So I played through Brutal Doom this weekend... or rather, I played through the original Doom games with this mod installed. I've stumbled upon this mod earlier, but this is the first time I tried it, and I was surprised! Why? Well because it was good.
To say it's just about making the game more brutal is an understatement. Sure, there are new gibs, there are added animations specifically made for death scenes, incredible amounts of blood splatter on walls and floors and even on the screen to enhance the gore. My first impression wasn't entirely positive, it felt like there was almost too much. Having played the original game for so long I guess I've adapted to the original level of gore, but it look less time that I'd expected to adapt to this significant increase.
Maybe this was because I kept finding other details that added to the gaming experience. Walking up to an Imp to get a clean blast with a shotgun prompted it to pounce towards me and slash frenatically with its claws, doing a great deal of damage. The first Cacodemon I encountered fired a flickering burst of light, followed by yet another one, just as I was automatically moving back into the path of this projectile to avoid the next one. When I ran into a Hell Knight I was completely unprepared when green plasma was hurled in not just one but three beams. And even after I'd shot down the lot of zombie officers in the first level, and turned my back on them, someone kept burrowing their bullets into my spine. Turns out it was a particularly stubborn zombie, shooting at me from a slouched down position. The renevants are especially troublesome, and the masterminds gattling gun fires with an intensity that'll make mince meat out of ya if you stray in the line of fire.
In a way this mod took me back to the old days and my first years playing the game, because there was once again an element of the unknown included. I do know most of the levels on the back of my hand, but it was still a new experience with the enemies not reacting to attacks with the same patterns as I seem to have imprinted into my mind after long sessions of Dooming. With this mod it feels like I can re-play all WADs I've previously attempted and get something new out of all of them! It's not just an increase in gore, it's an increase in complexity, of the AI, of navigating the levels, of avoiding exploding barrels with a vengeance because when they blow they'll do more than crack your visor (another new feature, cool!).
Playing the game together with a port adds to the experience, as you can aim freely, zoom in with certain weapons, reload and shoot at heads to deal greater damage. And you can't play the mod without a ZDoom compatible port anyway, so it's all one big package of enhancement and added challenge. We take so many of these elements for granted in modern games, but consider that Doom was fun even without them. Even when you didn't need to keep track of how many shots you fire or watch out so that a Cacodemon won't float up behind you and swallow you whole, it was fun to play. Imagine how fun it'll be now! :)
I'm probably hyping this up more than I should, but I liked it. If you feel like getting back to Doom the link's at the top of the page... you'll have to find the WADs yourself though. :P Also, the Doom page has been updated a bit. I'm revamping the download system btw so at the moment not all downloads may display, more on that later. Happy gaming!