With the Doom 3: BFG Edition on sale, I figured it was time to alert the community of this mod as well, to hopefully stir some interest in the Skulltag/Zandorum community. Perhaps we can make a TAY game night out of some Brutal Doom?
Violence in video games has been a controversial topic since the dawn of video games, but that’s probably what made them extra popular in the first place. From Soldier of Fortune to God of War, developers have been looking for ways to make their games the bloodiest, goriest pile of pixels mankind has ever seen, and the modding community isn’t shy about getting in on some of that action. Brutal Doom is the name of the game, and from looking at a single screenshot, you can tell the title clearly isn’t false advertising. Not by a long shot. But is the extra blood and gore worth a download to enjoy a cult classic that basically pioneered a genre?
There’s a long list of improvements on the visual side of things. From the added animations, to the new weapon models, to new particle effects, lighting, and even ragdoll physics.
Enemies have a variety of new animations regarding to how you attack them. The biggest example is how they fall back on their rear if you boot them across the room with the new “mighty boot” ability which is actually a new ability and not a weapon or a reskin of the fist. Other times, shooting limbs off will cause monsters to collapse, but still be alive, capable of actually killing you while they’re down. Even though it does seem like quite a number of modern additions to an old school game with old school graphics, it meshes together really well, as if this was how Doom was supposed to look to begin with. Oh, and those limbs fly across the screen, painting the walls with blood and guts. It’s a bit much for me to actually call it cool, but it’s definitely technically impressive, and you gotta wonder how the Brutal Doom makers managed to pull that off on such an old engine.
There’s also a “Rip ‘n’ Tear!” mode which is a really cool new addition to the game that really gives players a reason to resort to their fists, one of those reasons being that the moment you have access to the new melee mode, your fists suddenly become lethal killing machines (you get it by picking up a new Strength Rune or Berserk Pack).
Brutal Doom doesn’t just come with more blood pixels and some gut sprites and gutting animations, it also comes with a whole holster of new items and abilities. One of them is the addition of a pistol and shotgun “ironsight” (don’t worry, it’s purely cosmetic and isn’t even that great, anyway) which lets you zoom in a bit more for a clearer picture. The pistol has been replaced with a submachine gun, making it a weapon that, while nowhere near as powerful as the rest of the arsenal, doesn’t actually suck.
One of the most interesting features is the fact that autoaiming is completely turned off, forcing the player to shoot exactly where he or she is pointing. The reason behind this is simple:
Yep, that’s a thing, now. Shooting a monster in the head will deal a damage bonus and quickly dispose of foes without a chance of them getting you while they’re down. This includes melee attacks, such as when you use the “mighty boot” while in the air to perform a flying kick, getting zombiemen and imps right in the head can cause you to kick their heads off like a gold ball off a tee. It’s always satisfying to do, especially when you shout “boot to the head!” at your computer screen each and every time. Seriously, try it.
There’s more to the game than just that, though. For instance, the game introduces
Kicking these guys will release them from the chains that bind them to a pole and they will help you out on your quest to send the demons back where they came from. Right out of the box, they have “Rip ‘N’ Tear!” mode enabled, so they will execute brutal finishers on the enemy much like how you would, and are definitely a lot more helpful than many NPCs in other first person shooters. I’ve never seen them get defeated in action, yet, however their guards can end up killing them before you have a chance of saving them in the first place, which, despite the fact that you never actually need them, really sucks.
I’m actually not sure how this works, but a really cool feature is that you can actually use a Zombieman as a human shield by running up to him when you a Berserk pack and when he’s injured. The human shield will protect you from a bit of direct damage, and more importantly can act as a powerful weapon by throwing them.
I can’t be for certain if this applies to any other monster other than the Lost Soul, which when punching under the influence of Berserk will cause you to grab it and fling it like a hellish grenade at any opponent and take out two in the process or more in the skull’s blast radius. Because they’re so hard to punch, it’s never exactly practical, but boy is it fun to use a Pain Elemental’s own spawn against it.
To be, or not to be...
Did I mention that you can
Whether it’s Doom 1, Doom 2, Plutonia, whatever, Brutal Doom works across all their maps. There’s not much more to say other than that, really. But it’s still a damn good feature.
I’m all for violent video games, I really am. I don’t mind seeing copious amounts of blood. I played Prototype. I played No More Heroes. I played Brutal Doom, obviously, so none of that phases me. What does bother me, however, is when somebody starts literally crying in a video game once you blow their limbs off. Not like Call of Duty where they make a quick grunt and go down, but far more like a particular enemy in No More Heroes who actually cries “Momma!” seconds after his body is split into two, or like in Bulletstorm where enemies you brutally maim start screaming uncontrollably from the pain as they fly through the air in slow motion and get torn to bits by the environment. This is actually the only reason that I did not buy Bulletstorm. I could not bear to play with the volume off, but I could not bear to hear those cries, either. Are those cries more realistic than modern military shooter grunts? Sure. But the moment you start tormenting the people on screen instead of just shooting polygons is the moment it stops being a game and just starts being cruel.
It may seem small, but if you look at it from my perspective it can actually be very painful to play. I wrote a comparison article between Soul Sacrifice and Monster Hunter and one of the points where where the monster’s human personality seeped through and really made it unbearable for me to sacrifice a monster who was just crying to get back home to his family, basically forcing me to save him. And that game wasn’t bloody and particularly violent.
Brutal Doom has a lot of screaming. When you shoot off a Zombieman’s limb, he clutches it in pain and looks around for someone to help him, whining and crying in his demonic grunt before he either fades into the floor or you shoot him down to make sure he stays there. They even start to crawl towards “safety” when their bottom is blown off, still crying ever so horribly as their guts spill across the floor. I know this game’s supposed to be brutal, but even in video games there can be such a thing as too brutal.
If for some ungodly reason you actually needed a reason to go back to Doom, look no further. Brutal Doom modernizes a classic while sticking to its roots and provides many new features, none which feel out of place in any way. New graphical improvements are definitely impressive and worth checking out, especially the lighting effects and the ragdoll system, and the game has never felt so smooth before. Brutal Doom is one of the most fleshed out mods that I ever played that isn’t a total conversion and is definitely worth your time. Just mind the screaming.