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Released in 1995 as a response to the numerous unofficial level packs that attempted to cash in on the phenomenal success of Doom and its sequel Doom II: Hell on Earth, Master Levels for Doom II is an expansion pack for id's popular fast-paced first-person shooter Doom II. Envisioned as the be-all and end-all of Doom level collections, the primary selling point of the expansion is a set of 20 new high-quality WADs (dubbed "Master Levels") for Doom II which were created under the official supervision of id Software and touted to be as good or better than those in the original game.

In addition, Master Levels comes with a second set of levels christened Maximum Doom, which contains more the 1,800 WADs totaling almost 3,000 individual levels. The levels included in Maximum Doom were not created in association with id as were the Master Levels, and they vary in quality from amateurish to highly polished. Aside from the Master Levels, most of the included maps were freely available via the internet at the time of the game's release, though the expansion afforded players without internet connections or those who did not wish to invest the time necessary to download them through dial-up the opportunity to have easy access to a wide variety of fan-made levels. Though the expansion is ostensibly for Doom II, requiring a valid installation in order to play, a portion of the WADs included in Maximum Doom (around 200) were intended for Doom, and a small number were originally created for Heretic.


The objective of all maps in Master Levels is simply to find the exit, killing any and all zombified humans and demons encountered along the way. In this respect the game does not differ from either of its predecessors, and due to the fact that no unique weapons or enemies are introduced in the expansion, gameplay is more or less indistinguishable from Doom II. The biggest deviation from its forebears is the presentation of its levels. While Doom's maps were divided into a series of episodes, and Doom II's formed a single campaign, the Master Levels are essentially independent of one another. Since each WAD file typically contains only a single map, players usually start with just their pistol and fists, gathering what weapons they can to conquer the level before repeating the process in the next WAD. The game furthermore has no overarching story, though some of the individual map authors provide narrative setup for their own contributions. Much like the later release of Final Doom, Master Levels seems to assume that players are already well-versed in the Doom formula, and therefore levels are generally tougher and more hectic than those of the previous games.

The Master Levels by Author

There are 21 Master Levels in all, though there are only 20 WADs. This is due to the fact that Bad Dreams is incorporated into the WAD file for The Express Elevator to Hell (TEETH.WAD) as a secret level.

John W. Anderson

  • Geryon
  • Minos' Judgement
  • Nessus
  • Vesperas
  • Virgil's Lead

Jim F. Flynn

  • Titan Manor
  • Trapped on Titan

Christen David Klie

  • The Catwalk
  • The Combine
  • The Fistula
  • The Garrison
  • Subspace
  • Subterra

Sverre Andre Kvernmo

  • Bad Dream
  • Black Tower
  • Bloodsea Keep
  • The Express Elevator to Hell
  • Mephisto's Mausoleum

Tom Mustaine

  • Paradox

Tim Willits

  • Attack
  • Canyon

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