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……
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!
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”….
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.
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!