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Janizdreg

Doom II promo screenshots analysis and origin

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As you may know, the back cover of the original Doom II box features some curious screenshots that obviously aren't from any of the commercially released versions of Doom II. Now, what I'd like to know is from which version are these shots actually from? Some pre-release build perhaps?

I felt curious enough about this to create a short analysis on the differences between the promo screenshots and the actual Doom II 1.9 IWAD levels. Here goes:

Left column screenshots:

Right column screenshots:
  • Pain Elemental & Cacodemon shot: no idea which level and location.
  • MAP15 Hell Knight shot: exit area (verbatim copy I belive).
  • MAP15 Sergeant & Commando shot: roughly the same location and differences as in the lone Commando screenshot + different lift structure.
  • MAP11 Arachnotron shot: at the yard just before the blue key area (and the Arch-Vile trap), uses SKY2 instead of SKY1, possibly different floor texture on the stairs.
In addition to the origin of these shots, if anyone happens to have anything to add to my differences analysis (especially to the Pain Elemental one), please do share.

EDIT:
One thing that makes me curious is the red splash thing on the right in the Sergeant & Commando shot. Is it an Imp fireball blowing up or some monster gibbing perhaps? Whatever it is, I doubt it would be seen in 1.9 since in it there are only zombies on the top floor. Unless it has something to do with the nearby Cacodemon or something.

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Fisk said:

It might just be me, but I think the Arachnotron sprite in the right column bottom screen may be a bit different.

Excellent observation. The brain part of the sprite actually resembles the Mastermind more than it does the final Arachnotron sprite due to brighter colouring and a less grey tone. Another difference is the weapon, which seems to have four barrels instead of the single barrel in the final sprite. Which makes me wonder if id's initial intention was to arm the Arach with a chaingun....

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Well, considering that the Arachnotron is a sprite edit of the Mastermind, it's possible that they had its behavior implemented but just hadn't completed the sprite work for it yet.

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That's very much possible too, yes.

But anyways, overall I can't help but to be amused by the usage of all these developmental screenshots on the actual game box. IMHO, in a sort of subtle way it even adds a bit more weight to the claim that Doom II was a rushed product.

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Janizdreg said:

Which makes me wonder if id's initial intention was to arm the Arach with a chaingun....

If you load doom2.wad with the 1.6 executable (1.5 works as well, but requires the exe to be edited), the Arachnotron does use a chaingun. It's also missing a death frame, and will crash the game after it is killed. All of the other monsters use their final behavior, but with placeholder projectile sprites and sounds. The only other major change is the Revenant, which jumps before firing, and always fires homing rockets. A few things (Megasphere, Wolfenstein SS, Icon of Sin) aren't implemented so attempting to load a map with them will crash. If you want to check it out, you need to load doom.wad and doom2.wad as pwads:

doom.exe -file doom.wad doom2.wad

(Found out about this in the unofficial changelog.)

These screenshots are pretty interesting. I always wondered if there were any prerelease shots of Doom 2, didn't expect them to be on the back of the box.

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This thread is pretty interesting.
I once saw this alpha picture and asked myself where this could be taken.



Later I found out that it is just the south-west corner of MAP26, except its using the DOOM 1 sky. I AM A GENIUS.
Not spectacular, but since it`s a photo of the alpha version, it counts. (=
Also, stuff like the other enemys and the barrels are missing.

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And grey marine corpses, to boot.

Dragonsbrethren said:

The only other major change is the Revenant, which jumps before firing,

And how does he do that?

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printz said:

And grey marine corpses, to boot.

They're there because it's a deatmatch game. With monsters to boot! (Which is a combination I never understood.)

Another quirky fact about these pre-release screenshots is that id has used them over and over again in later Doom II re-releases. At least the 1995 Windows edition, the 2007 Steam re-release and the game profile & download page at id's site all feature the same pre-release images. I know it's a common practice in the business to recycle promotional material, but it doesn't make repeated beta material use any less lame and lazy.

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I would like to note the god mode used in shots 2-6 on the back cover. Most likely screen shots from a run intended solely to take the screen shots.

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printz said:

And how does he do that?

The whole sprite moves up about half its height. It looks pretty lame. I've never paid close attention to it, it's possible there used to be a frame dedicated to the animation that was repurposed for something else, making it look worse than intended. An example of that is the SSG firing and reloading sequence, which plays in a completely nonsensical order, meaning those frames originally used different graphics compared to the final.

Janizdreg said:

Another quirky fact about these pre-release screenshots is that id has used them over and over again in later Doom II re-releases.

The MAP15 shotgun guy shot is used on the back of the collector's edition, too.

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I like how 5 out of the 8 screenshots use godmode. ;)

If I remember right, the guy in map16 has one more key than is possible in that map.

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Vile said:
If I remember right, the guy in map16 has one more key than is possible in that map.

Yeah, he typed iddqd, idkfa, shot 8 bullets and wasted all the energy ammo.

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Janizdreg said:

I know it's a common practice in the business to recycle promotional material, but it doesn't make repeated beta material use any less lame and lazy.


Kinda like on the Starcraft box, they display beta pictures.

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myk said:

Yeah, he typed iddqd, idkfa, shot 8 bullets and wasted all the energy ammo.


Not only that, but since when did the BFG use bullets? ;)

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Revved said:

Not only that, but since when did the BFG use bullets? ;)


Not only THAT, but the screenshot above it has the exact same stats. Did they copy/paste the status bar or something?

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"OMG WE NEED PROMO MATERIAL!"

"All right, calm down."

"WE SHIP IN FIVE HOURS!"

"!"

"WHAT DO WE DO?!"

"Go get some screenies, but hurry, for God's sake."

"ON IT!"

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