- Map 32 gets a pass because it's bonus material, but I didn't like it at all


What I Did Like

- Everything else

- The fact that everything in "What I Did Not Like" is basically a nitpick

- Awesome level design and flow in most cases

- Brilliant visuals all the way through

- Advanced elements used well, rather than just shoving ZDoomisms in my face for the heck of it

- Fair and challenging gameplay - the borderline slaughter situations were well done


Other Observations

- The ammo crisis basically disappeared once I got the first backpack. From that point on, I basically always had 600 cells. That may also explain why I thought a few later maps were underwhelming. Perhaps I'll replay with pistol starts.

- I particularly enjoyed the maps that were more or less "cities."

- This is among my favorite Doom things ever.


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Quite possibly one of the best WADs of 2017, bar none. Every map provides a challenge in some way or another to the player. The map designs are excellently crafted, and I especially like how each level stands out among the rest. My only gripe is that some of the music, while certainly not bad, can get repetitive after a while. Other than that I had a blast playing through this. Excellent work Paul!

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This is top tier stuff right here. Tons of level variety and plenty of tense firefights. This is a keeper. <3

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· Edited by dylux


One word: Awesome!! VERY fun game play, great textures.

I agree with Zalewa: Difficult, but fair. Secrets not terribly difficult to locate.


We will see Dark Encounters in the Cacowards!


*** Update - Two months later: I've played this wad again. And it was just as fun as the first time around. I forgot to mention earlier that you will find a Computer Area Map in almost ALL of the levels if you aren't afraid to explore - and they aren't even in the secrets! Last few maps are somewhat slaughterfests, but don't let that discourage you from playing this fantastic wad. 



PS - As a side note: Zalewa, if you're reading this, your Power Metal wad rocks! It's my fave single level wad, hands down. I wish your would make more. I think I've played all of your wads. Big fan here!

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Do we have a Cacoward candidate here? Do we have a Cacoward winner for 2017? We shall soon find out.


This WAD is amazing. The abundance of 3D floors enhances the architecture and gameplay. The fights are set up to be difficult, but fair. The ammo can be tight, but you will manage. The levels vary from sillylistic, yet elaborate Doom cities, caves, canyons, bases, stations, mines, hell, and whatever else you'd like. Not one map is like the other. Despite the fact that one mapper made this, you never feel bored, you never feel like you're seeing something that you've already seen. Levels are high in detail, polish, and just plain thought. All of this done in 10 months. All of this works in Zandronum coop (though I think there are some areas where players can get irrevocably locked out from & stuck).


One gripe - music tracks repeat, so more tracks would be nice. But then again, such repetition is rarely done in Doom WADs and having some common, repeating music themes is actually a quite original approach.


Bravo. I won't soon forget this WAD.

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· Edited by daskraut


decent level architecture and decent detailing (only very few slightly uninspired areas)
generous use of 3d floors - which is nice!
effectful use of light effects
good gameplay, good ambushes, sparing use of arschviles

edit: and a really nice metal soundtrack

everything the player wants.

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  • File Reviews

    • By NuMetalManiak · Posted
      the tenth week of dwspd has the theme of "flooded city" which is a nice echo back to the very first of the dwspds which was "lava city". here we have seven maps, all deal with flooded areas, and the quality of these maps is increasing as you go along. first map is definitely not city, but does show the fake floor trick, then you climb just one building to the top. second map also isn't a city but more of a temple that looks strange (plus having to rocket barons in tight halls). third map, uh, there's not much to this one but at least it did what it could thematically. fourth map brings all the carnage underwater while allowing for an optional cyberdemon fight. fifth tries but doesn't really have that city vibe, yet at least had some interesting things to it. the best two maps are MAP06 (in theme it's the best) and MAP07 (a concoction of buildings strewn over the nukage, having to go across each one until you get a radsuit so you can tackle the center). well there's more maps, and it feels a lot more fun than some of the previous ones.
    • By Walter confetti · Posted
      Pretty meh mapset, this wad crashes on vanilla doom 2 since a ceiling texture is acting funny in MAP01, in boom 2.02 it shows perfectly. Best of the bunch is MAP04, but overall, meh mapset with some weirdness.
    • By NuMetalManiak · Posted
      for the ninth installment of dwspd, the theme was to "try and rebuild E1M1 without looking at the original". wow, THAT is a low map turnout, at a measly two. guess it was a lot more difficult than some would have bothered with. but let's see what we got. the first is rather accurate as far as actual layout, though texturing and monster placement is assuredly different. but this one has problems, namely one of the secrets is one-time only as well as an exit switch that doesn't work. it's odd for me to say the real winner was actually the second of the two, despite it looking less accurate, it was much more fun, a Go 2 It mini-version of Hangar with a few hordes of monsters done proto-slaughter style.
    • By NuMetalManiak · Posted
      for the eighth installation of dwspd, the theme was to "build a warehouse inside a castle". or is it to build a castle and then a warehouse inside it? who knows. anyways, this is easily the weakest dwspd thus far, with a very low map turnout of only 6 maps, and none of them are actually all that well done theme-wise. sure, the combat is up there, but let's see. MAP01 and MAP06 don't have anything that really pertains to warehouse per se. MAP02 is incredibly mediocre overall and it's possible to prevent yourself from ever leaving due to the lift switch being one-time only. MAP03 seems nice with the crates in places but it doesn't seem finishable due to one lift never rising to the red key AND an impassable linedef in front of the exit. MAP04 and MAP05 are the most interesting, though each has a share of problems with MAP04 for some reason having invisible crates while MAP05 tries for a siege scenario, starting in the warehouse and giving all the supplies, but just try killing everything out there when you can't head back up once you fall down. yes, I'm fully aware that these maps don't get bug-tested or play-tested before release, but it's always best to leave the best possible impression.
    • By NuMetalManiak · Posted
      for the seventh iteration of dwspd, the theme was to "build a Doom 1 level in Episode 1 style". this theme contrasts quite well with the previous theme of building a final level of Doom 2 in dwspd006, but the familiarity of Episode 1 style levels in E1Mx is bound to put a damper on the overall score of this one. you'll notice that Fredrik isn't here this time around, so there's not much to be wowed by his great speedmaps. the rest of the maps are just speedmap juice, they are usually mediocre and have a few bugs, some are more blatant than others (the first map you can just skip everything since Blackterror forgot to tag the exit door as a key door). also you'll need to warp to E1M9, since E1M3 does not go to the secret map. unlike the others that have generally mixed quality in many different mapslots, the levels actually seem to get better the more you go through. the first few maps are shit and are really small in size, but the layouts and monster count increases and things get more fun as you go along.