Doom turns 21: a celebration of Doom mods

As part of Doom's 21st birthday, Shacknews is taking a look at a handful of must-have mods for id's classic shooter.

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Yesterday, Doom celebrated its 21st anniversary. Creator id Software certainly acknowledged this monumental date and today, Shacknews would like to do the same. After all, it's the Shacknews Chatty Community's #5 PC game of all-time.

For our own tribute to the pioneer first-person shooter, we're offering up a handful of the best Doom mods that are available for your PC right now. Special thanks to Chatty posters EvilDolemite, jet-poop, sigpro, and General Balsaga for their suggestions to this feature.

ZDoom

As a reminder, Doom is indeed 21 years old, so it probably needs a little boost to keep up with today's visual expectations. Creator Randy Heit used various other source engines to create ZDoom, a mod that gives Doom a noticeable polish for all modern versions of Windows.

ZDoom fully supports modern ideas, such as high resolution textures, jumping, crosshairs, gamepad support, and 8-player network games. It's a completely different way to look at the classic shooter, giving it enough of an update to put it alongside modern shooters without overly compromising the game's original vision. There are dozens of other Doom mods out there, but this is the mother of them all. In fact, many of those other mods will require ZDoom to run.

The latest ZDoom release was version 2.7.1, released back in July 2013. That download is available here.

GZDoom

This is one of those mods that will require ZDoom to run. GZDoom is described as a 3D-acceleratd Doom port, created by modder Graf Zahl.

GZDoom adds some interesting new visuals to the game, like dynamic lighting and brighter maps. The addition of brighter maps and textures give Doom another spot of modern polish and one that'll give your PC a run for its money. Zahl is still working diligently to update his code and rendering system, in order to make the most of modern graphics cards.

GZDoom version 2.0.03 released nearly three months ago and is available on the mod forums.

Zandronum

Zandronum gives owners of both the original Doom and Doom II a chance to play along with a whole lot of friends. While it adds a few elements that can be seen across all game modes, like Quake's key bindings and jumping, this is known as one of the definitive multiplayer mods, supporting up to 64 players.

Game modes include Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Last Man Standing, and a few original modes, like Terminator and Skulltag. Those looking to play co-op can also band together for Survival and Invasion modes. Regardless of the type of multiplayer experience you're looking for, this looks to be the mod to own.

The latest version of Zandronum can be found on the mod's website.

Brutal Doom

While the aforementioned mods will make Doom pretty, this will give it a whole new shade of red. Brutal Doom lives up to its name by being one of the most violent mods available, which says a lot given the source material.

Brutal Doom was released in 2012 with a dose of ultraviolence. New gibs, death animations, dismemberments, and executions are all on the table, so much so that players can actually kick around fallen body parts. Also, there are explosions. Lots of explosions.

On top of that, the game gets much harder. While players are granted an upgraded arsenal, the game's enemies are a lot harder to deal with. It's big, it's bloody, and it's brutal. It's Brutal Doom and it's available at ModDB. There's also a re-mod that's available from ModDB, as well.

Classic Doom for Doom 3

We conclude this feature with a bit of a cheat. Yes, this is technically for Doom 3. However, it's a special mod, as one of the creators is Chatty's own CrustaR.

Classic Doom 3 is a faithful re-creation of Doom's first episode, rebuilt with the Doom 3 engine. It's a fine facsimile, using similar enemies, full intro and ending cinematics, and a high-quality soundtrack. It's an interesting take on an old favorite.

Classic Doom 3 is available here.


This, of course, is just scratching the surface of the Doom mods that are out in the wild. If you have your own that you'd like to contribute, join the conversation in Chatty.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 11, 2014 11:00 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Doom turns 21: a celebration of Doom mods

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      December 11, 2014 11:24 AM

      I remember back when I first found ZDoom in 2000: "What?! A Doom engine source port for Windows, with a Quake-style console, and Hexen source code elements?! AWESOME!" I still prefer to run ZDoom, since it stays loyal to the original visual architecture of the game.

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        December 11, 2014 12:15 PM

        I recall being amazed that it ran so fast when you maxxed out every variable and turned it into a maze of lens flares.

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      December 11, 2014 11:26 AM

      I really should go through Doom and such one day soon. I've never finished them! Because I'm awful, and yes, it is my fatal flaw.

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      December 11, 2014 11:35 AM

      CrustaR also worked on this Doom 3 mod: http://www.moddb.com/mods/zombie-slayer

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      December 11, 2014 11:39 AM

      need a Zandronum shack battle

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      December 11, 2014 11:41 AM

      I would like to buy Doom a shot for it's birthday.

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      December 11, 2014 11:43 AM

      Thanks for a Doom post! :-) Good to mark the anniversary of this awesome game.

      More about some of the things mentioned in the article:

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      ZDoom, GZDoom, and Zandronum are more usually called "sourceports" rather than mods. They are replacement Doom executables that can run the original Doom content as well as new third-party stuff. While they do support using mods like replacement textures, they don't require it (and IMO replacement media for Doom usually looks pretty bad). What's really nice about these programs is their technical/polish/usability improvements, allowing Doom to run more easily on modern systems and supporting larger and more complex maps.

      GZDoom doesn't require ZDoom, BTW. ZDoom, GZDoom, and Zandronum are all separate programs (although the latter two are based on ZDoom).

      I like using GZDoom just because it has perspective-correct vertical look; it doesn't warp the view when you look up and down. This isn't true to the original Doom but it feels better! You can configure the texture and lighting in GZDoom (and these other engines) to look pretty close to the original, if you want a vanilla Doom feel along with the other technical ZDoom-ish improvements.

      If you want something EXACTLY like classic Doom though you probably should look into using a "conservative" sourceport like PrBoom+ or Chocolate Doom. Ditto if you're interested in playing demos (game recordings) made with original Doom.

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      Folks looking for additional maps to play should check out the Cacowards: http://www.doomworld.com/cacowards/

      I'm not a Doom guru but skimming the Cacowards I'd recommend Scythe 2, No Rest for the Living, Doom The Way Id Did, Community Chest IV, Back to Saturn X, and Going Down. But there are maaaaaany other good maps. Holy crap so many.

      A bit more about No Rest for the Living here: http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=30635461#item_30635461

      And BTW Going Down is by Cyriak, the guy who makes these Dali-esque videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/cyriak/videos

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        December 11, 2014 11:56 AM

        Also, Classic Doom 3 is really good.

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          December 11, 2014 12:06 PM

          explain more

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            December 11, 2014 12:10 PM

            It is fun to play.

            Also it is cool.

            What would you like to know? :-) It's not "Doom gameplay in Doom 3", in any real way, but it does mess with the guns/monsters and pacing a bit, and I just enjoyed seeing very familiar Doom ep 1 maps recreated/reimagined in the Doom 3 engine in a competent way.

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              December 12, 2014 7:06 AM

              Agreed! And if you want something a little different in Doom 3, check out Zombie Slayer. It was sort of my resume to get into the games industry (that didn't pan out, but it was still fun to make).