DOOM gets Brutal

The classic DOOM titles might look like pixelated garbage by those with so much as a shred of discernment, but even though the game is at the legal drinking age in many countries, it’s still played and cherished by a dedicated and active underground cult following. New maps, ports and modifications are released all the time, and one mod in particular, named Brutal Doom, stands out from the crowd.

If there was ever a reason to reinstall DOOM, Brutal Doom would be it. The gore has been upped tenfold, the weapons have been tweaked and re-balanced, the monsters are smarter and tougher and the effects are quite pretty for a game engine that’s two decades old. Yet it retains the charm of the original while giving the whole affair a fresh look and feel.

It’s psychotic fun, pure and simple. Doomguy can now perform sadistic fatalities such as punch the jaws off of zombies, decapitate former humans or literally tear enemies into two. It’s a bit like Soldier of Fortune in that maimed enemies can lay around and cry out in pain, while the player can execute them for “cruelty bonuses”. Lordy, can you imagine the controversy if this had come out 20 years ago?

Want to take it for a spin, for old time’s sake? First, you’ll need to make sure you have a copy of the original games. All you need are the included .wad files – DOOM.WAD, DOOM2.WAD, TNT.WAD or PLUTONIA.WAD . If you don’t have them lying around somewhere, they’re available on Steam and they don’t cost too much. Some of these files are also included inside of DOOM 3: BFG Edition.

Next, a source port is required to play it on modern OSes. The one I personally recommend is Zandronum. It features high resolutions with widescreen support, mouselook, jumping and crouching, multiplayer over the Internet or LAN, skins and all sorts of other goodies you’ve come to expect from today’s games. Windows, Mac and Linux users can all get in on the action.

Finally, the modification itself. You’ll be able to snag it from here. Note that there’s also a Doom Metal mod to be used in conjunction with Brutal Doom, which replaces the game’s music with metal performances of the original soundtrack. While it’s not necessary, it comes highly recommended and enhances the mood. I’ve prepared a handy batch file that should be run from within the Zandronum directory. Frags ahoy!