Yes! It’s here! As regular readers of this site probably know, I reviewed an astonishingly good “Doom” mod called “Reelism X2.1” last year. Seriously, it’s three times as enjoyable as “Brutal Doom” and the novelty value takes at least eight times as long to wear off. And, since I played “Brutal Doom” a ridiculous number of times in 2013, this should tell you how much I love the “Reelism” series.
Anyway, after a few weeks of frequently checking/ lurking in the “Reelism” thread on the “ZDoom” forums, I learnt that the long-awaited update to this mod (called “Reelism Gold”) was to be released today. I’ve been waiting for this for quite a while and, well, I couldn’t wait to review it. So, this will be more of a rambling “first impressions” article than a full review.
I played this mod using version 1.8.10 of the “GZDoom” source port and it’s great that, from what I read online, this mod was actually altered at the last minute to make it compatible with these older versions of GZ Doom (that will actually run on my computer). So, thanks 🙂
Anyway, let’s take a quick look at “Reelism Gold”:
If you’re unfamiliar with “Reelism”, the premise is fairly simple. You choose one of the mod’s arena-like maps and, when you start, a random number generator chooses three gameplay modifiers for you (one chooses the monsters you’ll face, one chooses the weapons you’ll find and one alters the gameplay in some way).
Every minute, the RNG starts up again and you get a new set of modifiers. After five rounds, you get to face a boss.
It’s kind of like a cross between a “casual” version of “Doom” and a mash-up of all the great FPS games from the 1990s. As a retro FPS gamer, it goes without saying, but I love this mod!
Anyway, what’s new in the update? Well, although the mod is still – for the most part- fairly similar to the previous version, there are new weapons, maps, monsters/bosses and gameplay modes. Since this is a “first impressions” article, I haven’t seen all of the new content yet, but what I have seen has seriously impressed me.
First of all, there are six new maps (and an arena for one of the new gameplay modes) to choose from.
These include a “Duke Nukem 3D”-style alien spaceship, a cool cyberpunk arena, a basketball court, a gigantic “Contra” (?)-style map, a modified version of the “Dead Simple” level from “Doom II” and a retro platform game style level.
There’s a surprising amount of variety in these levels – from tiny levels that force you to keep fighting continuously, to medium-sized levels that are a joy to play, to giant levels that encourage you to explore and find new stuff. Although there are only six new maps, they’ll probably keep you busy for quite a while.
As for the weapons, there are a few new ones here. They include things like “Wolf 3D”-style flamethrowers and rocket launchers, the M60 from “Exhumed”, a machinegun that fires short bursts, an explosive shotgun, weapons from the beta versions of “Duke 3D” and “Doom” etc… There are new types of grenades and a rocket launcher called “The Clustersucker” that fires multiple grenades:
As for new monsters, I didn’t notice that many of them. There’s a new type of “skeleton” enemy and there are the cultists from “Blood” (who even shout their hilarious lines from the original game too) and there are new bosses too. Then again, I’ve only played this mod for an hour or so before writing this article, so I might have missed some of them.
There are a few new gameplay modifiers too. Although I haven’t seen all of them, one of the more interesting ones is a modifier that replaces the blood with “Super Mario” style coins. This is pretty hilarious, although it can cause a bit of slowdown on some levels if you’re using an old computer:
However, the most touted new feature in “Reelism Gold” is the famous “Boss Rush” mode. This is a gameplay mode where you have to fight all of the game’s bosses, in sequence, in a giant arena – whilst you’re being attacked by other monsters too.
It’s apparently so difficult that not even the creators of this mod have been able to finish it. Personally, I was able to get to round three before I fell to the evil Mecha-Hitler:
The update also includes a “Shuffle Mode” option where none of the modifiers are repeated and you only face a boss once you’ve played through all of the modifiers. I only had a chance to look at this briefly, but it certainly looks fun.
As you would expect from a “Reelism” update, this mod also contains a lot more eccentric humour too. This is one of the great things about “Reelism”, like the classic FPS games of old, it doesn’t take itself entirely seriously and there’s lots of new funny stuff here. Hell, even the “Municipal Transpo” level (my favourite from the previous version of “Reelism”) has received an update:
All in all, this is an improved version of an already perfect mod. I would say that I’d have expected more new content, but even if this mod contained 100+ new weapons, monsters etc… I’d probably still think that it wasn’t enough.
It’s such a brilliant concept and such an addictive game that you could pretty much play forever if you wanted to. So, if you like 1990s FPS games or if you just want some enjoyably mindless fun, then you can’t go wrong with what I’ve seen of “Reelism Gold”.
If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get a six. Play it!