released on Sep 22, 2021
A mod for Doom II: Hell on Earth
Haste is an eighteen-map Doom II megawad for Boom-compatible source ports by various mappers known for their work in the slaughter map genre. The project was originally headed by Scotty but seen to completion by Insane_Gazebo. Initially, the maps were meant to be short and more accessible challenge maps that could be beaten by lower-skilled players on the Ultra-Violence difficulty setting, but the style shifted to longer and more challenging maps after Insane_Gazebo took over the project. The WAD was released on the Doomworld forums on September 22nd, 2021 and was awarded a Cacoward at the end of that year.
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and so the long arduous process of adding shit to IGDB begins 🧍♂️. haste is a kind of a flashpoint entry in slaughter's "new canon"--it's a revived collaborative project spearheaded by slaughter's own revived pharaoh in insane_gazebo, and features the '92 dream team of guest mappers you'd want for this new era of the genre: the wizard ribbiks delves into his esoterics for two maps, nirvana gets in his monochromatic bag and delivers a really hellish slice of combat for a map, they even plugged benjogami here to craft this really striking, almost Pythagorean challenge map centering 90s slaughter's love of fireblu and obtuse geometry that ends up being a map pack highlight. the "newest" member of this all-star roster is bemused, who also punches in a decent map that shows off his student-like devotion to the genre's grandeur and antagonistic style of crowd control. the rest of the maps are composed mainly by insane_gazebo and former project head scotty: particularly interesting fit for scotty, who i'd deem has become kind of like the p.j. tucker of the genre (or the clefable if you dont follow hoops) in his versatility as a "glue guy" for these map projects, the rare talent in the scene who's able to mesh with the more subtle, congressional slaughter WADs like Fractured Worlds as well as get turnt with the excesses of WADs like Abandon. I'm not the biggest fan of his map output thus far, overall feeling uneven: his usage of hitscanners is more frustrating than provocative but his understanding of finales and how to squeeze multiple cyberdemons in small spaces is really good, maybe the best of the out the group. his maps here didn't necessarily move the needle either way for me, but i think his status as the most agreeable mapper in this scene should be noted for posterity, and its cool that this project of his came to fruition, even if it was by proxy.
so in sum, the shit shoulda been popping, shoulda served as like THE entry point for what this doomworld micro-scene has been cooking up these past three years...but its just straight mids 😑. which is honestly kinda rare for me. my main disappointment was that in spite of the visionaries on board this is a really muted aesthetic overall--there are some maps like the aforementioned nirvana and benjogami maps that break with the style, as well as an insane_gazebo tune that is concordant with late sunder's striking aesthetic (can someone with architectural knowledge spot check me and see if it would be accurate to describe this as Neo-brutalism), but everything else here is just bland. in no small part i think its because the color palette and architecture here are a more revisit of the aesthetic established by the 90's and early 00's WAD canon than the really grandiose OTEX texture wizardry contemporary slaughter is known for. it perhaps draws out a sense of familiarity for folks who haven't been tapped into the Doom scene outside the existing WAD canon, but it in turn made this feel more like a map-pack than the emotionally evocative experience the mapper list had me pumped for. when i play the other hits of these mappers i feel the precariousness, the sense that the shaky alliance of infighting i've generated might explode into uncontrollable hostility at any given moment; i feel the sense of alienation, illuminating a social truth about the dance of coalitions being built not on personal affinity but mutual, dynamic priorities; i feel that perseverance, the 'no easy answers' kind of problem-making that demands arcane knowledge and foresight and yet a sense of play in devising solutions. all of these feelings are latent in these mappers' gameplay motifs sure, and present in this map pack, but it was their individual aesthetics, the mythology of gazebo or the claustrophobia of benjogami, that accented these chords to the forefront. that boldness makes engaging with this micro-scene a really gripping experience in ways other mod scenes have yet to hit, and so to have all these personal styles blend into sights & sounds that already have been so thoroughly replicated is like, damn,,, what a disappointment. should serve as a sharp example that it has been the attention to visual spirit that has made this micro-scene one of the most popular doom things of the past few years as much as it has been the combat revolutions. shit's isn't really all that without it. slaughter's 1train p much.