Wormwood: Expanded Universe

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Wormwood: Expanded Universe
Title screen
Authors Zachary Stephens & Grain of Salt
Port Boom-compatible
Year 2020
Link Doomworld forums thread

Wormwood: Expanded Universe is a four-map Halloween-themed PWAD for Doom II, plus three bonus maps, requiring Boom-compatible source ports. A sequel to 2019's Wormwood, it is once again a collaboration between Zachary Stephens (Ribbiks) and Grain of Salt and was released on November 1, 2020. Though the mapset starts off whimsical and lighthearted with a prelude of puzzle-focused levels at a medium difficulty, the centerpiece finale is far more somber in tone and significantly more challenging.

The three bonus maps focus on BFG-centered slaughter, platforming, and Tyson gameplay, but are thematically unrelated to the rest of the mapset.



"After a year of being trapped in Demon House, you finally noticed the back door..."

Custom content[edit]

The WAD makes use of DeHackEd for its custom content, and includes modified PLAYPAL and COLORMAP lumps, resulting in the main range of greens (colors 112-127 in the palette) being replaced with more yellowish, neon hues, which fall off significantly less in brightness in the distance or inside darker sectors compared to the rest of the palette, creating the effect of these greens glowing in the dark. This affects a variety of sprites, including those of the baron of Hell, Hell knight, mancubus and cacodemon as well as certain textures. Furthermore, most of the color ranges of blue (192-207) and all magenta hues (250-254) are replaced with shades of purple, while the color range of orange (209-223) is also tweaked to include overall brighter hues, giving flames and lava a more vivid look.

Bouncy walls
These walls can be recognized by their purple flame texture and will bounce back projectiles shot into them. The effect is created by using Boom's scroller action 253 - Scroll Floor, Move Things to propel projectiles flying into the sectors in the direction the floor of the sector is scrolling. Normally, this would only affect objects on the ground; however, this is overcome by making use of Boom's linedef action 242 - Create Fake Ceiling And Floor; applying it to the scrolling sector creates a fake floor above the normal one, which results in all objects below this fake floor being now affected by the floor-scrolling line action, including projectiles and flying objects, thus propelling the projectiles shot into the sector forward in the direction of the scrolling floor. Depending on the scrolling direction of the sector and the angle at which a projectile enters into it, this can result in highly erratic flight paths as soon as a large number of projectiles are involved, a feature that is exploited in several places as an added environmental hazard as well as a puzzle element.[2]
Green cyberdemon
This custom cyberdemon has only 1000 hit points and replaces the spider mastermind; as such, it can infight with the regular cyberdemon, though it is still immune to splash damage. The wiring on its body is neon green instead of the usual red and will glow in the dark.
A modified Nazi SS guard, these flying bats will chase the player like regular monsters but can't do any damage, as they lack an attack state, nor are they shootable themselves, functioning as a sort of mobile decoration as part of the Halloween theme.
Spirit flame
Both the blue skull key and the blue key card have been replaced with so-called "spirit flames", with the latter granting the player different weapons when picked up.


Both the graphics used for the title screen and intermission screen show recolored sections of paintings by German Romanticism painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840).

The title screen shows part of the painting Winterlandschaft mit Kirche (winter landscape with church) from 1811 but with the sky and foreground colored over with neon green and purple, respectively, while the area in-between is rendered black. The neon green shown, besides being used throughout the WAD in various sprites and textures, is also one of two colors (the other being black) that make up the sky texture in the WAD's finale, MAP04; while purple is the primary color of the sky texture of MAP03.

The painting in its original form is part of a pair of paintings and shows a forlorn winter landscape in which an old man is seen lying with his back against a large bolder, praying before a tall wooden crucifix seen standing amid a small thicket of young fir trees surrounded by an empty expanse of snowy hills, with the shadowy outline of a gothic cathedral visible through the haze in the distance towards the left. The man seems to be dying, with the crutches that had carried him this far lying tossed aside in the snow as he is looking up at the symbol of his redemption in the figure of Christ dying on the cross. That the old man's soul is indeed saved is hinted at through the rosy patch of sky seen above the celestial cathedral structure, with its narrow tall towers, just like the fir trees and the cross standing among them, pointing ever upwards to heaven. The rendition of this scene in the title screen on the other hand seems to reverse the connotation, with the cathedral now looking dark and foreboding, and the green sky above emphasizing an atmosphere of eldritch horror, a demonic corruption of the themes of the original painting.

The intermission screen shows a similar scene, a part of the painting Kreuz und Kathedrale im Gebirge (cross and cathedral in the mountains) from 1812, though this time only mildly recolored with a soft yellow tint. A tall gothic cathedral tower can be seen rising up from among the trees surrounding it, with the sky and clouds brightly illuminated above it. In the original, a crucifix can be seen standing below the church amid a desolate mountainous terrain, once again symbolizing the harsh emptiness of nature and death that is overcome through faith. The cathedral in this picture in particular could be seen as a reference to the temple that most of MAP04 is set in, as several trees can be seen there surrounding the building, and several crooked branches are visible beneath the eerie, demonic moon as part of the level's sky texture.

External links[edit]


  1. Grain of Salt (1 November 2020). Doomworld forums post. Doomworld forums. Retrieved 25 April 2023.
  2. Stephens, Zachary (20 October 2020). "CL9 Bouncy Walls (wormwood_EU.wad)." rbkz.blogspot.com. Retrieved 25 April 2023.