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SiMpLeToNiUm

Answering "What WADs Should I Play?"

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So this is a question I've seen appear in many, many shapes and forms during my time within the community, and one that I've been finding myself wanting to ask for almost as long. It usually seems to follow that aforementioned structure: "What WADs should I play?"

The question is simple, "Give me a list of things to play cause I don't know where to start." or more specifically, "I think I've played the big stuff, where to from here?" It's an understandable question, but often one that's tough to answer well. Many people usually chime in, offering this and that, and almost invariably the all time greats are mentioned (with good reason, ofc), the Greatest WADs List, that sort of thing. Those types of WADs are usually pretty easy to find and many people generally hold them to be high notes and indicative of what people should play. Granted. But what happens once those Big Bois are all played? Where do you go next? What WADs of particular note could you also recommend that operate in the in-between zone between those great WADs? Can you rattle off a list of them with a sentence or two explaining why you'd recommend it? I think it'd be neat if people with this often-asked question had a quick resource for where to head next on their Doom PWAD journey.

Link any threads you think also address this! 

Basic format:

  • A list of WADs you'd recommend and a sentence or two about why.
  • Once your list goes over 10 use a spoiler!
  • Try to avoid repeats!
  • Update your post!

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Just now, SiMpLeToNiUm said:

So this is a question I've seen appear in many, many shapes and forms during my time within the community, and one that I've been finding myself wanting to ask for almost as long. It usually seems to follow that aforementioned structure: "What WADs should I play?"

The question is simple, "Give me a list of things to play cause I don't know where to start." or more specifically, "I think I've played the big stuff, where to from here?" It's an understandable question, but often one that's tough to answer well. Many people usually chime in, offering this and that, and almost invariably the all time greats are mentioned (with good reason, ofc), the Greatest WADs List, that sort of thing. Those types of WADs are usually pretty easy to find and many people generally hold them to be high notes and indicative of what people should play. Granted. But what happens once those Big Bois are all played? Where do you go next? What WADs of particular note could you also recommend that operate in the in-between zone between those great WADs? Can you rattle off a list of them with a sentence or two explaining why you'd recommend it? I think it'd be neat if people with this often-asked question had a quick resource for where to head next on their Doom PWAD journey.

Link any threads you think also address this! 

Basic format:

  • A list of WADs you'd recommend and a sentence or two about why.
  • Once your list goes over 10 use a spoiler!
  • Try to avoid repeats!
  • Update your post!

I have two in mind

 

B4NM (Beware of NSFW content): A slaughterish megawad with new enemies and stupid bosses, It's Terry styled so expect jokes about y'know, and the level design is just fantastic. I do recommend. 

CXV-626: The Forbidden Experiment: Although, not as long as B4NM it is as fun and absurd. With bosses that are people who have a …reputation... and fun little levels to go along with it. But beware the bosses are tough so unless you're daring make sure you have a keybind for resurrect, MDK and god/god2 (If you're using GZDoom).

 

That's all I have for now, sorry if the sentences are not that helpful.

 

 

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Here's some strange ones I decided to choose:

job

If you go into this expecting a normal map, you'll probably be confused and/or disappointed. If you read the description and figure the map out from the perspective of that, it might just click for you...

 

Final Fantasy Doom

An ultimate doom megawad with all of the visuals replaced by cute hand-drawn graphics. Perhaps not the greatest thing in the world and technically unfinished, but it's too charming for me to mind.

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This is actually a great thread idea. As a relative newcomer, I understand how daunting the sheer scope of the community's output can be.

 

I think I'll break down my list into a series of rough archetypes:

 

Fast, fluid and combat-focused (a la Ancient Aliens, Valiant, Eviternity etc).

 

Slow, moody and atmosphere-focused (a la Doom 1, Doom The Way id Did etc).

 

Tight, difficult, combat-focused (a la Sunlust, or anything by Ribbiks really).

 

Hybrids between any of the previous or wads that contain two or more archetypes (Alien Vendetta).

 

Now, as I said before, I am a relative newcomer, so my experience is not that deep. However, my exploration of Doom wad-dom has been eccentric to say the least. I have slept on many well-regarded wads (BTSX comes to mind) in favour of mildly-obscure Doom 1 content, or played things way above my skill level just because. So my experience is more broad than one might expect. Also, expect updates to this list in the future as I play more wads or feel the call of the (metaphorical) pen.

 

Now, on with the list.

 

First, fast, fluid, combat-focused wads:

Spoiler

Struggle: The Antaresian Legacy by antares031

Simply put, if you like custom arsenals, expanded bestiaries, unique high-quality visuals, blood-pumping music and fast-paced gameplay, or basically if you just like skillsaw's stuff, then I can 90% guarantee you will enjoy Struggle. It is a limit-removing megawad of Doom II that uses dehacked wizardry for all of its modifications, so it will run with basically any source port more advanced than chocolate doom. Antares' unique style permeates every corner of the megawad, from the toy-derived arsenal to the grungy yet strangely-appealing visuals. Strongly recommended to anyone in need of a shot of adrenaline, epicosity or originality.

 

Antaresian Reliquary by antares031

In the same vein as the above, but harder, shorter, a bit more slaughtery and also Boom-compatible.

 

Return to Hadron by cannonball

Now, this is unexpected. A fast-paced, combat-oriented megawad for Doom 1? How can this be? Honestly, this one really has to played to be believed. Despite the limited bestiary of Doom 1, Return to Hadron is a blood-pumping thrill-ride of an experience. If anything, the squishier opposition only seems to aid the fluid, free-flowing action. You probably won't even notice the absence of the SSG while you mow down hitscanners with the chaingun, gib hordes of imps with the rocket launcher and blast cacos and barons to oblivion with the plasma rifle. Cannonball is a genius. Maximum recommendation.

 

Rowdy Rudy II: Powertrip by Doomkid and many others

Overhauled and meaty arsenal? Check. Expanded and modified bestiary? Check again. Original viusal and audio style. Checks for days! And its all vanilla compatible. Honestly, if Rowdy Rudy II was released as its own game anytime in the 90's, it would have blown the competition out of the water in both quality and cheese factor, which I'm sure was retro-aficionado Doomkid's intention. A great and surprisingly-consistent community megawad. Strongly recommended.

 

Second, slow, moody and atmosphere-focused:

Spoiler

Phobos: Anomaly Reborn by Chris Lutz

Ah, memories. This immersive classic is one of the first pwads I ever played, and it still holds up to this day. PAR is a 9-level, Boom-compatible episode replacement for Doom 1, focused on creating faux-realistic and immersive environments for the player to explore, whilst maintaining a relatively high threat-level through a mixture of ammo deprivation and traps. If you like exploration and phobos techbases, give it a try. Be warned though: level progression is often unclear and platforming can be very finicky at times.

 

Nihility: Infinite Teeth by years

If ever there was an under-appreciated wad, this is it. Nihility is a vanilla-compatible episode 2 replacement for Doom 1, with an emphasis on atmosphere and exploration, though the combat is nothing to snort at either. The thing that really sets this little gem apart from most other wads is its sense of vision. This manifests in three ways. First, and most startlingly, the wad has no music what so ever, relying on a scant few ambient effects and the usual sound of gunfire and grunting demons to set the tone. Second, the wad makes extensive use of dehacked, unusual for Doom 1 wads, replacing or modifying basically the entire arsenal and adding a variety of new beasties. Third, Nihility incorporates numerous textures from the Doom alphas into its palette, giving it a unique visual style. Honestly, even if slower-paced wads aren't your thing, you should play it anyway. Who knows, it might just change your mind!

 

Third, tight, difficult, combat-focused.

I don't have anything in this category yet. Stay tuned!

 

Fourth, hybrids between any of the above:

Spoiler

Akeldama by valkiriforce and many others

If I were to choose a successor to the venerable Alien Vendetta, this would be it. Akeldama has all the variety, imagination and passion of the 2001 classic, and I don't say this lightly, since AV is one of my favourites and the first megawad I ever completed. A must play for any Doomer, especially since it runs on practically any port.

 

No End In Sight by NaturalTvventy, Xaser and Chris Lutz

This is my favourite megawad, ever. Fullstop. Never in all wad-dom have I seen such an example of immense creativity, born out of limitation, accented by a touch of madness and articulated with veteran skill. NEIS has it all: exploration, fast-paced action, brutal, grinding combat and a sense of epicness rivaled only by the likes of Alien Vendetta. A three-quarters vanilla, one quarter limit-removing megawad for Ultimate Doom, No End In Sight is a peculiar retelling of Doom 1's 'story', born out of the Doom The Way id Did movement, with all the same love for the original, but lacking any sense of restraint. The variety of levels is simply astounding, from simple techbases to giant subterranean marble cities and inverted towers adrift in the sky, from abandoned space craft to hellish-labyrinths and maddening constructs of flesh, bone and wood, all executed with skill and purpose. A grand adventure, NEIS is a must play.

 

Anyway, the hour is late and I must retire. More wads will be added in due course.

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1. Alien Vendetta

The granddaddy of the modern megawad, AV combines difficult, intense but fair fights with nice aesthetics. Includes some absolutely fantastic adventures such as maps 27, 25, 20, 14, 13. Map 25 is my favorite map ever, it has everything I'm looking for when it comes to Doom.

 

2. Scythe 2

The prototypical modern megawad, Scythe 2 has it all. It's separated into distinctive episodes and every map is a memorable experience. It has some of the best music out there as well. It combines exhilarating fights with fantastic aesthetics. Maps 20 and especially 27 are among my favorite maps ever.

 

3. Community Chest 4

CC4 is a blast from start to finish and it's the one I find myself coming back to the most. Being a community effort, it has a great variety of gameplay, aesthetics, and music. It has a good number of epic experiences. Some stand outs include maps 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 20, 21, 25. Map 10 features James Paddock's track 'Icicles', an absolute banger that never fails to get me hyped, especially when combined with such an intense map.

 

4. Nova III

Again a community effort, Nova III has a great variety of gameplay and music with nice aesthetics. Map 15 is a masterpiece. Map 30 is probably my favorite take on a final showdown.

 

5. Japanese Community Project

Yet another community effort, this megawad has perhaps some of the most innovative maps out there such as 25, 27, 28, 29. Map 9 has a freaking comic in its minimap!

 

6. Epic 2

A unique experience with an overall desert theme that doesn't over stay its welcome (coughBTSXcough), Epic 2 truly has some epic fights such as maps 16, 26.

 

7. Going Down

Going down is a concept megawad that's executed damn well. Every map is memorable. Generally difficult, intense, claustrophobic combat but not unfair.

 

8. Speed of Doom

Often skirting the line between slaughter and combat puzzle, SoD has some amazing fights with wonderful aesthetics and music to boot. Many of its maps are awe inspiring.

 

9. Lunatic

For me, this is Skillsaw's best work. The theme is moonlike with excursions through both landscapes and tech bases. Though it's only 5 maps, each one is a gem. The aesthetics and music are fantastic. It's a blast through and through with some of the most fun fights out there.

 

10. Bloodstain

For me, Bloodstain is perhaps the best balanced megawad with its unapologetically intense fights. Though difficult, it's not impossible. I usually don't like custom monsters but the improved baron of hell is a nice addition.

Edited by DOEL

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