|This mod received one of the 2017 Cacowards on Doomworld in the Machaward category!|
The Given is a single-level PWAD for Doom II, created in 2017 by Darryl Steffen (dobu gabu maru). It was named as the inaugural winner of the Machaward at the 2017 Cacowards, and was one of three maps that earned Steffen the title of "Mapper of the Year," the others being Saturnine Chapel and Devil's Den. It uses the music track, "The Village that Time Forgot," composed by Tristan Clark (Eris Falling).
The map requires a limit-removing source port with an increased SEGS limit to play, such as PrBoom+ or GZDoom. Due to the map consisting of one gigantic area with a high level of detail, players may suffer performance issues. A second WAD file (TheGivenLD) is included, and is an alternate version with reduced detail so as to improve performance.
With an emphasis on atmosphere and exploration, the map contains no monsters or hazards; instead the player must navigate a series of puzzles scattered across the map in order to access an island at the map's centre. Inside the WAD is a plain text lump named PROLOGUE. It contains over 2500 words of lore that provides the context for the WAD.
The Given takes place in a land known as Occula, a vast cavern home to a medieval civilisation where every three hundred cycles, a blue-eyed girl is sacrificed to an Unseen God via a brutal ritual from which the map takes its name, in the hope of stopping the Unseen God from snatching larger numbers of Occulans from existence. The player assumes control of the girl most recently sacrificed.
You begin in a small pool of green liquid in the south-east of the map. Your objective is to reach the top of the Tower of the Pupil, a tall structure surrounded by red torches, visible from the starting position. The tower is situated on an island, so to reach it you must complete various puzzles found around Occula. Solving a puzzle will allow access to a skull switch that raises a platform that partially bridges the gap between the tower and the mainland. There are six main puzzles, and can be completed in any order.
The coloured gates
This is perhaps the easiest puzzle to solve. The coloured gates can be found at the eastern end of the map, near the large column of falling green liquid. You will find a switch that has been blocked off by three sets of four blocks, in six different colours: Grey, green, blue, red, yellow, and white. Scattered about this area are six gateways, marked with a tall post in one colour, and a shorter post in another. If you walk through a gateway, it will lower the blocks corresponding to the short colour, and the blocks corresponding to the taller colour will return to its raised state. If the blocks are already in their initial raised state, they will simply not move. The player needs to walk through the gates in a correct order so that one of the sets of blocks will be fully cleared, allowing access to the switch. The order is as follows:
- Lower red, raise brown.
- Lower brown, raise grey.
- Lower right, raise blue.
- Lower grey, raise green.
The switch is now accessible from the eastern side.
This can be found in the north-east of the map. The tall stone tower can be used as a guide when locating the area, which is closed in by tall stone walls. When the player reaches this area, they will find short marble plinths along the wall, each with a glowing red light and the visage of a gargoyle. Towards the eastern end of the wall, one of the plinths has a lion face instead of a gargoyle. Press this plinth to lower a section of the wall behind it, allowing access to the puzzle area. The first thing you will find here is a traditional maze, with different coloured torches place on top of posts, and fences of metal bars between the posts. This maze does not lead anywhere, however the arrangement of the fences and the torches informs you of the true puzzle, which a second maze to the north-west.
This second maze has the same layout, but does not have fences, and the orientation is flipped vertically. With this in mind, you must make your way through the maze without moving between posts where there was originally a fence, else you will be teleported just outside the entrance and must start over. You should move through the maze as described:
- Enter and move forward, stop before the red torches.
- Turn left and move through the first pair of posts in front of you.
- Move to the other side of the next pair of posts in front of you by turning left and walking around them.
- You are now on the eastern edge of the maze. Move forward and stop before the last post along this edge.
- Turn right and move forward, stop before the green torch.
- Move between the green and blue torches, then turn left.
- Move forward all the way to the western edge of the maze.
- Turn left and you will see part of the wall has collapsed. Move towards this, but walk around the post next to it.
You can climb the collapsed wall to escape the maze. Now taking care not to fall, move on to the marble structure and go up the steps. The switch is visible from here. Move towards the other marble structure and go down the stone steps to reach the switch.
This puzzle starts in the town at the north of the map. Once again the tallest building in this part of the map can be used as a landmark. Additionally a large blue banner is placed on the floor near the starting point for this puzzle. Ascending the stairs towards the base of the tall building, you will see the switch in plain sight, but it is out of reach. Go up another set of steps to the east and you will find a black arrow on the ground. Move forward from here in the direction of the arrow. You will reach the corner of a wooden building, but you will notice you are aiming at a seemingly random bit of trimming. Press on this and a second arrow will appear behind you.
The second arrow points to another wooden building, this one is decorated with some candelabras. Press the wall that sits between the two rightmost candelabras to reveal the third arrow. The third arrow leads you up some steps to a small clearing with a wooden plank sticking up out of the ground. Press it to reveal the fourth arrow. The fourth arrow has you drop down from the clearing. Go up the long staircase lined by green torches, and into the western edge of the town. You may notice one of the larger buildings has a slightly different texture along part of its eastern wall. Press to reveal the fifth arrow. The fifth arrow will lead you to a rectangular building nearby. Press its south-west corner to reveal the sixth arrow. Face the direction of the sixth arrow, and go past the buildings that it appears to point to. There is a street lamp here with a green torch, press its south-east edge to reveal the seventh arrow in front of you. A small step will also raise out of the ground next to it. Go up the step and drop into the area filled with dozens of wooden columns. Some paths run through this area dividing it into four quadrants. The pillar you are looking for is in the north-eastern quadrant, and is the closest column in that quadrant to the paths' intersection. Press its western edge to reveal an eighth arrow, which simply points to a switch in front of you.
Press the switch and return to the building where the puzzle started. The skull switch can now be reached. Although this puzzle is simple in concept, it can be challenging to find your target, particularly over the longer distances. The best strategy is to try and manoeuvre without turning.
This puzzle occupies a large area at the western side of the map. If you moves towards the western edge, you will eventually find the skull switch, however it is out of reach. In front of the structure it sits on are two metal switches. The one on the left will raise a wooden block, the one on the right will lower it. The objective here is to turn the wooden block into a set of stairs that allows you to reach the switch, which is done by walking over small stacks of stones in front of the gravestones. Before you make any changes, the wooden block must be in its lowered state.
Just to the south of the switch you will see a pit with two gravestones. This functions as a training area to explain how the puzzle works. One of the steps that lead out of the pit is not yet raised, so if you enter the pit, you need to raise it in the same way that the steps to the switch are raised.
One of the graves has just one stone in front of it, the other has two stacked on top of each other. Moving over the double stone will raise the step, but not enough for it to be used, so the player must cross the double stone a total of three times to raise it high enough. If you makes a mistake and raises it too far, crossing the single stone will lower the step back into the floor.
So now you need to apply the concept to the main puzzle. If you move back towards the east end of this area you should find five banners on stone bricks, alternating blue and black, and rising in height such that they have a staircase like shape. Most sets of gravestones are marked with a banner, so the collection is hinting towards which step a set of gravestones corresponds to.
The blue banner set with three gravestones just to the west of the collection corresponds to the first step. As this is raised by one "unit" already, you need not worry about this. The second step corresponds to the black banner set right next to the collection. This set only has two graves. Walk over the double stone once. The third step corresponds to a blue banner set with three gravestones. It is closer to the switch than the set for the first step and the double stone is in the middle of the set, so make sure you are on the right set of gravestones, and cross the double stone twice. The fourth step corresponds to the black banner set with four gravestones, found on top of a hill to the south. Cross the double stone three times. The fifth step corresponds to the blue banner set with four gravestones, the closest set to the switch (excluding a red banner set which is not used in the puzzle). Cross the double stone four times.
Return to the metal switches and press the one on the left. If you have done the puzzle correctly, the wooden block should now take the form of a staircase that allow you to press the skull switch. If not, see which step is not in the correct place, hit the right switch to return all steps into the ground, and return to the gravestones corresponding to the incorrect step(s), using the single stone to reset it and start over.
The castle is located in the south-west of the map, near the gravestones. Part of its eastern wall is collapsed and you can enter from here. On the ground you will see rectangles in four different colours: Red, blue, brown, and white. These are all platforms which can be raised, when with the help of the green pillars, will allow you to get up onto the ramparts, which eventually leads you to the switch.
Each colour of platform has a corresponding pair of switches to raise and lower it. The left switch of a pair will raise all platforms of its corresponding colour by a short distance, the right switch will return the platforms to ground level, should you make a mistake. Only the blue and brown switches can be found at ground level, in the north-west and south-west corners of the castle respectively. The red and brown switches are on raised ledges in the south-east and north-east corners respectively.
The solution is as follows:
- Raise the blue platforms once, and raise the brown platforms twice.
- You can get on to the blue platforms from a short green platform near to their switches. Navigate the blue platforms to reach another green platform, and use it to get onto a brown platform, and cross over to the ledge with the red switches.
- Raise the red platforms twice.
- Navigate the brown and red platforms to reach the white switches.
- Raise the white platforms twice.
- Return to the red switches, and raise the red platforms once more.
- Drop back to ground level. Raise the blue platforms twice more.
- Reset the brown platforms using the right hand switch, then raise them once.
You will now be able to navigate the platforms to reach the ramparts from the south-west corner. Follow the path around, and very slowly drop down through the gap in the western wall. Go up the steps and hit the switch.
This puzzle is found in the south of the map. You will find five multi-tiered marble islands, covered in skull switches. None of these switches work, except for one.
At first this may seem like a mundane exercise in pressing all the switches until you find the one that works, but if you look at this area from a distance, or use the automap, you will notice the large stone stalagmites that also occupy the area are projecting bright stars onto the ceiling of the cavern. This is not the only place where you can find these stars. By using the automap or freelook, you will notice five larger stars near the town and the maze. If you try and find the stalagmites that are casting these larger stars, you will end up entering a dark gorge, and near the centre of this gorge you can find a miniaturised version of the marble islands on the floor, orientated oppositely to their larger counterparts.
There is a mysterious point of light being cast over some of the islands, if you look closely at this point, you will see a tiny skull engraved into one of the islands - this is marking the location of the true skull switch. Return to the skull islands. The island with the switch is the second from the east. The switch is located on the middle tier, at the eastern point. It is split in half by the corner, only the left half works.
The Tower of the Pupil
All six platforms to the central island have been raised. The platforms are near the marble islands, and are marked by a large number of red torches. When you have crossed the platforms, you will find the symbol of a red funnel on the ground. You have just one more puzzle to go, and it is relatively simple. The direction does not matter, as you will need to do a complete loop around the island.
There are multiple symbols to find. The first is the red funnel in front of you when you first reach the island. Travelling counter-clockwise, the next symbol is on the south-eastern edge, and looks a bit like a stylish letter 'c,' or a sideways 'n'. Continuing around the island, the third symbol is just to the north, but is separate from the island, and the player will have to cross over to a platform to see it. Should you fall, you will need to drop down into the darkest depth of the Emerald River and use the stairs to return to the mainland, not far from where you accessed the island. The third symbol is similar to the common depiction of a lightning bolt and electricity.
The fourth symbol is in a small inlet on the north edge of the island. It is the numeral of 7. Next you will pass a tall staircase leading to a higher part of the island, but first there are two more symbols to find. One of these can be seen by looking between two tall stone monoliths on the west of the island, it appears like a stretched letter 's'. You will now drop down some steps, but there is another set of steps to go up. At the top of them is the final symbol, reminiscent of an 'A'.
Return to the tall staircase on the north edge of the island and ascend. Move around to the south side of the island and you will find a darkened area containing the base of the tower, and fifteen gateways, each with a different symbol on the ground next to them. There is a final skull switch at the base of the tower, but is blocked off by some metal bars. You need to get rid of the bars by walking through the gateways that have the symbols that you already found on the outskirts of the island. Be careful, as some of the wrong symbols are similar in the appearance to the correct ones. Walking through an incorrect gateway will return you to the mainland, next to the bridge to the island.
Once you have crossed the seven correct gateways, the final switch will now be accessible. Press it and you will begin to ascend the tower. At the top, it should become clear how the level ends.
Low Detail version:
Upon completing the ritual, the player is taken to a second map, entitled Taken, which serves as an ending cutscene. This epilogue uses the music track "Diwedh," which is a reprise of a part of the main map's music track. The player finds themselves on an island in the middle of an infinite sea, containing only the guillotine, their separated head and body, a large number of candles, and the table with the book and knife that was also found at the top of the tower. Notice now that the knife is clean. There is nothing else in this map, so the player can quit at this point, though if the player enters the water, the guillotine and the table will disappear, leaving only the candles, a solitary red torch, and the player's body.