The Treasury - Add-on Discs

My collection of official and unofficial add-on and expansion pack discs for various games, including shovelware level compilations.


Official mission packs

Deathkings of the Dark Citadel
The official expansion pack for Hexen. Unlike Shadow of the Serpent Riders for Heretic, this expansion was sold as a separate product. Deathkings adds three new hubs with maps of mostly high quality and greater challenge than the originals, though the finale map is even more anticlimactic. Despite a flaw or two, this is better than most Hexen map sets you'll find online and well worth having for any Hexen fan.
Make sure to get and apply the music fix patch before you play.
Portal of Praevus
The official expansion pack for Hexen II. This one adds two new regions, including the new Tibetan-themed continent of Tulku, the Demoness as a fifth playable character, and some new creatures including a new boss enemy, Praevus. Lots of new textures and props were added to create the setting of Tulku and to add some freshness to the Blackmarsh section, which is now covered with snow. Compared to Deathkings of the Dark Citadel for the first Hexen, which only added new levels, this is quite a big upgrade. The new additions are quite nice, and though this pack is sadly rather pricy to come by these days, it may still be worth considering if you're a big fan of Hexen II.
The Master Levels for Doom II
An official add-on from id Software for Doom II. Created in response to the proliferation of third-party add-on discs, this collection rather oddly straddles the line between expansion pack and shovelware. The Master Levels proper are 21 levels created by six of the most promising level authors of the time (Christen Klie, Jim Flynn, John Anderson, Sverre André Kvernmo, Tim Willits & Tom Mustaine); these levels are exclusive to the Master Levels collection. However, the disc also includes "Maximum Doom", which is a quite typical shovelware collection of WADs off the 'net, many of which are missing their text files. As a frontend, Doom-it version 5.9c is included. Another interesting thing on the disc is the "idstuff" catalog, which offered a few id T-shirts, but also offered the opportunity to call in and order unlock codes for the encrypted copies of The Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and Heretic that were included on the disc—sort of a 1995 predecessor to the digital distribution systems of today.
Beyond the Dark Portal
The official expansion for Warcraft II. Includes two new campaigns (one each for Alliance and Horde), a new tileset (Draenor swamp) and several new hero characters. The campaigns are quite challenging compared to the originals, and will really test your mettle, though in some cases victory seems a bit geared towards exploiting the AI's stupidities over "honorable" victory. Still, it's an excellent pack for War2 fans.
Note that AFAIK, the Battle.net edition of Warcraft II includes this expansion already, so the expansion pack disc is only relevant to the original DOS release of the game.
Scourge of Armagon cover thumbnail Scourge of Armagon
The first official expansion pack for Quake. There are two new weapons, the laser gun and Mjölnir, as well as an alternate firing mode for the grenade launcher, which lets it fire proximity mines. There are a few new enemies as well, notably the gremlin, a combat-weak but tricksy enemy, and the centroid, a tough cyborg scorpion with nailguns. There are three episodes, the first being industrial-military, the second medieval, and the third is somewhat mixed; although each episode starts you off fresh (shotgun, 100 health) you cannot opt to skip ahead to part 2 or 3 from the start map. The pack contains a good selection of entertaining and often challenging maps, including a secret level to discover for each of the three "episodes", and the new elements mesh well with the originals. Some of the traps do occasionally feel a bit cheap, though, with spike mines suddenly appearing and generally causing instant death if you don't escape immediately. Also notable is the soundtrack, which, unlike the experimental ambient style of standard Quake, has some nice heavy metal tracks that wouldn't be out of place in a Doom map set. An excellent expansion that I recommend to every Quake fan.
Dissolution of Eternity cover thumbnail Dissolution of Eternity
The second official expansion pack for Quake. This has a different set of new powerups, and a few alternate weapon modes such as cluster bombs, as well as some new and variant enemies. The first "episode" is mostly built in similar themes to the original levels and the first mission pack, while the second episode introduces some time travelling themes that include visiting some Egyptian and Aztec themed areas complete with nice new textures, though sadly these have only one level each. There are some neat new traps like swinging axes and sawblades just waiting to chop things into gibs. Like Scourge of Armagon, Dissolution of Eternity has a soundtrack that's a bit more "traditional" than Reznor's Quake OST. Although good quality overall, the pack does have a few minor issues. Aside from reskinned variants of the original monsters, I don't think that the new enemies quite capture the "Quake feel" as well as the Scourge of Armagon ones did. I also feel that the "Elemental Fury" levels were a bit gimmicky and out of place in the map progression; I think they would have served better as secret levels, leaving the main ones to be fleshed out with some more Egypt/Aztec maps. I'm also not greatly enthused by the earthquake function that was added, which makes the player slide around randomly in addition to just shaking the screen. Still, while I agree with those who say that this is the weaker of the two mission packs, that certainly doesn't mean it's bad; on the whole it's a creative and entertaining set that's well worth having for the Quake fan.

WizardWorks

D!ZONE for Doom & Doom II (150)
A small shovelware collection from WizardWorks' notorious D!ZONE series. 128 WAD files. Although the label says Doom & Doom II, all of the PWADS provided on the disc are for the original Doom only. Quite a few of the WADs are hacks of the id Software levels, which is disappointing, but otherwise there's a fairly decent selection. Version 1.3 of the D! frontend is included (although the info page on the disc suggests that earlier versions of this compilation might have been released with v1.0). This is a fairly decent frontend which has a few interesting features such as the ability to load multiple add-on levels into different level slots (via creating a temporary WAD that rolls together the various WADs selected.)
D!ZONE 2 for Doom & Doom II (150)
A small shovelware collection from WizardWorks' notorious D!ZONE series. Contains 58 WAD files for Doom, and 53 for Doom II, as well as version 1.5 of the D! frontend.
Although this is a relatively small collection, there's no particular rhyme or reason to what WADs were included as far as I can tell... there's even at least one Heretic WAD dropped in with the Doom ones, which naturally crashes when loaded into Doom. Compared to some of the bigger shovelware CDs, it feels a bit meager. It also follows the D!ZONE tradition of including "simulated" (read: fake) screenshots on the packaging.
Supposedly there is also a different "D!ZONE 2" which has more levels.
H!ZONE for Hexen and Heretic
Shovelware disc. Interesting for including some exclusive content; the 12 new episodes also contain some added graphics. In addition to textures, there's a poor-quality sprite of a human knight replacing the undead warrior, and a water serpent thing replacing the iron lich. The monsters still behave the same way. Unfortunately, there's more quantity than quality in these new levels; some of them also exceed vanilla limits, which in '96 before ports basically amounts to releasing broken maps. Also, the new episodes patch themselves directly to your main Heretic WAD; while they do provide a batch file to reverse the change when you're done, I'm a little uncomfortable with this approach and would advise keeping backups of your original Heretic files if you use this. The exclusive Hexen levels appear to be conversions from the new Heretic episodes, and aren't very good.
Outside of the exclusive content, this disc has fairly standard shovelware fare; 181 Heretic WADs, a mere 20 Hexen ones, and a handful of utilities. Within the Heretic collection there are several WADs that are missing from the idgames archive, though, including a couple of compilation episodes; this could be the only place some of these WADs exist any more. The frontend is once again D!, this time version 2.0 with Heretic and Hexen support, of course. As with the D!ZONE disc described above, the box cover is notable for including some "simulated" screenshots on the back.
I have a boxed copy.
W!ZONE for Warcraft II
Shovelware disc for Warcraft II, with "over 50" (65 to be exact) new .PUD files. Most are credited to CompuSol, with a few other authors here and there, and the quality varies quite a bit, with a few that feel like experimental/odd ideas that didn't pan out so well. The install program is little more than a batch process to dump the maps into your Warcraft II directory or remove them afterwards. There aren't other extras, except for a preview program to advertise some of WizardWorks' other offerings.
Supposedly it came boxed and with a guide book. I only have the CD.
Q!ZONE cover thumbnail Q!ZONE for Quake
WizardWorks' mission pack for Quake. By this point, the company had transitioned from poaching existing user levels to making their own (poor quality) levels. Q!ZONE offers three episodes, plus deathmatch maps, a shuriken launcher to replace the nailgun, and a few new enemies which are mostly not that exciting, although the "Snapper" is notable for being intensely annoying—as far as I can tell you have to shoot when its mouth is open or it won't take damage, and getting its mouth open reliably usually means getting yourself bitten. The levels start out quite short and easy even on hard mode, most being completable within 2-3 minutes easily, and while difficulty does ramp up as the set progresses, length doesn't. A small number of the levels use some custom textures, which are notable for being fairly colorful. There are some decidedly oddball ideas here and there that are kind of interesting, but overall it's a "quantity over quality" type of set, where spending a longer time on fewer levels would probably have resulted in a better product. One level is straight-up titled "Find The Unmarked Exit" and at least one other appears to be missing a key necessary for completion of the level. I wouldn't recommend this set, but it is at least overall better than Microforum's "Dark Hour"...
I have a complete boxed copy.

Laser Magic

Wolfenstein 3D and Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold Companion Edition
Shovelware disc containing the shareware versions of Wolfenstein 3D and Blake Stone, as well as graphic editors, map editors, cheats, hints and FAQs, and utilities to export levels to an ASCII reference map. Also includes four add-on packs of levels for Wolfenstein 3D / Spear of Destiny, two of which are massive 60-level complete replacements. As far as I've assessed them, they seem to be competently made as Wolf3D levels go, and geared towards the experienced fan. There is also a decent text-mode installer to present the contents of the disc.
I also enjoy the cover illustration on this one, which I find charmingly cheesy.
Doom Companion Edition
This disc contains the shareware version of Doom, plus Doom-related documents and utilities such as editors, randomizers, etc. A text-mode install interface is provided to access the contents of the disc. Unlike most such collections, this collection does NOT include any add-on maps.
Demon Gate (666)
Shovelware disc with a reasonably nice array of WADs but not much else. It appears that most if not all of the Doom 2 WADs are just conversions of maps for the original Doom. The installer is supposed to be able to autodetect your Doom directory but that doesn't work for me. Fortunately it's possible to manually select, as well. The included frontend is EasyWAD v1.11 / EasyWAD2 v1.01, which is one of the most finicky I've encountered in my collection: glitchy on my native machine and unusable in DOSBox (like UltraLAUNCH, it won't actually load WADs when run in the emulator). Usability issues aside, it seems to be rather lacking in features, anyway. The EasyWAD source code mentioned in the docs is also not included on the disc but I doubt Laser Magic customized it any.
A different version of this compilation claims to have 600 levels rather than 666. I do not currently know if the disc contents are any different between these two versions.
Magic & Mayhem for Heretic
Shovelware disc. Includes a DOS textmode-based frontend called Doom-It and 992 WAD files. The maps are all automated conversions from Doom levels with the text files removed (something that was not acknowledged by the makers of the disc). As such, the quality is terrible, even by shovelware standards, with many levels that are unplayable due to issues with ammo balance and ghost monsters. If you're looking for Heretic add-on discs, go for H!ZONE or Heresies before you bother with this.

Macmillan Digital Publishing

Level Master II
A strange offering to start off the "Level Master" series, this is actually the book "3D Game Alchemy" in software-box style packaging. As there is, as far as I can tell, no Level Master I, I can only speculate that the decision to call this offering "Level Master II" might have been an attempt to make people think it was in some way connected with The Master Levels. As the box is the only thing unique to this release, I will discuss the book itself separately.
Level Master III
Shovelware disc for Warcraft II. Includes some very nice editing documentation with some advice for working with the quirks of the game and its AI when designing campaigns, as well as a good selection of .PUD files which includes a couple of custom multi-map campaigns as well as lots of individual maps. There are also a bunch of utilities including the War2XEd editor, the PEACE .WAR file extractor, shareware GIF and WAV utilities and several others. If you're interested in making singleplayer maps, it could be worth it for the editing hints alone.
Level Master IV
Less a shovelware and more a digital strategy guide for Diablo, set up with a software frontend and HTML pages for the guide itself. There are a few spots where the guide is a bit rough around the edges with broken image tags and such, but overall the information is pretty good. In addition to the standard information one would expect to be present, there are also some other goodies like the first chapter of a fanfic and winners of the "Happy Puppy Ultimate Diablo Dungeon Dive" contest which are illustrations and descriptions of ideas people had for things to be added to the game. Also includes Kevin Lambert's multiplayer character backup utility, as well as Netscape for viewing the HTML documents, if need be.
Level Master V
Shovelware disc for Quake. Includes a Windows 9x based frontend to access the information and data on the disc. The single-player offering is a compilation campaign made up of edited versions of maps released online. The levels do seem to have had some selection for quality put into the choices, but there are still a few dodgy ones in the set. The Level Master versions have been retextured using the custom texture pack included on the disc, which is sometimes an improvement and sometimes not. It also include some new enemies in a few of the maps, most of which I'm not a big fan of. There are also nine deathmatch maps included.
Additionally, some editing documents and utilities are offered, including a shareware copy of Worldcraft and some model-making tutorials.
By shovelware standards, I'd say this disc is quite good, actually.

Microforum

Deathday
A shovelware disc for Doom & Doom II, published by Microforum. It uses a stylish, but not very featureful, graphical frontend, also called Deathday, to access most of the items on the disc. Included on the disc are a reasonably large selection of level WADs, a few sound / music mods and a bunch of utilities, some of which are obscure or strange (for instance, a saved game editor for cheating.) The frontend also has a reference screen telling you the Doom cheat codes. The disc feels a little bit disorganized and there are some items, such as the graphics packs, that are not readily available through the frontend. Also, many of the Doom II WADs appear to be conversions from Doom I. There's also a "VIDEOS" directory with a few short .AVI files that seem to have nothing to do with Doom.
The full release came with a box and manual. I only have the CD.
The Ultimate Add On Collection for Doom / Doom II
This disc appears to be a re-release of Deathday, and is nearly identical to it in disc contents. Differences include slightly different labeling (althrough the same demon graphic is used on both discs), the publisher being listed as SoftKey (although Microforum is still mentioned), and the removal of a single empty directory that was probably left in by mistake, as well as some time stamps changing (Deathday was stamped 95-05-24, Ultimate Add On 95-08-30). There do not appear to be any play-relevant alterations to the collection.
Not to be confused with The Ultimate Doom, an official Doom upgrade from id Software.
Morecraft
Shovelware disc for Warcraft II, boasting "over 200 custom-made levels". They're a mixed bag, with some worthwhile ones as well as some that are less entertaining; some may be exclusives to the disc. There are also some demo previews of other Microforum offerings included on the disc. A graphical frontend allows the user to explore the contents of the disc and read game hints and other documentation that is included.
Some copies (such as the one I have) are branded with a "Game Empire Series" label; I believe that this is a later print of the disc.
A peculiarity of interest is that, while this was a legitimate product (as much as any shovelware collection was), this collection was also used as a basis for a bootleg disc which included a pirated copy of Warcraft II in addition to the Morecraft compilation. The bootleg version uses the non Game Empire copy of the label, and has the word "requires" sloppily edited to "free" on the "requires registered version of Warcraft II" strip on the cover. Here's a comparison shot.
Dark Hour cover thumbnail Dark Hour
Add-on for Quake with 24 custom levels designed for the pack, new textures and a Windows 9x multimedia frontend that offers to install, uninstall and launch the levels as well as a help interface with Quake tips, web links and console command listing. The textures are a mixed bag; they often emphasize the green, blue and purple tones in the Quake palette, and some are very good, others have some issues with fullbrights or weird mipping, and still others are downright ugly or unfitting, like a set of cartoony metal textures that look like they'd be at home in Wolfenstein 3D. The maps themselves mostly feel very lackluster and thrown together, with all sorts of issues like awkward platforming, poor lighting, big box arenas and other questionable design principles, and outright glitches—even WizardWorks put together a better offering than this with their Q!ZONE. Although all the maps contain monsters and some contain exits, these maps are all primarily designed for deathmatch, although I doubt most of them are very enjoyable for that either. It was a "Dark Hour" indeed for anyone who bought this back in the day expecting quality levels.

Other shovelware

Heresies - Developer's Network CD Occurrence Three
A small shovelware collection specifically for Heretic, oriented somewhat towards multiplayer. Includes a graphical frontend called the APCi Game Client with the very nice feature of being able to preview a map's layout from the WAD selection screen. The frontend is average otherwise; I probably still prefer ULTRALaunch. The WADs included are the usual suspects for the most part, but there are a few "lost treasures" here and there.
I have a boxed copy.
Maximum Death for Doom II
Another shovelware WAD collection. This one is rather nice for dividing the deathmatch WADs from the rest, and for including a "top rated" section of what are (supposedly) the best inclusions, but that's about as far as the positives go. The collection of WADs is big, but seemingly fairly typical, there's are also a handful of DeHackEd mods. There are also a few utilities on the disc, including DeHackEd, DEU, DMAUD and DMGRAPH, but although the packaging specifically touts the disc as including the DeeP editor, the version of DeeP included is only a shareware one complete with all of the shareware limitations that DeeP has. The Maximum Death graphical frontend that's included sucks; it uses a stack system with temporary WADs similar to what D! does, but not handled as well as D!'s system, and it tries to automatically convert Doom I WADs to Doom II rather than including Doom I support, despite many of the included wads being for Doom I. This conversion process can end up failing and the WAD not loading. For these reasons, Maximum Death is Not My Favorite Doom Shovelware, despite the large selection of WADs.
Total Ruin
Shovelware disc. Includes a large number of old-school Doom & Doom 2 WADs and a smaller number of Heretic ones, as well as some DeHackEd mods and (mostly poor-quality) graphics mods for Doom. Also comes with a selection of map editors and other utilities. Includes a special registered version of ULTRALaunch as its recommended frontend, which is not compatible with DOSBox, as far as I can tell, but works fine in real DOS mode and has some very nice features such as letting you add a brief note and rating for each WAD. Average shovelware, few files that you can't get off of idgames, although the full version ULTRALaunch is rather nice to have.
More War: The Return of the Horde
Shovelware disc for Warcraft II. The disc offers very little in the way of extras: there's an installer to copy the maps to your hard disk and a half-hearted list of hints and cheats, but no other bonuses. With 102 .PUDs on the disc, and a pair that appear to be identical (COOL.PUD and COOL2.PUD), the "over 100 new scenarios" claim just barely manages to be true. Roughly half of the PUDs are credited to a map author called Cobra_, who is specifically mentioned on the back of the case; I have no idea if he was actually on board with the making of this disc. The rest of the maps are more or less random selections, and while some have accompanying TXT files, many come with no information at all, not even a description line in the PUD file.
The majority of these maps are intended for multiplayer, so until I can get someone to test them in real MP I cannot properly assess their quality. Of the few scenarios that were designed for single player, most felt boringly easy for someone just coming out of "Beyond the Dark Portal". There were also a couple that cannot be completed on their default settings due to insufficient resources to build starting hall / transports.
Overall, More War seems to be a decent collection mainly for those looking for new MP battlegrounds, with only a few SP scenarios and hardly any non-map extras to speak of.