Monday, December 5, 2016

maintenance mode

CURRENT STATUS: backfilled through May 2016

I've been using Imgur.com to host the screenshots seen on this blog since back in 2011. However, unbeknownst to me - not that ignorance is any excuse - using it in such a manner is forbidden by the Terms of Service. As a result, and due to an inquiry I had made recently, Imgur has salted the earth and blocked any viewing of said screenshots on this blog. That sucks! Especially since they didn't tell me about it, not that they needed to since what I was doing was forbidden by the ToS. I don't know if that used to be the case, back when I started using it, but that's the way it is now! And to think, I used to have an Imgur Pro account.

The Good News: I already had a Dropbox account with more than enough storage space, and I'll be slowly going through and backfilling all of those beloved screenshots.

The Bad News: This is going to take a long time, during which this blog will be nothing but sweet, sweet words.

I've had my work cut out for me, gentle readers. You'll probably see some reviews, but I'll be spending a lot of time bringing these hard-won screenshots back to you.




Addendum 12/8/16: If you are dying to see some screenshots, they are still where they've always been. Finding the appropriate album at https://kmxexii.imgur.com should load them all, after which you can refresh the review post and see it as it was originally intended. I'm systematically deleting the images and albums as I update the links to Dropbox-hosted material, though, unless someone has a really good argument that can convince me otherwise. Virtually no one has trawled the more recent albums so keeping them around doesn't feel palatable after Imgur's stealth-ban.

The plus side, unless you have a really slow internet connection: No more 640 x 480 images! Everything is being linked at the 1280 x 960 I took it at, at least until I get to the stuff where the Imgur copy is the only surviving backup. Go take a look at Ancient Aliens in gorgeous, hi-res.

Mayhem Mansion (MAYHEMM*.PK3)


(This review is an expansion and edit of my review for the original, single-level release of Mayhem Mansion. The original is still available here.)

Mayhem Mansion had an original release back in 2013, a single level drawing inspiration from the notorious and obscure FPS, Exploding Lips. In 2016, the saga of Mayhem is complete, and while it's still full of magical-thinking moon-logic, I feel like I have a sense of closure. The final iteration of Mayhem Mansion has a grand total of eight levels for ZDoom, the last two being the final boss and credits maps. It's got enough puzzling and exploration to make for a full megaWAD's worth of time, though. If you are looking for something that plays like Doom, well, you should probably just look elsewhere. This is a fantastically different experience.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Warp House (MA_WRP.WAD)

WARP HOUSE
by Ed Cripps


Ed Cripps may only release one level a year, but if anyone has shown where GZDoom can push the level design of Doom, it's him. Mostly known for his Sin City series, which rolled on into stuff like Valhalla and the Quake II-like Putrefier, Ed's levels typically feature painstaking level design including architecture, detailing, and lighting. 2016 is no exception with the publication of Warp House. It is, unsurprisingly, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II. It's also saturated with only the finest eye-candy that slopes and 3D floors can produce. Alas, there is no framing narrative to set the scene; I guess the least you can do is come up with your own after Ed did all the hard work!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lilium (LILIUM.WAD)

LILIUM
by "Lainos"


Lainos graced us with three releases in the 2016 season. Comatose was a continuation of his exploratory style, further expanding the world of Sacrament. Urotsuki 2 took the broad architecture and texture experiments of his Urotsuki trilogy and folded it into the mythology of the Object series. Lilium has something from both but belongs to neither. It is not an invitation to explore one of Lainos's very personal worlds but rather a chance  to share in something intensely personal. That said, it's still a Doom II level, a MAP01 replacement that's meant to be played in a limit-removing port that can play .OGG files. As always, pr-boom+ is recommended by the author and I concur since pointing yourself toward the park crushed my framerate in ZDoom.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

THT: Threnody (THTTHREN.WAD)


You don't maintain the /idgames archives for eighteen years, marshal the Doom community's longest-lived and most productive authorship collective, and found what became the de-facto standard for "advanced" source port features without getting some kind of a send-off. While we were fortunate enough to pass him the Espi award in 2014, it wasn't until he died in 2015 that the community attempted to pay tribute in a more familiar format. The end result of the Ty Halderman Tribute Project: Threnody, a 20-level megaWAD for Boom released in 2016.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Echelon (ECHELON.WAD)


Sverre Kvernmo has an authorship career that began with his Cabal series, split between solo releases and the Master Levels for Doom II, and seemed to end with the first edition of Eternal Doom, authoring among other things the enormous, intricate MAP12, "Darkdome". He went full in to game development but never truly left the fold, peeking in every now and then. Sverre returned in 2013 with the visually striking Plasmaplant and at some point began his PAR project. PAR was to be a Doom II megaWAD whose casual 100% completion times could be accomplished within the original Doom II's par times as set by John Romero. The restriction must have lost its lustre, though, and what was once PAR evolved into Echelon.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Vectra, the Last Mystery (VECTRA.WAD)

VECTRA
THE LAST MYSTERY
by Paul Corfiatis


Paul has a listing of pretty much all of his PWADs on his homepage, www.paulcorfiatis.com, including the jokewads he has just about disowned. Vectra is not among them, and after playing it, I can see why. 1999 was a pretty busy year for Paul, kicking out The Twilight Zone II: Final Dreams as well as releasing Death Tormention and Death Tormention II, plus a bunch of other little scraps. Vectra is... a MAP01 replacement for Doom II. While I suspected that PC_WOLF's sky was Star Wars-related, there is no question about Vectra's, since it's spelled out in a comparatively extensive backstory.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Toxin Refinery (PE1_TOX.WAD)

TOXIN REFINERY
by Paul Corfiatis


Before embarking on Simply Phobos in 2004, Paul Corfiatis was no stranger to kickin' out the love for Phobos-themed maps. Some of these ended up in The Twilight Zone and The Twilight Zone II megaWADs, but this map marks Paul's first standalone Romeroian excursion. Toxin Refinery is an imaginatively-titled remake of the original Doom's E1M3, released in 1999 along with a bunch of other odds and sods. Also, like a "Bad Dream", it's got a secret level for the secret exit; more fun in the Martian sun. I'm guessing that the bonus level's name is "Magna", since it's written into the level geometry.