Once upon a time, when I was a high-schooler, Doom 2 reached my newly bought PC, a 386 with memory and video card so small, that is nearly impossible to comprehend nowadays. Of course, after playing Doom 2, I was interested in the first installment too, but still, the second part was the one that hooked me into the FPS genre for a great while. I loved the aesthetics, the maps, the guns, the justified genocide of demons. It filled my mind so much I even had some Doom themed dreams, and they were awesome! After a while I realized, there were software for creating levels and map packs for my favorite game, so I jumped into learning to use them, and soon after I was able to make some modified maps of the originals. But that wasn’t nearly enough, so I started to design my own levels.
First, I just made unconnected maps, but after seeing Plutonia, the Star Wars mod, and many more, I thought about making my own pack. For whatever reason, I named it SOS, and in my middle school bad English knowledge, it surely meant something (the last S was “solution” I think). I collected whatever MIDI music, WAV sounds I could, changed a bunch of the original ones in the WAD. Also I got some basic drawing tool, and meddled with some textures, and I made my own version of the status bar. Unfortunately, the story/texts between some of the levels were hard coded in the DOOM2.EXE, so the rewritten story (lol) was lost in time (unfortunately that’s what happened to my ABUSE maps too… ABUSE was a 2D platformer, alien shooter).
I usually started a map with a core idea of what it should be about. Or if I knew some neat trick, or some cool visuals, I built an idea around that. For example: I wanted to make a prison level, with rooms full of bodies and demons that perform the torturing: that’s how the Chamber of Torture level was born. Or: It would be cool to see the cyberdemon, but it cannot attack you as it’s imprisoned: so the Set him free! map was born. I usually made small, compact maps, as my first PC had memory issues, the bigger the map, the more memory it needed to save/compile. This map pack was never finished, as I built stuff for it over years, and after a while I didn’t have any more ideas, or I just got bored of it, or life came along with its problems, and time consuming nonsense. Still, I made 16 levels, which is half of the original maps for Doom 2. 14 of them I made in a continuous manner, I made a 2nd secret level, and a 30th level, and here’s the list of them:
map 1.: Head Quarters/Home Base (It’s a military base)
map 2.: Chamber of Torture (An old prison in hell)
map 3.: Upper Catacombs (Small catacombs)
map 4.: Dirty Tricks (There are some traps here)
map 5.: Set him Free! (To exit, you have to let loose hell)
map 6.: Outway from Hell (Some temples, that hold the key for a portal)
map 7.: Old Metro Station (An abandoned station deep in a mountain)
map 8.: Waterworks (A facility near the mountains)
map 9.: Hidden Labors (A laboratory hidden in a library… it even has a small cinema!)
map 10.: Repair Facility (A repair station with some dark secrets)
map 11.: Transit Company (A depot in a city, there’s a truck you have to get to)
map 12.: Zombie City (A small city overrun by demons)
map 13.: Crematorium (A complex for the dead exit in the flames of course)
map 14.: Home, Sweet Home (This is my parent’s house, garage, basement and all)
map 15 – 29.: N/A
map 30.: Monolith (My finishing level with the Icon of Sin, it’s doable, though not easy)
map 31.: N/A
map 32.: City of Vilcabamba (This was built after the demo map of Tomb Raider)
It was a blast, I loved Doom and Doom 2 so much, I still play these games after years and years. When I heard John Romero would be in Hungary I was excited to hear and see him talk in person about this stuff. I read Masters of Doom, saw countless YouTube videos and read articles about how it was made on the internet, but still, this was another level. I also had printed out two big posters, and I asked John to sign both, and he did. One I gave to my cousin as he also loves the Doom franchise, and I have the other hanging on my wall.
Interestingly, Doom 3 wasn’t my cup of tea at all, nor the new Doom and Doom Eternal games. I see why people like these with high octane action and all, but when I hear “doom” I immediately see 256 colored sprites, straight walls with big pixels, and hear the satisfying hum of my BFG 9000. 🙂