Review: “Reelism X2.1: Reelism And Beyond” (Mod For “Doom 2″/”GZDoom”)

Yes, THIS is why I haven't reviewed the next "Song Of Ice And Fire" book yet.

Yes, THIS is why I haven’t reviewed the next “Song Of Ice And Fire” book yet.

As any discerning 1990s-obsessed retro gamer will know, there are “Doom” mods and then there are “Doom” mods! “Reelism X2.1: Reelism And Beyond” falls into the latter category. As “Doom” mods go, I have never seen one quite this inventive, quite this fun and quite this hilarious before.

Before I begin, I should point out that in order to play “Reelism X2.1”, you will need both a full copy of “Doom 2” (since you will need to use “Doom2.wad”) and you will need a copy of the “GZDoom” source port too.

Once you’ve downloaded “Reelism X2.1” from here, you need to take the “.pk7” file and drag-and-drop it on top of your “GZDoom” icon, then the program should start. Select “Doom 2” from the list of WADs on the screen and you’re ready to begin….

So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at “Reelism X2.1”:


About the best way to describe “Reelism X2.1” is that it’s like a souped-up combination of both the “survival” and “mutation” modes in “Left4Dead 2”. Basically, you choose one of several arena-like levels to play in and the goal is to survive for five minutes and then defeat the level boss. Sounds simple? Well, there’s more…..

Every minute, three slot machine wheels at the bottom of the screen will start rolling. And, when they stop, you will be given three randomly-selected gameplay modifiers that will last for the next minute. Usually one of these determines which types of enemies you will be fighting, one determines which types of weapons will spawn and one is something altogether more random……

Yay! "Sector Effectors"! Ten nerd points if you know what this refers to...

Yay! “Sector Effectors”! Ten nerd points if you know what this refers to…

And this is where the game really comes alive. There are something like forty-eight different modifiers and, although I’ve probably only seen about half of them so far, they are amazing. And, if you’re a geeky fan of the 1990s, then you will feel more than at home here….

“Duke Nukum” item boxes? Check. “Heretic”/”Hexen” weapons? Check. “Wolfenstein 3D” enemies and weapons? Check. “Duke Nukem 3D” weapons? Check. Rocket launchers from “Rise Of The Triad”? Check. The railgun from “Quake II”? Check. I’m sure you get the idea, this mod is crammed with 90s gaming nostalgia!

Yay! Childhood nostalgia!

Yay! Childhood nostalgia!

Then there are the gameplay modifiers and some of these are absolutely hilarious! They include things like the “Dog Mode” from “Rise Of The Triad”, the level suddenly being filled with bronies, a giant tank that you can drive around and “resolutionary touchscreen gaming”….

See? Who would want to use one of those dowdy old-fashioned keyboards with modern controls like THIS?

See? Who would want to use one of those dowdy old-fashioned keyboards with modern controls like THIS?

Of course, there are also modifiers that make gameplay a lot more difficult too. These include everything from “famine mode” (no weapons or health spawn for a whole minute) to the game spawning a giant demon known simply as “The Jerk”. And, no, I haven’t been able to take any screenshots of him – as soon as you even see him, it’s too late!

The level design in “Reelism X2.1” is astonishingly good too and most of the arena levels are fairly innovative. They include settings like a joyful world made out of candy, a busy freeway (and you can end up being hit by cars if you aren’t careful), a JRPG village, the obligatory “hell” level, Dracula’s castle and a futuristic 1980s cyberpunk wireframe world.

There are gumdrops, lollipops and ... zombies.

There are gumdrops, lollipops and … zombies.

In addition to this, there are absolutely loads of easter eggs, jokes and other random things. My favourite is probably the “Jill Of The Jungle” (ten nerd points if you actually remember playing this game in the 90s!) poster which will sometimes randomly appear on the “Municipal Transpo” level:


Or possibly this brilliant parody of the censored version of “Wolfenstein 3D”:


The gameplay is – as you would expect – fast, frenetic and fiendishly difficult. In fact, I’ve only been able to complete one level of “Reelism X2.1” and that was only because I found a hiding place which the level boss (“The World’s Boringest Ghost”) couldn’t reach.

Plus, since every round only lasts about 5-8 minutes (depending on how long it takes you to defeat the boss), this is the closest thing to a “casual” version of “Doom” that I’ve ever found. Even so, don’t be surprised if you decide to play this game “for just ten minutes” and then find yourself still playing it an hour later.

All in all, if you are a fan of the 1990s or even just like your FPS games to have a sense of humour, then downloading this mod is almost compulsory. It’s nostalgic, it’s challenging, it’s hilarious and – most importantly- it is Fun. With a capital “F”.

If I had to give “Reelism X2.1” a rating out of five, then it would get a six. Play it!

6 comments on “Review: “Reelism X2.1: Reelism And Beyond” (Mod For “Doom 2″/”GZDoom”)

  1. Strichev says:

    You should totally try something slightly more modern. And space related. Something like Freelancer. It was released 10 years ago but still has a strong and dedicated community based from a few mods like Discovery FL and Crossfire. (two of the largest mods)

    Btw, thanks for the dose of nostalgia . Wolf 3d…oh, the memories. I’ll have to install it again. It’s kinda sad, though. Years have passed. People came and went, as did all those moments now lost in time. We live on, spinning with our planet, Earth, spinning without purpose or meaning, there, among the stars.

    • pekoeblaze says:

      Yeah, I was caught by surprise by just how nostalgic the “Wolfenstein 3D” stuff was. Although I don’t think that I actually played it when it was originally released (I played the demo of it back when I was a kid, but I only actually got a copy of the full version a few years ago. I don’t know, it’s kind of strange to play a FPS game without strafing in it LOL!).

      But, yeah, it’s strange how time passes – hell, I vaguely remember the days when having a computer that could play the original “Unreal” was something that people acutally used to boast about.

      LOL! I don’t know, a few modern games look interesting (eg: “Far Cry: Blood Dragon” and “Alice – Madness Returns”)- but they probably wouldn’t run on my computer LOL! I mean, the most modern FPS game I own is probably “Left 4 Dead 2” and I can only really run that on the lowest graphics settings LOL!

      Plus, I don’t know, I just kind of prefer the style, gameplay and design of 1990s games (especially FPS games) to modern ones.

      In my opinon, the 90s and early 2000s were the golden age of gaming. Games, on the whole (with a few exceptions), have been going slowly downhill in every respect apart from the graphics [and possibly the voice-acting too] since about 2004 or so LOL!!!! But, don’t get me started on this whole subject LOL!

      Thanks for the suggestion, but I’m not really that into space games (I’ve played them a couple of times and just couldn’t really get into them. But, ironically, I’m a massive fan of sci-fi shows about space travel LOL!)

      I guess that I’m probably more of a FPS/platform/adventure gamer really. Still, if it’s been going for ten years and still has fans, then it’s probably quite a good game.

      I don’t know, the closest thing to a space game that I’ve enjoyed is probably “Unreal 2” (which is a criminally underrated game that really should get more recognition than it did). It’s a sci-fi FPS, but you can walk around your spaceship between levels and talk to various characters- which is pretty cool.

      Sorry for writing an essay here.

  2. Strichev says:

    I remember how just stomping those NPCs in Wolf…not any-more. Strafing is in my blood, it’s an intrinsic part of every FPS I’ve played in the last 14 years.

    However, this whole “old games are better” thing could just be a case of β€œthis”. Don’t get me wrong, I also tend to say today’s games are nothing compared to old ones. It may just be a part of human nature.

    Besides, there are good games these days. For instance Red Orchestra 2 requires far more concentration and planning than your average CoD match. (Yes, I used to play CoD 1,2,4 and 5) Even when compared to those 2008+ games the ultra-modern ones are garbage. It’s not just FPS games. Something as cheesy as Red Alert 2 is still as fun (if not even more so) than Red Alert 3.

    Multiplayer, it’s all about MP nowadays. SP of the times now gone was undoubtedly superior in plain old FPS games. But I digress.

    I have this rather old cat. She remembers the fun we had playing under a certain street lamp in the days of her youth and constantly wants to play there. However, not once can she play for as long as she used to, nor does she have as much fun. It’s her age.

    Could it be that humans are the same? That our worries, mindsets prevent us from having fun playing games? I tend to get bored quickly, be it an old game or a new one. Well, except for those nefariously designed to be super addictive – I have to consciously avoid spending my entire day playing those. πŸ˜€

    You mentioned walking around a ship while having FPS-like gameplay. There is this megalomaniac, hyper-financed and probably slightly over-hyped Star Citizen project going on. If we are to believe Chris Roberts and company, then we’ll have a space game with ship to ship boarding and FPS action, proper space battles, exploration, mining, piracy…you name it. Even proper Sci-Fi bars and cafeterias inhabited by fellow players and NPCs alike.

    Unless, of course, he decides to buy a private island with a private coast guard to repel hoards of angry spaced out space-case backers. πŸ˜€

    Oh, and worry not; I can read quickly. Faster than I write my life-threateningly-poor Freelancer related stories. XD

    • pekoeblaze says:

      LOL! I don’t know, I guess that I’m probably relatively new to strafing. I mean, it wasn’t until about 2006 that I finally began to agree that “WSAD” was the best control scheme for FPS games as opposed to the good old-fashioned arrow keys (which, of course, make strafing a lot less intuitive) LOL!

      LOL! That comic is brilliant and, yeah, it’s probably true – but, saying that, there is something strangely fun about being a retro gamer (and if I’m going to be a traditionalist about anything, then it might as well be something like computer games LOL!).

      I don’t know, I’d still like to think that it’s possible to have fun at any age (then again, I’m in my mid-twenties, so I’ll probably end up changing my mind about this in the future LOL!)

      I don’t know, I’ve never really been that interested in realistic military FPS games, but I see what you mean. Although I don’t own a copy of it, I played part of a modern game called “Bulletstorm” once and quite liked it – likewise, surprisingly, with “Duke Nukem Forever” (probably just due to nostalgia because, in theory, I should absolutely hate DNF because of the modern FPS gameplay LOL!).

      (Oh, I almost forgot, there’s a mod for “Duke 3D” you can find which re-creates the settings in the original DNF trailer from 2001. Naturally, I’ll be reviewing it sometime next month LOL!)

      Plus, yeah, the “Left 4 Dead” games are really great too. Not only that, I’m really looking forward to a game called “Dreamfall Chapters” which is coming out late this year (that is, if it will run on my computer).

      So, yeah, there are some good modern games – it’s just that I don’t really have a computer powerful enough to play most of them (which probably makes me bitter and cynical LOL!).

      But, yeah, the emphasis on multiplayer (I’m very much a single player gamer) and the fact that FPS games are often being primarily designed for consoles rather than PC (eg: with regenerating health, only two weapons, checkpoint saving etc…) is one of the thing that has kind of put me off of a lot of modern FPS games.

      Wow, I haven’t heard of it before but that “Star Citizen” project sounds like it could be pretty cool. I don’t know, apart from “Unreal II” literally the only other spaceship-based FPS game I can think of is probably “Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force”.

      LOL! I don’t know, they’re probably not that bad. Then again, being slightly too self-critical is one of the signs of a good writer or artist LOL!!

  3. […] The animated game footage in this trailer is from a “Doom” WAD called “Reelism” and you can read my review of it here. […]

  4. […] II” that will really knock me off of my feet. This happened to me when I found “Reelism X2.1“, “Reelism Gold“, “Neo Doom” and, to a lesser extent, “Brutal […]

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