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About This File

Inspired by JP LeBreton's discussion with John Romero at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV6HlBa88js&feature=youtu.be&t=80 and Blackmantis' research at https://www.doomworld.com/forum/topic/85756-found-doom-sky-source-files/, in 2017, we traveled to Yangshuo County, China to try and find the cave from which Tom Atwood photographed "Yangshuo Cavern" sometime in the late 80s or early 90s. Also known as MAJEST3.TIF, this image was distributed by Aris Entertainment in 1991 and 1992 via royalty free CD-ROMs like "MediaClips Majestic Places" and "The Best of MediaClips," an example of which can be downloaded at https://archive.org/details/The_Best_of_MediaClips_2.0.1_Aris_Entertainment_1994. After finding its way into the offices of id Software during the development of DOOM, Atwood's photograph of the Karst Mountains became Phobos, the skybox for the shareware episode of the game, "Knee Deep in the Dead."

Not Moon Hill or Butterfly Spring or Dragon Water Cave, asking for the location of "Yangshuo Cavern" is the equivalent of asking for the location of "California Hill" when searching for the Bliss Screen. Beyond the immensity of the mountain range and vagary of Atwood's original title, in many ways Yangshuo County exemplifies the larger process of historical erasure and cultural amnesia in China. Villages alongside the Li River are undergoing rapid development; every cave we entered was full of concrete, colored lights, and consumed Monkey Kings; and even local cavers and climbers were stumped...is it even possible to find "Yangshuo Cavern" in 2017?

The history of Yangshuo is not only occluded when it comes to DOOM, but also in relation to China more broadly. Even though the 20 RMB note features a shan shui-esque rendering of the region's famous mountains, hills, and caverns along the Li River, Yangshuo is not an ancient site of art and culture. In fact, landscape painters only made their way to the Karst Mountains en masse as refugees during the Second Sino-Japanese War between 1937 and 1945. Whether remediated as an ancient site of national pride or as the backdrop for the shareware episode of DOOM, in many ways Yangshou may as well be Mars.

In this short, single map .WAD, photographs we took while floating down the Li River replace the skybox and sprites of DOOM while Aris Entertainment's original musical accompaniment, MAJEST3.WAV, replaces the music. This is the first of a series of levels we are designing as an essay/megawad about the technologies, histories, and cultures of play around DOOM in China.

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  • File Reviews

    • By Walter confetti · Posted
      Small and fun map indeed, some neat stuff despite the year it was done.
    • By bowserknight · Posted
      The first time I played this it took me like 10 hours just to complete map 02 because I kept getting stuck and I always try to find as many secrets as I can. In this wad I had pretty bad luck with that. But the journey on your first playthrough is really amazing, you wander around until you finally find the way forward and that always feels really nice. It's cool how the entire map 02 is a mix between exploration and monster fighting. It has its moments that can make you feel uneasy, like spotting random eyes that stare at you through the walls or similiar small details. The Binding of Isaac secrets are a little silly tho, to be honest. I do love the replacement for the BFG tho! Balancing your health for a burst of damage is a fun and risky mechanic.   Map 03 is way more straightforward, it's like a short gauntlet towards the final boss. This map has a lot of parts that can feel unfair, like spawning explosive Lost Souls or trap bombs right next to you. Or the abundance of Archviles later on. While I personally don't mind the Archvile library, it can still royally mess you up if you don't take them step by step. The final boss could be fun too, but its 2nd phase is just too much. More strong monsters and also Archviles, with zero walls to hide behind. I have never been able to beat the final boss legit, I always get one of the randomized powerups and hope I get an invulnerability, so I can spam the Necronomicon endlessly. It's the only way I can beat it, the fight is either way too hard or way too easy if you use this method.   I love the ending tho, very creepy.
    • By bowserknight · Posted
      This might just be my favourite horror-ish Doom wad of all time, apart from myhouse, Maskim Xul and maybe some other ones.   What I like: +the overall theme +your house being a hub area +the dark atmosphere +the semi open-endedness of the progression +there are no jumpscares or anything of that sort +the fact that the game remembers your progress while alternating between maps +the music +the difficulty, even tho it is indeed a little too much sometimes   What I dislike: -A few certain fights that feel unfair (some examples: the long hallway where you get one of the keys and Archviles spawn behind you, there's no place to hide from their attack; or later when you return to the lower floors of the 1st major area, the fights in the narrow rooms with Archviles, immediately followed by a swarm of chainsaw zombies, where your only hope is to camp on top of an object; or some of the slaughter fights later on, especially in the chapel area) -the ending feels meh
    • By bowserknight · Posted
      It's a pretty fun bunch of maps with some interesting designs. Just don't try to get 100% kills, on most of the later maps it's not even possible.