DooM: Past, Present and Future…

Doom – Whether you love it or hate it, this is a piece computer game history!
The trivia concerning Doom’s development is interesting, as this game originally started as project to make a game that would use the Aliens license. Instead, (creators) Id Software chose to make something original to allow for creative freedom. The game draws inspiration from multiple influences – The name alone, was taken from a quote featured in The Colour of Money made by character portrayed by Tom Cruise in response being asked what was inside his cue case. While abandoning a licensed tie-in for Aliens, that didn’t stop the boys at Id from using the movie as another inspiration. On top of that you have both the Evil Dead movies and Id’s Dungeons & Dragons sessions among the game’s major inspirational influences. Whilst you had a team full of creative minds behind Id Software at the time, the driving force came from both John Carmack and John Romero.
Doom itself is a highly controversial game on it’s subject matter alone, especially when you’re talking about Satanic imagery around religious folk. But talking into account that this franchise was one of the first to market violence in computer games prior to the introduction of game classification is another factor as to why Doom is so controversial. Controversy aside, Doom was the game-changer that perfected the first-person shooter and introduced the world to network multiplayer along with coining the gaming term “Deathmatch”.
Doom is a first-person action horror in a science-fiction setting that puts you into shoes of a Space Marine stationed on the Martian moon, Phobos. The whole point of Doom, is to clean up the mess of stupidly powerful corporate conglomerate (not to mention stupidly immoral and just plain stupid in general) after their experiments into inter-dimensional transportation quite literally unleashes Hell itself! So, you’re probably thinking the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC – said stupidly powerful corporate conglomerate) sounds a lot like Umbrella Corporation… Here’s the thing, Doom was sporting a story (even though the first two weren’t exactly story-driven games) with a powerful and immoral mega corporation before Resident Evil / Biohazard (Japanese Title) ever did – But I digress.
Doom and Doom II: Hell on Earth focused purely on gameplay over narrative expositions setting the tone for the franchise. These games made use of clever level design that allowed the designers to hide secret areas and levels that could easily prove tricky to find. At the same time, the core action used lighting, traps and the idle sounds of your enemies ranging from (possessed) “Former Humans” to a wide assortment of demonic foes in order to create a terror-filled atmosphere. It was that terror that came from being ambushed while clutching onto a loaded shotgun by a blood-lusting demon in a dark corridor – Only for the terror to turn into rage in split second, providing you with a rather disturbing but potentially intoxicating adrenaline rush as result of pulling the trigger spattering said foe over any dimly lit decor. This terror exists even in a Deathmatches, as your opponents can come flying out of nowhere suddenly engaging them in a “Quickdraw” gunfight with rocket launchers! Whilst it’s possible to take up cover and pick off foes, you will quickly learn that Doom whether Solo/Co-op or competitive is a matter of “The Quick and The Dead”.
Doom 3, while not an actual sequel (but a reboot) it serves as the Doom “Trilogy’s” narrative exposition. The game is very much a rich story-driven experience in comparison to it’s predecessors, but still manages embrace the terror-factor that made the original games so awesome. However, the multiplayer component plays like an afterthought as it feels very bare bones with only four player deathmatch and no option to fight among demon hordes. Overall, Doom 3 is a rich single player game that provides actual narrative behind the games.
The standout feature behind the franchise is both it’s richly diverse user generated content and mod support along the community behind it all. From map-packs, texture packs, total conversions to mods like Brutal Doom that take the original game to the next level.

So with the new reboot coming out on May 13th, I will be honest about having mixed feelings about the game – So on that note, I am curious enough to give the game the benefit of the doubt. Initially having watched some E3 presentation footage of the single player experience, I found that the game resembled too much of Quake Live than Doom. Hearing that the original design for the Doom reboot was too much like Call of Duty and wasn’t “Doomy Enough”?
Not Doomy enough is basically saying the game isn’t terrifying and that’s what I currently think of the new game so far.

With that said, I will pick up a copy at my leisure and give it a go. If it plays like the homage to Brutal Doom as quoted by those to receive it more positively, then I may end up keeping Doom… Just don’t expect me to be playing the PC version, as I clearly will be playing Project Brutality instead.

[Review] Brutal Doom v20

Developer: Sergeant Mark IV
Publisher: Sergeant Mark IV / Mod DB
Release: (Original) 2012, December 31 2015
Platform: (PC Game Mod) Requires Doom and/or Doom II, Zandronum 2.0 or GZDoom 1.8
Genre: Game Modification, Action Horror
OFLC Rating: N/A

Created by id Software with John Romero and John Carmack at the helm back in 1993, Doom is the action horror classic that redefined first-person shooters along being one of the games to introduce the gaming world to concept of network multiplayer.  Both Doom and it’s sequel Hell on Earth (released the following year) become known as “Classic Doom” with the release of Doom 3 that debuted the idTech 5 Engine.
Recently the latest iteration has received a substantial degree of harsh criticism, which is mostly due to the game’s design direction compromising what made Doom the game we know today for the sake of making a game palatable to the mainstream gaming audience. Doom is about experiencing terror that quickly turns into an intoxicating rage – Classic example is being ambushed in dark corridor by a demon only to blow it’s brains out using a shotgun with catlike reflexes. It’s those moments of adrenaline fueled action that make Doom the game that is, even in a Deathmatch with seven other players among hordes of demons and the possessed undead (former humans). Doom (2016) when it was being promoted at E3 and footage covering the open beta offers little to no sense of terror that I know it’s predecessors to have in abundance.
Here we have Brutal Doom, a mod that uses both Doom and Doom 2 along with idTech 1 Engine to evolve the experience with compromising it! With the use of modern source ports, you can tailor idTech 1 games to play like today’s action games while offering greater support for game modification and more advanced user created content. To look at Brutal Doom, you would be forgiven for labeling it another mod that simple adds a sensationalized gratuitously violent aesthetic to the game. On the surface this mod from a purely visual standpoint may very well look to be a patch for an “R18+ Version of Doom”, but Brutal Doom adds modern physics and gameplay elements to the game. Because Doom is very “Run ‘N’ Gun” (in both single and multiplayer), you cannot afford to stay one place for too long without being “Fragged” or winding up some demon’s chew toy. Brutal Doom takes modern mechanics like the ability to actively aim down the sights of your weapon and enhances the overall gameplay to emphasize a greater need for “Run ‘N’ Gun” tactics.
So how does it work?
Well, you can literally make a bloody mess of any foe (human, demon or otherwise)… BUT! Every foe you encounter has the ability to do same to you, making for some highly tactical skirmishes. Furthermore, where each of your weapons was a stepping stone for something more powerful Brutal Doom takes the arsenal and gives each weapon it’s own purpose for a given situation – Whilst you can play Classic mode that plays using the weapons and combat mechanics of the original game with realist physics that make this mod both a spectacle and a challenge, playing Modern mode will open up the weapons and gunplay mechanics made to complete the experience. Most of the weapons have an alternate function. There a total of eleven weapons (not including your bare hands, making a dozen means to brutalize your foes):

First, there is the Rifle (that replaces the Pistol). Your typical automatic rifle with a decent rate of fire and allows you to aim using the alternate function. However, this is one of two weapons that can be dual-wielded (once another dropped weapon of same type is picked up) allows your primary and alternate weapon functions to fire each weapon independently. With a single rifle – From the hip you can drop foes at medium range, whereas aiming down the sights will allow you pick off targets from long range using short bursts. Dual-Wielding rifles is great for those aggressive “Hit ‘N’ Run” attacks using short bursts in quick succession.
Then, you have the Shotgun! For “Doomers” this weapon needs no introduction – With a single shot you can either take a multiple foes or deal devastating damage to single tougher foe. Brutal Doom takes the Shotgun and gives you weapon for both close-quarters and medium range skirmishes, depending on whether you fire from the hip or use the alternate function to take aim.
When playing Doom 2 you have addition of the Super Shotgun! This is a rather beastly dual barrel break-action shotgun intended for obliterating foes up close. Using the primary function, this beast fires both barrels dealing serious damage if not blowing foes to pieces. Otherwise, using the alternate function you can fire each barrel separately to blow two targets away in close succession. In short the SSG is a monster in close-quarters engagements!
Then there’s the Chaingun. It’s basically modern-day Gatling Gun, or a Minigun. This is a rather interesting weapon as the alternate function is almost becomes a necessity with this gun. Using the primary function will spin the barrels up and fire for as long as you hold it. Using the alternate will act as toggle to keep the barrels spinning allowing you to use primary to apply devastating bursts or just unleash a stream of hot lead at a moment’s notice. This nasty piece of work is your best bet for mowing down foes, a horde at a time.
The next heavy weapon is the Rocket Launcher! With no alternative weapon function, this bad boy simple fires off rockets that do one thing – Fly straight and blow up whatever they hit! Handle this one with care, because the explosive damage from those rockets will make short work of you if you stand too close! In other words, it’s heavy weapon best suited to dealing destruction from down range – Whether it’s making mincemeat of hordes with one rocket at a time or hammering the big tough ones.
Then there’s the Plasma Rifle. This bad boy is energy weapon that will reduce foes to smouldering pile of blood and ash. Best suited for “Hit ‘N’ Run” attacks on tough enemies at medium range – With the primary function it behaves like a typical assault rifle that fires rapid pulses of plasma, while the alternate fires a super-charged scattershot. One Drawback – The problem is when you stop firing between volleys, because the weapon takes a few seconds to cool down each time you do.
Then you have the BFG 9000! If you’re curious as to what BFG stands for… Just know that it’s big and fires a big ball of energy that can vaporize a hall full of bad guys! Having said that, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. With a single weapon function this weapon chews through cells like nobody’s business and takes a few seconds to cool down between firing – This is a good option for clearing out hordes, but one you should be conservative with (especially if you tend to rely on the Plasma Rifle).
Then there’s every “Doomer’s” favourite melee weapon, the Chainsaw! Nothing does mincemeat quite like the chainsaw and it has it’s uses for procuring weapons from two Doom 2’s demons. With the primary function, hold down to simply rev up the chainsaw – This useful if you just want to run foes through (literally!). Otherwise with the alternate, holding down will swing the chainsaw side to side while revving up – Great from cutting through hordes or just lopping off heads.
The first of these weapons that you pilfer demons for, is the Twin Rocket Launcher from Revenants. This weapon is safe enough at medium range and will only fire with a target in your sights using only the primary function.
The other lootable weapon is the Flamethrower acquired from a Mancubus. Whether up close or from down range, this bad boy is great for setting foes alight and watching them run around on fire as they burn to a crisp. The primary function launches fireballs that torch targets from a distance, whilst the alternate unleashes fire torrents barbecuing foes dumb enough to stand at close range.
One of the most powerful weapons is the hand grenade. You start the game with one of these and you can only acquire these in ammo backpacks. As these are the most scarce weapon pickup, it would pay use sparingly and make each one count. One the plus side, their explosive damage gives the BFG’s destructive power a run for it’s money. You can either select them and toss them with primary function or their dedicated function, allowing you to throw them without selecting them.
BUT! You can also use your bare hands. Normally you can beat the crap out of lesser foes as well as deliver fiercely powerful hooks and uppercuts. But, when under the effects of demonic rage (from either picking up a Berserker Rage black first aid kit or Demonic Rune) – Using the primary function (normally for punching) you can execute “Fatalities” (graphical execution techniques, very much akin to Mortal Kombat) on the majority of demonic and undead foes. But, know that all enemies have their own individual “Fatalities” they can use on you as well as each other! Swings and Uppercuts (with the alternate) deliver devastating degrees of damage, allowing you to spatter foes with a single punch. You also have a dedicated function (like the grenade toss) for kicking – Normally this will either knock foes down or kill them. But under demonic rage, you tie it in with your punches and make like Chuck Norris on a demon horde! Hand to hand combat also allows you to perform stealth attacks on targets unaware of your presence, allowing you to conserve ammunition and gain a small foothold.
Remember, you’re on a level playing field – Brutal Doom embraces the original games and turns “Run ‘N’ Gun” into a game all about “The Quick & The Dead”!

Overall, Brutal Doom is an awesome mod that not only turns you classic Doom experience into bloody spectacle but introduces a richly satisfying challenge.

Final Thoughts

Okay, normally I don’t review mods or demos – But, this is one such exception!
For a mod to have me more interested in the original game rather than the latest iteration that developers are promoting, that’s saying something. I first played Brutal Doom with version 18 and the announcement of this version had so many hotly anticipated Triple A titles taking a backseat… For a mod designed for a twenty-year old game of all things!!!
If you’re looking to get the most out of Brutal Doom, play it on “Realism Mode”!

I’m not going to put my usual question as with all my reviews, but I will say this…

If you love Doom, Brutal Doom is absolutely worth going back into Classic Doom for!

Report Card

Quality: A
Gameplay: A
Content: B
Skill: B
Technical: A
Value: A
Audience: Adult

Standing the test of time…

For those of you who’ve been enjoying a life of gaming since the 1980s will probably have witnessed new technological innovations hit the scene. For example the transitions from cassette media to optical media and floppy disks to various forms of flash media (eg. SD Cards, Key-Drives aka USB Thumbdrives, etc.) and the internet for the general public. But! There have also been technological flops, that been nothing more than passing fads.

I could talk about three dimensional entertainment, but that has come and gone so many times it really isn’t funny. However, I will give credit to Nintendo for there clever use of the medium as experienced from the 3DS systems.
Virtual Reality, technology that has existed since the late 1930s. Initially it was used for art and entertainment, but has gained deeper meaningful appreciation from industrial applications of the technology.

VR Entertainment something I saw in the old laser tag arenas setup with the arcade games back when I first saw it in action during the mid-1990s. Back then, VR gaming was primarily an experience for PC. With the new wave of VR, I cannot say I am overly excited for it as the technology only caters toward a certain niche of gamers and those marketing fail to understand that.
First off, lets talk numbers here – You’re looking at anywhere between AU$500 – AU$1000+ for a VR rig alone, and that’s not including any compatible software or hardware to be “VR Ready”!
Next up, is the niche – In a gaming capacity, VR is most ideal for some taking a hardcore simulation to next level offering some deep immersion for the enthusiasts who use and/or play them. Having said that, you’re looking at a peripheral that in the same league as other simulator apparatuses (eg. HOTAS, driving wheels, simulator cockpits, etc.). So looking at VR rigs that way you can appreciate the asking price as you would expect to outlay a fair chuck of change to build a simulator.
And Finally, the marketing is all wrong! – I appreciate having technology that offers an intimate viewing experience for a mainstream gaming audience, but I can think of better practical ways. But when the bulk your initial software lineup is nothing more than shovelware (eg. Glorified Tech-Demos, On-Rails Interactive Movies, sloppy implementations, etc.), you’re practically advertising your VR Experience as nothing more than a gimmick! Intimate viewing experience for gamers are why portable CES units (eg. 3DS, Vita, iPhone, etc.) exist!
Outside of interactive entertainment, Virtual Reality offers greater potential for industrial applications (eg. Education, Training, Tourism, Therapy, Remote Control, etc.) of the technology and comes across as “Wasted” when offered to mainstream gaming in comparison.

Do the words “There is nothing new under the sun” mean anything to you?