Nods to Mods: SIGIL
In the realm of things that are equal parts awesome and unlikely we have John Romero - lead designer of DOOM (1993) - return 25 years later to create SIGIL, the fifth chapter in the DOOM Marine’s battle against Hell.
You might be wondering how you ended up back in demon territory after taking the final teleporter out of Hell after defeating the final Spider Mastermind in the fourth episode of DOOM: Thy Flesh Consumed. Well, nobody ever said that Hell’s teleporters ever go where you expect them to.
In this new piece of DOOM revisionist history, Romero tells us that Baphomet, the gatekeeper of Hell, “glitched the final teleporter with his hidden sigil, whose eldritch power brings you to even darker shores of Hell. You fight through this stygian pocket of evil to confront the ultimate harbingers of Satan, then finally return to become Earth’s savior.”
Hello Darkness, My New Friend
Romero wasn’t kidding when he said “even darker shores of Hell,” as these levels will challenge you in a multitude of ways. Let it be known: SIGIL is as tough as Hell. Buckle up, ‘cuz in this timeline Daisy isn’t dead yet in this action-packed DOOM Add-on.
What’s an Add-on?
We’re stoked to feature John Romero’s SIGIL on Nods to Mods and playing it for yourself is easier than ever! We’ve updated our latest releases of DOOM and DOOM II to support additional content, which can be accessed in the Add-ons submenu from the main menu. For more info on how to access SIGIL, check out the latest patch notes & FAQ here.
Eye See What You Did There
Before you dive into SIGIL, here are some need-to-know tips for how these dark shores of Hell operate.
When you see this evil eye:
Shoot it! It will always trigger environmental changes to your pathways which are mission critical for progress.
When you see these floating skull rocks:
Touching them will instantly teleport you.
Exiting levels is done through touching this SIGIL:
Ready for action? Check out our walkthrough for a fighting chance against the deadly nightmare awaiting you in SIGIL. Baphomet commands it!
Map 01 | Baphomet’s Demesne
Disclaimer: The following level guides were written experiencing SIGIL on ‘Hurt Me Plenty’ difficulty. YMMV with demons mentioned on other difficulties. Many, many demons were harmed in the playing of this Add-on.
To set the tone here, you’ve got Imps screaming at you and hurling fireballs from the first evil nanosecond you teleport in (Thanks, Baphomet). Don’t forget the Shotgun from the bloody pool you spawn into. It’s important to note from here on out, ammo conservation is part of the experience - especially at higher difficulties. Make your shots count!
Another word to the wise: mind your footing. Pathways in Hell weren’t meant for mere mortals to traverse, so if you happen to fall off a razor thin path into the blood lava, there’s usually no coming back. Bail-out teleporters are scarce, so watch where you step!
This first level is essentially a primer for what’s to come – you’ll need to shoot the evil eye sprites to progress and if you conserve your ammo and look before you leap, you will go far.
Map 02 | Sheol
You'll be getting some uninvited guests teleporting in to end you multiple times in this trigger-happy map, so stay alert. We love Romero's use of the pink intestine wall texture, 'SKSNAKE2', for the 'safe' path through the initial lava and again later for a critical path along the raised narrow walkway. It's such a cool texture used sparingly to give you the feeling that you're walking along the squishy guts of god knows what.
Keep in mind, if you lose your footing while battling off Lost Souls and plummet into the lava at any point, look out for the aforementioned floating skull rocks for a quick teleport back up to higher ground.
This map is short, sweet and it teaches you the very important lesson that whenever you flip a wall switch, make sure to turn around. Chances are there's a new demon waiting to strike!
Map 03 | Cages of the Dammed
The start of this level reminds us of DOOM II’s MAP06: The Crusher, as demons are hiding behind every pillar. As the level’s name implies, there are cages everywhere. Use the sheer ledges to navigate around said cages but of course, they’re filled with demons that want to see your gruesome end!
This level is a little more open. Romero’s surprise attack style still holds true. After hitting switches, stay on your toes as some pesky hitscan Shotgun Soldiers are likely lying in wait behind you! And don’t be too shocked when the walls drop and the level opens up like a death accordion.
Skinny walkways will lead you to jail cells with blood-starved Imps and Cacodemons as their jailers, floating overhead. Don’t think you get a free pass outta this level once you see the unholy cross; You’ll be funneled into a showdown with a Baron of Hell, so bring some ammo and some nerve.
Map 04 | Paths of Wretchedness
You’ll be greeted with narrow ledges to navigate with demons blocking your path and Imps throwing fireballs – needless to say, but don’t stay in one place for too long.
In the lava area, you’ll be trolled by tiny islands that look safe enough to plot your course through to the Yellow Key, but wait! You nearly forgot that you’re in Hell, and the only thing that lasts forever is eternal damnation. Those islands will sink into the lava the second you claim them so once you start, don’t slow down!
Oh, as you pursue the Blue Key, keep an eye out for secrets that’ll help balance desperate situations.
Right after this Baron of Hell encounter are crushing ceilings and Shotgun Soldiers hiding in caged cells. There are thin, secret pathways behind them with switches to hit on either side. This section gave us some classic DOOM (1993) puzzle vibes big time!
What follows is an area with falling ceilings to flatten you. When hit, the yellow door triggers an ambush. You can almost hear Romero cackling all the way from Ireland as you’re forced to deal with all the baddies in front of you before that door ever opens. Let’s call it the doorway to infinity.
Map 05 | Abaddon’s Void
There is a line in the sand drawn from Map 05 onward. Both in difficulty and in scale. Things open a lot here and you’ll feel that oppression with larger areas offering new ways to die.
Look for ‘out-of-the-way switches’ down the beaten path and pay special attention to sound cues when you activate them. Make sure to act fast as the triggers are quick in this Hellscape. When you’re up high running along pathways, look for alternative branching paths that aren’t as obvious.
Tackling the Cyberdemon here is optional. Just because he’s out there keeping the streets safe from DOOMGuys doesn’t mean it has to be you. The choice is yours.
Map 06 | Unspeakable Persecution
Lights out! No, seriously, somebody in Hell forgot to pay the light bill.
Darkness is not your friend in this labyrinth. Neither are the Cacodemons showing up on raised, narrow walkways, a couple of Barons of Hell before the red door bars or the red door bars themselves that you need to be opened individually. Oh, and there may or not be a Baron in a tiny hallway looking for a phone booth brawl after taking down teams of Imps in the layer cake of green marble. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Protip? We wholeheartedly recommend the Chainsaw in this map to take advantage of the narrow passages.
If you thought those Barons were tough to fight in a small space, wait until you enter the green marble castle area. After a series of satisfying telefrags following the string of teleporters laid out in your path, you end up in the prison cell in the center. Remember the one with two Barons who were hailing down green fireballs earlier? Well, there’s also a teleporter in this cell, so think fast.
Also, there’s a secret exit to a secret level somewhere in this level. But if I told you where, it wouldn’t be a secret. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Map 07 | Nightmare Underworld
This map has a cool mix of narrow passageways leading to open areas. When you reach an area where you can just make out some skybox, you can’t help but feel a sense of relief.
We particularly like Romero’s use of texturing on this map and it just so happens to include one of our favorite James Paddock MIDI tracks. The song’s buildups and breakdown are noticeably dynamic in a way that made us smile. Listen to it here.
And right on time, this level introduces the BFG 9000, which you’ll find handy here - and 1,000% need later…
Map 08 | Halls of Perdition
This is it. The big one. The final level of SIGIL. Brace yourself for strobe lights and concentric cages in hallways. In this map, Romero masterfully bakes in some special textures from the original set of DOOM for an unforgettable encounter.
We love when you get a little preview of enemies who can’t get at you just yet but are chomping at the bit to do so. And what better enemy for that imposing purpose than Lost Souls?
Save your Energy Ammo for the end of the map. You’re gonna need it. Finally, step into the teleporter and hope that Daisy is alright…
Itching for more SIGIL? Stay tuned to the Slayers Club when we come back with an in-depth look at the development of this brutally good megawad with the help of none other than John Romero himself!