As a massive fan of ID Games’ classic 1990s sci-fi/horror FPS game “Doom” and it’s sequels, I was amazed when I accidentally stumbled upon a Youtube video of “Brutal Doom” earlier and I just had to find a copy of it. Needless to say, it doesn’t disappoint.
(I’ve only played “Brutal Doom” for a couple of hours on “The Plutonia Experiment” episode of “Final Doom” so far. So this review only reflects my initial impressions of the mod.)
(I’ll also include instructions for installing “Brutal Doom” at the end of this review, as well as a link to a free fan-made IWAD file for people who – for some strange reason – don’t own a copy of any of the old “Doom” games [although it’s definately worth buying one].)
“Brutal Doom” is a mod for the “GZ Doom” source port for “Doom”, which makes “Doom” act a lot more like a late 1990s FPS game (eg:
you can actually look around with the mouse and a few things like that – although you still can’t jump 😦 Edit: You can jump and crouch and look around with the mouse, although you have to activate these features on the “gameplay options” menu ).
Anyway, the first thing you will notice about “Brutal Doom” is that it’s a lot more gruesome than ‘ordinary’ “Doom”.
I’m not exaggerating here – it’s cartoonishly, gratuitously, ludicrously gruesome. If you’re shocked and offended by (fairly unrealistic) graphic cartoon violence, live in a country with ridiculously strict videogame censorship laws and/or are under the age of about 15/16, then it’s probably best to avoid this mod. You have been warned.
Although, saying this, “Brutal Doom” does a lot more than just quadruple the amount of pixellated blood and guts in the game though.
One of the really interesting features in “Brutal Doom” is that the basic pistol (you know, the one that no-one uses after about halfway through the first level or after they find the chainsaw) has been replaced with an assault rifle, which is actually a useful weapon – since the chaingun is a lot less accurate in this mod.
Interestingly, the assault rifle also looks like one of the weapons from the Alpha/Beta versions of “Doom” too (I’m not sure if this was intentional or not).
Plus, all of the weapons have much more interesting recoil effects (and knockback if you shoot a gun into a wall that you’re standing next to) and quite a few of the weapons now have secondary fire modes too (for example: you can fire the individual barrels of the super shotgun instead of firing them both at once).
“Brutal Doom” also has a more realistic reloading system too (where there is a short reloading animation after a certain number of shots). Sometimes the ammo level for a weapon won’t drop until you’ve emptied the magazine and, when you’re ammo counter is at zero – you still have whatever is left in the magazine to use too. Whilst this doesn’t affect the gameplay too much, it makes the more intense parts of the game even more challenging.
Another really cool feature, which I discovered by accident, is the fact that – if you blow them up with the rocket launcher – some enemies will occasionally drop new weapons. So far, I’ve found the Mancubus’s flamethrower, the Revenant’s dual rocket launchers and a ‘demonic rune’ of some kind which acts in a similar way to the ‘beserker’ power-up (with some extra animations, but no health boost). I’m not sure if there are any other hidden weapons in this mod, but the ones I’ve found so far work really well and really add something to the game.
Even dying (and, if you’re playing a difficult episode like “The Plutonia Experiment”, then you’ll be doing a lot of this..) is a lot more spectacular with this mod than it is in the unmodified versions of “Doom”. Every time you die, you’re treated to a third-person fatality animation which differs depending on which type of enemy has killed you.
For example, if a Mancubus kills you, then your character will catch fire and run around for a few seconds. My favourite fatality animation so far is probably the one you see if a Cacodemon kills you. This may just be my twisted sense of humour, but the first half of this animation still makes me laugh every time I see it. [Edit: Unfortunately, this animation only plays if a Cacodemon kills you with it’s short range attack]
Likewise, the enemy death animations are quite different, and a lot more macabre, than those from the original “Doom” game too. Some of them also kind of reminded me slightly of “Duke Nukem 3D” too (another classic 1990s FPS game). [Edit: I’ve just realised that, if you press “Q” you can kick nearby enemies – this is kind of similar to the melee shove feature in “Left 4 Dead 2” and the animation looks similar to the kicking animation in “Duke Nukem 3D too”]
There are also some graphical improvements too – such as lens flare effects for flames and things like that. I’m not sure if this is part of the mod or whether it’s part of “GZ Doom” [I’ve just checked and it’s actually part of “GZ Doom” rather than the mod], but it really adds something to the game.
All in all, this is a seriously impressive mod. It turns an already perfect game into something even more challenging, intense and (dare I say it) more perfect. All of the new gameplay mechanics work really well and add a lot to the game. if I had to give this mod a rating out of five, then it’d definitely get a five.
Installing “Brutal Doom”
(Note: the fatality animations might not work if you have “Freedoom” though, since they’re based on the sprites for the players and enemies in the original games).
Once you’ve installed/extracted “GZ Doom”, copy the IWAD file (which should be called “doom.wad”, “doom2.wad”, “plutonia.wad” or “tnt.wad”) from your Doom game into the ‘gzdoom’ folder on your computer.
Then unzip the “Brutal Doom” file you’ve downloaded from Mod DB and copy the “brutalv018a.pk3” file (or whatever the “.pk3” file is for the version of “Brutal Doom” you’ve downloaded) into your ‘gzdoom’ folder.
Then, if you want to play “Brutal Doom”, just (and this is where it gets strange) drag and drop the “brutalv018a.pk3” file onto the GZ Doom icon and [possibly depending on your operating system] a dialogue box should come up asking you if you want to run the program.
Just click “run” or “ok” and the game should start….