A dark brew coupled with heavy metal and an ultra-violent video game is a marriage of destruction and overwhelming adrenaline that cannot be matched. One of my favorite combinations is Brutal Doom with some kind of Doom Metal (surprise, surprise!), and a stout or porter beer. Doom metal embodies skull-splitting riffage along with occult themes and blood-soaked gems like Brutal Doom — a modification for the original Doom game released in 1993 — take the ultra-violence of Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque action films and amplify it by 11 in the already notoriously ferocious video game space. Combine that with a hard-hitting, imperial stout or robust porter, and you have a recipe for uninhibited sadistic pleasure.
However, dark music and dark beer aside, in this case, I really want to focus on the game: Brutal Doom. Sure, the music and beer amplify the experience, but Brutal Doom itself stands tall on its own (aural and alcoholic supplements or not).
In Brutal Doom, the blood flows freely, dribbling upon the player from the ceiling after he plants two shotgun shells into whatever vicious demon that stands before him. Flying limbs aplenty, demon intestines askew, eternally knee-deep in gore, this modification takes old-school shooting into the next-generation of action gaming (aka a place we have never been before). Amid wannabe, vanilla wafer yawn-fests like any Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (or Future Warfare or whatever Call of Duty, Halo 50 lame piece of **** you want to list off), this mod returns the player to the old-school age of gaming: a time of plot-less mayhem that focused solely on out-of-this-world running and gunning alongside alter-realities and the decimation of inhuman foes.
With varying levels of intensity, the violence options in Brutal Doom offer the player a variety of cinematic experiences. Feeling in the mood for something more representative of Japanese cinema and anime (over-the-top violence over 9,000)? There’s a setting for that. Want something less ridiculous? There’s also an option for you to choose. But regardless of your choice, the brutality is at least tenfold that of which is seen in the original game (hence the “Brutal” naming of the mod).
Varying levels of violence aside, the gameplay itself is as solid as ever. Brutal Doom‘s slew of new missions represent the adrenaline-inducing level design and challenges of old-school shooters well. It’s clear that each mission has been carefully crafted with cinematic experiences in mind. The kill-count is mind-boggling and the challenges are fierce, but the player will never find himself lost amid the constantly piling demon corpses. In this regard, the modification represents an evolution from the shooters of the early 90’s. Although the levels retain complexity in their intricate, non-linear design, they are never structured in a way that the player will spend long periods of time back-tracking, trying to figure out whether they’ve followed the right steps (for example, the first time you play through shooters like Duke Nukem 3D or Unreal, you will often find yourself lost).
Along with completely new missions, Brutal Doom also offers the player an option to choose between classic weapon designs and more “modernized” options such as an assault rifle. There are also several new gameplay mechanics such as a 3rd-person melee aspect, but these elements are not forced upon the player (sadly, old-school vets like myself have no idea how to implement these mechanics, but I can still progress through the levels just fine).
Ultimately, Brutal Doom represents the best of both the modern shooter and old-school shooter game worlds. It combines that which made old-school shooters great (the wanton violence, intricate level design, and frenetic pace) and takes it into a modern but unique space (the mod provides an unmatched action-movie experience that no other next-generation shooter has been able to emulate). In this way, Brutal Doom – a mere modification of a game released in the early 1990’s – represents one of the greatest evolutions in modern shooters. For that reason, it is a must-play game for Doom aficionados and “new” modern gamers alike.