Brutal Doom’s latest beta remixes the classics

Brutal Doom

Brutal Doom in a nutshell: Doom 2‘s familiar (iconic?) Icon Of Sin battle re-purposed into the very image of heavy metal excess; No longer just a wall texture, the monster bobs and sways, protruding out from a wall of giant intestines surrounded by torrents of blood pouring into the arena, all whilst the player gracefully extends a middle finger on each hand.

It’s been nearly two years since this juggernaut of Doom modding saw a major release, with its creator taking some time off to remake Doom 64 in the interim. Missing Halloween by just one day, this week saw the release of version 21 (albeit in beta form) and it feels like a milestone in its transformation into something almost entirely new, and distinct from both Doom of 1993, and Doom of 2016.

The change-log for the newest version of Brutal Doom is large enough to make repeating it here an exercise in foolishness, but the key changes are your usual sack of graphical upgrades, a handful of new guns (including a particle-spraying automatic shotgun), a dual-wielding system and an interesting focus on optimisation. No longer will even decent gaming PCs creak at trying to render the smoke and blood effects, unless you really overdo it.

Probably the most interesting addition this version is a map-altering scripting system that allows the mod to (optionally) remix classic levels, adding new details, areas and even vehicles. You can disable these changes if you see fit, but the changes are interesting for the most part. Most heavily over hauled are the city levels – arguably Doom 2’s weakest point – which have seen a slew of upgrades to make them look more city-esque. Funny how an open-air corridor starts to look like a street with just a couple cars and signs.

The end result of all these cumulative changes is a faster, twitchier game that feels strangely familiar, having just finished up Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. Automatic weapons spray bullets with wild abandon, and enemies are wildly inaccurate when presented with a moving target. It’s still Doom – with elements here from both the original and reboot – but it’s something else as well. A strangely blend of the familiar and the new.

If you choose to run the mod through the Zandronum (included in the download – just add Doom2.WAD and you’re good to go), there are a pair of interesting new options. You can finally swap out Doomguy for Doomgal – new character sprites, shifty-eyed face, voice and all, although no taunts yet – in a rare bit of inclusion. There’s also the option to play a few rounds of deathmatch on all new maps against customised bots. A little fast and twitchy for my tastes, but I’ve always preferred my multiplayer a bit slower and more tactical.

As hefty a package as this may seem, this is still just a partial release of Brutal Doom v21. The final version is due sometime in December, and will not only include scripts to remix more of Doom and Doom 2’s classic maps, but a full game-length campaign of its own – Extermination Day – which will lean further into the pseudo-tactical shooter angle of the mod. We saw an early version if it released with version 20, but the developer reports that a huge amount of work has been poured into it since its last iteration.

You can grab Brutal Doom v21 beta on ModDB here. While a retail copy of Doom 2 is ideal if you want to experience all the remixed maps, the mod is designed to be fully compatible with the copyright-free Freedoom data files, so if you’re one of the five people on earth who don’t own this pillar of PC gaming, you can still enjoy the subtle joys of defenestrating demons.

24 Comments

  1. ABOOD-THE-PLAYER says:

    awesome, Fuck yes.

  2. Muzman says:

    Their upgrade of the Icon of sin looks fun. Although I always imagined the big texture on the wall was supposed to represent something a bit like the the dragon god from Demon Souls. But, that was a little tough in those days (and probably still is in the doom engine, whatever version)

  3. Crusoe says:

    Full release in December! I’m gonna wait.

  4. stringerdell says:

    Im a Project Brutality fan myself but good news still!

  5. LivingfortheNight says:

    Doom 64 on PC is awesome.

    ~fin

    • dethtoll says:

      If you want to play the real Doom 64 on PC, Doom 64 EX is your solution, not the Klebold-and-Harris edition.

  6. dethtoll says:

    Can we stop giving this thing attention? It’s just a showcase of how to completely misunderstand what makes Doom great.

    • Syrion says:

      Is it? Well, I think both vanilla Doom and Brutal Doom (and lots of other mods) are tremendously good fun! Deserves attention.

    • Skiv says:

      Oh? And what does make Doom great, that this mod makes Doom misunderstanded?

    • syllopsium says:

      Really? I always found Doom 2 an uninspired sequel, so anything that improves it is fine by me.

      Doom was a great game and Brutal Doom showcases the excellent level design.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      We do try to cover other Doom mods, but it often seems to be more interest in complaining about Brutal Doom being over-featured than there is in talking about the other great things.

      link to rockpapershotgun.com
      link to rockpapershotgun.com

      What I mean is… play Skulldash, everyone

    • Peksisarvinen says:

      “Stop liking what I don’t like!”

      It’s fun. Fore many people, more so than vanilla Doom 1&2. So if misunderstanding it makes it more fun, then let’s misunderstand the shit out of it. Hope someone misunderstands Duke 3D and Quake 1&2 in a similar way at some point.

    • Jay Load says:

      Shush, you. I play Brutal Doom instead of vanilla Doom because Brutal is just so much more fun. Gaudy, OTT blood-n-gib carnage makes my heart sing Klingon opera.

      If you value your purity so much how about you just play what you like playing, skip these articles and spare us all the whinge?

  7. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    I’m going to have to cause a fuss about Doom McGuys gesticulation in the header image.

    This is supposed to be Doom and not Duke Nukem, damnit.

    • Syrion says:

      I’m not a fan of the taunts myself, but luckily they are optional. It mostly comes from the way the Doomguy is portrayed in the comic, I’m sure. “Rip and tear!” and all.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      The enemies become more aggressive when you taunt them as well.

    • Sin Vega says:

      This is the only strong opinion I’ve ever had about these super gory/extreme/etc doom mods. It makes him look puerile and idiotic.

      • Dominic Tarason says:

        Which is exactly how he was in the comic. The voicework nails the manic ‘haven’t slept in a week, hopped up on berserker stims, having a great ol’ time’ angle.
        link to doomworld.com

        But as mentioned, the taunts are entirely optional, and doomguy remains as quiet and stoic as ever if you leave those buttons unbound.

      • Peksisarvinen says:

        …as opposed to what, the intellectual gentleman he was portrayed as in the cover of the games?

        Seriously, where do you whining ninnies come from…

  8. Peksisarvinen says:

    Such a fun mod. Although I guess it’s almost more like a standalone game by now. It never seems to get old, and almost equally hilarious is the incessant hysteric whining of the Urkels who take offense of this for whatever idiotic reason.

    • Skiv says:

      Yesterday i kicked an imp so hard he smashed and gibbed all over the ceiling. Stopped for 4 seconds and admired this idyllic scene.

  9. Galahandhi says:

    BD’s pretty great. It’s boss fight, however, is some grade-A bullshit. On the surface it seems fun, and for your first few attempts it will be, but the more you try to beat the level, the more you realize your only strategy is to stand perfectly still in one of its blindspots hosing it down with the dual plasma rifles, while occasionally breaking off to mop up the hordes it spawns.

    The fight is very well presented, but when you boil it down, it’s less engaging than the original Icon of Sin.