Brutal Doom

         Doom is an interesting game, to say the least. It set the precedent of what first person shooters can and in many ways should be, to such a degree that not only were all future games in the genre taking a least some cue from Doom, but people started calling them “Doom clones”. Doom effectively remade the entire genre.
        And it is only natural that such an noteworthy game, both for gameplay and for controversy, would remain in the eyes of players long after other games of its time had faded into obscurity. This is especially true in that the game is very easy to mod, leading to the creation of countless alterations and reinventions of the class game. Today, I’d like to talk about one called Brutal Doom.
        Brutal Doom, created by Sergant_Mark_IV, is a mod of Doom that improves the graphics, sound, and gameplay in many ways, the most obvious and notable being that it makes the game far gorier. While the game was controversial for its blood and gore when it was made, Brutal Doom makes it far more so. Where before enemies are turned into bloody corpses, now they can be blasted into pieces in many different ways depending on the weapon used, and it paints the walls in blood as well.
        For instance, shooting them point-blank with a shotgun will likely destroy a huge chunk of the enemy’s body, and aiming for the head will blast it clean off. Explosions will reduce them to red paste. Flames, such as that of the Imps, will reduce enemies or you to ashes, but not before lighting the target on fire, damaging anything they touch.
        However, blood aside, the gameplay is also altered to be more usable for a modern player, such as being able to look up and down, which is what allows the aforementioned headshots. This also gives the game a bit more realism, because in normal play it doesn’t matter if the game is above or below you, as long as you are pointed at them, you can hit them. I was a bit amused by this, but it did remind me that I was playing a game, ruining the immersion. Now however, that issue is removed, making it a bit more difficult but also more satisfying.
        The pistol you start with in Doom has been removed, replaced by a much more useful assault rifle, which remains so even in the late game, unlike the pistol. It has a higher rate of fire, can fire constantly, and it adds another layer of realism, because even in the original, the basic enemies used the same rifles, yet the ammo they dropped could be used for the pistol. Now that you and they have the same weapon, reusing their ammo makes more sense. In addition, you can use two rifles at once, and grenades.
        Enemies are stronger as well, often doing twice the damage they did in the original game, and have different, smarter behaviors. In particular I noticed that if the Demon enemy is near death, they will charge at you even faster than usual, but if you evade them for a short time, they will collapse and die from blood loss. Zombies also do something similar if you shoot off an arm- they will fire at you with a pistol before dying from blood loss.
        Many other enemies now have new attacks, such as the Imps slashing at you if you are by them, and the Cyberdemon can outright step on you if you get too close. In addition, they are often smart enough to dodge your attacks, making the game’s enemies more varied and deadly foes.
        Two of the power-ups are also altered. The partial invisibility power-up, which isn’t very useful, have been replaced by captured marines. These will, if saved, help you fight off demons, and will even follow you into further levels. They start with a random weapon, the stronger ones being less likely to appear. However, don’t think saving them will be easy- if you find one, the enemies will try to kill them first, and they are helpless until you unbind them. They can be ordered to stand in place or follow, and drop weapons for you when slain. They are quite durable, and in fact could be seen as copies of the player assisting you.
        Second is the Berserk Pack. It has been replaced by a Demon Strength Rune. This not only powers up Doomguy‘s punches, but allows him to perform ‘fatalities’ on enemies he defeats with his fists. These temporarily put you in a third person perspective as he rips the doomed foe apart in some way, unique for every enemy, and some have multiple versions. He is invincible while performing these, and they grant him extra health, past his normal maximum. The game lets you go past Doom’s usual limit of 200 health, allowing you to reach absurdly high amounts, so it is best to take advantage of this whenever you get it.
        Further, fatalities have other perks. He can grab Lost Souls and barrels to throw them at other enemies. Fatally wounded enemies, marked out by their moaning in pain, can also be grabbed and used as shields against enemy fire, though this restricts you to using your rifle. You can also throw your unwilling ally if you wish. Slaying a Shotgun Guy actually tears off their head, which you can then use as a projectile. Also, even if you are not under the effect of the rune, slaying fatally wounded enemies does give you a armor/health bonus.
        Speaking of projectiles, some enemies, the Revenant and Mancubus, have unique weapons that you cannot obtain. However, in this mod you can if they are blasted to bits, or if you use a chainsaw on their corpses after their defeat. Obviously, these would be hard to maintain since only those enemies have them, but it is better than not getting them at all, right? Ah, and weapons now have to be reloaded. Luckily, this applies to enemies with weapons as much as it does you, though it does mean you are slightly more vulnerable.
        As I mentioned, the enemies are smarter, but that aside, the game is simply harder in general than the original Doom, but there are some saving graces that ease this, such as the mentioned fatalities, allies, and weapons, but one fundamental difference that eases things a bit is that the game does not treat projectiles as the original did. Specifically, they were not actually projectiles, they work on the hitscan principle.
        This means that when an attack is fired, the game determines if the target is in front of the attack. If they are, it hits. If they are not, it misses. Thus, dodging is generally impossible. However, Brutal Doom changes this into actual, albeit very fast, projectiles, allowing you and your foes to dodge fire. Speaking of hitscan, the BFG 9000 is also altered. In the original game, it fires out a large ball of plasma that does massive damage, and when it impacts something, it lets out invisible tracer rays that effect other enemies. Here however, this is unneeded, and instead it works via more typical splash damage.
        Using your fists is now considered a silent attack, and will not alert other enemies to your presence. They are also quicker, and if you strike the zombies or Imps from behind like this, it will snap their neck, resulting in a silent kill. This leads the game a little more strategy- it’s not always a good idea to run in guns blazing, just usually.
        As in the original, monster infighting is a very valuable trait to pick up, forcing monsters to battle each other. However, this can backfire in ways. Enemies killed by Imps will be lit ablaze, as I said, which can hurt you if you’re near them. Barons of Hell and Cyber demons can take out an attacking enemy in one blow if they are close by, limiting the usefulness, but even worse, the Barons have a new trick of their sleeve. If they kill a zombie enemy, they will throw the corpse at you, which can do absurd damage to you. They can also throw barrels at you, so they’re definitely smart enough to put the environment to their advantage.
        All in all, Brutal Doom alters and reinvents the classic game, making it harder, more complex, and as the name says, far more brutal. I see it as a vast improvement, breathing new life into the game, and I would urge anyone who is a fan of Doom to seek it out. It certainly wouldn’t hurt- it is free after all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s