= = = Unto The Cruel = = =
As a fan of the franchise (and believe me, I’m having a tough time just leaving it at “fan”), and with all the hubbub over the new iteration of Doom, I feel it is imperative that I raise as much awareness as possible to this gem of gaming art. Yes. Art. Brutal Doom is a work of art. If gore-soaked jaunts through space, earth, and even Hell are considered art pieces, then Brutal Doom is a Rembrandt.
Many fans of Doom have no doubt heard of the mod being done to the original game engine (the IWAD files), but information seemed sparse, and unless you checked the mod pages, or the mod wikis, you would not know that the game has released.
Brutal Doom was created by Brazilian computer programmer who goes by the online handle Sargeant_Mark_IV. According to online perusal, Brutal Doom was created in 2010, and has since gone through many development tweaks, as well as garnering praise for its modifications to the core game. Brutal Doom won the Cacoward in 2011 for “Best Gameplay Mod”, as well as a “Mod of the Year” (MOTY) award from Mod DB in 2012. John Romero has even publicly recognized and praised Brutal Doom.
= = = And Hell Followed = = =
Now that the brief history is over, let us delve into this absolutely wonderful game. I will not go through some boring rehash of Doom. You are reading this – you know what Doom is. If you do not, I beseech you to get it immediately, and enjoy one of my favorite franchises. ‘They don’t make ’em like they used to’ and you will understand why.
Brutal Doom is a complete game, beginning on the UAC Mars Research Facility, and while still the same story (as the original game), some slight changes have been made to its narrative, although this done purely as a fan service, and with no pretense to trying to rewrite anything exclusive to id Software’s game.
By story, I mean: you are a marine on Mars base. The game opens up with you in a hangar bay, and you hear all Hell breaking loose over the intercoms. That’s it. As you play the game, you slaughter demons. The beauty of the game is its simplicity.
= = = Burnt Offerings = = =
As the game progresses, you start on Mars, go to Earth, and even Hell. Veteran gamers of the series know full well what to expect, and by now, even gamers unfamiliar with Doom still know of the story, so what I wrote of the locales in the game are no spoilers – of only to iterate just how large (ie, content) Brutal Doom is. This game comes with 32 levels – 32. There are some similarities to the original games from which Brutal Doom is derived, but again, the stages are unique. As the game begins (I’ll say Episode 1) your map layout is the cramped confines of the Mars base, but when you go to Earth (for the Doom II portion of the mod) the stages open up to larger arenas of city blocks, and suburban neighborhoods, replete with satanic imagery, carnage, and candles. Your jaunt into the very depths of Hell is even better than the original games, with more Gothic tinges to the architecture, as well as the various locations you visit, such as cathedrals, strongholds, and even the city of Dis.
= = = Altar of Pain = = =
This deserves its own subsection (hence the all-caps emphasis). Brutal Doom eschews the oldschool method of keyboard-only gameplay (although you can still use that, if you wish) and has remapped the controls emulating today’s modern mouse-and-keyboard WASD style, or controller. In this game, you can look around – up, down, etc) allowing you more versatility with combat; and combat you will have! The action in this game is virtually non-stop, with each stage progressively hurling more demonic foes at you.
The options (and there are many) for the game can be tailored to fit most peoples’ inclinations, including additional options such as “always run”, “falling damage”, and tons more. You can even pick your gaming mode, Modern (modern weapons), Classic (the classic weapons), or Random.
Enemy behavior has been tweaked in this game, making the demons more cunning and deadly, for instance, the imps now have a jumping attack, as well as move quicker; some enemies will also roll away or strafe away from attacks at times, too.
No review of a Doom game is complete without mentioning its gleeful celebration of gore, and Brutal Doom has even more gore added to it. Blood spurts, erupts, and splatters with abandon at each blast from your gun – it even sprays on the walls and drips from the ceilings with satisfyingly sickening sounds. The game exults in its barbarism, and for me personally, I had a constant smile on my face, and many “whoa” moments after segments of pure evisceration – yep, the chainsaw is in the game, with an additional, alternative attack (you swing it in an arc). Also included are various executions (glory kills) which pan the camera away from the 1st person POV and show your character perform various brutal melee finishers on the demons.
Glory kills are brutal and fantastic
= = = Sever the Wicked = = =
As with the gameplay, the music of Doom has always been iconic, melding the aesthetics of demons, satanic imagery, gore, and heavy metal. The soundtrack is remade, with additional “metal” guitars and drums, ranging the genre styles from slow-paced chord crunches to fast-paced, uptempo guitar gallops. The soundtrack alone is worth checking out, and when not basking in the gore baths as I played the game, I often found myself banging my head with the music. It is a metalhead’s delight.
= = = Icon of Sin = = =
I can write/talk/babble forever about Doom, but Brutal Doom has been one of the greatest gifts to this jaded gamer. I cannot recommend this game enough to you – whether you are an oldschool veteran of the game or a curious newcomer who would like to experience the game in its younger forms – this game is fantastic.
This is a complete game, and it is FREE! That is correct. FREE. I have – and I know many of you, as well – have paid more money for much less. A free game (providing that you have the one of the original games, that is) with tons of value.
= = = Hell’s Maw = = =
Here are links to the game, as well as the Facebook page for Brutal Doom. Donations are accepted for the mod.
= = = The Absolution = = =
As one final note: Sargeant_Mark_IV is currently working on Brutal Doom 64… yes, an often and egregiously overlooked gem on the Nintendo 64. You can see some early alpha footage on Youtube here: