THE UN-OFFICIAL MASTER LEVELS FOR DOOM II FAQ

Version 1.02

By Henrik Larsen

With contributions from John W. "Dr.Sleep" Anderson, Jim Flynn, Shawn Green, Chris Klie, Sverre Kvernmo, Ledmeister, Rez, Rob Hayward, Tom Mustaine and John Romero


Disclaimer - Foreword - The History - Technical stuff - Versions & repackages - Overall review - The Master Levels revealed - Makers of Master Levels - Maximum DOOM - Miscellaneous - Revision notes


Disclaimer

This document, known as "The Un-Official Master Levels for DOOM II FAQ", is the copyrighted work of Henrik Larsen. Most quotes are either from contributions sent to me or from sources in public domain. A few copyrighted texts have been quoted though. Links to copyrighted material (such as FAQs, homepages and interviews) are included as a service to the reader only. The author has nothing to do with the contents of those pages; for all I know they might not even be up anymore. CATACOMB ABYSS 3D, DOOM, DOOM II, The Ultimate DOOM, Master Levels for DOOM II, Final DOOM, The Depths of DOOM, ID Anthology, QUAKE and QUAKE II are copyrighted products of ID Software. HERETIC is the copyrighted product of RAVEN Software. STRIFE is the copyrighted product of ROGUE. OUTLAWS is the copyrighted product of LucasArts. REDNECK RAMPAGE is the copyrighted product of Interplay Productions. ETERNAL DOOM is the copyrighted product of TeamEternal. BOOM is the copyrighted product of TeamTNT. Other copyrighted titles mentioned in the document belong to their rightful owners.

You may distribute this FAQ as long as no copyrights are violated. Any comments, complaints etc. on the FAQ must be directed to the current maintainer(s). My work is done now and while I certainly welcome them, I cannot be held responsible for any corrections and updates beyond version 1.01. Of course that doesn't mean that I'm not around anymore. If you'd like to discuss anything DOOMish or merely say hello, please feel free to mail me at mycroft@get2net.dk.

Thanks to the following without whom etc.:

-John W. "Dr.Sleep" Anderson for Master Levels info and scanned pictures

-John Carmack for Master Levels info

-Bernard "BD" Devaux, maintainer of The DOOMoscope, for giving me the address of Christen David Klie

-The guys at Doomworld for notifying the public of my efforts :)

-Jim Flynn for Master Levels info and endless patience with my questions

-Shawn Green for answering a lot of questions on the Master Levels project

-Rob Hayward for info on the ID Anthology

-Lee Killough, wherever you are, for various info

-Christen David Klie for Master Levels info

-Sverre "Kranium" Kvernmo for Master Levels info

-Ledmeister, maintainer of The DOOM Support Site, for his extensive key solutions, lmps and lots of advice

-Tom Mustaine for kind words

-Rez for some interesting information

-John Romero for Master Levels info

-Frans P. de Vries, maintainer of The Rec.Games.Computer.DOOM FAQ, for his encouragement and advice


Foreword

Thanks for reading this FAQ. The opportunity to tell the world about Master Levels for DOOM II is an old dream come true at last.

Why write a FAQ on the Master Levels? Well, many DOOMers seem to be ignorant of the Master Levels CD or at least of its content. To date there has only been a small technical FAQ from ID to satisfy their curiosity.

I first heard about an official add-on pack for DOOM back in 1996. You couldn't buy it in stores in Denmark, at least not to my knowledge, though Dr.Sleep is pretty sure it was retail in Europe as well as in the US, so maybe I just wasn't looking in the right place. Anyway, as I already had The Ultimate DOOM, DOOM II and Final DOOM, The Master Levels for DOOM II was to me a sort of missing link. I had no idea of what exactly was included in the package. The only source of information available at that time, Hank Leukart's Unofficial DOOM FAQ, version 1.666, included with The Ultimate DOOM, was from 1994. Shrouded in mystery, the title became an obsession. I simply had to get hold of it. Then I was connected to the Web in the fall of 1997 and actually about to order the CD from ID, when to my surprise and delight the budget collection The Depths of DOOM was released.

Then during December 1997 I toyed with the idea of writing a FAQ of sorts. Heck, I decided, why not? Problem of course was that it was easy enough to write the synopsis, but the actual work would need a lot of information. But I was in for a pleasant surprise: people out here in the DOOM community are (most of the time) nice and helpful. Really!

The structure of this FAQ is as following: The History chapter explains how the Master Levels project was conceived and executed. The Technical Stuff is a collection of links to official (and unofficial) support pages. Versions & repackages deals with just that. Then there's an overall review of the 21 Master Levels. The Master Levels revealed contains some very detailed and lengthy solutions to the trickier levels. Then the focus is on the people behind Master Levels, as you get some inside information from the level designers and former ID Software people in their own words. Maximum DOOM deals with the compilation of amateur wads included on the Master Levels CD, and Miscellaneous is, well, miscellaneous items such as a proposal for the 21 levels strung together in a mega-wad. Finally, the truly dedicated (or people suffering from insomnia) can follow the progression of the FAQ in my Revision Notes.

Henrik Larsen, Copenhagen, Denmark, March the 21st 1999


The History of Master Levels for DOOM II

Important note: This chapter was written on the basis of information collected from the Internet and from mails sent to me by Master Levels designers and former ID Software people. For more details on subjects covered here, go to the chapter "Makers of Master Levels" later in the FAQ, as the following is only a brief summary.

During 1995 ID Software was busy developing The Next Big Thing (QUAKE). However, DOOM being such a success and amateur wads floating around all over the Internet, they decided to step in and release a legitimate add-on product. The company was getting increasingly irritated about the various CD-collection of wads for sale in computer shops, as no one paid ID any royalties. They couldn't really take legal action against those products, because the DOOM software license allowed users to create their own levels as long as the exe file wasn't hacked or wads weren't sold with a profit (apart from coverage of expenses to media i.e. floppy disc or CD). So they decided to outdo the wad-collections instead. Also, this was, I may dare say, an opportunity to once again cash in on a popular product. The Ultimate DOOM, a retail version of DOOM with a new fourth episode, "Thy Flesh Consumed" added, had been released in late spring that year to great success.

Thus, a team of skilled wad designers was gathered with Shawn Green as the coordinator of the project. Team members were John W. Anderson and Tim Willits, who both had designed some of the levels for "Thy Flesh Consumed", Sverre Andre Kvernmo, Christen David Klie, Jim Flynn and Tom Mustaine. The job was to become a great boost to their further careers.

Each member was asked to contribute to a DOOM II add-on CD but not whether the goal was to create a full episode or, as it turned out, twenty so-called Master Levels (actually that's twenty-one, if you are able to find the secret elevator in "Teeth.wad"). The odd number of levels has led some of the designers (who never met face to face during the making of the CD) to suggest that the original plan was indeed a 32-level episode. However, in a mail to me, John Romero makes it clear that no such plans ever existed (though, curiously enough, Shawn Green in his contribution ignores the subject).

Included with the Master Levels was an archive, titled "Maximum DOOM", of 201 assorted wads for DOOM and 1,629 for DOOM II. However, although this collection is authorized by ID Software, the files were simply downloaded from the net and are not the property of the company like the twenty Master Levels. Most of them can still be found on download sites today. Both titles, Master Levels and Maximum DOOM, are executed from a shell program named DOOM-IT. The CD also contained the dial-up program DWANGO for play on the Internet as well as locked, full versions of DOOM, DOOM II and HERETIC. You could (and still can, I guess) unlock the games with passwords provided by ID, once you registered. The release date for the CD was December the 26th 1995.

Most people today rate the Master Levels for DOOM II positively. The levels are hard, but not insanely so (like "Plutonia Experiment", part of Final DOOM, but that's another debate), and while an overall storyline or concept is missing, they are well designed.

Regarding the Maximum DOOM archive, those wads are not canonical and anyway have been outdone by more recent titles. Some people have argued that it was a bad move for ID to include the archive on their CD (one of the points being that it wasn't particularily well done; see later chapters). But it must be stressed that, while today you can easily download tons of levels from various Internet sites in short time, if you have a reliable connection, back in 1995 the Internet was limited to far fewer users and the download areas were restricted. For this very reason the CD collection D!Zone had been very popular among DOOMers; now ID wanted to get a little profit out of the market too. Obviously it would be easier to sell a product with 21 official levels + 3,000 levels as bonus than the plain 21 levels. And indeed this was the case.

As History has proven, the effort from ID to put an end to independent wad projects was a failure as such, but it gained DOOM even more support and provided the gaming industry with some very talented designers. In that light the achievement of The Master Levels for DOOM II cannot be underestimated.


Technical stuff

a. Essential tech info:

To install and run Master Levels, you'll need a PC with double speed CD-ROM drive, a 386/33 DX processor (486 DX recommended), MS DOS 5.0 or higher, minimum 8MB RAM and a VGA monitor, i.e. the same as when you play DOOM or DOOM II. The Master Levels, unlike Final DOOM, is an add-on product; you'll need either DOOM II or Final DOOM to run it. Note: Unless you hack it, the shell program DOOM-IT (that is installed to your harddisk) can only be used to run the wads included with the CD, not your own add-on files.

b. Problems with Master Levels:

Note: The following information is unofficial.

According to Rez, there are installation problems with the CD. I quote from a mail (late 98) sent to me:

The CDROM itself doesn't seem to be defective as far as I can tell, but there is an error in the LHA compressed file. All the other files extract fine, but not that one. It may have been a bad production run, or maybe I just got lucky. :)  There are some zero-byte files among the WADs sections, which implies some sloppiness on the part of whoever prepped the files & made the CD. I have another CD here where the first byte of the first file is missing, and since that file is an executable naturally it won't work!!

As Rez states, this is probably a case of bad production. My own copy of the CD is the one included with the Depths of DOOM package and appears to be okay.

There is a bug that sometimes crashes Manor.wad. It is caused by limits in the DOOM engine and can be fixed by running Master Levels for DOOM II with the BOOM engine by TeamTNT (see comments by Jim Flynn on this in the chapter Makers of Master Levels, later). Also, people have encountered bugs in co-op play of some levels.

This is not a bug, but I've received a question to the problem, so here goes: when you choose to load an individual wad file manually (most relevant to DOOM95 users), sometimes the level in the wad does NOT replace map01. Read the accompaning text files or (optimally) check the index in my FAQ (below).

c. Useful links:

I've found a few official ID support pages (PC version). Try http://www.idsoftware.com/text/masterlv.txt or alternatively http://www.idsoftware.com/text/techsupmld2.html .

There are two GT Interactive Support FAQs, one for the PC port at http://www.gtisonline.com/pc/mldfaq.html; one for the Mac port at http://www.gtisonline.com/mac/mldmac.html .

Beside PC and MAC, there are versions for other ports available, such as the Sony PlayStation title Final DOOM, which includes 13 Master Levels. Go to the DOOM (All Platforms) Support Site of Ledmeister at http://members.aol.com/ledmeister/index.htm

The DOOMoscope, maintained by Bernard Devaux, at http://doomnation.com/doomoscope/ has a couple of Master Levels reviews.

For information on DOOM in general, go to the Rec.Games.Computer.DOOM FAQ, maintained by Frans P. de Vries at http://www.gamers.org/pub/archives/doom/periodic/RGCD_FAQ.html.

The definitive source for what's currently going on in the DOOM community is Doomworld at http://www.doomworld.com/.

If you've read so far, you're obviously interested in the history of DOOM. In earlier versions of this FAQ I would recommend the site of Lee Killough (creator of Man's Best Friend, a great DOOM engine) which contained vast information on the alpha versions, demos of (in)famous bugs, interviews with members of ID Software etc., but unfortunately he has left the Internet and removed all his webpages. However, there is now the 5 year anniversary DOOM site with interviews, the DOOM Bible - and more. http://5years.doomworld.com/


Versions & repackages

Even though there are (minor) bugs in some of the maps or at least map designs that could need a bit of improvement, ID never made any patches or upgrades for the Master Levels. The only available version is v.1.0.

However, the *product* Master Levels for DOOM II has been repackaged for inclusion in at least two ID Software collections: The Depths of DOOM and the ID Anthology.

The Depths of DOOM is a low-priced repackage of the first three DOOM titles. The content is:

Disk 1: The Ultimate DOOM v.1.9 (dos+win95), HERETIC v.1.2 (shareware)

Disk 2: DOOM II v.1.9 (dos+win95)

Disk 3: Master Levels for DOOM II, Maximum DOOM, DWANGO v.2.02, IDstuff (locked versions of The Ultimate DOOM, DOOM II, HERETIC)

The ID Anthology is a super duper boxed set of practically everything made by ID Software. Thanks to Rob Hayward who has mailed me a list of the content with some info on individual titles. Note that the Maximum DOOM archive is *not* included with this set and that the version of Catacomb Abyss differs from the commonly available shareware version. (Actually I have never been able to track down the commercial version.)

Disk 1 - Vintage:

Online manual (basically just contains the various readme files in a nice formatted interface).

'Vintage' Softdisk, ID, Apogee games all with some input from the 'core' ID team:

Catacomb Abyss, Catacomb 3d, Dangerous Dave, Hover Tank 3D, Commander Keen episodes 1-3, Commander Keen episode 4, Commander Keen episode 5, Commander Keen Aliens ate my babysitter (note only CGA version supplied), Keen Dreams, Rescue Rover, Rescue Rover 2, Shadow Warrior - Note this is a 2D platform type game and nothing to do with the 3DRealms game of the same name (though presumably an 'inspiration' given the interlinked histories of the two firms). Slordax, Wolfenstein 3D, Spear of Destiny

Disk 2: DOOM

Second copy of online manuals. Ultimate DOOM - Looks like the standard Ultimate DOOM (i.e. 4 episodes) including win95 interface + dwango95. DOOM2 - Again contains win95 + Dwango. Final - contains the two Final DOOM WADs, presumably as originally packaged (i.e. with the DOOM95.EXE). Master - contains a standard install.bat with the master.1 master.2 files - this installs the DOOM-IT utility and the 20 standard WAD files, each with their .TXT file.

Disk 3: Quake

Standard Quake install (quake v1.06) - no extras.

Disk 4: Mac

As I don't have a Mac I can't read this, but the box says: Ultimate DOOM, DOOM II, Final DOOM, Wolfenstein 3D

Extras:

Just to complete the list you also get: Two metal Dogtags (!), 3.5" Pewter Cyberdemon (Cool!), T-shirt (nice understated design), DOOM Comic book (naff), Poster, History of ID book (pretty good).

There are two Catacomb games on the CD, the one of interest to us is Catacomb 3D, this is credited to the same team as the 2D game.

I just dloaded Catacomb Abyss (shareware) and this seem a more developed version of Catacomb 3D (artwork and engine clearly the same as are some of the cheat codes!).  Credits are different, with no mention of John Carmack, but Adrian Carmack still *one* of the artists and the QA team the same, however the Catacomb 3D engine is credited to ID Software.

I'm going to guess that Catacomb 3D was a work in progress when the core ID team left Softdisk to set up by themselves, and was developed into a fuller game by what was left of Softdisk.

--

So much for the official releases. How about warez and pirate CDs? Well, concerning the first, I have out of curiosity scanned the Internet for warez sites that carried the title Master Levels for DOOM II, with negative results. Then there is the question of illegal distribution on disk or CD-ROM. Actually, I read a post on DejaNews (dated 1996/12/05) about an add-on product containing some of the copyrighted levels. This isn't necessarily intentional by the producer though, if the source is the Internet (and it probably is).


Overall review

Important note to the player who considers him/herself just plain average: The title "Master Levels" is in a way misleading. Don't worry (too much) about not being able to survive the levels. Those twenty-one levels are *not* of the same difficulty. While some are indeed very challenging, others can be quite easily completed, just like the original DOOM II levels. You'll probably find some Ultimate DOOM levels to be harder! In other words: It's not an exam you'll have to pass to earn the title Master DOOMer. Rather, it is a showcase of great (and diverse) levels, made by skilled independent designers. I'll recommend Attack.wad and Canyon.wad for starters.

There is no overall storyline for the twenty-one levels, but some of the designers made their own. The one who has put the most work into a concept is Dr.Sleep, who draws his inspiration from "Inferno", the juiciest part of The Divine Comedy by Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1262-1321). As some of you might know, this masterpiece of poetry describes a virtual descent into Hell. ID Software themselves did use ideas from "Inferno" with level names such as "Gate to Limbo" and "Dis" (DOOM, E3), but Dr.Sleep actually has created a whole cycle of Dante-inspired levels. In addition to his Master Levels contribution, he has released two free "Inferno" DOOM II levels and a third is in the making. The architecture of his levels is Greek/Roman, green walls with carved figures, temples, starred night sky (lots of it). His levels are very large and airy, giving the player space to avoid attacks, but he also packs them with monsters and his puzzles are very difficult. I must recommend Vesperas.wad as an awesome level, the only drawback being a hardcore difficulty setting.

The levels of Sverre Kvernmo constitute a D&D-like story. You are a former Cyber-demon (!), who for obscure reasons was kicked out of a secret underground council "The Cabal". Naturally, you now want to get even with the council. The levels have clever puzzles and are very hard, especially Mephisto.wad (a variation on DOOM II map 30, and even tougher) and Teeth.wad (two levels, the secret one is pure insanity). A lot of open spaces in Mephisto.wad, some in Blacktwr.wad and Bloodsea.wad, while Teeth.wad invites to claustrophobia.

The levels of Jim Flynn have something to do with the moons of Saturn. This is also the case with his free levels, but I'm not sure it's a continued storyline as such. His two Master Levels, Manor.wad and Ttrap.wad are large and take hours merely to explore. Actually, Manor.wad is *too* big as it sometimes crashes. The main part of the level takes place in various rooms and the whole thing is surrounded by a battlement of sorts with hordes of Arachnotrons and Mancubuses firing at you when you peek out. I've watched a demo by Ledmeister on ultra-violence so it can be done, but I wouldn't recommend it to any fainthearted. I'm having a hard time on hurt-me-plenty myself. Besides, the puzzles are extremely cunning, and I still have to cheat to exit.

Neither the levels of Chris Klie, Tom Mustaine or Tim Willits have any developed storyline. The levels of Chris are somewhat similar though, in that most of them are set underground. If you're a newbie, start with these. Fairly experienced players can finish most of them without saving and IMHO they are the most entertaining of the whole bunch.

Below, I've done some rough ratings of the levels. These are my very personal opinions and flames will be ignored.

Level name Replacing Designer Game difficulty Puzzles Rating (* to ****)
Attack.wad map01 Tim Willits Easy few ****
Blacktwr.wad map25 Sverre Kvernmo Hard some ***
Bloodsea.wad map07 Sverre Kvernmo Hard some ***
Canyon.wad map01 Tim Willits Easy few ***
Catwalk.wad map01 Chris Klie Fairly easy few ***
Combine.wad map01 Chris Klie Fairly easy few ***
Fistula.wad map01 Chris Klie Fairly easy few ***
Garrison.wad map01 Chris Klie Semi-hard some ***
Geryon.wad map08 Dr.Sleep Hard some ***
Manor.wad map01 Jim Flynn Mega-hard plenty ***
Mephisto.wad map07 Sverre Kvernmo Mega-hard some **
Minos.wad map05 Dr.Sleep Hard few ***
Nessus.wad map07 Dr.Sleep Fairly easy few ***
Paradox.wad map01 Tom Mustaine Semi-hard few ***
Subspace.wad map01 Chris Klie Fairly easy few ***
Subterra.wad map01 Chris Klie Semi-hard plenty ****
Teeth.wad(1) map31 Sverre Kvernmo Mega-hard plenty **
Teeth.wad(2) map32 Sverre Kvernmo Mega-hard none **
Ttrap.wad map01 Jim Flynn Hard plenty ***
Vesperas.wad map09 Dr.Sleep Mega-hard plenty ****
Virgil.wad map03 Dr.Sleep Semi-hard some ***


The Master Levels revealed

Be warned: This chapter is very long!

Some levels are fairly straightforward and need no solution; all you have to do is survive the enemy and rush for the exit. I have written a few notes for them, though. Others are indeed nasty, tricky business. For those, Ledmeister has provided detailed key solutions (he actually wrote the most of the chapter). Deathmatch has not been tested.


Attack.wad (Attack) by Tim Willits

If the Master Levels had been created as an episode this would be the perfect start. Attack is the easiest of the levels; basically a small fortress, guarded by various soldiers and Imps with a Revenant and Mancubus thrown in near the exit. I found all weapons except the BFG9000.


Blacktwr.wad (Black Tower) by Sverre Andre Kvernmo "Cranium"

This one is hard! There is a generous use of teleports and puzzles. If you're not careful at the beginning, you can block the way to victory. And if you do finish, there is a nasty surprise at the exit (hint: E1M8). Ledmeister explains:

At the start of the mission, you'll appear at the western side of the map, in a walled-in outdoor courtyard. You'll be facing east towards a large black tower. To the northeast of your starting position, about halfway along the north wall, is a stairway which dips below ground, leading to the exit chamber, which is guarded by locked doors and barriers.

Here's how to get the keys to open the exit:

YELLOW KEY

From the western courtyard, proceed east to the black tower and enter it through the demon-faced door on the tower's west side.

This tower is basically a tall, hollow, 8-sided tube (or "cylinder"), and there are four doors at the base: one each on the north, south, east and west sides of the tower. You just came in through the west door.

Turn left and go out of the tower through its north-side door. This door leads out to another outdoor courtyard surrounded by low walls. Turn northeast, and look for an opening in the wall in northeast corner of the courtyard. Enter the opening and follow the short tunnel to a skull switch on the left-hand wall at the back of the tunnel. Activate it, and go back to the tower.

Enter the tower through its north-side door, and once inside, exit the tower again through its east-side door. Again this door leads out to a courtyard. In the middle of the courtyard wall ahead of you to the east is a switch. Activate it and go back and re-enter the tower. As you go back into the tower through its eastern door, look left (southwest) for a skull-switch sticking out of the floor on a flattened vertical post. Activate this switch on the post, and a spiral staircase will emerge, running along the curved wall of the tower.

The base of the stairs begins at the eastern door. Go up the stairs, and follow them all the way to the top. At the top, look to your right for a catwalk that starts near the top of the stairs and runs southwest to the top of the huge, pillar-structure that occupies the center of the tower. Start down this catwalk. Ahead of you is a teleporter in the center of the platform that the catwalk leads to. Step into the teleport area and you will appear inside a chamber within small structure, facing south towards a door. This structure is at the center of a closed-in 8-sided room, or octagon.

This room is one of five separated, individual octagonal areas, which are clustered near each other on the east side of the map. This first octagonal area is referred to as "Octagon 1". Step out of the chamber and turn right, walking clockwise along the outside of the central structure, until you come to a chainsaw on your right. Grab the chainsaw and activate the face-like switch you'll see on the wall behind it. Now walk around to the opposite side (east side) of this structure, and look for another face-like switch on the wall, and activate that. To the left of this face-switch, some bars will rise up, allowing access to a skull switch, high up on the east wall of the structure. Activate this skull switch to open a "cage" at the north side of the structure. Go around to the north side, and note that a single, central bar of the cage is raised, allowing access to a lion's-head switch on the back wall of the cage. Note that as you step up to this switch, this bar becomes a crushing device, like a pile-driver, and will repeatedly rise up and push down again in a cycle. Be careful not to get caught under it.

Activate the lion switch, and the wall section that this switch is on will drop, revealing a skull switch behind. When you activate this skull switch, the outer northwest corner of the central structure drops down temporarily, allowing access to a teleporter booth, just outside the cage and to the right of the skull switch. Activate the switch, then run backwards, out of the cage, then run for the nearby northwest corner of the structure. When you step into the teleport area, you'll re-appear in "Octagon 2", another octagonal area, which is divided up into many rooms and chambers. You'll be facing west, down a short hallway. Behind you is a secret door. Around you is a corrosive floor; don't stand on it too long.

Go west down the short hallway. It leads out to a passage that runs all the way around the outer edge of Octagon 2. Turn right and follow the passage clockwise around to the east side of the octagon. Look for a single brown door with a face on it, to your right. Go through the door and you'll enter into a rectangular room with 4 red pedestals rising from the floor, and 2 more brown doors on the north wall. In front of each door is an explosive barrel. Destroy the one in front of the farthest door (in the northwest corner of the room), and then go through that door. Turn left and head west into a smaller, narrow room with a teleporter at the far end.

Step into the teleporter, and you'll appear on the west side of "Octagon 3". In the center of this octagon is a square pillar that stretches floor to ceiling. On the south face of this pillar is a skull switch. As you step up to this switch, four walls will rise around you, boxing you into the middle of the room. Activate the skull switch.

To drop the walls that now contain you, look for a switch in the southwest corner, where two of the four walls meet, and activate it, dropping the walls back into the ground. Now head for the yellow key on the north side of the octagon. (The skull switch on the central pillar dropped a pedestal that the yellow key was resting on.)

BLUE KEY

When you grab the yellow key near the north wall of Octagon 3, turn west and look for a green torch close by, in the northwest corner of the room. To the immediate left of this torch is a slightly discolored wall texture. This is a secret door. Open it, and step into the triangular room beyond. Turn left and walk to the far-southwest point of the room. As you approach, a wall panel opens, to reveal a small, dark, squarish chamber to the south.

An explosive barrel blocks entry to this chamber. Step back and destroy the barrel from a safe distance to gain access to the chamber. Step inside and look for a switch on the south wall, and activate it. Now go back out to the main room, and back to the tall pillar at the center of the octagon. The north side of the pillar has opened to reveal a teleport booth. Step in. You'll appear in "Octagon 4", facing north. Centered along the north wall of this octagon is a box-like structure. Walk up to the west side of this box, and open the hidden door there. In the northeast corner of this box is a teleporter pad. Step on.

You'll appear at the center of "Octagon 5", inside a box. This box is at the center of a 5-box cluster, arranged in a plus-shaped pattern: There's one box each to the north, south, east and west of the box you're in. At your feet is an Invulnerability Sphere. You won't be able to move without picking it up. The wall you're facing (to the north) will drop if you activate it like a switch or a door. Open this wall and step out. Turn left and go to the west box. Move to the south face of the west box and open it. On the inside of the box, on the far (north) wall, is a switch, disguised as a body, hanging upside-down behind some bars. Step up to this switch (across a corrosive floor) and activate it. (Note that this box, and all the others except the center one, have corrosive floors.)

Now head to the northern box. On the western face of the north box is an opening. Step in, and on the back wall (east wall) is another switch. Activate it and head for the east-side box. The northern face of the east box has lowered to reveal some armor. When you step up to grab the armor, the south box opens.

When you approach the south box, you'll see that its north face is open, allowing access to the blue key, which sits on the corrosive floor of this box.

RED KEY

There is a skull switch on the back wall of the south box (in Octagon 5) where you got the blue key. When you grab the blue key, activate this switch. Now run for the center box in the area. (The switch you just activated opens the northern face of the center box.) Run into the center box, and on to the teleporter inside. You'll re-appear in "Octagon 4" (see "YELLOW KEY" and "BLUE KEY" for information on the "Octagon rooms").

You'll be in a small chamber at the north side of this octagon. There is a skull switch in the middle of the south wall of the octagon. Activate this switch to reveal a teleporter booth in the center of the room. (When the skull switch is activated, the north face of the room's central pillar drops down, allowing access to the teleporter.)You'll appear in a teleporter booth at the center of "Octagon 3". Step out and note that you're surrounded by a four-walled box. Walk to the southwest corner of this box, and look for a face-like switch. It will be just visible behind a pillar. Although the pillar blocks you from standing in front of the switch, you can still Activate the switch from an angle. Doing so will drop the walls that surround you. Walk to the middle of the north wall of the octagon, and turn left (west). Look for a nearby green torch. To the left of the torch is an opening to a triangular room. Enter this room and look for a small square chamber to the southwest. Enter this chamber and look for the red key on your right. (There is also a Computer Area Map item here.)

THE EXIT

To exit the level, you will need all three keys. When you grab the red key, head to the middle of the west wall of the octagon ("Octagon 3", where you found the red key).Once at the west wall, turn right (north) and look for a glowing, bluish-red teleporter pit. Step into the teleporter and you'll appear at one end of a small, narrow room on the west side of "Octagon 2".

Walk east out of this room, turn right and go out the brown door. You'll enter a rectangular room with 4 red pedestals on the floor. Turn left and leave this room through the brown door on the east side. You'll be in a passage that runs all the way around the outer edge of Octagon 2. Turn left and follow the passage counterclockwise around to the west side of the octagon, and look for a short open hallway on your left, leading to a small room with several bodies hanging upside-down from the ceiling. Enter this room, and head for the back wall where you'll find a teleporter pit.

Step on the teleporter and you'll appear in "Octagon 1", on top of a raised teleporter at the northwest corner of a small, central structure. Step down off this structure and look for an opening into the structure. The opening is at the structure's south side. Enter the structure and step into the glowing teleporter pit at its center. You'll appear on top of a high platform in the center of the black tower, facing northeast. Turn to face southwest, and walk forward off the platform. When you land on the ground, look for a nearby switch on a flattened vertical post sticking out of the ground. This should be a skull switch with black eyes. Activate this switch, and leave the black tower through its east-side door.

Turn left (north) and walk around the outside of the tower until you come to its west side. Walk west into the middle of the western-most courtyard. Turn north and walk to the middle of the north wall of the courtyard. Look for a stairway that dips down below ground level, to a passage running north.

Walk north down the stairs and to the end of the passage, and open the 2 doors there, one behind the other.This allows access to an open, lava-walled, vertical shaft. The bottom of the shaft is far below, and its floor is corrosive. (Warning: The corrosive will even overcome an Invincibility cheat code.) The inner-left (west) wall of the shaft is a barrier-door, which blocks access to the exit chamber, which is a small room just to the west of the vertical lava shaft. The red key is needed to open this barrier. Once open, run west into the exit area, and the mission is complete.


Bloodsea.wad (Bloodsea keep) by Sverre Andre Kvernmo "Cranium"

As soon as you enter the courtyard you have to duck from snipers. Seconds later, run from the inevitable Baron. This one features black Imps! Beware of traps when exploring the prison vaults.


Canyon.wad (Canyon) by Tim Willits

I like straightforward levels you can blaze through, and this is one of them.


Catwalk.wad (The Catwalk) by Christen David Klie

This is not as difficult as it sounds (and looks). You are probably already familiar with narrow paths from DOOM II. Follow the left path at the beginning to get a shotgun and some bonus stuff, then return for the right path to unravel the puzzles. There is one tricky switch you have to find, so be sure you have searched everything. The good news is that you don't have to kill all the enemies when you reach for the exit, just run like hell.


Combine.wad (The Combine) by Christen David Klie

The enemy is easy to kill, but watch your step!


Fistula.wad (The Fistula) by Christen David Klie

This is another easy one, except for the Archvile guarding the exit. A good trick is to take him down with your rocket launcher, while he's busy resurrecting dead monsters.


Garrison.wad (The Garrison) by Christen David Klie

This map is very entertaining, with lots of enemies and clever puzzles, such as the yellow key situation. No switches, no rocket-jumps, no teleports. Just jump for it. Overall, it's not _too_ difficult.


Geryon.wad (Geryon: 6th Canto of INFERNO) by John W. "Dr.Sleep" Anderson

A challenging one. Save often, and you might have a chance. I was down to 8% health when I reached the teleport chamber to the final sector, only to face a Baron and some Imps. Wow, the designer had been kind enough to place a mega sphere in the room too. A piece of advice: If you managed to get so far, the teleport leads to a courtyard with Chaingun Dudes, Revenants and Mancubuses en masse. Your arsenal should include a plasma gun; fire away and don't waste a second on strategy. If you succeed, that's practically it.


Manor.wad (Titan Manor) by Jim Flynn

The level sometimes crashes DOOM II, probably because of its size. There are lots of monsters and I haven't been able to beat it yet. Over to Ledmeister:

In MANOR.WAD, you'll need all three keys to get into the exit chamber. Here's how to get those keys:

YELLOW KEY

Note: You'll need to get this key before you can access the other keys.

At the start of the mission, you'll appear on the east side of the map, in an octagonal area. You'll be facing west, towards a distant door in a large structure ahead of you. Go through the door into the large room beyond. This is a somewhat-squarish room, with 4 main doors: One each in the center of the north, south, east and west walls. Turn right and go through the north-side door. You'll enter into another squarish room, with two large pillars running floor to ceiling.

Go to the northwest corner of this room (there's a flashing arrow on the floor pointing to this corner). Step into the corner, facing northwest, and activate the wall (like a switch). The corner section of the wall lifts up to reveal a metallic elevator ahead, in the raised position. Activate the elevator to lower it, and get on. When it rises, look left (south) for an opening in the west wall. This opening leads to a long, raised catwalk, which runs west, past a tall wooden structure to the south. Walk west to the far end of the catwalk, until your face is against the wall. Turn 90 degrees to face south, and walk (or run) forward, stepping off the south edge of the catwalk. You should land on a ledge which runs along the outside of a window to your right. (If you miss the ledge and fall into the small courtyard below, go to the southeast corner of the courtyard, and go up the stairs you'll find there. The stairs lead back to the square room with the elevator in the northwest corner. Go get back on the catwalk and try again.)

Once you're on the ledge, turn west and step through the window. You'll be standing on some boxes which line the east wall of a narrow rectangular room. Walk west, stepping down off the boxes. Turn left and walk south, towards a door at the far end of the room. As you walk up to this door, you'll trigger an invisible "tripwire" on the floor. This causes part of the room's west wall to rise up, revealing a skull switch at the north end of a wide, shallow opening in the wall. Activate this switch, and some boxes to your right (to the east side of the switch) drop down. On top of these boxes sits a yellow skull key. Grab it before the boxes rise up again.

BLUE KEY

Note: Before you get this key, you'll need the yellow key.

When you pick up the yellow key, turn and head southwest to the south end of the room. Drop down off the wooden platform you're on, and look for a tall, narrow wooden door in the southeast corner of the room. Open this door, and take one step through it, east. You'll step into a square room, and you'll be standing on a ledge that runs all the way around the room. In the center of the room are some huge slabs or blocks, stacked up in a rough "pyramid" configuration. Around the blocks is a trench, and around the trench is the ledge you're on. Turn left (north) and look for a skull switch on the wall. It will be just to the north of the door you just stepped through. Activate it. This will cause stair steps to rise up the sides of the pyramid in the center of the room. Now turn and walk east on the ledge along the north side of the room. About halfway along the ledge, turn right (south) to face the pyramid. Run across the trench, and up the steps on the pyramid. (If you accidentally fall into the trench, walk up to the pyramid and activate it like a switch. The outer layer of the bottom slab of the pyramid will drop down, allowing you to get on and ride up.)

At the top of the pyramid is a pillar, and on the west side of the pillar is a "Baron face". Activate this like a switch. It causes a bridge to rise on the east side of the pyramid. Go around to the east side of the central pillar, then turn east and walk down the pyramid steps to the yellow-rimmed door on the east side of the room. Go through this door, into the squarish room near where you started the level. Now turn and go right, out the south-side door. You'll enter into a room that has three large bookshelf-structures in the middle. Look for a stairway to the southeast and go up it. Ahead (east) and to the left you'll find a fireplace. Step in to the right-side (east) half of the fireplace (warning: the fireplace floor is harmful), and open the secret panel on the back wall of the fireplace. Walk into the short secret passage that curves right and south. Look for a skull switch on the back wall of this passage, and activate it. Walk back out through the secret panel, and out of the fireplace.

The wall immediately to the northwest of the fireplace has dropped down. Go north, stepping through this new opening. You'll drop down into a narrow area that has a large window across from the opening you dropped down through a moment ago. Turn right and look east-southeast for a skull switch on the wall.This switch causes a tall, narrow, rounded pillar to drop. This pillar is in the center of the squarish room behind you to the northeast. (You may want to go look for this pillar before you activate this switch.) activate the switch, and run for the pillar, which has now dropped to floor level. When you step on the top of this lowered pillar, the blue key (on top of the pyramid in the next room) becomes accessible: Run west, through the open, yellow-rimmed door, into the "pyramid" room. At the top of the pyramid, a pillar has dropped, allowing access to the blue key which rests on top.

RED KEY

Note: Before you get this key, you'll need the yellow key and the blue key.

As you pick up the blue key at the top of the pyramid (see "BLUE KEY", above), look to the northwest corner of the room for a tall, narrow, blue-rimmed door. (It will be just to the left of a skull switch on the wall.) Go through this door, and look right. A nearby stack of boxes is actually an elevator/lift. Activate this lift and it drops to the floor. Get on and ride it up. When you get to the top, Run southwest to land on the wooden floor in front of a blue-lined door in the southwest corner of the room (be careful not to accidentally jump out the nearby window in the southeast corner of the room). Go through this door, and you'll see a dark room ahead. To your right, running along the west side of the room, is a raised ledge. Follow this ledge south to the far end of the room, where you'll find a red switch on the wall. (If you fall off the ledge, head to the northeast corner of the room, and look for a tall, narrow wooden panel in the east wall. Open it and go through. Turn left (north) and go back through the other blue-rimmed door, in the northwest corner of the room. Continue on until you're all the way back to the red switch.)

When you Activate this switch, it drops an elevator, which is located behind you (north) near the opposite end of the room. Activate the switch, and run to go get on this elevator. When it rises back up, turn to face southeast. Now, from the middle of the elevator platform, run southeast to land on the highest elevated ledge, which runs along the east side of the room. Follow this ledge to an east-side window. When you get to the window, turn east to find a teleporter pad you'll see just on the other side of the window. Step through the window and onto this pad. You'll materialize facing west, looking at a brown wall. Turn right and look for a passage to the northeast of where you appeared. Follow the narrow, winding passage around until you come out into a "bedroom", with a large blue bed ahead and to the right.

Look west out of the bedroom window, to the darkened room beyond. Through the window you'll see the top half of a pillar that stretches up to the ceiling. The base of the pillar is wider than the top half, and so forms a ledge running around the middle of the pillar. In the bedroom, back up to get a running start, and run west, out the window, heading straight for the pillar. You should hit the east face of the pillar, and drop onto the ledge that circles it. Follow this ledge around to the west side of the pillar, where you'll find a skull switch.(If you fall off this ledge, go out the door in the south wall of the room, then go through the west side door in the next room. From here, follow the directions from the start of the "RED KEY" section.)

Note: When you activate this skull switch, be prepared to run to the other pillar in the room, to the southwest. Activate the switch, and a protective barrier drops from around the other pillar. Run to that pillar, and activate the skull switch you'll see on its north face. This causes a door to open in the southeast corner of the room. Go through this door, and follow the passage east-northeast to the red key, which sits on the floor, ahead.

THE EXIT

As you pick up the red key, look for a nearby window, and jump (south) out of it. When you hit the ground, run west to a large wooden door, and go through it to a squarish room beyond. Continue west to a yellow-rimmed door, and go through it to enter the next room.

Look in the northwest corner of the room for a tall, narrow, blue-rimmed door. (It will be just to the left of a skull switch on the wall.) Go through this door, and look right. A nearby stack of boxes is actually an elevator/lift. Activate this lift and it drops to the floor. Get on and ride it up. When you get to the top, run southwest to land on the wooden floor in front of a blue-lined door in the southwest corner of the room (be careful not to accidentally jump out the nearby window in the southeast corner of the room). Take one step through this door, and turn left (east).Carefully take a step or two along the ledge that runs along the narrow north side of the room. Look on your left for a bank of "monitor screens" on the wall. This vertical panel of screens will be slightly recessed into the wall, just to the east of the door you came through a second ago. Step up to this panel and activate it like a switch. It opens, revealing a small chamber.

Step into the chamber, and turn left to find a skull switch on the west wall. Activate it. (This drops a barrier in the exit chamber.) Turn left, and go take one step back out through the secret panel you just came through (it may have closed, so you may have to activate the wall again to open it).Once you've stepped through, turn right (west), and look for a tall, narrow, red-rimmed door nearby in the west wall of the room. Go through this door into the exit chamber. Walk around to the right, and look for panel in the east wall of the exit chamber. Open the panel to find a skull switch. When you activate this switch, another section opens to your left, in the north end of the chamber. When this section opens, another skull switch is revealed in the middle of the north wall. Activate this switch to exit the level.


Mephisto.wad (Mephisto's Maosoleum) by Sverre Andre Kvernmo "Cranium"

This is basically a variant on DOOM II MAP30, only more difficult. Ledmeister once again has the solution:

To finish this level (without cheating), do not use the "-nomonsters" command-line parameter when starting the game; Monsters must be present. To exit this level, you'll need a red skull key and a blue skull key, and then you must destroy a "Boss" monster at the end of the mission.

You begin the mission in the northeast corner of a large walled-in courtyard.  You'll be facing southwest towards a large squarish building, which is located near the center of the courtyard. Watch out for Revenants patrolling the courtyard. In front of you is a backpack, and just beyond that is a shotgun; grab them.  Shotgun shells can be found on the ground nearby to the east.  There is a chaingun, boxes of bullets, and a Berserk Pack in the northwest corner of the courtyard.  You can also find a few Medikits located around the level.

In various places along the outer edges of the courtyard you can find boxes of rockets.  Grab them now, if possible. There are other boxes of rockets, as well as backpacks and some individual rockets scattered around the level.

WARNING: You'll want to have a minimum of 10 rockets in your inventory once you approach the end of this mission; Be sure not to fire all of them off before you confront the Boss monster.

RED KEY

Note: You'll need the red key before you can access the blue key.

The courtyard grounds are dotted with trees, tree stumps, and four-sided, flat-topped columns, or "obelisks". Look for a large wooden door in the middle of the west side of the large central building. Once you're at this door, look west for a nearby obelisk. It will be a slightly different color than all the others. Step up to this obelisk and activate it like a switch.  The obelisk will telescope down into itself, revealing a red teleporter pad on a base (and another Revenant, waiting on top of the teleporter).

When you step up onto the teleporter, you'll appear in the center of the main building, facing north. Surrounding you are four huge "demon-faced" walls: one each to the north, south, east and west. You'll be standing on a wide, raised pedestal in the center of the building.  Four bridges lead away from the pedestal, forming a "plus"-shaped pattern, with the pedestal at the center.  Each individual bridge leads to a wide platform running along the base of each of the four demon-faced walls around you.  All of these platforms are also linked at their corners by diagonal bridges. Watch out for Revenants on these brIDges and platforms. (Note: On skill levels 1 and 2, there is an Invulnerability Artifact located on the south bridge.)

If you fall off of a bridge or platform, look for a nearby teleporter pad on the ground (which will return you to one of the platforms or the central pedestal), or look for one of the diagonal bridges, which can be lowered by activating it like a switch (however this will only work on "interior" sides of the diagonal bridges; the sides which face towards the central pedestal).Raised up high in the center of each "demon wall" is a rectangular, barred window.  Behind each window is a small chamber, and in each chamber is a Mancubus monster. Each Mancubus must be killed before you can exit this building, or gain access to either of the keys. (You can find various weapons on each of the platforms beneath the "demon walls", including a rocket launcher on the north platform.)When the last Mancubus is killed, the four corners of the building will open up at ground level, releasing Hell Knights and Arachnotrons.

Once these monsters begin moving, they may be teleported: Hell Knights tend to be teleported to positions up on the bridges and platforms; Arachnotrons tend to be teleported up into the chambers behind the "demon walls", where the Mancubus monsters were. A red skull key is now accessible.  It's at ground level, resting on a corrosive floor in the northwest corner of the building.  (You'll also find 2 boxes of rockets near the key.) In the southeast corner of the building, at ground level, is a door that can be opened with the red key.  Exit the building through this door.

BLUE KEY

Note: You'll need the red key before you can access the blue key.

Once you have the red key and have exited the large main building, look for a small, separate building in the northwest corner of the courtyard. Watch out for Revenants teleporting into the courtyard. As you approach the small square building in the northwest, use the red key to gain access through a door in its southeast corner.

Inside is one dark, squarish room, with a coffin-like object in the middle of the floor. Look for a switch in the northwest corner of the room, and activate it. Warning: In the center of the room, another Revenant will be rising up out of the "coffin". Head back out to the courtyard, and go to the outer southwest corner of the large central building. You'll see some blue Mega-Armor behind a post at the corner of the building. Step behind the post and pick up the armor.  When you do this, some stair steps will emerge from the ground, just outside of the south side of the building. Follow these stairs all the way up to a door at the top. Go through the door and take a few steps forward.  This will cause a box-shaped part of the wall to open up, just ahead of you and to the right, revealing a box of rockets. At higher skill levels, a Revenant will also be waiting inside this box.

Look to your right (north) for a doorway.  This leads into the back of the chamber behind the south-side "demon wall". You'll probably find a dead Mancubus here, and, possibly a live monster as well.  Step into this chamber. (Note: Walking across the middle of the floor in this south-side chamber triggers an event in the small building at the northwest corner of the courtyard: A "stair step" now rises and falls repeatedly around the outer edge of the "coffin" in that building.  This allows you to climb up on the coffin.  Once on top, you can turn north, and run to get into a small hole in the north wall.  Once inside, look look for a panel in the west wall of the hole, which, when opened, allows access to an Invulnerability Artifact.)

In the chamber behind the south-side "demon wall" is a tall rectangular window.  From here you can look north, out and down upon the interior of the main building. In the northwest quadrant of the building, you'll see a tall pillar, located in the middle of the "pit" which is formed by the bridges that surround the pillar on all sides.  On top of this pillar rests the blue skull key. You can walk out through this window ahead of you, and drop into the main building, or simply walk to the very edge of the window, without stepping all the way through.  When you do this, an invisible "tripwire" is triggered.  This causes that tall pillar in the northwest quadrant of the building to drop down to ground level. Get down into that "pit" in the northwest quadrant to get the blue key.

TO EXIT THIS LEVEL

Once you have both keys, get back out to the courtyard.(You can exit the main building from an open door at ground level in the building's southeast corner.) Go to the west side of the courtyard, and look for a door between two blue torches on the west side of the main building. Open the door to reveal a small chamber.  Inside are a pair of Baron-Of-Hell monsters, and a Megasphere.

At the center of the back wall (east wall) of this chamber is an elevator in the raised position. Before you activate this elevator, be sure you've collected as many rockets as possible.  You'll want a minimum of 10 or so.  You may also want to acquire the Invulnerability Artifact in the small building in the northwest corner of the courtyard, if you didn't use it already.

Activate the elevator to cause it to drop down, then get on and ride it up. The elevator comes up in the back of a wide chamber which is behind the west-side "demon wall".  There is probably one or more live monsters here. In the east wall of this chamber is a tall rectangular window.  From here you can look out upon the now-darkened interior of the main building.  In the distance you'll see the east-side "demon wall".  Behind that distant wall is a chamber similar to the one you now stand in. When you step off the top of the elevator you rode up on, the back wall opens up in that distant chamber on the opposite side of the building.  Behind that wall is a crowd of immobile Spectre-Demons, and behind them is the level's "Boss" monster.

When the Boss monster detects you, it will begin launching small, brown, skull-faced cubes through the air towards the west side of the building.  These cubes will travel through air and solid objects with equal ease, until they reach one of three possible destinations: 1) the north side of the chamber you're in, 2) the south side of the chamber you're in, or 3) an outdoor spot in the courtyard, to the west. When a cube reaches its destination, it spontaneously transforms into a monster.  The monster may be of any type, excluding Cyberdemons, Spider Masterminds, Arch-Viles, Lost Souls and humanoids.

To win the level you must kill the Boss monster.  The faster you do this, the better, as the map will quickly begin filling with monsters. From where you stand in the chamber behind the west-side "demon wall", use your rocket launcher to fire rockets across the open interior of the main building, through the window in the east-side "demon wall" and to the back of the chamber where the Boss monster is. You'll need to use enough rockets to penetrate through the cluster of Spectre Demons, to the Boss.  10 or so rockets should do the trick. When the Boss monster is killed, the mission ends.


Minos.wad (Minos' Judgement: 4th Canto of INFERNO) by John W. "Dr.Sleep" Anderson

Lots of Chaingun Dudes, Barons, Revenants and Mancubuses. It's hard until you get the feeling of the level. The blue key is located at the acid pool; it is of course well guarded. Try to find both the radiation suit and the mega sphere to reduce incoming damage. If you then follow the acid stream, you'll bump right into a Hell Knight and some Imps (and even more guys hidden behind doors).


Nessus.wad (Nessus: 5th Canto of INFERNO) by John W. "Dr.Sleep" Anderson

The levels of Dr.Sleep are tough, but this one is slightly easier than the rest. The trick is to blaze through the sectors, killing everything that moves, grabbing health bonuses and ammo on your way. Luckily, you'll get plenty of room to avoid shots, as most action takes place in the open. There is a Baron guarding some goods in a small cellar, but he is easy to kill, once you know he lurks down there. Wait a minute: I've read the accompanying text file that says: "this is primarily a deathmatch level". Damn.


Paradox.wad (Paradox) by Tom Mustaine

The Mancubuses at the beginning are quite easy to kill, but the Chaingun Dudes are troublesome. Lots of open space to avoid hits, though.


Subspace.wad (Subspace) by Christen David Klie

My advice for the start, when you've opened the chamber that holds the red key and the Lost Souls swarm in, is to fight them off here and now, using fists only (this is tough, but can be done!). There are medikits enough to keep you alive, and you'll need that ammo for the enemies behind the red doors. Later, the puzzle concerning a door unexpectedly blocked is easily solved. Jump through a window instead to get back.


Subterra.wad (Subterra) by Christen David Klie

Like in the cult movie "Subway", you start in the open with intense action; then, after you've killed the Imps and Hell Knights, the rest of the game is a steady descent into subterranean unreality. One of the true challenges comes when you grab an invulnerability sphere and confront four Revenants, armed only with a shotgun (at least I couldn't find anything better). No time for misses.


Teeth.wad (The Express Elevator to Hell) by Sverre Andre Kvernmo "Cranium"

This is the hardest level of them all. It took some serious cheating to find the regular exit and even more to reveal the exit to a secret level, entitled Bad Dream. Did you wonder why no Cyber Demons or Spider Masterminds have been mentioned yet? Well, they're all in here! Ledmeister explains how to get so far:

How to get to the keys and the exits in map 31 ("The Express Elevator To Hell") in TEETH.WAD:

There are two exits in this level: a normal exit (which leads to map 16 in the local DOOM II Wad file), and a "secret" exit (which leads to map 32 in TEETH.WAD).

To get into the normal exit, you won't need any keys. To get into the secret exit, you'll need all three keycards (red, yellow, blue), and you'll also need the assistance of an enemy monster. Note: To access the secret exit in this level (without cheating), do not use the "-nomonsters" command-line parameter when starting the game; Monsters must be present.

You begin the mission on top of a wide, cylindrical elevator in the raised position. Surrounding the elevator are 8 passages, leading off in each of the 8 common compass directions (north, northeast, east, southeast, etc.).

On the Automap (and sometimes in first-person view) you may notice some stylized numerals that mark the floor and ceiling of each of these 8 passages. Passage "1" leads north, and its entrance is located at the bottom of the elevator shaft. Passage "2" leads northeast, and its entrance is somewhat higher in the elevator shaft. Subsequent passages are higher up the walls of the elevator shaft at regular intervals, with passage "8" at the top of the elevator shaft. Part of the way down passages 2 through 8 are vertical bars that prevent further progress in those directions. You will need to start the mission in passage 1. To the left of the entrance to passage 8 is a red switch on the wall, which will cause the elevator to drop slowly to its lowest position, where you'll find the entrance to passage 1.

Enter into passage 1 and head north towards the far end. As you head north, vertical bars may drop down in the passage, preventing further progress north. The bars in passage 1 will automatically rise up again about 30 seconds later.

Continue down the twisting halls of passage 1 until you get to a metal door. Go through the door to small square room. Look on the east wall of this room for a switch, and activate it. The wall section where the switch is mounted will drop down, revealing a small "closet", with another switch on the back wall. Activate this switch. (This will raise the vertical bars in passage 2.) Head back to the elevator shaft. Note that as you walk up to the cylindrical elevator from any passage, the elevator will automatically drop down to its lowest position. If you step up to the elevator and it does not lower, wait a moment, then back up a couple of paces, away from the elevator, and then step up to it again.

Get on the elevator and, when it starts rising again, get off at the entrance to passage 2. (If you miss this entrance, ride the elevator to the top, and hit the switch near passage 8 to lower the elevator again.)Walk to the end of passage 2 and look for a dark open doorway on your left. Step through into a darkened chamber and you'll notice three teleporter booths. Step into the middle (red) one. You'll be teleported into an area just south of passage 5. You'll be at the north end of a narrow, raised pathway. This pathway is intersected in the middle by a similar raised pathway, and these two pathways form a plus-shaped structure. There is a rocket launcher and other useful items nearby.

Look for a red switch where the pathways cross (it will be at the northeast corner of the intersection), and activate it. (This will raise the vertical bars in passage 3.) Go back to the north end of the plus-shaped structure and step on the teleporter pad there. You'll be teleported back to the dark chamber with the three teleport booths.

RED KEY

As you step off the red teleporter pad, look for a secret panel ahead on your right. It will be a diagonal panel in the dark room, at the doorway right before you step back into passage 2. When you activate the hidden panel, the wall rises up, revealing a small chamber to the west with a red teleport pad. Step on. You'll appear back in the area just south of passage 5. You'll be in a dark chamber, raised up a bit from floor level, with a window that looks north upon the plus-shaped structure mentioned above. The red keycard is here in this dark chamber; grab it.

Step down through the window. You'll be near the south end of the plus-shaped structure. Look on the east side of this southern end of the "plus" for a vertical strip that runs floor to ceiling. This tall panel is a different color and texture than that of anything else in the room. Activate this strip like a switch, and it rises up, revealing a switch underneath. Activate it. (This will remove one barrier which blocks access to the blue key, which you can get later on.) Now go to the northeast wall of this room, and look for a pair of recessed "steps" built into the wall: one wide step near floor level, and, above and behind it, a narrower one. On the narrow step is a rocket, and behind that rocket is a switch on the wall.

Walk up to the wide step at ground level and activate it to cause it to drop down. Get on before it rises again. Then activate the smaller step and it also drops. Get on that one and ride it up; then activate the switch on the wall. (This will raise the vertical bars in passage 6.) Now walk back down the "steps" to ground level.

YELLOW KEY

Note that on the northwest wall of the room (see "RED KEY", above) there are recessed "steps" identical to those on the northeast wall. Whenever you activate one of the steps in the northeast wall, the counterpart of that step drops down in the northwest wall.

What you want to do now is activate both steps on the northeast wall, and then immediately run for the steps in the northwest wall, and get on the narrow northwest step before it rises up again. (Remember that run mode is typically enabled by holding down a shift key.) This maneuver may take several tries to accomplish successfully.

Once you're on the narrow top step in the northwest wall, turn northwest and activate the wall panel in front of you. It opens, revealing a small rectangular chamber. Enter the chamber and walk around the corner to your right, where you'll find the yellow keycard on the other side of a narrow partition. Exit this chamber through the same wall panel you entered from. Walk down the "steps" to ground level, and head for the door at the north end of the room. Go through the door into passage 5. If you find vertical bars here blocking your way, simply activate them, and they will rise permanently into the ceiling. Go back to the elevator and get on.

BLUE KEY

Once you've activated all switches mentioned above, take the elevator and get off at the entrance to passage 3. Walk to the end of the passage and walk east through the door there. You'll enter into a small circular room with a short square pedestal in the center, and a pair of switches on some "steps" on the east side of the room. Walk up to the lowest of these steps and activate the switch there. This will cause the pedestal in the center of the room to drop down. Get on it before it rises again.When the pedestal has risen up, Run east to land on top of the step where the first switch was. This allows you access to the second switch on the next step up. Activate it. (This will raise the vertical bars in passage 4.) Go back out of this room, and head west, back down passage 3 to the elevator.

Ride the elevator and get off at the entrance to passage 4. Walk down the passage, past a door on your left, to an open doorway at the end of passage 4. You'll enter into a chamber where there's a window ahead of you, a closed door on your left, and a large glowing panel in the wall to your right. (Behind this glowing panel is the blue keycard, but it is not yet accessible.) Go through the door on your left. You'll enter into a tiny chamber with three doors: the one you just came through, another closed door ahead of you, and an open doorway to your left. Go north through the open doorway.

When you step all the way through this doorway, the glowing panel (back in the chamber at the end of passage 4) opens, allowing access to the blue keycard. Grab it.

(There is a switch nearby that will open the bars blocking passage 5, if you did not already open these bars manually from the room just south of passage 5. To get to this switch, go back to the small chamber with the three doors, and again step north through the doorway that triggered the opening of the glowing panel which concealed the blue key. Now head right, northeast, to a closed silver door. Go through and turn right/east into a darkened rectangular room with "candles" on the floor. Step into this room and follow the candles to a switch in the middle of the south wall of this room. Activate it to raise the vertical bars in passage 5.) Head northwest back up passage 4 to the elevator, and get on it.

If you have not already been inside the room which is south of passage 5, go there now, and activate the switch in the northeast wall of that room (see the last paragraph under "RED KEY" for details) before proceeding to passage 6.

Get on the elevator and ride it up to the entrance to passage 6. Head southwest down passage 6 to a room at the far end which contains five tall, narrow cages. At the back of this room you'll find a switch in the middle of the southwest wall. Activate it. (This will raise the vertical bars in passage 7.) Head back to the elevator, get on, and ride it up to the entrance to passage 7.

Head west down passage 7, past a door on your left, to another door at the far west end of the passage. Go through this door and you'll see a tall, rounded metal pillar in front of you. This is an elevator. Step up and activate it to cause it to sink down into the floor. Get on and ride it all the way up. When the elevator has risen to the top, turn to face north. You may see an Imp or chaingunner in front of you, in a small niche in the wall. Kill it. (This will help allow you to run across the top of the niche in a few moments.) From on the top of the elevator, turn to face west and you'll see some shallow steps in front of you, across a gap of open space. Run west off the elevator to get onto the steps. Go up the steps and turn right. Walk east along the platform which spans the north half of this room. You'll see a gap (where the Imp/chaingunner was) in the floor ahead of you as you walk east. Run east to jump over this gap, and look for a switch on the east wall of this room, near a cluster of armor helmets on the floor. Walk up to this switch and activate it. (This will raise the vertical bars in passage 8.) Jump back down to ground level, and, with the metal pillar to your back, look for a door on the east side of the room. Go through this door, and head east, back down passage 7 to the map's main elevator. Get on the elevator, and ride it up to the entrance to passage 8.

Head northwest down passage 8 to a door at the far end. Go through and you'll notice a staircase ahead of you. Walk up to the "door" at the top of the stairs. When you activate this door, it will not open. Instead, two panels open up in the northwest wall of the room: one panel each to the left and right sides of the staircase. Go back down the stairs, then turn and go to the northeast side of the staircase. Look for the opening ahead to the right on the northwest wall. Walk into this narrow passage, and activate the panel at the far end (northwest end) of the passage. A piece of the wall drops down to reveal a green sphere: an Invulnerability Artifact. Grab it, and immediately save your game if you haven't done so recently.

Now run around to the other side (southwest side) of the staircase, and look for a passage off to the left side of the staircase in the northwest wall. This passage leads northwest, and at the end of it is an Arch-Vile monster. Do not kill the Arch-Vile yet if you wish to use the level's "secret" exit.

At this point you can choose to leave the level through one of its two exits. See "SECRET EXIT" or "NORMAL EXIT", below.

SECRET EXIT

Before proceeding, make sure that: A) you have all three keycards, B) you've picked up the Invulnerability Sphere you found to the right of the staircase in the chamber at the end of passage 8, and C) you've saved your game at this point.

What you want to do now is provoke an attack by the Arch-Vile monster: Walk right up to it. When an Arch-Vile begins to attack you, some flames will appear around and above you for a few moments. Then, as it completes its attack, your body is jolted upwards into the air. A moment after the flames engulf you, begin to walk (or run) southwest, away from the Arch-Vile, and towards the raised open space in the wall in the southwest corner of the room. As the Arch-Vile completes its attack on you, you'll be jolted into the air. If you're moving towards the ledge in the southwest corner of the room, the Arch-Vile's attack may propel you up into this opening. If you don't make it onto the ledge, go back and try again. If necessary, you may wish to reload your saved game. (If the Arch-Vile attacks you when you're not invulnerable, you may take significant damage.)

Once you're up inside this space in the southwest corner of the room, move west/northwest to interpose the corner of the wall between you and the Arch-Vile to prevent further attacks. Now look for a semi-camouflaged door in the northwest corner of this small "cubbyhole" you're in. It will open when Activated if you have the yellow key. Behind this door is another door, requiring a red key. Open that door to find another door ahead and to the right. With the blue key you can open this door, which reveals the blood-red "secret exit" chamber. Stepping into this chamber ends the mission and then takes you to level 32 in TEETH.WAD. (Note that crossing the threshold of this chamber door counts as 25% of the Secrets attainable on this level.)

NORMAL EXIT

Kill the Arch-Vile monster (and the Imp hovering in the air above it), and then look for a switch at the end of the passage (on the northwest wall, behind where the Arch-Vile was). Activate this switch, and an elevator-like section of the wall to your right will drop down momentarily. Get on before it rises up again. When it rises to the top, turn right to face a switch next to you on the southeast wall. (This opens the regular-exit door at the top of the staircase.) Now turn and walk northwest into a tiny square chamber. On the southwest wall is a switch. Activate it, and the floor just outside this chamber will drop down again, allowing you out and back down into the room with the staircase. Follow the stairs up to the now-open door at the top. The regular-exit chamber lies ahead. Step in to end the mission and resume the game on the next map: level 16 in your local DOOM II Wad file.


TTrap.wad (Trapped on Titan) by Jim Flynn

Ledmeister explains:

At the start of the mission, you'll appear in a small chamber at the center of the map, facing north towards a switch. Slightly ahead and to your left and right are a pair of narrow lifts in the raised position. This small starting chamber will be the universal starting point for finding each of the keys.

BLUE KEY

Note: The blue key is not needed to gain access to the other keys, or the exit.

From the level's starting point, turn to the left-hand elevator (in the northwest corner of the room). Hit spacebar to lower it (if it doesn't automatically lower), and get on. When you get to the top, follow the passage northwest till you come to a large, hexagonal well, or pit, with a huge pillar rising up from the center. Surrounding the pit is a ledge, which in turn is surrounded by six high walls, which enclose the area.

Jump into the pit and look for a switch on the west wall, and activate it. This will lower the entire pillar, except for its narrow central core. Ride the elevator/pillar up to the top where a Megasphere awaits. Grab the Megasphere and a series of 5 windows will open up in the walls around you: A high window on the north-east wall, and four more windows in other walls, each window lower than the next in counter-clockwise order in the walls around the room. From the top of the pillar, you can run and jump through any of these windows, except the highest one. Each accessible window leads into one of 4 narrow rooms, connected together at the ends, forming a path from the highest room down to the lowest. In the lowest room is a switch. Activate this switch, then follow the path back up to the highest room you can get to (it will be to the north-west of the hexagonal area). Turn to the windowsill in this room, walk up to it and press spacebar. This will cause part of the sill to drop, then rise again a second later. Get on and ride up. Just outside the window, and a bit to the left, you'll see a series of tall, very narrow structures (somewhat like flagpoles) sticking up from the ledge surrounding the pit. These are all mini-elevators, loosely arranged in a stair-step pattern. Walk up, across the tops of these poles, to the next highest window on your left. (If you fall off a "flagpole", simply walk up to the eastern-most pole and press spacebar to drop it down; get on and ride back up.) The highest window leads into the one room you couldn't get into a minute ago. Walk into this room. As you enter, some walls will drop, revealing the blue skull key to the northeast. It will be on a raised half-wall. Walk up to this structure and press spacebar to lower it, allowing you access to the key. You can leave this area and get back to the level's starting point through a passage in the southeast corner of the hexagonal area, accessible from the ledge surrounding the pit.

RED KEY

From the level's starting point, turn to the right-hand elevator (in the northeast corner of the room). Hit spacebar to lower it (if it doesn't automatically lower), and get on. When you get to the top, follow the passage east till you come to a large chamber. In the south-east corner of the chamber, look for a recessed door with blue-triangle markings. Go through the door and follow the path around to another door. Go through and jump down into the large square pit ahead of you. In the center of the pit is a square, spiral-staircase structure. From the bottom of this pit, follow the stairs up and around to the top of the structure. At the top is a single square block or slab you can stand on. Center yourself within this square, and then look at your Automap to get yourself oriented.

Running EAST off the top slab of the spiral stairs will cause the large square structure to the east to lower to ground level. (On top of that structure are some goodies you can get.)

Running SOUTH off the top slab of the spiral stairs will cause a wall to drop down from in front of a rocket launcher that sits nearby on a square pedestal to the south of the spiral stairs.

Run south off the top of the spiral stairs, and get on the lowered wall. In a moment it rises again. Grab the rocket launcher, and continue south, stepping off the pedestal that the launcher sits on. As you step off, a passage in the wall ahead of you to the south opens up. Walk through and look for a blue-rimmed doorway ahead of you to the south. Open the door (you'll need the blue key) and activate the switch you see there if desired, but this is not necessary to get the red key.

Proceed south-east, passing to the left of the blue-doored booth ahead of you, and jump down into the water. You'll be in a circular area. Head south to cross an invisible trigger line that opens a ground-level door in the east wall of this circular area. Head east through the door, and it closes behind you. You'll be in a large room, containing some large, square, pillar-like elevators, running floor to ceiling. As you approach close to these pillars, they drop down automatically.

Head for the middle pillar in the eastern-most row of three pillars. The red key sits on top of this pillar/elevator. When it drops down, get on the pillar, grab the red key, and ride up. When you get to the top, you'll be in a tiny enclosed chamber. Look for a red button on the east wall and activate it. Turn and walk to the west wall and hit spacebar to cause the pillar you're on to drop back down. The red button you hit re-opens the door that let you into this area.

To get back out of this area, head for the door you came through, in the west wall. If you've picked up the blue Mega-armor in the west side of the chamber, the chamber's floor may have dropped, making the west door too high for you to reach. In this case, head for the middle pillar in the western-most row of three pillars. When it drops down, get on and ride it back up. You can Run and jump to the west-side door from the pillar when the pillar is about halfway along its travel up or down. (If you're still on this pillar when it gets to the top, you'll be in a tiny enclosed chamber. Walk to the west wall of this chamber and hit spacebar to make the pillar drop, then immediately run west to jump back through the west door).

Once you're back in the circular area (with the blue-water floor) you can get back to the level's starting point by heading up the stairs around the corner to the north. Go through the open door in the north wall and turn west. Head down this short tunnel to the level's starting point.

YELLOW KEY

To get the yellow key you first need the red key (see "RED KEY", above). From the level's starting point, turn south and walk forward. The floor will drop down. Continue south and the floor will drop down again, letting you into a tiny square chamber to the south, with a red-rimmed door to the west. Open the door and follow the path west to a circular room with a rounded black pillar in the center. Walk up to the pillar and press Spacebar to make it drop down, revealing a plasma rifle. When you grab the plasma gun, it causes two chambers to open up in the room; one to the north-northeast, one to the east-southeast. On the back wall of each chamber is a switch. The northeast switch opens a door leading southwest to a balcony. The other switch causes a step to rise in front of a window, on the northwest side of the circular room. Run up this step, through the window, and onto the "eye structure" which sits on a short pedestal out on the balcony. Standing on this eye structure allows you to step over the railing of the balcony and drop down to a large open area to the southwest. If you fall off the eye structure before you can jump over the railing, walk along the balcony to a door in the wall on your left. This door lets you back into the circular room. Jump off the balcony, and head for a nearby metallic-grey building, which is directly southwest of the middle of the balcony. Go around back, to the west side of the building, and look for a door recessed into the middle of the wall. Go through the door and turn right, and look for a lift in the raised position. Activate the lift so it drops, then ride it up. Turn left (south), and open the door ahead.

With the door open, back up and then Run, jumping to the other building ahead of you to the south. With some luck, you'll land on the wIDe ledge that runs along the north side of this building. Once you're on this ledge, turn left (east) and head for a raised area marked with twin blue triangles. Walk up to this surface and press Spacebar. A raised pathway will drop down momentarily, forming a "channel" which leads east and then south. When this channel-pathway is open, run all the way to its end around the corner. At the end of the channel is a lift on your right. Activate it, get on and ride up. You'll be at the east end of a long room. In the middle of the room is a switch on a post, sticking up out of the floor. Go activate the switch, then leave this building (either through a window, or back along the path you came from).

Now run for the northern-most building in the area. Go around to the west side of this building, and look for an outer door. To the right of this door is a short, dead-end alley. There will probably be a barrel in this alley. If so, destroy it. (Otherwise the barrel will block a jump that you'll make in a minute.) Go to the door, open it and go up the stairs (east). At the top of the stairs turn right (south). You'll see a switch at the far end of the hallway ahead of you; go activate it. When you come back from the switch, you'll see some more stairs to your left (west). Go up, and get the Megasphere you see there, if desired. Now go to the window that will be near by. The window opens to the north. Go to the edge of the window and look out of it, north. You'll see that ahead of you and below, and through a few more windows, is the yellow key, sitting on a pedestal. (If the key is not plainly visible, your weapon may be blocking your view of it.) Now step back to get a running start, and run north, through the series of windows, and grab the yellow key.

THE EXIT

To exit this map, you will first need to use the yellow key. As you pick up the yellow key, exit the building and get back outside, to ground level. Now head to the building which is the western-most building in the area (it will be south south-west of the building where you got the yellow key).

Head for the northwest corner of the building, and you'll see a silvery lift there, in the raised position. On top of the lift should be a barrel. If it's there, destroy it. Activate the lift to drop it, then get on and ride up. At the top is a yellow door. Open it. This will cause the four outer walls of this building to rise up. Get back to ground level, and go around to the opposite side of the lift, and look for a switch there. Activating it will open a barrier which otherwise blocks a path to the exit. To get to the exit, head back towards the level's starting position: Head for the wooden balcony wall to the east. Walk up to it and press spacebar to lower it. Get on and ride up. When you get to the top, go through the door between the two windows, then head for the hallway to the east. Go through the yellow-skull door, then through the next door, and turn left (north). Follow the lifts up and north until you get to the level's start. You'll see a skull switch in front of you to the north. Activate it to drop a central lift down. If you see barrels here, destroy them from a distance to get them out of your way. Then get on the lift and ride it up.

To the north is a large, complex area. The exit is on the west side of this area, and to the north. From stepping off the lift, following the left-hand wall clockwise around the area will eventually lead you to the exit switch.


Vesperas.wad (Vesperas: 7th Canto of INFERNO) by John W. "Dr.Sleep" Anderson

Dr.Sleep pulls out all the stops with this killer level. Over to Ledmeister:

The yellow key is in the large circular room on the west-side of the Automap. Go to the entrance of this room, and the vertical bars blocking your way into the room will rise. Go past the bars and look left. If you've been playing around in this level for a while, you should see a long, horizontal, cave-like opening in the south side of the circular wall, up above the slime-covered floor. (If this area is not already open, step across the first pillar in front of you as you pass the bars; then head for the red teleporter pad in the slime. Crossing the first pillar triggers the opening of the cave in the wall.)

Anyway, if you see the cave in the circular wall, you can WALK to it by following a very narrow, barely discernible ledge that runs along the circular wall from the room's entryway to the cave. Hugging the wall helps in navigating this ledge. Once you get into the cave, look for a face-like switch on the back wall. Activate it and the switch-panel rises up revealing the yellow key. Simply grab it.

In order to get the red key, you'll need the yellow key, so get that first if you don't have it already.

The red key's in a smaller circular room in the north-west corner of the Automap. It's in a high chamber on the west-side of the room, and the chamber is initially hidden, but will be revealed as you walk around the room. When you're standing in this room, go out the east-side door and look for the floor to drop out from under you as you walk down the corridor away from the room.

When you drop down, you'll find small chambers to your left and right. On the back wall of one of the chambers (the South one on your Automap) is a face-like switch. Activate it, and it will lower the red key down from its perch.

This was originally posted to alt.games.doom on January the 25th 1998.


Virgil.wad (Virgil's Lead: 3rd Canto of INFERNO) by John W. "Dr.Sleep" Anderson

You have to look at the map to find the switch that reveals the yellow key. The Arch-Vile that guards the red key is tough to kill if you're low on ammo; luckily his magic attacks can't blast around corners. You must get inside his cage and press the inner switch. This will open the door to the left (and by that time last) sector. Don't confront the Barons and Mancubuses in the final area (when you've cleaned it for lesser foes); stay below, pick them off one by one and hide in the wall niches from their fireballs.


Makers of Master Levels

I've worked hard to collect first-hand information from all people involved in the Master Levels project. Designers Dr.Sleep, Jim Flynn, Chris Klie and Sverre Kvernmo have been kind enough to contribute to the FAQ. Tom Mustaine didn't have time, he did however mail me a few kind words. For uncertain reasons Tim Willits has ignored every effort to contact him. The lists of freely available levels are based on information from the designers themselves. Happy hunting!

Former and present members of ID Software too have received requests for contributions. Shawn Green and John Romero have contributed, while from John Carmack, head of ID Software, I received a note saying he was not involved in the Master Levels project. This generous feedback is quite remarkable as most people probably would be more than fed up with a five-year-old game by now. However with the release of the source code, game repackages, official permission given to the distribution of alpha versions and various contributions to fan sites and FAQs, the creators of DOOM have proven to the loyal fans that they still care for their glorious past in spite of more recent triumphs.


John W. "Dr.Sleep" Anderson

Hired by ID Software for The Ultimate DOOM and Master Levels, has worked at Epic for UNREAL, currently with Ion Storm.

Freely available levels: DOOM: Acheron2.wad (Crossing Acheron), Dante12.wad (Dante's Gate). DOOM II: Acheron2.wad (Crossing Acheron), Dante25.wad (Dante's Gate). HERETIC: Recant11.wad (Recant).

The following Q&A are edited from mails received January 1998.

--

Sleep: Hi. Thanks for writing the FAQ. Should be interesting. If you ever *do* get into the secrets part of any of these levels, there is one nasty secret in my last level Vesperas, which has been a bit of puzler for a lot of people -- but it actually breaks the rules I normally hold for secrets, so I'd love to reveal it if you ever get around to it.

Henrik: Your Inferno series is spread out on 5 Master levels and 2 freely available levels. Was it originally intended to be an episode (or sub-episode)?

Sleep: I originally intended to do an entire episode of 9 levels to represent the 9 circles of Hell (though not necessarily in a strict order). The first two levels, Dante's Gate and Crossing Acheron, took a great deal of my time, since I revised them endlessly, and I work slowly as it is; and it wasn't until I was contacted by ID for the Master Levels and Ultimate DOOM that I actually had an excuse to quit stalling and get on with the series. So the next five levels (3-7 in the series) are on The Master Levels. The eight level in the series was originally called Chiron, which ended up as "And Hell Followed" (E4M7) on The Ultimate DOOM. This would have been the secret level in the Inferno series. The last level is called Lethe (where the souls not ready for Elysium have the remembrance of their former lives washed away before returning in new bodies) (yeah, I know this is from the Greek Inferno mythos). Anyway, the last level is unreleased, since it's not entirely done. I was working on this when UNREAL came along and Epic grabbed me, and since then there just hasn't been the time. I do hope to finish this level within the next couple of months, actually, since I've had a bit of renewed interest in DOOM, as have others, it would seem.

I did try to keep all of the levels thematically linked visually, despite their disparate appearances across various distributions; the aesthetic is apparent mainly in the texture scheme, and in certain architectural motifs I used consistently throughout all of the levels. The Master Levels represent my best work, I think; though there are a couple of things I would desperately have liked to have changed -- and certainly would have if I were given the chance. Of course, I don't own the levels anymore, so that's not possible. I understand that the Master Levels did quite well for ID, an I'm proud to have been a part of the project.

Henrik: I've been doing a lot of testing today, transferred the DOOM Maximum levels to my harddisk and read all the text files included. 10 of the levels (including Recant by you) are for HERETIC.

Sleep: The collection of these levels wasn't done very well. I am and always have been very vocal about including levels on a CD without asking the author's permission, even if you are ID software. At the very least, all text files should be included, at it looks like ID did try to do that, which is something not many other CD collections bothered with. I don't think any of us had any idea (at the time) that other levels were going to be included. We also thought that we were contributing to a series of episodes. Still, I'm certainly not complaining, since this gave me my first paying job in the game industry, and -- what with my also contributing a level to the 4th episode of ULTIMATE DOOM -- this all helped me in getting work on other projects, including being hired by Epic and Ion Storm.

--

If you want to read more from Dr. Sleep, he's been interviewed several times. There's a good interview to be found at http://www.thezealot.com/dk/interview/drsleep120297.htm . He also has his own site at http://www.stormtroopers.com/drsleep/ .


Jim Flynn

Hired by ID Software for Master Levels, co-designer on following projects: Eternal DOOM (TeamEternal), BOOM (TeamTNT). Currently with TeamTNT. His work as co-programmer in the BOOM project (an improved DOOM engine, based on the released source code and now publicly available as freeware) gives him great insight in the more technical aspects of DOOM and he is a regular poster in the rec.games.computer.doom hierachy.

Freely available levels: DOOM: MtDOOM, UpDown (?), Rings, Gulch, Wheel, Peano, Wack, Tower, Citadel (add the .wad after). DOOM II: Intzone.zip (Interdiction Zone), Oracle.zip (The Oracle, with Scott Harper), Mines.zip (The Mines of Titan), Anomaly.zip (The Anomaly of Titan), Farside.zip (The Farside of Titan), Trouble.zip (Trouble on Titan), Enigma.zip (The Enigma, an episode of his 9 DOOM levels converted and improved). Eternal DOOM: map25 (Beginner's End), map26 (No Parking), map31 (Monster Mansion), map33 (CyberSweeper).

The following Q &A has been pieced together from mails received December 1997 to January 1998. For, um, historical reasons, I've included a liberal dose of my own ranting :).

--

Henrik: Last month I bought the Depths of DOOM and began the better-late-than-never exploration of Master Levels for DOOM II/Maximum DOOM. Now as I'm going to spend the next week at my parents house (Christmas you know), a thought hit me: Why not write a FAQ? We don't have proper FAQs for official DOOM products beyond DOOM II. My idea is to focus on the wads, titles, authors, playability etc. As there are 3,000+ Maximum wads, it's going to be a bit summarily of course. Any suggestions? Any interest at all in the project? I could use a little background information on the evolution of the Master disc, why 20 master maps and not an entire episode etc.

Jim: Sounds like an interesting project. I was lucky enough to be one of the authors of the 20 on the Master Levels (Manor and TTrap) and I'd be happy to help if I could. My replies will be from my perspective only of course, and I have to disapoint you right off by saying I don't KNOW why it wasn't an episode. I thought for much of the project that it would be.

I first heard about it from Shawn Green, who evidently was perusing the PWAD's in the Action Games forum of CompuServe and noticed my Enigma collection, and Oracle wad. Dr.Sleep and I both joined as a result of this search. Others, like Sverre Kvernmo, were found in other ways.

Those 2,000 levels are pretty spotty. I've noticed that 8 of my DOOM I levels were converted to DOOM II (very poorly, BTW) and included in that section without accreditation (thankfully! <g>), so I don't think much filtering went on there. None of us knew that more levels than the 20 would be included until the CD was released.

ID never told the authors on the project who the other authors were, but we found each other thru various means <g>. So maybe that explains why we weren't cooperating to produce an episode - the idea was more to showcase what different authors had done with the DOOM engine perhaps.

Henrik: What *did* ID tell you and your fellow designers about the project?

Jim: That they were putting a CD together illustrating what had been done in PWADs, and that we had been picked to contribute levels to it. Shawn mentioned something about not wanting to influence us in any way, but wanting to see what we could do. Beyond that very little. They mentioned that they had somewhat rigorous standards on texture alignment, but most of us already felt that way.

Henrik: As I wasn't on the net when Master Levels came out, it would be interesting to learn about reactions from DOOMers.

Jim: Well, I don't really know what reaction was, I wasn't on the net back then either (only CompuServe). Didn't seem to be an awful lot. I got about 8 or 10 e-mails re the levels, mostly positive, and of course the name crops up now and again in forums and newsgroups. There certainly wasn't any firestorm as occurred when it was announced Evilution (part of Final DOOM) would be sold by ID instead of free.

--

During my work on the FAQ, Jim has been very helpful and answered a lot of questions to the Master Levels and DOOM in general. In June 1998 I told him of certain problems with his level Manor.wad. An edited form of the conversation follows.

--

Henrik: Some players, including myself, have experienced crashes (with regular DOOM2, it's okay with BOOM), probably because of it's size and amount of objects. Do you have any comments on this?

Jim: Without knowing more about the crash, I can't say for certain. I know that Visplane errors can crash TTRAP, but this is the first I've heard about problems with Manor - though it wouldn't surprise me if you'd found a Visplane. I can't really say the levels were incredibly well tested because there was some confusion about whether we were supposed to playtest them or ID was. I did use 3 local playtesters, but thats not enough to guarantee a lack of problems.

You also have to remember that DOOM2 just has some pretty major bugs in it that BOOM fixed. Stuff like using a pointer after its freed, not allocating enough memory for arrays, so the random crash does occur and is probably more likely with larger wads. If you have anything like a repeatable bug on Manor, I'd like to hear about it in more detail.

--

I returned to the subject in September that year. This is part of a conference with Jim and Ledmeister, edited down from several mails.

--

Henrik: I'm still curious about the Manor lmp with a nasty bug Ledmeister made some time ago. DID you ever comment it?

Ledmeister: I was, too. Very. :)

Jim: Well, I found that LMP again and played with it a bit. With DOOM2 at one point, the monsters and player stop being affected by each other's weapons. This is a very strange one, I've never seen it happen before and I've played a hell of a lot of DOOM, not to mention hundreds of passes thru Manor while testing it.

I don't know what to say, other than again, the bug does not occur with BOOM, and must have been related to one of the bugs in DOOM2.

Ledmeister: When I play it back, the walls also begin to fail as barriers... You can see Cacodemons from outside begin to float into the, er, "library".  %)

Jim: Both this, and the failure of weapon fire tend to point towards the blockmap for the level becoming trashed during play. Don't know how exactly, but there were lots of wild pointers in DOOM2 and evidently Manor was particularly good at setting them loose :).

Ledmeister: The demo actually freezes the game (a "venetian-blind" crash) when I play it back under Final DOOM (either TNT or Plutonia); but it always plays through to a successful conclusion (my death -- "successful"? ;) under regular old DOOM II: Hell on Earth v1.9.

Jim: Final DOOM had a bug in the teleport routine that cause the height at the entry teleporter to set the height when exiting, sometimes way up in the air. Being way up in the air is a good way to get overflow in the renderer :). Do you remember if the venetian blind crash occurred just after teleporting perhaps?

Ledmeister: No, that crash only ever happened when playing back that particular demo (where there's no teleporting).  Anyway, enough babbling from me. Thanks guys; and thank you Jim for talking the time to look at the LMP and give us your feedback.  :)

Jim: Sorry it took so long!

[NB: The demo in question, MANORBUG.LMP, can be found in a Master Levels demo collection, currently here:  http://members.aol.com/ledmeister/odddemos.htm.]

 --

Jim's homepage is located at http://home.pacbell.net/jflynn/ .


Shawn Green

As stated elsewhere Shawn was the coordinator of the Master Levels project. He is with Ionstorm now and is heavily involved in their big title DAIKATANA. However he found time to contribute as the following interview shows (edited from two reply mails, June 1998).

--

Henrik: Thanks for the reply.

Shawn: No problem.

Henrik: Have you visited my Master Levels site?

Shawn: Yep. Pretty cool. Haven't been there in a while though... Scratch that. Just went, it's changed :) Looks good!

Henrik: How was the designer team recruited and what did you tell the members about the project?

Shawn: The Master Levels design team was hand picked from the authors of around 500 or so levels I downloaded from the Internet and various on-line services like Compuserve and AOL. (There were many more than 500 levels at the time, but I didn't wan't to spend a month looking over all of them!)

Henrik: How were the levels selected?

Shawn: Some of the things I was looking for were good handle on architecture, good texture usage but most of all creativity.

Henrik: Why 21?

Shawn: Don't know to be honest... We just decided on 20 :) (well 21, but no-one knew about that ;)

Henrik: Were any levels rejected?

Shawn: Unfortunately, yes.  There were a couple that just didn't really fit or weren't up to par with the others.

Henrik: If possible: What are your favorite ones?

Shawn: Heh. I'd have to say my favorite is a toss up between The Black Tower and Blood Sea, both by Sverre Kvernmo.  Sverre entered the project pretty much at the last moment.  At first I couldn't use the levels because we had enough and time didn't permit.  Fortunately, one guy ended up leaving (that sounds mean doesn't it? ;) and Master Levels got a time extension since I had to drop it for a couple of weeks and get the 4th episode of DOOM together for Ultimate DOOM.

Henrik: How were the wads for Maximum DOOM selected?

Shawn: I saw that coming :)...  The wads for maximum were basically grabbed from the net (if you couldn't tell).  The decision to put maximum DOOM on the CD was kind of last minute, so it wasn't something we raised the price for :) We just basically wanted to give everyone a little bit more.  At that time, not everyone had access to the net and on-line services were pretty expensive, so downloading a ton of wads wasn't feasable for everyone...

Henrik: Do you feel it was well done?

Shawn: I don't feel Maximum DOOM in itself would do well as a stand alone product, but I do feel It had an inherent quality.  The Master Levels came out shortly after, and was competing with, products like D!ZONE and it just seemed right that we include Maximum DOOM with the Master Levels to have an added value.

Henrik: How was the public reaction to the CD?

Shawn: Better than I expected :)  The Master Levels actually did pretty well.  I don't remember the actual count, but it did better than some stand alone products also available at the time.


Christen David Klie

Hired by ID Software for Master Levels, lead designer of OUTLAWS for LucasArts, currently with LucasArts.

Freely available levels: DOOM: Chris_e1.wad. DOOM II: Bf_thud!.wad, The_fury.wad, The_cpu.wad, The_dmz.wad, device_1.wad, the_hive.wad, e_inside.wad. HERETIC: Smudge.wad.

The following is from a post of Chris I found on DejaNews, dated December the 1st 1995 and originally posted to rec.games.computer.doom.playing, with some reflections on Master Levels for DOOM II. It has been edited a bit for this inclusion.

--

Of all the DOOM levels I've seen, E1M1 thru E1M9 have a free-wheeling, organic feel. As I understand it, all nine were designed by John Romero, and you could tell he was excited by his own creation - it shows up in the gameplay, and the architecture is the most artful and memorable anyone has seen, I think.

I was privileged to contribute to ID's "DOOM2: Master Levels," and in each of my levels I attempted - note: keyword "attempted" - to re-capture the feeling I had when I first played DOOM. First off, I tried not to "over-reach" with the architecture (there's nothing more discouraging than having DOOM slow down to 10 fps just because a WAD author insists on 70 snipe holes and as many caco's). And second, I went for fairly straight-forward gameplay (even though s/w DOOM was scary, it didn't exactly leave me feeling "beat up").

Whether I succeeded in re-capturing some of that feeling is up to the end user, but I tried all the same.

--

Chris proved to be difficult to track down, but in April 1998 I finally got the right address and was able to ask him several questions to which he most generously replied.

--

Henrik: I would like to learn more about the Master Levels CD project. Like how you were contacted, what you were told of the end product, what your view is on the end product (including the Maximum DOOM archive), what personal responses to your levels (and the CD in general) you've got, some amusing trivia etc.

Chris: It's strange how The Master Levels came about.  Each member of the design team had already enjoyed some notoriety for his freeware levels.  In addition, I had completed a book (The Lost Episodes of DOOM for Sybex), and had worked briefly with Dr. Sleep, Mal Blackwell and Richard Gray as a contract designer on Blood.  When ID Software was ready to start work on their DOOM II add-on disk, it was Sleep who made me aware of the opportunity, and the rest is pretty much history.

Little-known stuff:  I was so excited by the chance to contribute to The Master Levels that I worked on it roughly 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Literally.  No lie.  I worked on it constantly until it was ready to ship, and gave myself a healthy case of pneumonia in the process.  I produced a total of 12 levels for the project, 6 of which were included.  The out-takes (The Fury; The CPU; The DMZ; Device One; The Hive and The Enemy Inside) can be found on CompuServe's Action Games Forum (GO GAM586) as part of CDKSTUFF.ZIP, which contains all of my freeware levels for DOOM, DOOM II and Heretic.

[When asked if some levels, such as Garrison.wad, were designed for deathmatch:]  I didn't necessarily create the level with deathmatch in mind.  Rather, I wanted to create a challenging, believable fortress; one in which the player could almost immediately grasp its far-ranging layout - even if he couldn't access it right away.  BTW, I took some design suggestions from my daughter Megan, who was 3 at the time.  She's a natural-born artist with great instincts.

I'm pleased to say:  Work on The Master Levels led to a level-design position at LucasArts.  I'm privileged to have served as lead level designer on Outlaws, and as a contributing level designer on Mysteries of the Sith.

Bio stuff:  I'm 33 years old; a single (divorced) dad raising 2 kids, ages 5 and 7.  Born in Rome, New York; raised in Pittsburgh and then Erie, Pennsylvania.  Favorite PC games (in no particular order):  Dark Forces; Jedi Knight; Mysteries of the Sith; Outlaws; X-Wing; Tie Fighter; Full Throttle; Sam & Max Hit the Road (funniest, most overlooked adventure game of all time); the entire ID Software first-person library; Duke Nukem; Rise of the Triad; also, I have a soft spot for the "golden age of shareware" stuff like Jill of the Jungle; Jazz Jackrabbit; Epic Pinball.

Favorite console games: Super Mario World; Mario 64; Mario Kart (for both the SNES and N64); Sonic the Hedgehog series; AH-13 Thunderstrike; and for the TurboDuo: Lords of Thunder and Gate of Thunder.

Henrik: What do you know of the motivation behind the Master Levels project? Can you confirm the rumor that ID's original plan was to release an entire episode, not just a bunch of separate levels?

Chris: As to wheter ID intended to release TML as a full episode, all I can tell you is they were undecided for a while. No big secret, they just weren't sure at first how they wanted to market the product. I don't know why they chose to release TML as a collection of separate levels, but I'm sure they had their reasons ;-)

Henrik: This confirms what Dr.Sleep hinted at in his mails to me. However, today I've got a mail from John Romero, who has quite another story. [see chapter on Romero for his version] But then of course, I don't know how much Romero was involved in the project; according to Dr.Sleep and Jim Flynn, Shawn Green was the co-ordinator (?).

Chris: As Sleep and Jim indicated, Shawn Green was the project coordinator. Although, all major project decisions, including marketing, were made by ID Software (the group) as a whole. Romero definitely had input.


Sverre "Kranium" Kvernmo

Hired by ID Software for Master Levels, co-designer of REDNECK RAMPAGE (Interplay Productions), co-designer of Eternal DOOM, currently with Ion Storm. He's from Norway.

Freely available levels: DOOM II: The Cabal series - Cabal1.zip (Blood Flood), Cabal2.zip (Derelict Station), Cabal3.zip (The Watchtower), Cabal4.zip (Temple of Death), Cabal5.zip (We Who Are About To Die), Cabal6.zip (Eye of the Storm), Cabal7.zip (The image of Evil). ETERNAL DOOM: Map04 (Nucleus), Map05 (Timegate), Map12 (Darkdome). HEXEN: Deadlock.

The following is a mail I received from Sverre April the 14th 1998, with my questions modified a bit for this inclusion.

--

Henrik: I would be very interested in how you were contacted by ID.

Sverre: I was the one to get in touch with ID, not vice versa. During my art-studies in England I had been working on what I meant to be a 32-level add-on. The name of it was "Cabal", a name I later released seven other DOOM levels under. That project basically died when I read a small interview with Jay Wilbur in PC Zone (English PC magazine). When asked about what ID planned to do next, he outlined the Master Levels project, saying ID was going to "search the web and pick out the best designers" for the game. I hadn't released anything on the Internet yet (didn't even have e-mail at the time) but felt I could cut the mustard. I tracked down ID's phone number and ($30 in phone-bills later) got Wilbur on the phone. He told me to send the levels to Shawn Green, which I did (by snail-mail!). Shawn got the levels but the feedback was that the project was full, they had all the designers they needed. Major depression. Anyway, Shawn did take a look at the levels and when one of the designers currently working with him was "let go" or something like that, I was given the green light. Of the first batch I sent him, "Mephisto" was the first to get accepted. It was followed by "Bloodsea" and "Black Tower". A funny fact is that I had held back on sending Shawn some of my levels because I thought they had already been released on the Internet (thus making them unsuitable for ML). While on vacation in Norway I had asked a friend to put three of my Cabal levels on the web. When Shawn wanted more levels than I had, I called my friend up just to make sure the three levels were out of the question. I remember screaming with joy when he told me he had forgotten. Of course, my friend (Erling Paulsen) was more than a little confused at my joyous outburst, thinking he had let me down. :) From those three levels "Teeth" was selected for ML, which was the last level from me Shawn had time to work on before the project closed.

Henrik: What were you told of the project?

Sverre: "Make cool levels". Not much more. :) All the designers had an ongoing dialogue with Shawn, where he made sure we didn't go too far out on a limb, kept the difficulty within human levels, etc. Apart from that we were free to do what we wanted.

Henrik: Personal reflections on the finished package (incl. the maximum collection)?

Sverre: I love the cover-art, Adrian Carmack is awesome. I still think we could have put together 32 levels in the timeframe we had, but that wasn't ID's intention from the start so there wasn't much I could do about that. About the "Maximum" section of ML... it came as a surprise to me, as I didn't know it was going to being the package until I saw the game in the stores. Maximum took the focus away a little from the real levels I guess, but altogether I don't really mind it that much. Awesome to see my first credits on a game inside the cd-case. :D


Tom "Paradox" Mustaine

Hired by ID Software for Master Levels, co-designer of Final DOOM (ID), co-designer of Scourge of Armagon: the official QUAKE Mission Pack One (as member of Hipnotic Interactive), currently working on SIN (as member of Ritual Entertainment).

Freely available levels: MEMENTO MORI (co-designer), #1DWANGO.WAD.

For a long time I was unable to get in touch with Mustaine, but then suddenly it happened. Here's a (slightly edited) mail I received from him on July the 14th 1998. Unfortunately I never heard from him again.

--

Mustaine: Heya! I just took a look at your Master levels page, Awesome! I've looked for pages with anything about that product for a long time and this is the first one I've found! If you still feel like updating this mofo, I can shoot some insight into my side of the design process, how paradox.wad came into existence, how many levels I submitted before I had to create something awesome, etc. Also, you mention that nobody you know of had combined the wad, well, It's one of the first things I did when I got my copy. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't put together in the first place, so I slapped all the levels into a single wad, put Sverre's levels in the right places for the special linedefs on map07 and the secret exit on map15. I was planning on releasing a deutex batch file that would slap the wad together for people, just never got around to doing so.


John Romero

The once icon of ID Software is now the leader of Ionstorm. He has been so kind as to answer some questions to the making of the Master Levels CD in a mail dated April the 13th 1998 (see below).

--

Henrik: Apparently the original idea was a complete episode, can you confirm that? Also, is it true what I've heard that the CD was made and indeed the Maximum DOOM archive included to put an end to or least rival the distribution of amateur wads on the Internet?

John Romero: The Master Levels CD was not ever intended to be a complete episode, just a collection of the best DOOM II maps by experts. The Maximum DOOM levels were put together because of the success of D!Zone -- we wanted people to buy our Internet scrape of WADs instead.


Tim Willits

Hired by ID Software for The Ultimate DOOM and Master Levels, co-designer of QUAKE and QUAKE II (ID), co-designer of STRIFE (Rogue), currently with ID Software.

Freely available wads: DOOM II: Raven111.wad (with Theresa Chasar) is an 11 level episode. The individual levels are released as Raven1.wad, Raven2.wad etc. Additional there is the deathmatch level Raven11b.wad.

Theresa Chasar who also is credited as co-designer on Attack.wad and Canyon.wad is his sister (she has since quit level designing). In a letter to Rez some time ago, quoted with permission below, she explains their working routine:

I did levels 7, 9, and 10. I also did the original layout for the Ultimate DOOM Level E4M5 "Thy Flesh Consumed." Tim modified it a little, textured it, and added the objects. We also worked on two of the Masters Levels together. I got credit for the second one, but they were both a joint effort. We kept trading the files back and forth. Tim did the final editing on both of them.

Although I failed to get in touch with Tim, he (quite to my suprise I must admit!) gave a lenghty interview to the special site that was created to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of DOOM. Read what the man said at http://5years.doomworld.com/ !


Maximum DOOM

201 plus 1,629 makes 1,830 Maximum wads and the box says 3,000 levels. Are there actually 3,000 levels? Be my guest and count 'em!

Regarding the individual wads, I've made some interesting observations to be shared with the rest of the world:

As to the DOOM wads, there are 201 included. 41 are unaccredited, including the classic uac_dead.wad by Leo Martin Lim. 10 of the credited are really for HERETIC (registered); these are dieyoung.wad, dungeon.wad, hardrock.wad, hclrdang.wad, helshall.wad, purpdth1.wad, purpdth2.wad, ram4.wad, recant11.wad and volcano.wad. At least 3 are unplayable because of bugs. These are crescent2.wad, rip2.wad and sawtime.wad (way too many sprites). Idbest.wad runs with shareware DOOM!

A true classic is the 8-level infinity.wad by Bjorn Hermans & Holger Nathrath. This is part three of the Serenity series: Serenity, Eternity and Infinity. Try to locate serenity.wad and eternity.wad elsewhere, they're old, but still worth a look.

As to the 1,629 DOOM II wads (only 328 text files and some are irrelevant!), none of the famous TC (Total Conversion) titles appear, obviously for copyright reasons. However, there are some sound-replacement wads: pulpfx.wad, python2.wad, simpsons.wad and probably a few more. Bugs were encountered in !pipe!2.wad and simp-gfx.wad.

Noteworthy DOOM II wads are of course the Inferno maps by Dr.Sleep (acheron2.wad, dante2.wad) and the various Raven wads by Tim Willits. The deathmatch map by ID Software member American McGee, Idmap01.wad, is included, surprisingly without credits. It is however included with credits in various megawads, such as dm2pak#1.wad and dwango01.wad.

In general, how does Maximum DOOM fare, compared with unofficial compilations? Well, it's not downright bad, but the compilation has been done somewhat sloppily, many wads are included without text files and there are no tools or patches. My personal favorite compilation is still the Cobra Powerpack (Cobra Computing LTD 1995). That one includes thousands of levels, editors, sound and graphic replacements, patches etc. But it's always nice to have yet another wad collection, and undoubtedly Maximum DOOM has a few wads you won't find anywhere else (haven't really checked it though).


Miscellaneous

The Master Levels are 21 separate levels. But why have no fans tried to combine them? Perhaps the explanation is that while a compilation of the separate levels into a mega-wad is an interesting project, it's also illegal - at least to publish the result. The only way around the problem would be to get permission from ID to compile the levels and modify the doom.exe file to include level names and some intermission messages (maybe even include some more to make it a complete 32 level episode after all). Highly unlikely, I admit, but who knows? Sounds like a job for TeamTNT.

Or you could do it yourself. Become your own master! All you need is the utility NWTpro by Dennis Moeller (1.4 beta 1 version). If you know the old DOS utility Norton Commander, it's very easy to use. All you have to do is move the data from each Master Level to your destination PWAD (remember to backup your original Master Level wads). Of course there is more to the project than this, such as the order of the levels, the night sky textures in those of Dr.Sleep etc., but even someone ignorant of level designing can combine the levels; Well, I did! The utility is located at ftp://ftp.cdrom.com/pub/doom2/utils/graphics_edit/ .

The only existing official Master Levels in-game text is this victory message for Sony PlayStation FINAL DOOM, Episode 1: MASTER LEVELS:

YOU HAVE ASSAULTED AND TRIUMPHED OVER THE MOST VICIOUS REALMS THAT THE DEMENTED MINDS OF OUR DESIGNERS COULD DEVISE. THE HAVOC YOU LEFT BEHIND YOU AS YOU SMASHED YOUR WAY THROUGH THE MASTER LEVELS IS MUTE TRIBUTE TO YOUR PROWESS. YOU HAVE EARNED THE TITLE OF MASTER OF DESTRUCTION.

Copyright (c) ID Software, quoted from Ledmeister's page at http://members.aol.com/ledmeister/doomends.htm .

 


Revision notes

V.1.02: Revisions by Ledmeister: Some links fixed or updated, minor typos corrected, extraneous HTML tags removed, margins added. Uploaded January the 23rd 2000.

V.1.01: A few links updated, disclaimer rewritten as well as some tiny rewritings in the FAQ (you'll have to look for them). This is my final revision. Uploaded March the 21st 1999. NB by the time you read this, the Master Levels site probably doesn't exist anymore. But at least you got the FAQ!

V.1.0: Comments from Jim Flynn on a bug in Manor.wad. Some rewritings. Various typos and grammar corrected - thanks to Ledmeister for proofreading! A link fixed. Re-edited to a single webpage and a text-only file (for download). For editorial reasons a few passages have been omitted from the text-only version. Uploaded November the 1st 1998.

V.0.902: A message from Tom Mustaine added. Uploaded July the 20th 1998.

V.0.901: A few errors corrected, info added. Uploaded June the 20th 1998.

V.0.9: All designer chapters have been revised and a contribution from Shawn Green added. Various updates, including the history chapter, the bug reports and the miscellaneous stuff. And there's a brand new layout - again! Uploaded June the 15th 1998.

V.0.811: A link to the Maximum DOOM list added. Uploaded June the 1st 1998.

V.0.81: Chapter on versions & repackages added. Review expanded. Uploaded May the 31st 1998.

V.0.804: Tech stuff improved, overall Master Levels review added, link fixes. Uploaded May the 4th 1998.

V.0.803: Lists of freely available wads updated. Uploaded April the 26th 1998.

V.0.802: Lists of freely available wads by the designers added. Link to Jim Flynn's page fixed! Uploaded April the 22nd 1998.

V.0.801: A few fixes, John Carmack added in thanking list. Uploaded April the 17th 1998.

V.0.8: New major update. History chapter partly rewritten. Contributions from Chris Klie (additional), Sverre Kvernmo and John Romero added. Some links fixed. Uploaded April the 15th 1998.

V.0.72: Colors of links corrected as well as some other insignificant errors. Uploaded April the 12th 1998.

V.0.71: The usual corrections. Some miscellaneous stuff added. Uploaded April the 12th 1998.

V.0.7: A lot of new stuff included! A contribution from Chris Klie, links to Dr.Sleep homepage, TeamTNT mainpage, DOOMoscope etc. Still more biographical info on level designers added. FAQ split into three separate pages. Uploaded April the 9th 1998.

V.0.666: Major update including key solution to Teeth.wad provided by Ledmeister, whole chapter on level designers rewritten as well as some structural changes. Miscellaneous chapter added. Uploaded April the 4th 1998.

V.0.51: Some links added/fixed. Uploaded March the 22nd 1998.

V.0.5: Key solution to Mephisto.wad provided by Ledmeister. The usual fixes. Address changed and counter reset (old reached some 600 hits). Uploaded March the 21st 1998.

V.0.41: Link to new Master Page. Uploaded March the 19th 1998.

V.0.4: Key solutions to Blacktwr.wad and Manor.wad provided by Ledmeister. A few notes on the Maximum archive added. Uploaded March the 15th 1998.

V.0.3: Key solution to Ttrap.wad provided by Ledmeister. Some changes in layout. Uploaded March the 3rd 1998.

V.0.2: Even more ML notes. Various cuttings, experimenting with new fonts. Key solution to Vesperas.wad provided by Ledmeister. Uploaded February the 22nd 1998.

V.0.15: More ML notes added through the day, this version concluding the updates for February the 15th 1998. Uploaded close to midnight, CET.

V.0.1: Notes to the Master Levels (at last!). Some details corrected. Gee, this is beginning to look like a proper FAQ. Promoted to v.0.1 and uploaded in the morning of February the 15th 1998.

V.0.05: Title corrected, Maximum DOOM details added. Uploaded January the 11th 1998.

V.0.04: Small layout changes. Uploaded January the 10th 1998.

V.0.03: Master Levels back cover added. Counter added. Some layout problems solved. Uploaded January the 8th 1998.

V.0.02: Revised much of the text. Improved grammar! Contributions from John W. Anderson included. Link to the Master Levels cover. Uploaded January the 7th 1998.

V.0.01: Uploaded for public evaluation January the 4th 1998.


THE END!


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