Yes. So. Now then. Hello. We don't really have a theme going on today, as once in a while I just want to take a break from the themed silliness without forcing myself to look for new ideas. Time to take care of a loose end instead. We've had an operation-themed release a while ago, so now I'd like to post a big mod that was namedropped back then but not actually posted. It is accompanied by two mapsets entirely unrelated to itself or each other.
The big one is called Operation Ravage (for Third Encounter) and it was made by Alan B. Clem. Over the years, Alan was responsible for at least five (one of which, Dungeon Quest Part I, was already featured here) mods which tend to introduce very significant modifications to the main game, probably worthy of being called a TC. Tons of new graphics, 10-30 new maps; no new sounds, but those were relatively rare in Mac mods anyway. So why isn't Alan Clem a famous name nowadays, mentioned on one breath with Laz or... Laz? Perhaps because his mods are slightly narrower in scope, or maybe mostly because they're not quite as thematically consistent and deliberate. The selection of new assets on offer here borders between eclectic and haphazard. I'm seeing graphics borrowed from a mish-mash of sources: some Laz Rojas mods, an Afrika Korps Assault guard, PC Wolfenstein sprites, there's an enemy based on Heretic, but also mechanized infantry and outright robots. It's a very diverse bunch to be sure, but makes it hard to guess what's going on, especially considering my copy of the scenario came with no documentation whatsoever. All of that is spread over a massive 28 new maps; these might not be brilliant (a lot of small rooms everywhere), but they at least feel stylistically consistent and there's a few twists and surprises to keep things fresh, like a heavily edited E1M1 reimagining or maps where you begin when you finished the last level and trace your steps back through an already beaten layout until you reach new areas. But I'm not about to spoil everything. Give the mod a go, it might not be a carefully arranged work of art, but it's quite interesting in its own right.
I called Operation Ravage "the big one", but that doesn't make what's coming up any less unique, for Wolfen Fatal Führery is one of these rare Mac mods that have seen modern day development! Created by JMC all the way back in 1996, it was never released back in the day as the author was not aware of the existence of the Mac Modding scene. Yet somehow, the scenario survived the journey through multiple data storage media, and since Mac Wolfenstein is seeing a bit of a resurgence in interest these days, he decided to refurbish and release it in the Year of our Lord 2021. The original 1996 version was a First Encounter mapset with four proper maps and one fake-out; the 2021 Special Edition revamps these and adds another 3+1 on top of that.
Story: you're sent to an underground fortress called The Wolfen Den where an experimental army of Hans Grosse clones is being developed. We absolutely can't have that, but your road to victory won't be easy, as Wolfen Fatal Führery pushes First Encounter limitations to their seams, providing some of the most complex, interesting maps ever made for that version of Wolf3D, full of intriguingly designed and aesthetically pleasing places, challenges and surprises. While the original version gives you a chaingun right away and puts you against admittedly too many Hans clones at times, the SE one balances things out while expanding the existing maps (secret pushwalls are now used to much greater effect, for example) and still retaining trademark features like crossfires from numerous enemies hidden behind static objects. And even though the number of Hans clones has been drastically reduced, you still end up facing a respectable quantity. Lastly, be careful, for this mod can end in two ways - either in your triumphant march for treasure, or in BLOODY MURDER, only a thin line separating sweet victory from bitter defeat.
Note: even though the mapsets work within the limitations of First Encounter, they are distributed as Third Encounter scenario files, so I have ported them as such. This means, among other small differences, that enemies cannot open key-locked doors, so take this under consideration while playing.
JMC, who provides his e-mail address as jdmck002 (at) gmail (dot) com. I'm taking special care to ensure this one can't be read by stupid bots, because in contrast with all the other e-mails given in these posts, this one is almost certainly in current use.
Download original edition
Download Special Edition
After all this, a mapset by Richard Peck somehow manages to feel like an anticlimax. But don't get me wrong, Wolfenstein for Dummies comprises four fine Third Encounter maps. If you're a fan of Richard Peck, you know what's up; if you're not, that's only your fault, but you can certainly expect uncanny rooms where wall placement and deaf enemy positioning work together to spring numerous traps on you, all in sector-like areas connected by very long, narrow passages with more enemies in them. It's classic Peck.