Review by Eric Claus
June 26, 2023
NinjaDelphox et al
The MBF 21 spec started development just over 2 years ago, and is slowly picking up steam with some mapsets developing for it over the last couple of years. I was looking around for a megawad that would show off some of the capabilities of MBF 21 and I believe Corruption, now currently in RC 2 as of writing this review, shows off what the upgrade to the now venerable MBF setup is capable of. To play Corruption you need an MBF 21 compatible port, or the Zdoom family as there is a version of the WAD for Zdoom, I played in WOOF but DSDA Doom and some others are also compatible as more source port authors add the spec. As a note about skill level I found this one harder then some others, and even a bit challenging on IDWTD as it seems the adjustments are based mostly around ammo and item counts versus monster counts so take that as a warning.
Visuals in this WAD are simply amazing, and the different episodes touch well on different themes that riff on more vanilla themes just such as hell and techbases to custom themes like caves we have seen in later wads. The visuals are far from boring for each theme though, and every level is colorful and beautiful really showing off a diverse and I would even say an enjoyably insane palette. Textures come from a variety of sources, and the maps have an almost Eviternity-esque presentation but without using OTEX, and while not all are true vanilla textures you get a vanilla like feel from them. Map layouts are diverse as well offering different types of combat from cramped corridors to wider open slaughter-esque fights sometimes all in the same level so be prepared to deal with any given type of encounter. An additional detail is that the maps definitely reward you for exploration as well and secrets can be tricky but not too hard at least for some of them and you will be rewarded well for seeking them out so if you see something juicy take a look around when safe to do so as you can likely find a cleverly hidden switch. Prepare yourself to find some odd constructs such as cleverly sectored “ladders” which will facilitate you moving around the map, the texturing helps to give them away but can be missed at first.
Now other than having great visuals and layouts what does Corruption bring to the table in terms of being MBF 21 compatibility? You will find old enemies customized, weapon behavior improved in some regards, and even new enemies to mess with you as well. The tweaks and new enemies mix things up a bit and that is where more advanced modding features stand out as there can be even more fundamental changes to the usual assumptions we go by when playing Doom. I won’t go too deeply into the enemy changes in case you want to discover them yourself. As mentioned earlier the difficulty is high but I am having trouble placing it as you get plenty of ammo on lower difficulties, but generally the monster counts and varieties are not changed much so if you are having trouble plowing through them you will have to repeat parts and skill up a bit especially with the newer quirks and monsters.
I anticipate Corruption will be a hit among the community and especially loved for helping to push MBF21 format forward especially as it enters official release. As time goes on I also anticipate more usage of the MBF21 format in general as mappers get more comfortable with it. The community should look forward to seeing MBF21 flourish and new tricks being discovered to map it’s full potential. I know I am waiting eagerly.