DoomBreedGrounds: Z-Hunter

By Alec Meer on July 2nd, 2008 at 11:19 am.

Whatever you want to say about Doom 3 (and usually it’s either “boooooooring” or “oh c’mon, it wasn’t that bad”), it’s fairly safe to say that it didn’t really capture that classic Doom feel. That classic Doom feel being “aaaargh shoot everywhere all the time wheeeee boomboomboom”, of course.

There’re a few mods around that try to pull D3 back into the good ol’ dark ages, but top-down singleplayer shooter Z-Hunter’s an entertaining new kid on the block. A very stupid new kid for sure, but stupid often = fun.

Some sample lyrics from Z-Hunter’s screamy-metal theme tune best sum up this mod’s rethink of Doom 3:

“I don’t need no ammunition,
I don’t need no fucking health…
…Kill you,
Fucking kill you,
Till you’re dead”

There’s quite a lot of swearing throughout the game, because swearing is big and clever. I think it’s attempting to get across that this mod is dark’n'dirty’n'testosteronal compared to D3′s relative sedateness, but really it’s best to try and ignore the teenage text and puerile music and just enjoy the Alien Breed / Shadowgrounds top-down shootiness. There’s nothing clever or novel to it – just waves and waves of zombies and hellbeasts, unlimited ammo and lots of explosions. Clearly there’s a lot of distance between this and any actual Doom game, but it does capture the freneticism of the series’ elders.

It also does a fine job of making Doom 3′s Hell Knights and Pinky Demons terrifying again – the zombies and the like die incredibly easily, but when you’ve got a gigantic hell-thing galloping down the screen towards you, apparently blessed with infinite HP, and the clunky controls make turning and running away a near-impossibility, there’s a glorious sense of panic and menace.

There’s not much weaponry, the levels are very similar and the camera really is a pain in the arse sometimes, but it just about hangs together. You’re better off with Shadowgrounds if you’ve a few quid to spare, but as freebie (if you own D3) this does the trick.

Go take a look, anyway. It’s overwhelmingly childish, but in that “I just want to spend two hours shooting stuff into little bloody pieces” way we all crave from time to time.

Also, note to id: it really is way past time you patched official widescreen support into Doom 3.

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16 Comments »

  1. Charlie says:

    I love top down shooters, Smash TV is an underrated classic! Loved Shadowgrounds and it looks like I may have to dig out Doom3 again and have a go at this…

  2. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Top-down shooters are one of the most fun genres of game available, there can never be enough.

    Now can someone go and make a Chaos Engine 3?

  3. Al3xand3r says:

    Or better yet, don’t pay for Shadowgrounds, just get Alien Swarm for UT2004 :P

  4. Phil says:

    @Sp4rkR4t
    Chaos Engine 3?

    Pardon my ignorance but I thought Chaos Engine 2 was merely a collection of vapourware screen shots that featured a fetching shade of green. Have you actually played it?

  5. Nallen says:

    Pardon my ignorance but I thought Chaos Engine 2 was merely a collection of vapourware screen shots that featured a fetching shade of green. Have you actually played it?

    Yes. Amiga ftw.

    http://www.bitmap-brothers.co.uk/our-games/past/chaos-engine2.htm

  6. Duoae says:

    @Nallen and Phil.

    There was a demo version of that on the PC in the 90′s. Unfortunately i don’t think i have it. Not sure if it was fully translated to PC or whether they stopped at the demo though…

  7. Charlie says:

    Or better yet, don’t pay for Shadowgrounds, just get Alien Swarm for UT2004 :P

    Shadowgrounds is not only great but indie so BUY it! Alien Swarm was great but Shadowgrounds is much better.

  8. Alex Hopkinson says:

    For widescreen, surely you can just change the resolution via the console and do a vid_restart? Although that’s not the most friendly of methods, I guess.

  9. ascagnel says:

    the clunky controls make turning and running away a near-impossibility, there’s a glorious sense of panic and menace.

    No thanks. I played enough GTA1, where turning around on foot required a three-point turn.

    I’ll stick with Shadowgrounds, or Alien Swarm if I can get UT2004 up and running on my new laptop.

  10. Turin Turambar says:

    WTF are you speaking about, Alien Swarm and Shadowgrounds are totally different types of games.

  11. Heliocentric says:

    turin, you are wrong…. they are shoot bad men/things games. Just like halflife, animal crossing, oblivion and super mario.

    (you do shoot stuff in all these games potentially)

    tennis games also fall under this genre.

  12. Al3xand3r says:

    “Shadowgrounds is not only great but indie so BUY it! Alien Swarm was great but Shadowgrounds is much better.”

    I do own Shadowgrounds on Steam but I have to say, I certainly look forward to Alien Swarm: Infested more and will be willing to buy it if it’s at least as good as the mod version which was certainly much better than Shadowgrounds by all accounts, not the least of which was the ability to play online, though the single player mode was also pretty good once you figured out how to properly position your squad mates for maximum efficiency. It had a very different strategic feel in single player, perhaps with lacking squad mates controls but good enough to play and enjoy the game’s content.

    I found Shadowgrounds lacking in every aspect, not the least of which was the actual controls and camera which I felt was especially much worse than Alien Swarm’s.

    If you can get a few buddies to play with online then you’re better off spending time to get ut2004 and alien swarm up and running instead of buying Shadowgrounds imho.

    If single player only is your thing then you’re once again better off doing as above and seeing if you can handle Alien Swarm’s single player quirks, and if you can, you’ll certainly enjoy it much more than Shadowgrounds imho.

  13. malkav11 says:

    Wait, when do you shoot things in Animal Crossing?

  14. Jubaal says:

    I do miss some of the old top down shooters. Chaos Engine was a big favourite and Alien Breed will always have a warm place in my heart.

    It also makes me thing of the old BBC Micro Gauntletesq game called Dunjunz. Ah I had hours of fun on that as a kid, four of you crammed onto the keyboard watching the split screen trying not to touch the hands of the boy with sweaty hands or warts. Those were the days….

  15. iainl says:

    This looks remarkably like Loaded on the PS1, which featured PWEI on the soundtrack, nerd-fact fans. It was also great.

  16. Heliocentric says:

    @ malkav11 the slingshot at balloons, alien spaceships and passing mail birds. (in the ds one never played the gc one)