Favorite Doom 1 maps

Ever since Doom 2 came out I kinda forgot about Doom 1. Always thought that the lack of monster diversity would be too much to bare after the additions to Doom 2. But recently I decided to replay all the old school Doom games and realised I actually like Doom 1 more than 2. Simply put the athmosphere and "story" in 1 is great, makes 2 seem like a collection of 30 random maps. It all comes down to the maps. They actually seem like genuine locations (especially episode 1). As a kid I didn't really care about that, it was just all out action, but now I can appreciate the atmosphere found in the maps of Doom 1.

That being said, thought I'd list my top 5 favorite maps from Doom 1. I'd like to hear others favorites and opinions of these maps.



5. E3M6 - Mount Erebus

Definitely the most unique Doom 1 map, being outdoors and very open ended. I think it works very well for the 3rd episode, feels like you are fighting on the surface of Hell. Would have liked to see more outdoors maps for ep3 to further make it stand out from the previous 2. Guess E3M2 is an outdoors map, but due to very limited space doesn't feel much like it. Anyway, think Mount Erebus was very well pulled off for Doom's engine.


4. E2M6 - Halls of the Damned

This map always creeped me out. The ominous music and the brightly lit hallways create a nice contrast. You just know something bad is around the corner. I want to get out of here as quickly as possible! With the many Barons of Hell in such tight corridors I find this one of the hardest maps of Doom 1. I also like the quest to go out there and find all the 3 keys, which you can do in any order you want.


3. E1M2 - Nuclear Plant

This is a great example of what I wrote above. The map simply feels like a genuine location and looks beautiful. When I think of Doom 1 this is the map I have in my mind. The dark corridors towards the end always scared me as a kid. I like how the dark area is completely optional and filled with secrets. If you brave yourself to go there you can get the chainsaw. I love how you can get a glimpse of the chainsaw area from another part of the map, making you wonder just how the heck can you get there. All in all, this map just feels right and oozes with atmosphere.


2. E2M2 - Containment Area

Some reason this map always reminded me of the film Aliens. I didn't really think about it before, but the map has no zombies. Think they really were going for a special scary feel with this map. You just feel lost and scared running around the crate mazes. Like how the players in co-op spawn around different parts of the map, again adding in to the feel of being alone. The map also makes great use of the yellow key, rewarding players who return back to the crate area to explore those previously locked doors. Oh, and it has that very cool crusher section near the end. Again, great atmosphere, and a well designed map that feels like a genuine location.


1. E1M3 - Toxin Refinery

This is my favorite Doom 1 map. I like everything about this map, from the eerie music to the well designed layout which forces you to track back to previously visited areas. I can imagine massive battle taking place in the map between the marines and hell, before the marines being overrun and a calm silence falling over the place. The map also introduces the player to the demon and spectre.

This map has a great sense of mystery to it. Tons of cool and well hidden secrets. I like how the map shows you a glimpse of these secrets (the soul sphere in the window, the zombie filled secret level area you can see from the window above, a box of rockets up there where the imp was). Seeing them makes you search for a way there. The secrets are also well executed, just hugging and pressing every wall won't cut it, most of them require you to listen carefully for audio cues. It was a perfect choise to have the entrace to the secret level on this map.

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I can't remember E2M6 off the top of my head, but I'd largely agree with that listing actually (perhaps not the order, so much). I always did like E3M6 in particular (which seems even better as I don't like E3M5 or E3M7 much at all). I'd probably have to put Pandemonium (E3M3) in there somewhere, as that, E3M2 and E3M6 are the only E3 maps I actually like.


All told though, I'm not really that impressed with (Ultimate) Doom these days. I think the community makes much more interesting levels and only E4 (well... before the last couple of maps) and E3M2 (relatively sparse supplies and unpredictable monster distribution contribute to this) really provide much of a challenge for me these days. My preference for playing in ZDoom is probably part of this.

I can appreciate the nostalgia value, the wide raft of ideas and the strong sense of theme (particularly with E1) but it's not much good for me to play and visually it doesn't impress me much.

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I really like e3m2, the most natural-looking of doom maps.

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I looooove Deimos Anomaly even though it's real short

For some reason every time I play Command Center, i feel like I haven't seen everything yet. I think i replay that one the most.

I also really like Phobos Lab, Slough of Despair, House of Pain, and E4M2 (I always forget the names of the E4 maps) Unholy Cathedral is growing on me too.

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Scypek2 said:

I really like e3m2, the most natural-looking of doom maps.


I second this. Mountainous areas shaped like giant hands work pretty in Hell. I have fond memories of playing Computer Station as a kid, I could never forget that layout. Felt quite foreboding, really felt like how a penultimate level should. Always hoarded my rockets for those Barons though, they gave me lots of trouble back then.

Perfect Hatred deserves a mention as well, mainly because how shocked I was to see a Cyberdemon in the second level, and how unforgiving it was.

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My favourite maps = all E1 maps. Because of everything - style, gameplay, atmosphere, great deathmatch, easily recognizable areas -> not mazes.

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E1M3
E1M6 (what's there to hate?)
E1M7
E2M2
E4M3
E4M6

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40oz said:

I looooove Deimos Anomaly even though it's real short

For some reason every time I play Command Center, i feel like I haven't seen everything yet. I think i replay that one the most.


<3 <3

E2 is the shit. That's when it felt like things were getting serious.

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My favorites are as follows:

e1m5: So many secrets. I loved that this map had so many places to explore.

e1m8: It's just, awesome.

e2m4: Creepy, dark, lots of exploring.

e2m6: Same as above, but even more so.

e3m4: Just a really cool map.

e3m9: First time I ever had that kind of WTF! factor in a game.

e4m2: Damn hard, and I like that.

e4m6: Same as above, just an awesome map.

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House of Pain
Mt. Erebus
Threshold of Pain (PSX)
Twilight Descends (PSX)
The Marshes (PSX)

Always prefer maps for their atmosphere and music rather than the gameplay style.

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Marnetmar said:

E1M6.


Awesome on nightmare mode.

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I like E3M4 a lot. It has lots of little areas that use textures and architecture nicely to make some memorable hell setpieces. A lot of the individual textures are used in previous maps, but in E3M4 (and to a lesser extent E3M3) the ideas really come together to make a bizarre yet verisimilitudinous Hell.

Off the top of my head, E3M4 has:

Starting rooms: walkways over lava on one side, snakeskin floor with blood-discolored gutters on the other.

Courtyard with, of course, snakeskin and wood-and-skin panels, and two huge crushing pillars that seem unbelievably tall and are, as far as you can tell, just suspended there ready to pulverize the bodies and souls of the damned.

Viewports into a green marble room that is just filled with pillars bearing torture victims, with a lake of their blood on the floor. The room on the map is small but it's constructed to give the illusion that there might be a huge maze of columns filled with much more pain and suffering than you can see from peering in.

A short red marble corridor with fiery coals for a floor and windows filled with fire, that I believe damages you--one of the few places in vanilla Doom where there's a damaging environment that isn't a liquid floor.

A sadistic (for the newcomer) switch puzzle with a maze of opening and closing demon faces.

19 years later, we all know what a stereotypical 'Doom hell' looks like. If we sit down to make a map, we have a toolbox of visual tropes that we can do with stuff like marble, different skin textures, etc. Not that a lot of people aren't still making new variants on Hell in Doom, with custom textures and stuff, of course--but back when these levels were being made ALL of this was new and coming out of their minds. It's one of the reasons the original levels still impress me as much as they do. Ditto for E1 and E2, of course, but I've always been much more of a hell-level fan (can you tell??).

E3M5 also deserves an honorable mention for the (again, new at the time) device of the bizarre runes cut into the walls in the hallways and courtyards, but less of the stuff about the rooms and hallways is new at this point in the episode.

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E2M6: Halls of the Damned

This is a great map, I feel every weapon and item was placed perfectly and and the two long hall ways offer no space for dodging - something I'd normally view as a negative but the claustrophobic feels works great in that map. The lighting is perfect and is one of the two maps that make good use of the light amplification visors, E1M5 is the other one. The music to this map is fantastic and I love how the (real) exit can be seen just seconds after starting the level -- such a great taunt. The fake exit makes you feel like this was actually easy, and after fighting through those tight halls, it feels like an appropriate place for the level to end - after a struggle. However, that exit betrays you. The first time I saw that exit and pushed that button I just couldn't believe it.

Halls of the Damned is also probably my favorite Tyson map, that or E2M2: Containment Area. Actually Halls of the Damned for sure, the berserk pack is placed perfectly and the Barons of Hell make the level real tough.

E4M8: Unto the Cruel
An amazing map, and a much better boss battle than E3M8: Dis; this felt like a proper ending to Doom. The demons and specters below make fallowing down much more punishing than just floor damage. The flood of enemies to first encounter when that first Door is opened is a great struggle on Nightmare! and Ultra-Violence -fast, and once that doors closes, there's no going back, there's no place to run, no place to hide. The first teleport leads what looks like a real place, maybe the outside of a ancient castle of some great king. I love how you first see a stream of blood but once you get to the berserk back area, you see water -- as if it's a symbol meaning there's still good in this world.

The use of the four Barons of Hell in the center area was great, and I love how the spider was protected with all those monsters -- unlike in Dis. Just a great level with great music and a blast to play on both single player and multiplayer Deathmatch. Every doomer should experience a four player DM on Unto the Cruel, it's fantastic. I wrote in another thread that [b]"ID's iWAD maps were generally not suitable for a good deathmatch experience but Thy Flesh Consumed is an exception."[b] Unto the Cruel is one of the best DM maps ever.

I will add more when I have time.

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E1M7: Amazing.Masterpiece, it's Romero's best map, I think.

Ironically my favorite map is one NOT made by Romero but by Tom Hall and finished Petersen(and I HATE his levels because of their ugliness) The map has a bit from every episode and gives you a LOT of freedom and has tons of interesting shapes and interesting use of colors.

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antares said:

E1M6 (what's there to hate?)


I agree. I liked E1M6 for deathmatch. Not one of my favorite maps in the game, but I really do like playing through it.

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Many good maps - the one that made me really fall in love with Doom was...

E3M6

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E1
There are other maps in my favorites list but E1 is the only entire episode that I love.

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40oz said:

I looooove E2M1 even though it's real short

For some reason every time I play E2M5, i feel like I haven't seen everything yet. I think i replay that one the most.

I also really like E1M5, E3M2, E3M4, and E4M2 (I always forget the names of the E4 maps) E3M5 is growing on me too.

I hope I converted your maps properly, 40oz.

The quintessential doom maps by their respective episodes for me are probably:

It's really hard to pick an E1 map, so I'll pick one that gets least mention of E1 maps, and that is E1M4: It's not my favorite map, but it has a really classic feel to it and does "location verisimilitude" really well.

E2M2: 'cause everyone else is on the bandwagon with good reasons.

E3M4: this one always sticks out in my mind when I think of E3 for the reasons jerrysheppy pointed out.

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E1M5
E1M6
E1M9
E2M3
E2M4
E2M6
E3M2
E3M6
E3M7
E4M2
E4M3
E4M5
E4M7
E4M9

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All episode 1 maps because of barrels fun which turn zombies and imps into giblets.

E2M2 because of fisting fun!
E4M3 because of rockets and plasma spam!
E4M8 same situation as E4M3 !!!

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E1M1
E1M2
E1M4
E1M7
E1M8
E1M9
E2M1
E2M2
E3M2
E3M9

A few more probably, but I can't remember them all.

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E3M2, because it have cool natural mountainous feel.
Mount Erebus, for being really open.
E2M9 and E3M9, secret levels must have gimmicks!

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I really like The Mansion from PSX. The bookcases and hallway carpets are really nice scenery. Not to mention how it is full of surprises, where passed walls open to reveal monsters when you go further in the level.

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Here are my favorite Doom maps, and a reason why I liked them:

E1M1 - Hangar: Even though this map was short the design was great and it was really fun to play through it. I also liked the outside area with the mega armor. The music was great too.

E1M2 - Nuclear Plant: I liked this map because of how dark and eerie it was. I also like that computer maze it had too.

E1M8 - Phobos Anomaly: This map was good because of the beginning part on where you got to blow up the pinky demons and then battle the barons of hell in the star shaped arena. I liked how you were teleported to a room where you get defeated by monsters and then get transported to the next area in the next episode.

E2M3 - Refinery: This map was good because of how it had that room with the lifting flesh floors. It also had the intermission music which made it more fun.

E2M4 - Deimos Lab: This map was dark and scary and I really liked it for all the points of interest such as the room with five different doors. The music was creepy in this map and it's one of my favorite tracks.

E2M6- Halls of The Damned: This map was great because it was like an actual maze while other maps were like normal buildings. The part that's really crazy is the fake exit which is a trap. Yes Sodaholic, I like this map so deal with it.

E2M7 - Spawning Vats: This map was well detailed, large and very fun to play. It provides a real challenge too so if you like challenges, then you'll like this map.

E3M3 - Pandemonium: This map was insane and challenging. The details are great as well. One of the things I really like about this map was that it had the all powerful BFG9000 in one of the areas with a lava pool.

E3M4 - House of Pain: I really loved this map because it made me feel like that I was actually in hell. It also gave me a good feeling of playing Doom. The room with the view of the dead bodies was scary too.

E3M6 - Mt. Erebus: This map was great for being the first open map where you can run around all over the place if you had a radiation suit on because of how it has lava all around it.

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