Shadow of the Wool Ball is a Game Mod for Doom, created by MSPaintR0cks and released in 2016. Exchanging Doom's gritty blood-soaked infernal landscapes for a brighter and cheerier (although still quite brutal) World of Funny Animals, it stars Scott, a brave hedgehog who guns his way through eighteen levels across three episodes in order to rescue his girlfriend Rebecca from evil cat invaders.note In design, the mod is a throwback to Wolfenstein 3D-styled flat levels, although enriched with a variety of scripted sequences and platform game-styled threats.
Download it here (requires the ZDoom engine).
A sequel, Rise of the Wool Ball, was released in 2017. This time, the player controls Rebecca, who must rescue Scott after he was kidnapped by the kitties in revenge for maiming their leader. This time, the mod's design is a throwback to Rise of the Triad.
The series shows examples of:
- Cats Are Mean: The villains are evil cat invaders from outer space.
- Cool Shades: The chaingun-wielding cats wear these.
- Die, Chair! Die!: Some decorations, such as tables and potted plants, can be destroyed.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Health can be replenished by food pickups.
- Land Mine Goes "Click!": The bright orange land mines let out an audible click as they're triggered, letting you know that you'd better get moving, fast.
- Laughing Mad: The flying saucer cats cackle insanely as they attempt to run you down.
- Must Have Caffeine: The equivalent of "armor" in the game is coffee. For some reason there's a lot of coffee pots just lying around everywhere.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: With inspiration from Wolfenstein 3D, there are occasional blatant references to Nazism—in particular the red banners with the black symbol in a white circle, and the officer enemies who wear all black and speak in faux-German.
- Outrun the Fireball: The end cutscene of every level shows the hedgehog running away as the facility blows up. The ending of Shadow likewise shows the hero and his girlfriend cheerfully running away from a final giant explosion.
- Punny Name: Some of the levels have pun-based names such as "Fur of the Dark" or "Purranoia".
- Rewarding Vandalism: The aforementioned destructible decorations sometimes yield bonus items.
- Retraux: The design and the graphics of Shadow are a throwback to Wolfenstein 3D-styled games with flat levels and orthogonal walls. Rise likewise pays homage to Rise of the Triad, with orthogonal walls, all ceilings on the same level, and floating platforms.
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: Every single level has one for some unexplained reason, and the exit only opens once you trigger it, giving you ten second or so to get the hell out.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Occasionally the Big Bad will taunt you from a video screen. You can smash the screen while he's still talking, causing him to spout a string of bleep-heavy gibberish subtitled as "(Curses)" (first game) or "Aargh!" (second game).
- Speaking Simlish: While the enemies' banter is generally coherent speech, the Big Bad's taunts from the viewscreens are incomprehensible gibberish, though subtitled in proper English. Similarly, in the first game, the Doom-referencing marine kitties from Episode 2's secret level talk in gibberish. In the second game, the sheep talk like this, with subtitled bleats.
- Spikes of Doom: The game includes both spikes rising out of the floor, and spiked walls which kill you instantly should a ventilation fan push you into one.
- Squishy Wizard: The scrawny-looking wizard cats are among some of the weaker enemies in the game, health-wise. Except for the black-robed wizards, which are beefier and notably tougher.
- Stealth-Based Mission: "Watch out for the Watcher" in the first game has a minor example, where you have to avoid getting in the visual range of a surveillance camera if you want to avoid releasing a large horde of enemies. These cameras reappear several times in the second game.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Rebecca can be recognized as female because she has visible eyelashes and long hair.
- Vent Physics: A lot of the levels have fans that push the player around, sometimes into harm's way if you're not careful.
- World of Funny Animals: Apart from hedgehogs and cats, who apparently inhabit entirely separate planets, there are sapient sheep, polar bears and birds appearing in Rise.
- The X of Y: The title of both games. In the case of the second game, it's an outright reference to Rise of the Triad.
Shadow of the Wool Ball shows examples of:
- Bling-Bling-BANG!: The most powerful weapon in the game is the Golden Shotgun, complete with golden ammunition.
- Bookends: The opening cutscene begins with the camera moving into a series of empty rooms before Scott appears. When he finds a way out of his cell, the camera then moves far outside, revealing rooms filled with enemies and spike traps.
- Degraded Boss: After you defeat the spider-legged bosses at the end of episode 1, smaller spider-legged enemies begin appearing throughout episodes 2 and 3 and the larger version of the boss makes a surprise re-appearance near the end of the game.
- Gasshole: The episode 2 boss in his introductory cutscene is shown chugging from a bottle, then lets out a loud, echoing burp, followed by a fart.
- Gimmick Level: One level is completely centered on the ventilation fan gimmick and has no enemies to worry about.
- Save the Princess: The main goal in the game is to find and rescue your girlfriend.
- Shout-Out: Apart from some textures outright recalling the decoration from Wolfenstein 3D, there's the secret level "Smells of Doom" which has kittens dressed up like the protagonist from Doom, as well as "Nostalgia Park" which contains areas using textures from Wolfenstein 3D and Prince of Persia, complete with animatronics of enemies from the respective games.
- Thanking the Viewer: From the credits: Thanks a lot for playing my game! :D
- Too Awesome to Use: The Golden Shotgun is the most powerful weapon in the game, but its corresponding ammunition is scarce and most of it is hidden in secret areas, so you'll probably hold off using it on non-boss enemies.
- World Shapes: True to its name, the titular planet apparently resembles a giant ball of wool when observed from a distance.
- Your Head A-Splode: What happens to the final opponent if you as much as lay a finger on him.
- Zero-Effort Boss: After you defeat the final warrior, the Big Bad himself only stands there and seethes, and can be dispatched with a single attack.
Rise of the Wool Ball shows examples of:
- Abnormal Ammo: The weapons include a cucumber launcher (equivalent to a rocket launcher) and a "bird gun", which is essentially a live bird squirting its poo at enemies.
- Action Girl: Rebecca takes on this role. Not only she's as good at fighting and shooting as Scott was, but she's really damn good at skateboarding.
- Convection Schmonvection: Plenty of later levels feature giant lava pools which are, of course, harmless unless touched.
- Disney Death: Rebecca seemingly dies at the end when the tower is blown up, leaving Scott despondent... but then it turns out she's been saved by the magical sheep guardians.
- Flipping the Bird: One of the final boss's attacks is launching cannonballs out of its hands... while giving you the finger at the same time.
- Floating Platforms: Balloons play the role of floating platforms.
- Game Within a Game: The secret level of episode 3 has Rebecca playing Shadow of the Hedgelord, a kitten-made Wolfenstein 3D clone where the player must fight evil hedgehogs and rescue imprisoned kitties.
- Gangplank Galleon: The second episode's secret level is set on a pirate ship, complete with enemies dressed to match.
- I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: How you learn about one of the enemies' weakness.Big Bad: You will never find out that my strong robo kitties can only be harmed by cucumbers! Argh, why did I say that!!?
- Poison Mushroom: In addition to the ordinary jump-inducing pink-hatted mushrooms, there are completely pink mushrooms found indoors, which launch you upwards all right... right into the ceiling, taking away a big chunk of your health.
- Shattered World: The hedgehog planet becomes this after the cat leader blows it up in the intro. It's broken up into three larger pieces plus a lot of debris floating around. Luckily it's pieced back together in the ending.
- Spike Balls of Doom: The spike-studded wool balls which roll around in a preset path.
- Spring Jump: The springy pink mushrooms which launch you upwards, and are often instrumental in getting over obstacles or to high places.
- Stylistic Suck: One of the bonus levels has you jump into a VR machine. The simulation has low-quality CGA graphics.
- Taking You with Me: The final boss attempts to do this when you defeat him, by blowing up the tower on which you're standing.
- Trojan Horse: How Rebecca gets into the cat base—inside a giant wool depiction of the cat leader.