I had started browsing the /idgames directories, which was the ultimate mod database for the first-person-shooter Doom, out of pure boredom. I then came across a WAD file called DOOM45.wad. The author's name was "A", and the file size was 1 gigabyte. Despite this, the file had 5/5 stars, and I instinctively downloaded it. When the download had finally finished, I opened the ZIP file the WAD came in, but there was no WAD file to be found. In its place, was DOOM45.pk3 and a text document, which was required in order to be submitted to this archive. Curiously enough, the mod file to play the game was required to be a WAD file in order to be accepted, as submissions go through a strenuous process to be accepted, and it wasn't uncommon for some WAD files to be rejected, just because they were vaguely based on one of the original levels, or some other inane reason. I did hear about some PK3 files being accepted, however, so I guess exceptions can be made. 

When I opened the text document, it only read "TO BE SORRY" 8 times. Perplexed, yet curious, I decided to open the contents to have a look at them, as a pk3 file was basically another name for a zip file, with the extension itself being specialized for games. It was standard Doom fare, with some special effects, new monsters and weapons, and new graphics that couldn't have taken up more than 75 megabytes at most. What I found to have taken up most of the space was a massive library of new textures (nothing out of the ordinary) and 7 new levels that seemed to be huge, but I still couldn't figure out why these textures and levels took up approximately 300 megabytes, as they looked like they couldn't have taken up more than 100. I then loaded DOOM45.pk3 with Zandronum (a Doom source port made mainly for online multiplayer).
Doom back
What I found was remarkable. The file only took about 3 seconds to boot up. The title screen composed of a side profile of a marine holding a monster's severed head in his hand came up, and nothing more. I went to the main menu, and started up a new game, on the normal difficulty.

It only got better from there. A heavy metal remake of the first level's music track started playing, my starting weapon was an assault rifle, and I knew I was playing Knee Deep in ZDoom, a remake of Doom's first episode for today's source ports. Ecstatic, I proceeded into the first area, and I encountered zombies with various weapons. When I shot at them, they were wounded and eventually killed in ways more realistic than the original game, and then I learned that DOOM45 not only had Knee Deep in ZDoom, but was also a souped-up version of Brutal Doom, a Doom mod notorious for giving the player several different ways to kill enemies, as well as its extreme graphic violence, complete with new monsters and weapons. I was close to finishing the first level, and already I wanted to play this until the wee hours of the night.

When I proceeded to the second level, it was just as good as the first. The usual death and destruction came about, and naturally, there were new monsters. However, there were two things I had noticed. One, while the first level had a heavy metal remix, the second level just had the original MIDI track of the second level playing. Two, while the background sky of the first level was a mountain range against a white sky, the background sky of the second level was a blood-red sky, but since this was Doom, after all, this wasn't particularly out of the ordinary, so I pressed on to the third level. But, out of the corner of my eye every now and then, I swear I could have seen a black figure, which looked like a mix between a man and a cloud.

The third level was when things had really started to seem off. The music track for this level was a disturbing ambient track from Doom 64, and the background sky was nothing but pitch black. This isn't what put me off, though. Two things had happened: The zombies were now able to talk, but in this demonic voice that's hard to describe. Some of those zombies were even more aggressive, whereas some other zombies actually tried to run away. The former zombies insulted and threatened me, with phrases like "I'll rip your eyes out, fucker" and "Grow some balls, you worthless shit", while the latter zombies actually pleaded for their lives, with "Why are you doing this to me?" and "Please don't kill me!" The other thing that put me off was whenever I grabbed a key card, this black fog started to form around me, and whispering was heard. For some reason, I was moving slower and slower, until finally, I couldn't move at all. This whispering was hard to make out, and the second the whispering stopped, I could move normally, and the black fog was all gone. I was baffled by this, but I considered that this was Doom anyway, so I wasn't someone who was too easily disturbed by this. Regardless, I moved on to the fourth level.

Doom cacom 2
The fourth level was simply a square room with a switch in the middle. The music track was the track where you find a bunny's head on a stick, and there was nothing to be seen besides the switch. Naturally, I pressed the switch, but what followed genuinely shocked me. The HUD face, which showed how much health you had, was completely in shock. A message on the screen read:


The screen cut to black and the agonized scream of a man that sent shivers down my spine burst out of the computer's speakers. It was the death sound your player character would make when he was killed by something more powerful than usual, only the volume on this particular sound was raised to deafening levels. 

I suddenly found myself in the fifth level, but this was no better. For some reason, the only enemies seen was these flying black skulls  that were covered in black flames (think Lost Souls from the original game, but completely black), and the music track for this level was also the track for the final level of Doom II. They were very fast, very tough, and very lethal. I came across a group of these, and I died within seconds of encountering these monsters. The second time I started the level, the game's normal monsters replaced these "Black Souls," but I was startled by the fact that the HUD face was now all bloodied up, the eyes were gouged out, and was in the same state of shock as before, not to mention that the usual death screams of the monsters were now replaced with the deafening sound of static, forcing me to mute the computer. At this point, I was desperate to finish this game, but quitting was impossible, as any attempts to quit would result in me resuming the game. Just as I was about to finish this level, my character's vision suddenly got bloody, to the point where I couldn't see anything but the HUD, and I now noticed that my health dropped to 0 at that instant, meaning I had died during that. However, for some reason, I had finished the level.

I found myself in the sixth level. It was just like the sixth level of the original game, except it was extremely dark, and there was no background music. Realizing I had muted my computer, I unmuted it. Still no background music or even sound effects at this point. There was no monster to be seen, but what did come up was the faint sound of static. The computer's speakers were still at a minimum, but the sound of static grew louder and louder, until it was about to break the speakers, and then stopped just as suddenly as it started. Still, I looked for something to pop up, but nothing was there, just the empty hallways. A minute later, the static was replaced with whispering. The whispering I could tell was mostly in languages I couldn't understand. Frightened, I ultimately decided to shut off my computer, without even bothering to exit out of the game. 

I asked myself: What was this thing? Is this even a game? What kind of sick joke did the author have in mind? Yet, something was telling me to keep going, either out of bile fascination or some higher power telling me to. When I turned my computer back on, I was still in the game, but I was dead. The HUD face, however, looked completely normal, as if nothing happened, and still there was nothing to be seen. 

After what must have felt like at least ten minutes, an inhuman whispering started to play from the speakers, and as the whispering grew louder, the darkness itself seemed to distort into a fog-like being. When this creature started to take form of some of shadowy being that I was unable to describe (the closest I can get is some sort of shapeless, coiling thing with a huge red eye in the center of its mass), the hallways covered themselves in a dark red fog and the  whispering turned into screeching. At first, the screeching sounded random, but then I started to make out some sort of phrase. The phrase itself seemed to be repeated over and over what sounded like extremely loud static. Although the static itself was loud, the voice repeating itself seemed like it was reciting some sort of phrase. This was the best I could come up with before the screeching stopped:


The screeching stopped suddenly, and the screen cut to black, as the computer suddenly shut off for a second, then started to boot up again. 

It seemed as if the computer had rebooted itself as soon as the screeching stopped, or the computer had crashed. When I loaded up to the desktop, my first instinct was to go to the directory where I had put DOOM45. To my surprise, both the text document and the .pk3 file itself were gone. It's as if I had never downloaded DOOM45 in the first place. It's likely that the files must have been corrupted by the crash. 

Then out of that same bile fascination which prompted me to continue playing DOOM45, I immediately went back to the /idgames archive. The DOOM45 file was no longer there.

Confused and perplexed, I asked myself why the file just suddenly vanished. My next move was to register to the Doomworld forums, but the system told me I had to wait until the next day, so I forced myself to go to sleep, head full of questions. The next day, I created a topic asking what was DOOM45. I got several replies saying that it doesn't exist, it was probably just another urban legend, and even asking what DOOM45 was. Then even after that, the threads asking about DOOM45 got deleted. 

Ultimately, I've since decided not to seek out any more answers about DOOM45, as such answers could be too ghastly or otherwise too strange to comprehend. 

I wonder if it even was real, if it isn't, which I have trouble believing - but which might actually be the case either way, since I've been quite sick lately. And so it might have been that I passed out and dreamed all this up in a very terrifyingly real nightmare.

But if it is real, then I fear for anyone who may be unfortunate to stumble upon DOOM45. I certainly hope I just dreamed it all up...

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