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Endless

Doom Wadarcheology - To dig, rediscover and enjoy the classics.

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1 hour ago, Walter confetti said:

EDIT: Yeah, it's put at number 10 of best maps of 1998.

Damn, wasn't even aware of that - but seeing as that's the case - I agree, it probably doesn't qualify - I'll keep the review up, but I'll remove this one from the spreadsheet - I thought it might still count, because the author himself is fairly obscure these days, but yeah - agreed - it could have been more obscure.

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12 hours ago, thestarrover said:

Probably you already have it, but I found a Deathmatch wad by Jim McColm: Sed.wad (Sedition). Let me know if you are interested. :)

I'm interested in it

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Posted (edited)

Valley - 04/03/1999 - played via GZDOOM 4.1.2

 

Valley is a fun, yet dangerous map by returning author, slaytan. This map consists almost entirely of intense open-air fights - snipers and traps are plentiful, yet are never unfair - the map gets a lot right w/ its combat. Almost every important item in the level is trapped, so expect to get quite the surprise whenever you grab a weapon or key.

 

Texturing is a bit monochrome in this map - much of the level's textures are rock or dirt oriented, leading the level to have a very natural, yet simplistic appearance. What I like about the texturing in this level, is that the author manages to keep the theme consistent throughout the entire experience - there is nothing jarring, or out of place visually in this map - I don't even think I saw any misalignments - w/ a 90s level this big, that's quite surprising.

 

There are some great encounters in this map - my favorite being when 2 archies are released in the map to cause havoc - they are released into a giant open area to make your life miserable - thankfully the author is very liberal w/ their ammunition placement in this map - and every weapon makes an appearance except for the BFG - so you shouldn't have any problem in dealing w/ them.

 

The ending area w/ the long distance spiderdemon fight is also pretty interesting - I recommend staying in the building, and firing all your rockets and plaz into her ugly mug - this fight is much better this way, as you don't need to expose yourself as riskily. The final exit fight is really enjoyable - I won't spoil it, as I'm sure a couple people might want to experience it for themselves.

 

Overall, a fantastic map - fun from the get-go, and the action never stops. Takes about 20 minutes to 25 minutes to beat! :)

 

Spoiler

 

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Download link: https://bit.ly/347zEqx

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Huge thanks to @xvertigox for providing with a Google Drive folder full of easy-to-download shovelware compilations. A treasure trove that's super easy to dig and play. Lots of fascinating stuff here. Not are only WAD files included, but also .txts, png's, covers and bits and pieces of history here and there. Nice stuff.

 

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2 minutes ago, Endless said:

Huge thanks to @xvertigox for providing with a Google Drive folder full of easy-to-download shovelware compilations. A treasure trove that's super easy to dig and play. Lots of fascinating stuff here. Not are only WAD files included, but also .txts, png's, covers and bits and pieces of history here and there. Nice stuff.

 

Holy crap- thanks @xvertigox! Doing God's work...

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Ooooo shovelware. Gonna yoink that and give it a spin. Something magical about playing through those kinds of levels.

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Posted (edited)

Edit: Here is the readme

 

It's great to see people enjoy these old discs and wads, huge props to everyone who imaged and uploaded them to archive.org <3 I've spent so much time playing through random D!Zone wads in Chocolate Doom, it's like the most entertaining museum ever. I'm actually playing a sweet wad in D!Zone gold atm which has a whole bunch of interesting maps.
 

Edited by xvertigox

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Continuous Wave - 01/10/2001 - played via GZDOOM 4.1.2

 

CW is one of the more unique Doom1 WADs I've played in a while. This is an almost completely educational WAD by Raphael Cheney. Well, more like 'edutainment' as there's also some monster slaying in this - this map isn't solely homework... 'Continuous Wave' is another name for morse code, or so I've heard. I believe this to be Cheney's only published project on /idgames.

 

Basically, this is an attempt to create some kind of morse code tutor within the confines of Doom1. This map is quite in-depth, and goes through all letters of the alphabet, as well as the 10 numerals. In essence, you go through the 'Begin Test' door, and immediately see the letter 'A' on the ground. If you then move to the end of the room, you'll see some 'dot-dash' symbols on the floor - these symbols represent the 'dot-dash' sounds used in morse code. The author then gives you the choice between two different doors. If you select the wrong one, you'll end up at a dead-end that will show a different letter. Say you choose the wrong letter 'B' door - you'll see a different letter on the floor in the dead-end room. This letter on the floor is the correct letter for that sequence of sounds that you chose - so if an 'R' is on the floor in the dead-end room, then that means that what you just selected at the 'B' door, is really 'R'. You can then write this down, and when you do eventually approach the 'R' door, you'll know which option to pick. I apologize if any of that sounds confusing - it really is something best experienced, as this is unlike any other Doom map that I've played before.

 

This level also uses keys - something that doesn't really make much sense to me. The author will lock doors w/ keys, and you have to find them to be able to continue selecting new doors. That's fine and all, if the keys were in semi-obvious positions, but they are hidden, (at least two of them) behind 'green gargoyle marble' walls - so if you see a gargoyle face, press it - chances are, there'll be something important behind it. I can excuse this though, as the map really isn't a traditional Doom1 level at all, but a learning tool.

 

This is quite a fun map considering what it is, (whoever heard of an educational Doom WAD?) but it could have been just a little bit better if the author chose Doom2 over Doom1. I would have liked to have the additional monster roster variety. Still, what's here manages to be both fun and educational - something teachers have been struggling w/ since the beginning of time. This WAD gets 'edutainment' right, though - it keeps just enough action to keep you engaged, and hey, you might even learn something! :)

 

Spoiler

 

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Download link: https://bit.ly/3pRX7Ev

 

PS - I think nowadays w/ scripting and ZDOOM messages and the like, that a remake of this WAD could be really enhanced. I think that more educational WADs could be made for this community - it seems like an untapped area of wadding - something like this for Roman Numerals could work, and I bet there are a hundred other ciphers you could teach in this fashion.

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ETPT4 - 08/03/1996 - played via GZDOOM 4.1.2

 

This is a nice 3-key hub-type map by Dave Johnson. This is a fun E4-styled bite-sized map w/ some good detail, and some decent fights. Much of the textures in this map are wood and green marble, as the map has some very cool E4 vibes. This level is on map02 of Doom2.

 

This map is a bit laidback, and isn't too difficult for the modern average doomer. There are only 125 or so enemies, w/ 4 secrets. Encounters often take the form of single monster type attacks - stuff like a giant horde of imps coming after you, or a pack of zombiemen - you often won't see a varied mix of enemies in this map. Traps aren't plentiful, but always seem to be used at the right time. Keys are usually trapped, in a variety of ways, w/ the first being a bit of a cruel crusher trap. Approaching the key from the side of the pedestal will help stop you from getting hit by the fast crusher there. The yellow key lost soul fight is also pretty fun, as the author gives you a blursphere + a chainsaw - although, you can just get them to all infight each other - that's what I did. I don't think I saw an SSG at all in this map, but it could have been in a secret.

 

Overall, a pretty fun but quick level - this can be beaten in about 7-10 minutes, so this is perfect for a coffee break! Give it a try if you're feeling a slight E4 itch! :)

 

Spoiler

 

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Download link: https://bit.ly/3eZcZyQ

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Love the broken ceilling effect with the acid pouring in. Looks pretty cool. I haven't been lucky finding new lost gems so far, but lots of shitty 90s WADs lol

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Found an interesting shovelware WAD thanks to the guys at C:\>PANDORA_ It's part of the D!Zone Gold disk and that's it. There's no more info I could find and looks like it's not part of /idgames, as far as I can tell. If somebody has more info about it, I'd love to read it.

 

UTOPIA2.WAD

 

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From the previous thread,

 

Nothing like going into one of the deepest and most forgotten abysses in the history of Doom. Shovelware, once an icon of 90s gamer culture, is now just a kind of reflection of a past that, perhaps, lies better buried. But things shouldn't stay in the dust, but better in a museum! In this case it's UTOPIA2.WAD, a WAD that I don't know the author, nor the exact release date, nor any other extra information, just the fact that it's part of D!Zone Gold, one of the most successful shovelwares.

 

UTOPIA2.WAD is a simple map in terms of its premise; it follows a traditional scheme without altering much, featuring many of the tropes that we can expect from a WAD of the 90s. On the other hand, it manages to create a system solid enough to be enjoyed, almost 3 decades later. In that case it is because the WAD, despite having certain negative factors, manages to balance things in its favor by containing enough positive features to provide a good 10-20 minutes of entertainment. The map is medium to large in size, with over 200 enemies, something that initially scared me, because seeing that amount of enemies in a 90s WAD can only mean one thing: proto-slaughter, the worst form of slaughter. Luckily, this is not the case. Enemies are divided in a good way throughout the map, offering a good variety of encounters with a high use of monsters. The density is average despite having a high number. One thing is clear, the author loves shotgunners, but, luckily, they are usually not impossible to defeat and the map offers enough cover, most of the time. There is one part in particular that almost made me give up on this WAD for a moment: A small room with multiple secret teleporters that move us from one side to the other, while a huge amount of hitscanners destroy our faces, only for an archvile to enter the scene and roast our asses. That really sucks. Luckily, this is the only unfair and mediocre scene in the entire WAD. The rest of the map? Solid. Good design, good architecture, decent use of textures (although there are no door textures, for some reason, so I recommend using a source-port that allows to detect linedef actions in your automap) and an unexpected use of shadows.

 

The combat, out of the archvile scene, is fast, simple and entertaining. A good length balanced with a sweet variety of areas and zones. A bit cryptic at times, but once you get used to wallhumping, you shouldn't have much of a problem. The layout itself isn't complicated, but it's simply the fact that the doors and teleporters aren't marked that makes it a bit tricky.

 

Other than that, honestly, it's much better than I expected. If most shovelware maps were like this, I think they would have been remembered more fondly. 

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Posted (edited)

MRDM2301.wad - 06/09/95 - played via GZDOOM 4.1.2

 

This is a pretty competently made Doom1 level by the talented Michael Rapp

Rapp has made a map for Requiem, (map17) and that is arguably the most well-known project by him. This is a dynamic, and fun map - marred only very slightly by its symmetry.

 

The map is a mix of bits of techbase, and bits of hellishness - the map commonly mixes textures from both of these themes, often to good effect. This is a pretty simplistic map in its appearance, but its gameplay is a lot of fun. There are often decent traps that still work well to this day, the author gives you just enough room to fight enemies usually, w/ a lot of areas being somewhat cramped to increase pressure on you.

 

The trap in the rocket launcher room is pretty good, as well as the fast crusher trap on the yellow key. Progression is sensible, and easy to understand - w/ your objectives laid out clearly in front of you. You should not at any point in this map be scratching your head wondering where to go next.

There's also a pretty cool telefrag that occurs in this map, well, at least I thought it was cool - I really like when authors include telefrags for some reason - something about them are so satisfying.

 

Fun map, has 220 or so enemies, and 1 (well hidden) secret area, that I was unable to find during my normal gameplay. Certainly worth a quick run-through! :)

 

Spoiler

 

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Download link: https://bit.ly/3GajMlm

 

PS: This is on map E2M3.

Edited by Arrowhead

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Posted (edited)

Ah yes, Michael Rapp did some great levels back in the day. His contributions to Memento Mori and Requiem were pretty good, but the level he made for Memento Mori II is to me his magnum opus, paired with an equally superb (and my favourite) MIDI by @markklem.

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On 1/3/2022 at 1:15 AM, Endless said:

Huge thanks to @xvertigox for providing with a Google Drive folder full of easy-to-download shovelware compilations. A treasure trove that's super easy to dig and play. Lots of fascinating stuff here. Not are only WAD files included, but also .txts, png's, covers and bits and pieces of history here and there. Nice stuff.

 

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Looks like XVertigo and myself go shopping at the same place.  We've both pretty much got the same ones :)

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SC_WASTE.wad - 09/03/2004 - played via GZDOOM 4.1.2

 

SC_WASTE is a medium sized 3-key tech facility by Ian "Scrum" Ferguson. Much of the level is grey concrete, but the map never looks visually boring, as there are many inset little details like ammunition cupboards, and unmarked secrets to keep your interest. There are a couple cool locations in this map, namely the well-done 'server room' - at least that's what I think it is, see screenie 2. I also enjoyed the outdoors cliffside area, too - it was a nice change from the rest of the concrete techbase in this map.

 

The secrets in this map are both easy and difficult to find - the first one is located directly behind you, behind a closed door the moment you start the level. You'll also likely come across the unmarked megaarmor secret, too, as it is pretty obvious - the other secrets are much more difficult to find, and I only came across 3 of the map's 7 official secrets in my playthrough.

 

The only aspect of this map I didn't enjoy were the pair of copy-pasted rooms w/ the acid pits in them. While the architecture is identical in these two rooms, the monster placement is different - which makes this much less of an offence in my opinion. The second room does contain an inescapeable pit, so proceed w/ caution here - the first room's pit has a teleporter you can use to get out, but the second one is unfortunately without. I would have liked the lighting in these rooms to be a bit better, as it is mostly fullbright. I understand that this area is outside, so it would be naturally brighter, but there are hardly any shadows at all in these rooms.

 

The map ends w/ a fairly lukewarm 1-on-1 baron of hell encounter. As you'll likely have the SSG by this point, (if you got the secret) this final fight shouldn't be much of an issue, it is a little more difficult if you retreat back into the narrow 64x64 hallway, as it becomes more difficult to dodge the baron's projectiles, but still, this is not very hard to beat. I wish the final encounter could have been a little bit more robust.

 

This is a fun little techbase w/ some cute little details, as well as some decent smaller-tier combat. Check it out, if you have 10-12 minutes to spare! :)

 

Spoiler

 

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Download link: https://bit.ly/3nflBGh

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Found this on this week Er\IWA interaction, i'm thinking to review and show you in this space instead. Yeah, is that good for me!

 

Trilogy by Chris Spain (Doom, E1M1 to E1M3, 1995, played with Eternity forseti 4.0.2

 

DOWNLOAD LINK

 

Spoiler

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A surprisingly good and unknown (even if i think to have read this title before in some wad recommendation) small mapset made by mr Chris Spain, sets in the city of Paris starting your adventure at Duroc metro station (that actually exist, and now i get the "joke" with hot girls pictures...) and the raid the town searching for demons that have invaded it, including various places like a hospital, shops, raw apartments, sewers and hidden hellish temple with a graveyard and a last bastion into a small castle-like place, all divided in 3 levels parts. Even if not been a groundbreaking map in form of detailing, the clever usage of layout formation, little doomcute and sector detailing, new graphic works including new animated textures, fun gameplay (maybe too easy for though challenge lovers, but still etertenaing) and a strong dose of semi-realism making feel "real" this little section of Paris occupied by demonic forces makes this a pretty good map for a short play with a neat mapset!

Edited by Walter confetti

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Pick Up the Gauntlet. - 10/22/1996 - played via GZDOOM 4.1.2

 

PUtG is a map w/ a very interesting premise by Martyn D. Waddington. You start this map unlike any other Doom map I've ever played - directly in front of the map's exit. The readme is quite entertaining, and explains as to why this is the case. Basically, you were flirting w/ an imp, and she slaps you out the window - you then have to choose if you want to run away and press the exit immediately, or if you want to confront the imp and her "Cyberdemon father".

 

Upon choosing to enter the building, you'll notice the door behind you is now locked w/ a red key. The goal now is to find the red key, and escape! There are just under 300 enemies in this map, (as well as a few SS Troopers for some unexplained reason) so expect quite a bit of resistance on your quest to teach that imp a lesson. There are also 0 official secrets, although a little bit of secret progression is required to complete the map - more on this later.

 

There are many different challenges in this 'gauntlet' - there is a section where 4 different small rooms combine to form a larger fight, there is also a really cool BFG room - this is also where you'll find the blue key. I think you're supposed to tiptoe around the lit path in the room, until you snag the Big Gun. I wasn't able to do this, as I seemed to have set the trap off immediately - once the BFG raises up on its little platform, I don't think it can come down - which makes the map a little bit more difficult.

 

There is also a series of nearly identical orthogonal rooms - once you get to about the third room, you'll teleport to the first room again - I wasn't able to figure out how to make progress here - I think the teleport is used just to make the imp encounter in these rooms more dynamic, as it moves them around the rooms to surround you. Upon completing the map, I checked out this area w/ noclip, and it seems like you're not supposed to 'get past' the teleporting line, but instead approach it from the other side.

 

How do you get to the other side? You'll need to take two extremely long elevators deep into the earth to defeat the imp's Cyberdemon dad. You can then take one of the few elevators in the Cyberdemon's den up to the orthogonal room section, if you wish. You can try to fight the Cyberdemon down here, but without the BFG - it really seems like a losing endeavor, as the arena you fight in is quite irregularly shaped, making it difficult to dodge rockets - regardless, this room is important, as it houses the yellow key. I didn't kill the Cybie, but the readme confirms that it is possible even without the BFG - nice to see that that was playtested.

 

Once you get the yellow key, you can use it to open the yellow door at the end of the hallway. This opens up into a somewhat bright library. This library appears to be completely useless and empty at first, but there are 2 very important switches that need to be pressed in here. These switches can be located on the outward facing sides of the bookshelves in the middle of the room.

 

Another unique room is the 'monster closet' room - this is a room filled w/ many doors w/ many accompanying switches. Each of these switches opens up a different closet in this room, where you will be exposed to a small monster fight - careful, the map's only arch-vile is present here!

 

You will eventually encounter the red key, and congrats, you can now use it to exit the map 'officially'! What a peculiar experience this map was. I certainly had a great time though, the readme has a good sense of humor, and the hook of this map is unlike anything I've encountered before - who starts an SP map right in front of an unlocked exit? I think that's a super bold move - but it paid off majorly.

 

A very fun map - highly recommend it to all who like a little bit of weirdness in their retro dooming experience. Takes about 20-25 minutes to complete, maybe longer if you have trouble w/ finding the switches hidden in the yellow key room. I can't find any other maps by this author, but what's here is really solid. :)

 

Spoiler

 

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Download link: https://bit.ly/3frEkK8

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Mediator - 10/16/1998 - played via GZDOOM 4.1.2

 

This is a Boom-compatible map by John Martino that uses a few custom assets - there is a new HUD, a new tree sprite, and a couple custom sounds. Just to get it out of the way, the custom sounds are a little annoying - somebody yells 'BINGO' every time you kill a pinkie, and other monsters will let out ear-piercing screams when they are shot, namely the many revenants in this level. These are far from the worst custom sounds I've heard though, and since there aren't too many pinkies, it never becomes super obnoxious.

 

The map starts you off in a blue room where you can immediately see all the keys required for the level. Once you try to retrieve them, you will then be teleported to a very large circular arena. This arena is massive, and holds a few nasty traps - one of the nastiest being the 3 pain elemental fight that occurs when you go to pick up the RL.

 

There are 3 different colored fountains in this map. There is a blood filled one, a nukage filled one, and a deep water fountain - which makes use of Boom's 'deep water' effect. Crossing the nukage fountain will raise the yellow key, as well as a small pack of revenants. Make sure you grab the rocket launcher and plasma rifle from this large circular arena, before continuing on to the blood fountain's teleport - this is important if you don't want to be left relatively defenceless against the coming red-key battles.

 

The red key area is very dangerous, and is definitely the most difficult part of the map. There is a large hallway that opens up and releases hitscanners as you progress. This is followed by an ambush, where you're essentially sandwiched between two large clusters of angry imps - this is tricky, as there isn't much room to dodge them from both sides in the hallway you're in. Once you complete this fight, you'll find yourself pitted against a room w/ approximately 10 revenants in it - you don't need to kill them all, as some are just used as turrets. Keep in mind there is a switch on the back of one of the switches in this room - and it is absolutely needed for continued progression.

 

Upon taking the teleporter back from the red key area, you'll be confronted by more revenants - these guys are easy enough to mop up, though. The last, (and easiest) encounter is in the blue-key area. This area is accessed by diving down into the water fountain, and pressing the partially obscured switch that is there - you can then cross the close-by teleporter line, and be brought back to the surface. From next to the fountain, you can see that a new wall has lowered and that there is a new teleporter to enter - but be quick, as the walls around the teleporter will raise again, if you aren't fast enough to enter it. This teleporter takes you to a duel w/ a single arch-vile; you can then snag the blue key. Once this area is all done, you can teleport back to the main circular arena, and return to your start point via the now available return teleporter.

 

Once you reach the starting area again, you use all 3 keys to open the locked triple door in front of you. This will present you w/ a Romero head. This head is a little bit funny, as the author replaced the typical 'pain' sound effect w/ "Owie, Stingy" - Romero's head also yells something different when it dies, but I wasn't able to make out what was said.

 

Fun map - w/ a little bit tricky progression, (if you never decided to investigate the fountains in this map, you'd probably not get very far) the combat is good, though, and the overall detailing and architecture is quite good - this is a pretty attractive map, especially the large circular arena.

Takes about 20 minutes or so to complete! :)

 

Spoiler

 

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Download link: https://bit.ly/3A5ku0N

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Spacelab - 09/05/1996 - played via GZDOOM 4.1.2

 

Spacelab is a really solid spacebase themed level by Keith Hickman. Some of you reading this might remember him as the author of Calgon,Take Me Away!, a map from far earlier in this review cycle. Like CTMA, this map has custom assets. There are new text textures to better differentiate regions of the spacelab from one another, there are new sounds for all of the enemies, (they aren't too bad in my opinion) and the Mission Impossible theme is playing loudly the entire time - the author also took the time to replace / rename all of the difficulty options in the main menu, too.

 

The map starts you off in a large open area, where you can really get a good look at the map's custom sky, and exit door - you'll notice right away that there is a large lava crevice situated in front of you. According to one /idgames reviewer, it is possible to get across this crevice without having to complete the level. I imagine this has to be done via SR50, but as I play keyboard-only, I had major difficulty replicating this claim - regardless, it is quite difficult to pull this manoeuvre off, even if you were playing w/ a mouse. I don't consider this a strike against the map - correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think players in 1996 really knew about SR50 - so I can't hate on the map for that.

 

This is a very dynamic level, w/ about 190 enemies, and a high amount of secrets. A lot of the fights in this map are enjoyable - w/ my favorite likely being the mancubus trap in the mess hall(?) - the mancubi are extremely dangerous in this room, as they take up far too much space to allow you to reliably circle-strafe - you'll need to be careful here.

 

My favorite area of this map is probably the reactor room - although I had some confusion in understanding how to open the required door in there. Turns out, all you have to do is travel across the middle of the four reactors, and it opens! I spent too much time humping walls in this room, as I had too low of health to cross the hurtfloor in the middle of the reactor cores without dying. This isn't that obscure of progression at all, as most people will likely cross the middle area at some point - I just didn't because I had too low of health. Another cool area of this level is the 'stairbuilding' room - this room has 3 seperate staircases that form in front of you - I thought this was a nice effect, as the sound effects were different than the normal ones you expect to hear - it is always neat to see that much movement all at once in a Doom map.

 

The red key section is likely the most dangerous place in this map. You'll need to complete two separate 'trials' to make the red key accessible - these are the most deadly fights in the map, and is where the only arch-vile and pain elementals are in the level. Once you get the red key, and open the red door, you'll be greeted by an imp ambush - this was really fun, as the imps try to spawn behind you - I recommend just triggering the trap, and then retreating immediately. This trap isn't very difficult to beat, but can be a little tricky if you're caught by surprise. This is where the only cryptic part of the level is. If you look carefully, you'll see an unaligned texture in the corner of the room, (see screenie 6) - that opens a door, where you can press a switch. This lowers the two 64x64 pillars in the room, and the teleporters to the exit are now available.

 

Very fun map, really enjoyable combat and exploration - the secrets were nice, too. Check it out if you have about half an hour to spare, and are looking for something a little quirky. :)

 

Spoiler

 

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Download link: https://bit.ly/3tAMrwz

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3 minutes ago, Walter confetti said:

Looks like the sky from Xeno11, is that one?

Good eye, I'm pretty sure it's the exact same one! :)

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5 hours ago, beast said:

I really *dig* this Wadarcheology concept.

A pun of this level must be a bannable offense. Mordeth, show no mercy.

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It seems at long last I found one of the old wads I played many many years ago that still stick to memory.... I just need to beat it to feel worthy enough to make a post about it here lol, thankfully it is just a one level thing. (Actually since this thread started I finally found it, but I have been so busy, but I may have time now). No one else seems to have reviewed it here so I still have a chance haha. 

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