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Video Game / Strange Aeons

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As the Traveler, your task is simple: survive a dream odyssey across several fearsome realm's from the darkest corners of the cosmos, where even the gods fear to tread. Each environment consists of eight maps, plus one secret map, and is populated by scores of nightmarish critters out for your blood. Find the big, humming slipgate at the end of each map to escape!
Extract from the mod's manual

Strange Aeons is a Doomnote  Cthulhu Mythos-themed total-conversion mod developed by Mike MacDee (AKA Impie), and initially released in 2015.

You are the Traveler, an archeologist working for the Miskatonic University of Arkham. The Traveler lost his son David, and it turned out his work gave him information about exploring the Dreamlands. After several bad dreams, the Traveller ended convinced his child was alive but trapped in the Dreamlands...

While it replaces a few weapons (the pistol becomes a magic scepter with unlimited ammo, the chaingun becomes an AK-47, the Plasma Gun becomes a Ythian weapon, and a crossbow has been added to the arsenal), adds a few new power-ups, and adds new monsters, Strange Aeons keeps the Vanilla Doom gameplay. It also uses custom music, replacing the Metal soundtrack by atmospheric tracks to fit the new theme and ambiance.

The mod counts five episodes (each episodes consists in nine levels) split in two distinct story arcs. The first four episodes ("The Shattered City", "The Stagnant Fortress", "The Land That Time Forgot", and "The Plateau of Leng") tell a single continuous storynote , and the fifth ("Out of the Aeons") is a sequel released one year later, telling a new story set years later about the Traveler trying to save his nephew from the Dreamlands.

More information can be found on Impie's website and the mod's page on the Doom Wiki.

Strange Aeons Provides Examples of:

  • Actionized Sequel: The fifth and final episode, Out of the Aeons, is much less scarce about ammo, and actively requires you to fight certain enemies to proceed.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: The mod is mostly based on The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and The Call of Cthulhu, but also includes elements from other mythos works (for instance, "The Plateau of Leng" features a At the Mountains of Madness-themed Easter Egg).
  • All There in the Manual: The plot and backstory are explained in a pdf bundled with the mod's files (the story advances through narration displayed at each episode's completion, but there's no ingame narrative introduction for the start of both story arcs).
  • Bag of Spilling: Like Vanilla Doom, you lose all your arsenal and ammo supply between episodes. While the first four episodes count as a single story arcnote , the Bag of Spilling is actually justified between "The Plateau of Leng" and "Out of the Aeons", since the Traveler eventually goes back to Earth at completion of the fourth episode, and several years passed between them.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The first story arc ends with the Traveler going back to Earth, but he had been unable to save David (who wasn't even alive, the Traveler had been deceived by Atlach-Natla).
    • At the end of "Out of the Aeons", the Traveler rescues his nephew and sends him back, alive, on Earth, while sending the Children of Cthulhu to sleep, then decides to commit suicide by remaining on R'lyeh while the place is sinking, to be reunited with David in the afterlife.
  • Boom Stick: The starting weapon is the Scepter of Souls, a scepter with a ranged attack and infinite ammo. It looks like a sketelal arm holding a shimmering white orb.
  • Cliffhanger: The mod initially contained only three episodes and ended with the post-boss narration of "The Land That Time Forgot": instead of awakening in reality, the Traveler found himself teleported to the Plateau of Leng, another place of the Dreamlands.
  • Cool Guns: The chaingun has been replaced by an AK-47, and its rate of fire has been increased. It's also what the mod's version of the Vanilla zombiemen enemy drop at death.
  • Creepy Cathedral: Invoked in the name of "Deathedral" ("The Shattered City"'s final level).
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Well, considering the mod's premise...
    • "The Land That Time Forgot"'s final boss is a giant spider god named "Spinner in Darkness", which actually is an alternate name for an actual Lovecraftian Old One (Atlach-Nacha, an Old One created by Clark Ashton Smith).
    • "The Plateau of Leng" final boss is The High Priest Not To Be Described, an avatar of Nyarlathotep.
  • Dual Boss: "Out of the Aeons"'s final boss is a pair of Star-Spawns named "the Children of Cthulhu", encountered in R'lyeh. They can resurrect each others.
  • Eldritch Location: "The Shattered City" is set on a group of platforms floating in the sky.
  • Emergency Weapon: The Scepter of Souls has infinite ammo and a short range.
  • Excuse Plot: Travel through weird places to rescue your son/nephew (in the last episode).
  • Expressive Health Bar: Uses the same system as Vanilla Doom, except Doomguy's face has been replaced by a dark haired man with a different haircut.note 
  • Final Boss: The Children of Cthulhu.
  • Foreshadowing: The bonus level of Episode 1, Haunted Hospital, has a secret room which features an environment resembling a temple, with spiders watching you, a hint toward The Land That Time Forgot, the third episode, which also features them as recurring enemies.
  • Flunky Boss: The Children of Cthulhu are surrounded by Deep Ones. They have the ability to ressurect them.
  • Game Mod:
    • There's a compatibility patch which allows to play the Strange Aeons episodes as the protagonist of High Noon Drifter (while using the latter mod's arsenal). In other words, you're still fighting against the Cthulhu Mythos, but this time you're a cowboy.
    • One also exists for Aetherius, though its story implies the mod's main character Flora is re-traveling the same five episodes as the original character, but centuries into the future after the Traveler's end in R'yleh, after finding a strange stone tablet in a market on Earth and falling asleep in a nearby hotel for the night. It also implies Atlach-Nacha and Nyarlahotep have been permanently destroyed by Flora by the end of her re-treads of Episodes 3 and 4, as well, unintentionally avenging their actions against the original protagonist. She also ends up surviving the entire journey, before giving a prayer in the final intermission for the original protagonist.
  • Giant Spider: They're a class of enemies, notably inhabiting the Plateau of Leng. Also, the third episode's boss is one with a human-ish face, referred as "Spinner in Darkness".
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Several levels are named after locations, some of them being spooky-sounding.
    • Some of the episodes title qualify ("The Shattered City", "The Stagnant Fortress").
    • "The Shattered City" has levels named "Halls of Madness" (7), "Deatheadral" (8), and "Haunted Hospital" (secret).
    • "The Stagnant Fortress" has "Ore Devourer" (3), "The Marrow Engine" (4), "Juggernaut" (5), "Eldritch Research" (6), and "Underworld Gate" (7). The secret level, "Petting Zoo", doesn't sounds so bad in other settings, but takes a much darker tone in the context of a horror game...
    • "The Land That Time Forgot" has "Altar of Blood" (1), "Monster Manor" (2), "City of Lost Souls" (3), "Lions Den" (5), "The Vampire Trough" (6), "Flytrap" (8), and "Tomb of the Dark Pharaoh" (secret).
    • "The Plateau of Leng" has "Hell Frozen Over" (2), "Twilight Meat Train", "Devil Canyon" (7), and "Maniac Mansion" (secret).
    • "Out of the Aeons" has "Drought Station Acheron"note  (2), "Valley of Death" (4), and "Man Flesh Processing" (5).
    • Not a proper level's name but instead a place from the lore, several levels of "The Stagnant Fortress" and "Out of the Aeons" are set in a place refered as "Underworld".
  • In the Hood: The Men of Leng are shotgun-wielding humanoid enemies wearing a black cloak, their face being hidden by the hood.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Yithian Lightning Gun.
  • Lost World: "The Land That Time Forgot" is entirely set in a prehistoric world (with Aztec and Egyptian inspirations) inhabited by undead and hostile lion-headed humanoids.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Predictably, since it's Doom with a Cthulhu Mythos reskin. You're not a Non-Action Guy fleeing from unspeakable horrors but an Action Hero travelling through weird places while mowing down monsters and cultists with an assault rifle.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The mod's second episode has the same ending as Vanilla Doom's first episode: You're thrown in a dark room surrounded by enemies and you eventually die. In context, this scene in Strange Aeons is a hallucination; during the hiatus between "The Stagnant Fortress" and "The Land That Time Forgot", the Traveler is nursed back to health then resumes his journey instead of literally dying and being sent to Hell.
    • The Grell monsters use a custom model very similar to how the Doom³ version of Cacodemons look.
    • One of Doom II quit messages is "Don't go now, there's a dimensional shambler waiting at the dos prompt!" There are dimensional shamblers in Strange Aeons bestiary.
  • No Name Given: You're only refered as "The Traveler". The Traveler's son and nephew (David and Daniel) are named, though.
  • One-Hit Polykill: The Impaler Crossbow is a slow and weak weapon which bolts are able to hit several enemies standing in line.
  • Palette Swap: The Deep Ones look like Vanilla imps, but green.
  • Papa Wolf: The Traveler will go through an alien world to rescue his child!
  • Retcon: Beside the addition of two new episodes, the mod changed a bit since the initial release.
  • Secret Level: Like Vanilla Doom, each episode includes one. They're the only place where you can obtain a Yithian Lightning Gun.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: An unmodified version of the Doom Vanilla shotgun is among the available weapons.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Maniac Mansion", the secret level of "The Plateau of Leng", includes enemies based on the Tentacles from Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle (and, of course, there's the level name itself). The level layout is based on The Legacy: Realm of Terror another videogame.
    • "Mysterious Island", the secret level of "Out of the Aeons", is based on Myst.
    • "Out of the Aeons" borrows it title from a Cthulhu Mythos short story co-written by H. P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald (there's no relation plot-wise, however).
    • The third level of "The Plateau of Leng" is named "Twilight Meat Train''.
  • Standard FPS Guns: The available arsenal is based on Vanilla Doom.
    • Melee: Vanilla punches and chainsaw.
    • Unlimited ammo pistol: The Scepter of Souls.
    • Shotgun: Vanilla shotgun.
    • Automatic: AK-47 (kinetic) and Ythian Lightning Gun (energy).
    • Rocket Launcher: The Vanilla rocket launcher.
    • Marksman Gun: The Impaler Crossbow.
    • BFG: The Vanilla BFG-9000.
  • Unwitting Pawn: It turns out David is really dead instead of being trapped in the Dreamlands. The Traveler's visions had been sent by Atlach-Natla to lure the Traveler in the Dreamlands (the Old One wanted to reach modern Earth through the Traveler's dreams).
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Out of the Aeons" is loosely based on The Call of Cthulhu. It's backstory (an artist's dreams and artworks are connected to the cult of Cthulhu) is inspired by the novella's first chapter. The final levels (an exploration of R'lyeh ending with an encounter with a Cthulhu-related being, then the city sinks back in the abyss) is similar to the novella's third chapter.