Every now and then, I’ll find a mod or a WAD for “Doom 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 Doom“.
Anyway, the day before I wrote this review, I found another mod for “Doom II” called “Aeons Of Death (V 6.06.1)” that also provoked this reaction in me, but why?
Before I go any further, I should probably point out that in order to get this mod to work, I had to use one of the more modern versions of “ZDoom” (version 2.8) instead of “GZDoom 1.8.10”. In addition to this, in order to get this mod to work, you have to download and use both the mod itself AND the coding pack that comes with it. At the time of writing this review, I’ve played this mod for about six or seven hours.
I should probably also warn you that this review contains (unrealistic) GRUESOME IMAGES.
Anyway, let’s take a look at “Aeons Of Death”:
Best of all, heavy metal music plays when this screen appears 🙂
“Aeons Of Death (V 6. 06.1)” is a mod for “Doom II”/ “Final Doom” that introduces lots of new monsters, new weapons, new graphics, new gameplay mechanics and two new gameplay modes.
In essence, “Aeons Of Death” is a mashup of pretty much every great FPS game ever created.
I’m not exaggerating here, there’s content from “Blood”, “Duke Nukem 3D”, “Shadow Warrior”, “Wolfenstein 3D”, “Exhumed”, “Painkiller”, “Quake”, “Quake II”, “Heretic”, “Hexen” “Rise of The Triad”, “Unreal”, “Half Life”, “Half Life 2”, “Left 4 Dead 1&2”, “Doom II” and quite a few other games too.
OMG! It’s a battle between an assault trooper from “Duke Nukem 3D” and a grunt from “Quake”! Words cannot express how cool this is!
There is so much new content in this mod that even after playing it normally and then later looking at more of the new content using cheat codes, I still haven’t quite seen everything that it has to offer. But, I’ve probably seen a significant amount of it. Seriously, this mod has a lot of content and I’m not going to be able to cover all of it in this review.
Anyway, the two new gameplay modes in “Aeons Of Death” are “ordinary” mode and “Left 4 Dead” mode.
I’ll start by talking about “Left 4 Dead” mode, since it’s one of the coolest things that I’ve seen for a while.
Although I’ve been a massive “Doom” fan since I was a teenager at least, I went through a massive “Left 4 Dead 2” single player phase in 2011 and 2012. If you’ve never played this game before, it’s a game where you have to fight hordes of zombies and mutants, whilst assisted by either other players or AI-controlled teammates. And now someone has made a version of it for “Doom II”:
Yes, it’s a 1990s style version of “Left 4 Dead”! This is beyond awesome!
The “Left 4 Dead” mode in “Aeons Of Death” is pretty close to the source material. Don’t ask me how, but the makers of this mod have managed to turn all of the graphics from the “Left 4 Dead” games into cool 1990s-style animated sprites. The only major change is that, for obvious reasons, you don’t have any AI-controlled teammates to help you out.
Like the source material, this game mode even has an AI “Director” that chooses where and when to spawn large hordes of zombies. In addition to this, you’ll also have to fight against mutated special infected too. Many of these are similar to their counterparts in the “Left 4 Dead” games, but the jockey is slightly more difficult to deal with (eg: since you don’t have any AI teammates, I think that you have to look up and shoot at him in order to remove him from your head).
But, usually, if you see a pair of legs appear on the screen, then you’re pretty much doomed. Pun not intended.
As you would expect, the gameplay in this mode is fast, frenetic, challenging and intense. If you’ve played the “Left 4 Dead” games before, then you’ll be right at home here. Again, I cannot overstate how amazing it is that someone has made a version of “Left 4 Dead” for “Doom II”!
As for the “ordinary” gameplay mode in “Aeons Of Death”, this replaces the monsters with a randomised combination of monsters from pretty much every great 1990s and 2000s FPS game ever made. Using the menu, you can even choose which games’ monsters you want to be included in this mod.
In many ways, this gameplay mode is just like a much more challenging and unpredictable version of “standard” Doom II. This is mainly because the new monsters tend to spawn in relatively large numbers.
Seriously, even Barney Calhoun from “Half Life” has turned evil and is out to get you!
I cannot overstate the sheer number of different monsters in this gameplay mode. Most impressively, quite a few monsters from slightly more modern 3D games have been perfectly converted into 1990s-style 2D sprites too. I don’t know why, but I absolutely love it when “Doom” mods do stuff like this. It’s like a really cool fusion of old and new.
It’s an antlion! In “Doom II”! An antlion !!!!
For the sake of gameplay balance, many of the monsters in “Aeons Of Death” are either more or less powerful than their original counterparts. Most of the monsters that I’ve seen so far have had reasonably similar levels of health and attack damage.
For example, you might encounter an arch-vile on the second level of “Doom II”, but it has a significantly reduced amount of health and a much weaker attack than it does in “Doom II”.
Oh, how the tables have turned!
In addition to this, “Aeons Of Death” is significantly more gruesome than regular “Doom II”.
Although it doesn’t reach the excessive levels of sadism found in mods like “Brutal Doom”, this mod includes cartoonish 1990s-style ludicrous gibs, gratuitous blood spatter and polygonal “Quake”-style gibs. Seriously, whatever happened to gibs in FPS games?
Remember when games had gibs like this?
Not only that, there’s also a ludicrous amount of blood spatter when you are shot by one of the monsters.
As for the new weapons, there are a ridiculous number of them here and many of them are based on weapons from other great FPS games. Some of them are faithful to their original counterparts, but many of them have been changed in random ways:
For example, the chaingun from “Duke Nukem 3D” is now an energy weapon that uses the sound effects from the hyperblaster from “Quake II”.
Even using the “give all” or “IDKFA” cheat doesn’t show you all of the many new weapons. To give you one example, when I used the “level skip” cheat to test out the mod on a different level of “Doom II”, I found a nailgun rifle that I’d never seen before:
Hmmm… Sometimes cheaters DO prosper!
Best of all, unlike many other modern mods for “Doom II”, “Aeons Of Death” mostly avoids using realistic reloading mechanics. Although a couple of the weapons require reloading, most of them don’t.
Since manual reloading systems can get in the way of the gameplay, it’s great to see that it’s mostly been avoided here 🙂
Ok, the rapidly firing shotgun gets a pass here because, well, it’s a shotgun that you can shoot repeatedly very quickly.
However, if you’re playing the game normally (eg: without cheating), then “Aeons Of Death” has an annoying habit of placing arbitrary limits on how many weapons you can carry.
Sometimes, you’ll spot a really cool-looking gun, only for the game to give you a “slot 3 is full” message when you try to pick it up. Although you can configure the controls to include a “drop weapon” key, doing this when you’re surrounded by monsters can be distracting to say the least.
In addition to this, “Aeons Of Death” also features both an items system and a magic system. The items system functions as you would expect it to do and you can find things like portable medkits throughout the game (which come in handy surprisingly often).
Not only that, this game also includes the “Diabolical Dice” from “American McGee’s Alice” too 🙂 Interestingly, they have randomised effects when you use them (eg: they’re just as likely to help you as they are to harm you).
“Ah, the Diabolical Dice … a word of caution; don’t throw them when you’re alone. The fiends lack loyalty, and their notion of nourishment is quite disturbing. “
The magic system is fairly similar to the items system and it allows you to pick up and use various spells that you find scattered around the levels. I haven’t really tested this out much, but it’s still kind of a cool thing to have.
All in all, this mod is amazing! If you grew up playing FPS games back in the days when FPS games were actually good, then you will feel more than at home here. There’s just so much awesome stuff here and I’m also still astonished that someone has actually managed to make a version of “Left 4 Dead” using the “Doom” engine! Seriously, if you’re a retro FPS gamer, then you should play this mod!
If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get five and a half.