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E.J.

Chex Quest legalities..?

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I'm interested in finding out what the legal status of the Chex Quest games are? Chex(R) Quest, and Chex(R) Quest 2.

I noticed the wad I downloaded contained Ultimate Doom resources like maps E1M9-E4M9, enemy sprites, Doom music, and more. Not to mention, the entire game is stamped with GM's Chex references/images.

Does anyone know what it'd be classified as? Freeware, shareware, ... warez?

I actually found a CQ addon text that mentioned that CQ didn't originally contain the doom resources. It mentioned the original CQ wad was merged with Ultimate Doom, and repackaged with Doom Legacy a few years back. Is this true?

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E.J. said:

I actually found a CQ addon text that mentioned that CQ didn't originally contain the doom resources. It mentioned the original CQ wad was merged with Ultimate Doom, and repackaged with Doom Legacy a few years back. Is this true?

No. I have one of the CDs that was distributed in boxes of Chex cereal. The IWAD file on the CD is a modified Ultimate Doom IWAD. It's always been that way.

I don't know if it's even possible to legally redistribute the Chex Quest files anyway. Presumably it's copyrighted material just like Doom is. Unlike Doom, it's certainly the case that nobody is going to care if you do redistribute it, though. I certainly wouldn't call it "warez".

Although chex.wad is obviously derived from doom.wad, there was definitely an effort to expunge as much of the Doom material as possible. I remember reading somewhere that they did this deliberately because they were worried that it might cause some kind of scandal. The executable, chex.exe, was similarly cleaned of any Doom references in its internal strings.

That said there are a few things left over. The most obvious is the presence of the Doom levels and their associated music. The sprites and wall/floor textures have been carefully cleaned, and I imagine the sounds have, too. There are a few graphics left in there that they apparently missed - the animation of "THE END" being shot up, the episode 2/3/4 end screens (the "bunny" scroll graphics and the Doom guy holding a severed rabbit's head!), the INTERPIC episode 4 skin texture, the episode selection screen graphics, level names and intermission screen maps.

None of this stuff appears while you're playing the game. The level warp cheat is fixed to only allow you to warp to the five Chex Quest levels, although you can use -warp from the command line to access the others. The game crashes before the "controversial" end screens are displayed, so the only way to see them is with a WAD editor. That said, considering the "Hot Coffee" saga several years ago, I do wonder if Chex Quest could potentially have ended up being a huge PR headache if this stuff had been publicly revealed at the time.

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Wait... there's a hot coffee mod for Doom?

BTW, some of the "extra" monster sprites in Chex IWAD are blank, so that makes it real challenging to play E2M8, for example (without loading a gfx PWAD).

E1M8 is too easy. The bruiser bros are stuck in their cells... :)

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hex11 said:

BTW, some of the "extra" monster sprites in Chex IWAD are blank, so that makes it real challenging to play E2M8, for example (without loading a gfx PWAD).

They blanked the monsters that don't appear in Shareware Doom, I wonder if that was the mod's base before it became a licensed product?

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fraggle said:

No.

...

I certainly wouldn't call it "warez".


Whew... *Silently undeletes file*

Thanks for all the info.

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The original Chex Quest CD is quite an interesting bundle. This is the closest thing to a copyright note/License you fill find: http://i51.tinypic.com/2dt1655.png Not a whole lot on the do's and don'ts as you can see.

It seems to me that they didn't want people to know this game had anything to do with Doom, and there would be good reasons for that on several grounds.

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Porsche Monty said:

Not a whole lot on the do's and don'ts as you can see.

Copyright notices need no mention of "don'ts", it automatically prohibits the redistribution of the work unless the copyright notice explicitly allows it.

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There's probably hundreds of PWADs that have stuff from the Doom or Doom II IWADs embedded in them, either because of ignorance, sloppiness or just not caring on the part of the author. And then you have all the derived sprites, e.g. imps with wings or recolored barons of hell.

So if you want to only play PWADs that are "kosher" according to strict copyright law, then you're in for a hard time, because you'll have to check every single one you download. And then you'll probably find out that some of the really cool megawads you hear about are full of that stuff...

Is it worth going through all that trouble? Where to you draw the line? (questions for you to ask yourself, only you can answer them)

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DoomLegacy, when it detects Chexquest, now blocks the Doom bunny pics, bloody letters, and other doom stuff from leaking through, so that parents can let their kids play Chexquest. Some kids had managed to find them.

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hex11 said:

BTW, some of the "extra" monster sprites in Chex IWAD are blank, so that makes it real challenging to play E2M8, for example (without loading a gfx PWAD).

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Wow, I didn't think that would even be possible! My hat's off to you. They should change your custom title to Master of the Cyberdemons, or something.

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