THE DARKENING: Episode 1 : The Nameless Project


Fact Sheet

Authors Jan Van der Veken John Bye Travers Dunne Nick Baker Adam Windsor Ola Bjorling
IWAD Doom 2
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1998/1
Levels 22

Review by Colin Phipps

This is a "bricks 'n' metal" style WAD, to quote the TXT file. It comes with 3 WADs: DARKEN.WAD is the single player/co-op episode, there is a deathmatch WAD included too, and RESOURCE.WAD includes the new graphics shared by the two. There is also a dehacked patch included which alters the level names on the AUTOMAP, and the between-level texts, but you don't need it.

screenshot The episode clearly draws a lot of ideas from Doom, Doom 2, and Quake. Some of the textures imported are old Doom 1 textures, while others are more similar to textures from Quake. The new textures are good, looking similar but subtly different from the Doom 2 textures. There are also a number of Quake-like textures, like the red arrows to point the way, and those flat metal textures with red lights at the corners for teleports (slipgates or something in Quake).

  1. Scary - This is a nice short starting level, with good architecture and lots of good secrets. There is some good use of decoration and the new textures. My only complaint is that there are too many secrets for such a short level.
  2. Bloody Hell - A very Quake-like level, with lots of those metal supporting beams. There are lots of good traps and secrets at this level. The level progression is particularly good, since you see everywhere you need to go before you need to go there (e.g keycard, teleports in view but not accessible).
  3. Entropia - Very similar to the Inmost Dens (Doom 2 MAP14) in style, with lots of windows and a light brown stone architecture. You gradually work your way around the central yard collecting keys; the level progression is again good. The fights aren't as good at this level, since there are some awkward narrow passages which make it difficult to dodge properly.
  4. Relentless - A fairly large, detailed level, again in the rusty-brown Quake style. There are some very good fights at this level, especially the final fight (a load of skulls, chaingunners, and a pain elemental; you have to get them fighting each other to survive; I thought I had had it when I fumbled into the beserk pack!). There are again some good traps and secrets. There is a spiderdemon, but he is outside the building, so you can super-shotgun him easily enough from inside.
  5. Hand of Doom - A very good level, similar in style to The Abandoned Mines (original MAP26). The level is very stylish, with lots of Quake style metal beams, mixed with Doom 2 style acid lakes look in upon by windows. This level has some very nice complicated architecture, which makes the play even more interesting.
  6. The Mines of Death - This is a clever level, designed to be like a mine. There is lots of very good use of Doom 2 monsters to make it tricky to play. I particularly liked the release of an Archville into the mine tunnels which the player had already visited (and populated with dead monsters to revive!). The mine itself is dark, but not too dark, though perhaps a trifle small.
  7. Dead Simple 2 - This is similar to MAP03, with lots of light-brown stone textures. This level is not as good as the others before it, it is lacking in detail in places. It still has some good architecture though. The fights are not as good either; the level tries to be "Dead Simple 2", but doesn't have the intensity of the original. You end up covering behind the small doors, popping out to fire one super-shotgun blast at a time into the mancubi. There is plenty of room for improvement at this level.
  8. Discordia - Another rusty-metal level, similar to The Crusher (original MAP06). It makes excellent use of lighting effects and the new textures to give a very atmospheric level; perhaps the best use of lighting I have seen in any WAD. There are plenty of good fights and secrets.

    There are lots of computer panels throughout the level (old Doom 1 graphics imported) which are used as switches; I think that this should have been mentioned in the accompanying TXT really. I got the idea immediately, because I use this sort of thing in my own WADs; someone else might get frustrated searching for a switch. Still, I've warned you now, so there is no problem!

  9. Military Complex - is another good stylish level. The level is a real battle from start to finish; good use is made of teleports and bars lowering the behind the player to make the fights intense. There is a good fight against 8 barons wandering the corridors of the base, where you always have to watch your back.
  10. Under Earth - A complicated level, made very interesting by the use of lots of changes of height (drops, lifts and staircases), and plenty of manned windows and cacodemons to take advantage of them. The first trap, where monsters are released on the ground and high in the air is a good example. The tricks and traps work well with the good architecture to make a good level.
  11. Stone Tyrant - Finally MAP11, and a bit of a disappointment. The architecture is good, if not the best in the episode; the fights are fairly good, if not memorable. But the final showdown is just a fight with a cyberdemon, and the balconies over the main hall allow you to super-shotgun him without him hitting you back. Now, if they had sealed you in the room with the cyber, that would be a proper showdown...

Overall, The Darkening is a great episode, and I recommend it to anyone. It doesn't try to be a total conversion, or mess with my sound effects, it just gives a great series of levels to play. And it plays great for coop as well. Download it now!


File List