Doom Zero by DAS|-| [Mod][Doom]

Posted by on at 20:44
(7) Comments
Unlike many of the mods we feature in the Spotlight, this one is fully vanilla-compatible and will even run under MS-DOS should you want it to - but it’s such a great example of what can be done in Doom even without all the fancy GZDoom extensions that I felt it needed special mention. After all, GZDoom is an engine that's meant to run vanilla Doom games as well!

Doom Zero was a nice surprise that came almost out of nowhere. Apart from a six-level demo that surfaced back in 2017, author DASI-I had quietly worked away on it for two years before suddenly announcing its release to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Doom II. His philosophy for its design was to find and use new and interesting mechanics within the vanilla engine while still respecting id Software’s base level design guidelines, producing a hybrid of modern and classic design.

As a result, Doom Zero is not a WAD that keeps your visplane count straining at 125 throughout or has a million fiddly little bits of sector architecture. In fact, the look of it is quite understated, usually sticking to relatively plain, simple rooms and corridors reminiscent of the first IWADs. You won’t ever find yourself in any giant arena fights with 666 monsters pouring out of hidden teleports - the maps stay small and manageable and they never outstay their welcome. Instead of impressing with scale, this WAD puts its ingenuity into smaller challenges and unexpected clever scenarios, using the elements provided by vanilla Doom and putting them together in new and creative ways to finds its own style despite the confines of the quarter-century-old engine.

As soon as the main menu melts away to reveal the first techbase map you’ll feel at home - little references to Doom’s shareware episode are scattered all over, with the WAD introducing its own ideas on top of the vanilla aesthetics gradually as the game progresses. Throughout the course of its 32 levels, the player is taken through techbases, marble castles, cities, terrestrial and hellish landscapes in original takes on familiar styles, and manages never to feel repetitive - a remarkable achievement considering only one level designer worked on this. I particularly liked one map called The Pits that’s fought between two high-rise buildings, giving a great sense of real-world location without having to over-detail. More unusually, the secret level “Meat” is an unsettling tribute to the history of id Software, and it’s followed by a second secret level that takes a page from the book of Episode 3’s secret level Warrens.

Several levels give you options in the form of what I came to call “choose your own adventure” sections, where you’ll be presented with three keys or switches, and approaching one will close off the others. The choice you make will determine the route that you take through the map - it’s such a simple idea, and easy to achieve using just the vanilla linedef actions, but it instantly gives the maps an interesting degree of exploration and replayability. And you’ll notice the previously meaningless gargoyle textures becoming much more useful here, being used to mark switches and pair them with the door they open - nicely solving one of the more frustrating elements of Doom 2 in a straightforward way.

Elsewhere, subtle tricks are used to great effect, giving illusions such as changing wall textures or a switch that has to be pressed twice with different keys for each stage. And yet these things never feel out of place, or like they’re drawing undue attention to themselves - they just make the player perform a slight double-take if they know the Doom engine, and make them wonder exactly how these things were put together.

Along those same lines, Doom Zero also has the cleverest secrets that I’ve ever seen in any WAD, rarely just asking the player to notice a slightly different texture in a dark corner or providing hidden doors that can be found by running along every wall belting the space bar. Instead, you’ll have to use your wits (along with platforms, teleports and hidden ledges) to access the strong powerups and additional supplies that are often placed tauntingly just out of reach, and it makes you feel like a genius when you finally work out how to defeat the machinations preventing you from reaching them.

Only a couple of things are truly new - an original Dehacked monster replaces the Wolfenstein officer, a floating skull reminiscent of the beta Lost Soul that blasts shotgun-sounding attacks at you through its mouth. It starts appearing towards the end of the game, and its mobility and hitscan ability makes it a dangerous enemy especially in packs - yet another thing that will force you to adjust your tactics. And the game concludes with a climactic fight that, in keeping with the standard throughout the WAD, takes the vanilla objects that make up the Icon of Sin and uses some creative trickery to repurpose them into something that we haven’t seen before. After that, an epilogue guides you to the end, revealing the true reason behind the WAD’s name and providing a very satisfactory storyline proposal that ties the strands of the Doom chronology together.

Doom Zero is a fantastic tribute to the original Doom and the design philosophies that make it such an enduring game - it respects the roots of Doom but complements the style perfectly with its own ideas. Despite being released so long after the glory days of vanilla TCs and megaWADs, it truly deserves to be counted as one of the classics.

Doom Zero thread over on DoomWorld

FragTrak by TapWave [Mod][Doom]

Posted by on at 15:56
(1) Comment
In the course of writing articles for the Spotlight, I’ve been playing all sorts of mods that use the GZDoom engine to create things that can be miles away from the hellish ordeal that started it all. I’ve been transported into entire tributes to other games, fought razor-frisbee-wielding lizard jesters, stolen crystals from cheerful block castles, defeated fascist cats… I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m running a retro-themed cafe on Phobos or playing a demon dating simulator. But not all mods have to go to such lengths - FragTrak by TapWave is a nice reminder that some clever scripting can still breathe new life into the levels that we’ve all played a million times.

The focus of this mod is not new levels, graphics, sounds or enemies, but statistics. By setting up a ton of ZScript classes and variables, FragTrak lives up to its name by keeping track of every frag you’ve scored on each monster type with each weapon. At the press of a specially bound key, you can view either in-depth statistics on the number and percentage of monsters that you’ve dispatched with your currently held weapon, or a summary of your entire arsenal - showing very easily what your weapon preferences are for each monster or how much you over-rely on the super shotgun.

There’s also a limited element of experience and levelling up included - for each monster sent back to hell, both you and your currently held weapon gain some points, promoting you through ranks in the space marine hierarchy and granting your weapons more impressive titles, from “Strange” and “Uninteresting” up to “Ultraviolent” and “Face-Gibbing”. After gaining a certain amount of experience on a weapon, you can cash it in for Prestige, which earns you yet another number and rank on the statistics screen.

The whole thing is kept track of through a sleek but initially confusing HUD (though you can turn bits off individually to make it slightly less overwhelming) - you’re given the standard ammo and health counters along with the useful additions of armor type and berserk indicators, and then a whole host of other buttons and pulleys to display your current rank, progress towards the next level and statistics of your current weapon.

Because the mod uses CVARs, it isn’t limited just to tracking your progress through one megaWAD - your statistics are saved in your GZDoom INI file and will follow you between WADs as long as you load FragTrak along with whatever you’re playing. In doing this, it becomes a nice record of your habits across multiple plays, and encourages you to try varying your style a bit so that you can level up your less-used weapons and tot up those ultimately meaningless but tantalizing prestige points.

My favourite part, though? The little FragTrak™ logo on the HUD and the introduction in the forum topic itself - as if this whole mod is a little device that Doom marine is carrying around on a belt loop, like a pedometer for demon slayers. It’s a great addition to Doom that builds something on top of the classic gameplay without replacing any of it.

FragTrak forum topic

Hell-Forged by Amuscaria [TC][Doom]

Posted by on at 16:03
(3) Comments
Hell-Forged is a total conversion for Doom II that replaces weapons and levels and adds new monsters to the original Doom bestiary. At the moment, the first episode is ready, and more may come in the future.
The original post.

Hell-Forged looks like Doom from an alternative timeline. It resembles the original game in multiple ways, some obvious, some subtle. In its core gameplay, it remains Doom, but also expands and builds upon. This mod takes inspiration not only from Doom: influence from Quake and Heretic is also evident.

(click images for better quality)

The levels are the first element of the expansion. There are only nine of them, but oh my, the size! The largest of them take from one to two hours to beat. With this in mind, the maps don't feel confusing at all. All areas are promptly pronounced and distinctive. You may have to consult the automap from time to time, but places become familiar after a while. Backtracking is seldom required due to the abundance of convenient portals but is often rewarded. Also, revisiting old places is a pleasure in its own right, given the beauty of the levels. There is a lot of sightseeing. One wouldn't call Hell-Forged maps over-detailed, and at the same time, the amount of architecture pieces is just right to hold on a second and enjoy the view. The theme is fantasy/medieval, and levels present mostly different kinds of a medieval castle. The author applied a lot of effort so they don't look the same. Original Doom textures pop up occasionally to remind you that you are still playing Doom. It's notable how well they fit the theme here.

Fans of secret hunting will find a lot to occupy themselves in Hell-Forged. There are almost a hundred secrets across nine levels, one of which is a secret level. Hint: always check the back of switch panels. Also, many non-secret bonuses are hidden here and there. Hell-Forged maps, except the first one, introduce the unusual concept of special keys (green skulls) that are needed not for level progression but to unlock additional rewards for observant players. And look for the mushroom collectibles!

The second element of the expansion is monsters. See the mod page for the detailed descriptions. In general, there are new variants of imps and pinkies, and there are new bosses/minibosses. All zombie types are removed. This may mean that the demons in this universe don't possess humans, they go straight to kill. The absence of zombies leads to the absence of hitscan enemies. Even the Spider Mastermind counterpart (called Director) shoots fast-moving projectiles that can be dodged after some practice. The other design decision is that there are no drops from monsters.

The third element of the expansion is the arsenal. You'll be fighting the hordes of hell with fire, nails, demon blood and souls. Weapons are made with hell technology, which can be seen in their design. A human would not even think about using a live beating heart as a weapon (Wheel of Pain). Feel the grim satisfaction of turning demon weapons against themselves. Burn imps and arch-viles! All weapon types have their function and purpose. Soul-fueled weapons are the most powerful, that's why the extra effort is needed to get them. Again, check the mod page for descriptions.

Hell-Forged contains neat details that emphasize how well weapons, monsters, and environments fit together:
- Fire ammo is called Phlogiston canisters. Makes sense, phlogiston is an essence of fire.
- Nails are nine-inch, of course.
- Blood barrels react differently to damage types. They are pierced by nails, and blood leaks out. When burned, they explode. Also, blood can be retrieved from them with Wheel of Pain.
- Basilisk weapon is used by Behemoths too.
- The new level starts where the previous level ends, providing the feel of continuity.
- Splashes are implemented for all liquids.
- Ambient sounds create the eerie mood.
- Monsters have different blood colors, and non-living monsters don’t have blood.
- Informative custom status bar HUD, and fullscreen hud as an alternative.

Some words must be said about the Hell-Forged theme. While the vanilla Doom theme is somewhat inconsistent, mixing magic and technology in the monster roster, in powerups and so forth, Hell-Forged takes elements from the original game that would fit in the fantasy world and replaces everything else. Here, you will find familiar health potions, armor helmet bonuses, and soulspheres, accompanied by health bottles, armor pieces, and an assortment of magical artifacts. All keys are skulls of different colors. If monsters rely on weapons, it's arcane hellish technology.

To sum it up. Hell-Forged provides both challenge and fun and definitely worth checking out if you haven't already. Available maps will take you about eight hours of gameplay, more or less depending on your urge for secret hunting. It's a good example of what a skillful modder can do with a game.

S.U.P.E.R. Natural [Doom 2 / TC]

Posted by on at 17:30
(3) Comments
I'm running out of rocks. I should probably go to see if any landed in the
shallow parts of the water.

Also, I'll try to find that duck I saw earlier. He's gotta be around here

During the time I started up this review, I honestly found myself at a loss for words when I try to approach this mod. It’s a bit unorthodox considering what’s been shown previously in our spotlights, so as I type up my draft, my mind is racing on how to tackle this. It is a mix of survival horror and walking simulator. A really good one at that, and like many walking simulators, they are best played blind. It would behoove you to take a stab at this before reading on. When you get to the main part of the review, I’d like to emphasize that I can’t approach this with much objectivity, and I don’t think I should. I will be explaining why I personally am in so much love with this mod, and not necessarily what it changes. I hope that makes sense.


The mod remains unfinished and may not ever be finished, but it is in a playable state and can be finished. I reached out to Pyroscourge as I was drafting, he has given his blessing for me write this review, and stated he might return to this some day.

One of the major reasons I have difficulty talking about this mod is that it has a very minimal gameplay loop and is extremely organic. It goes against a lot of typical horror conventions that just bore me to no end as cliches, and I strongly feel it’s best experienced first hand. However, I do acknowledge that this might be in poor taste to the review, so I’ll offer some bullet points you can look forward to if you’re looking for the gist.

* The gameplay loop consists of exploration of the levels in order to progress. Nothing is linear and genuinely feels like you’ve stumbled into a place you shouldn’t. Exploration is always rewarded, and your reward is sometimes punishment.
* Tremendous atmosphere through ambience and map design that constantly leaves you ill at ease. This is constantly emphasized with the aesthetics of the map, which include extremely well thought out lighting and constant noises that can be heard.
* Organically placed pretty much everything. There are dozens of scripted events that are not mandatory to encounter in any sort of fashion, do not yank control away from the player or force the player to advance the map, and all enemies encountered are natural.
* Plenty of logs that can be found, allowing the player to discover and learn about the events that happened and give an insight on what drove people into insanity.

I know that these are vague and aren’t really cutting it, but I strongly stand by that this mod can’t be summed up objectively, it’s strengths lie in the crafted experience it provides to the player. In the same way I can go into detail on how a really good cup of coffee is made, you can’t know how good it is until you just try it.

We’re now approaching spoiler territory, I’ll buffer the post with images. Scroll at your own risk.

Something doesn't feel right. I shouldn't have read this. Please, just leave.

Please look at me when I am talking to you. Don't look back, never turn
around. Just keep moving. Regardless of what you do, it will just keep
smiling. It won't stop. It just keeps looking, waiting, even taunting.
I can feel it now. She's close. She won't come any closer. I'll wait here
until I bleed to death if I have to.

Is that what you want? You want to watch me die, to know I am suffering,
and all the while you just sit there with that stupid look on your face?


You want me to smile.

There's been something watching me from the lake for a while now. I can't
really tell what it is from my post. It could be a duck? Maybe? It looks
kind of red and grey, but it's too hard to tell in the dark. I'm not
supposed to leave my post unless it's absolutely mandatory, but it is
really damn tempting to see it.

I don't see a 'Do Not Feed the Ducks' sign, and I've got a lot of rations
that I don't want to eat...

Taking place two years after the events of Doom II, Sylvious is our main character. A random joe schmoe down on his luck and low on fuel, but he so happens to park at, unknownst to him, an abandoned UAC base: Silkwood Mountain Range Military, resembling many of the eerie Northern American forests older generations tell ghost stories about. Stumbling through the foot of the woods for what seemed to last for several minutes too long, eventually coming across the base’s entrance. Faintly lit by what little power was still remaining. They might be able to help with refueling a car.

The door opens when approached.

The switch is flicked, closing the door behind and opening the door into the base, revealing a poorly lit interior of cold steel and computers that lined the walls. Ominously lit in a loading bay off to the side is a canister of fuel, secured and shrugged off as something the UAC won’t miss. The forest greets once more, soon becomes wandering again for incountable minutes, something is wrong, something eerie. A slow realization dawns over. The car is missing, with no sign of any road to follow.

A log, with no owner listed. The message is only from a few hours ago.

6th April, 2033.

I swear I've been everywhere in this damn forest. I keep thinking that, but
then I find somewhere new every time I give up hope. This beacon is the
first piece of civilization I have seen for hours, and might be part of
the Military Base, but I'm not sure I want to be anywhere near there right
now. That could have been where this all started, for all I know.

The forest keeps taking me to the same places, regardless of which way I
go from here. I've tried to find a way up to this beacon, but the cliffs are
too steep to climb. I can see the mountain range from here, but regardless of
how close I get I just end up further away.

At first I thought that the forest was changing itself, moving around to stop
me, or to trap me, but I was wrong. After everything I saw in Battery,
it's probably just trying to help. If that's the case, then please, help me find
a way out of here. Please.

The only place left to go is back.

Approaching the sole entrance that can be found, a low, guttural, and hungry moan could be heard. Standing guard at the entrance is some bipedal figure, barreling down the path. Panic quickly ensues, unarmed and unathletic. The creature manages to sink it’s razor sharp claws into flesh before quickly vanishing. Confusion is what remains. Maybe it was a hallucination, but there’s no time to speculate, the only way through is back into the base.

The dark halls are felt once more, and maybe it was another miserable accident, a door, once presumed as a wall, opens up to reveal a courtyard, and after following bread crumb after bread crumb of something sinister, the power switch is located under a foreboding red glow.

The machinery lurches into life in the same way a defibrillator lurches a heart into life. Computers clicking and beeping away, the low hum of motors and resonance whine filled the air. The environment is slowly taken in, fresh blood and dismemberment strewn about the room. The horror settles in, something happened, some thing happened, something bad. No gun, nothing to use for self defense. You need to get out.

"The military base. Its cold and unforgiving outskirts suit it perfectly, as it lies hidden underneath the Silkwood mountain ranges. Do not wander too far into its depths, mortal, as there are some things that are resting, and should not be disturbed."

"But, I can see you have already woken one of them up."

Exposition aside now, this is the point where proper agency is granted to the player. While the previous events described are linear under the guise of meandering about in a dark maze, the player is now meandering about with actual risk of getting lost while seeking for the objective. This is where the game properly begins, and I love it, I loved how this was paced. If you’re not thoroughly chilled at this point by the prologue, the first chapter surely will. The first chapter will be all I’ll talk about in this review, as it’s best you play this mod (for the umpteenth time) blind, which if you haven’t, I urge you once more to stop reading and go play. Then come back of course. (Side note: By chapter one I mean the first map after the forest, each map is clearly meant to be a different section)

One of the things I love about this mod is it’s level design, which is normally par for the course with highly detailed maps, but the design here speaks of something deliberate that would have real world functions, but something sinister and twisted lies under it’s skin. I could imagine this place being a working military base. There’s loading docks, computer rooms, berthing areas, showers, it feels like a UAC base hiding it’s dark secret of demon interference. The cherry on top? Events in the game are seemingly random, as far as I could tell at least. Once the player is into the main meat of the game, the events that you may run into aren’t guaranteed to happen every time. I have played this mod several times over, and each playthrough I run into a new event each time, a new scare, a new room, something I didn’t notice last time. Each one preying on the player’s sense of curiosity rather than hoping you catch it on the corner of your eye. And this curiosity is a mixed bag of satisfaction and punishment. Some areas will lead you to finding logs of the base’s previous occupants, giving a glimpse of the events that lead up to whatever catastrophe you have stumbled upon. Sometimes it’ll be something that will make you regret touching it. You’ll never know.

The next driving force to the mods uneasy atmosphere is chapter one’s singular enemy, The Avoid.

As its name suggests, the only way to deal with this enemy is to simply avoid. This is no joke, don’t ever engage with this enemy if possible. The only way you would know that is if you've been paying attention to the scattered logs through the base, but the mod at least tells you. The bestiary describes avoid as a demon that possesses far deadlier claws and greater blood lust that any demons known before and tracks you by smelling. The monster possesses no vision, however it might as well due to how fast it can react if you straddle too close to its range. In the unfortunate event that you do encounter one, you’re granted a grace period to avoid it’s “line of smell”, letting out a few moans as it inhales the air to smell you better. Once it’s established where you are, it’s speed will quite literally double and begin hunting you down. I swear the only times I have managed to escape this demon was out of Doom’s exploitable AI and pathfinding than it was out of being able to out maneuver it, and I’ll stand by that each case it has happened. Every other time I’ve tried to tango with this beast, it’s always resulted in failure. While I normally dislike horror games that give you no fighting chance with the BIG SPOOKY ENEMY OOOAAAHHHH, there’s a logical pattern to this one which grants you some sort of control. This is an aspect I appreciate of its over all design, it shifts the blame of any mistakes onto the player. This lack of scripting is such an incredible aspect I wish so many games would take inspiration from.

Whether or not they require food to survive,
or for how long they can go without, is far beyond me.

I can only pray that they die from starvation.

That’s as much as I feel I need to talk about. There’s a few more maps in the mod that act as the following chapters/hubs to explore, and not to imply they’re not worth talking about, they would just come off as redundant if I sing them more praise. They each have their own aspects that further enhance the mod to their full strengths and possess their own mysteries for the player to discover. My point is that there isn’t a single beat missed anywhere you look, or manage to get to. The maps are great. The atmosphere is drenched in... atmosphere. It’s a tremendous experience.

Some smaller points that I think are worth mentioning, and as mentioned at the start, this is a work in progress, so no promises on all of this if you choose to investigate:

* Majority replacement of text strings, such as:
-- "Lost?" (When trying to quit)
-- "Come now. Surely it isn't that scary?" (When trying to quit)
-- "Immortality is useless when your dreams are dead." (Using iddqd)
-- "You only need one bullet to save you from your mind." (Using idfa)
-- "Winter reaches even as far as here." (Using freeze in the console)
* Hidden content strewn about the wad and maps that I’m not sure how to access, or even if it’s accessible to begin with.
-- Hints of a boss fight with the Colonel as sprites suggest some sort of fight (use ‘pukename colonelstare’ in the console when you find him)
-- Sewer map that I’m not even sure is actually accessible.
-- Mine/Cave map that for sure isn’t accessible but still neat to look at
* Some weird mist/fog that disappears when you get too close to it. Not sure if these do anything.
* Plenty of smaller sprite edits of vanilla assets that adds a nice bit of detail

Enjoy the mod folks, and remember:


ZRift by Pandut and HAL9000 [Mod][Doom/Heretic]

Posted by on at 03:19
(13) Comments
“Chasm: The Rift” is an oddly tautological name for a game. It’s a bit like if our favourite seminal first-person shooter had been called “Doom: The Doom”. Released during the last gasp of the DOS game era in 1997, it was a first-person shooter by the Ukranian development company Action Forms that saw the player warping through time periods in an attempt to stop an invasion by the alien Timestrikers.

Technologically, the game sat in a weird place as a stepchild between the Wolfenstein 3D and Quake engines. Its custom-built 3D engine supported weather effects, appropriately wobbly water, could move three-dimensional walls and doors around, avoided sprites in favour of rendering everything in those polygon things that were all the rage in the mid-90s, and yet the levels themselves stayed doggedly and uninterestingly flat throughout. It was like what Doom might have been in a different reality, if Carmack and company had gone with blazing their trail of 3D technology in a slightly different order. Fortunately, Pandut and HAL9000 arrived in to fuse the timelines back together in mid-2018, and reunified the gameplay of Chasm with the engine of GZDoom.

And it all works very impressively - in the past I haven’t really got on with mods that use 3D models heavily within a Doom environment, but the amount of attention to detail in this WAD makes them feel like they fit perfectly because the entire experience is like playing a completely different game. From the great-looking new title screen and menu onwards, every detail of the game has been reworked to give it an authentic Chasm feel (apart from the dodgy mouselook support, fortunately) - everything in the game has had its appearance and sound meticulously recreated. The replacement of the environmental sounds also contribute greatly to making things have a different atmosphere - the familiar space-age noises of the Doom doors and platforms are replaced by the gritty clanks and rumbles of Chasm.

The models for items and enemies are translated directly from the ones in Chasm, dragged painstakingly through a modelling toolchain with reams of MODELDEF files defining the enemies’ movement and animation accurately from the original game. However, ZRift doesn’t content itself with being just a straight clone - many of the enemies from Chasm only had melee attacks, which the wad authors understandably decided wouldn’t work very well when dropped into the more vertical-heavy levels designed for Doom. So they built on top of what was already there, creating new animations for attacks like the Viking enemies hurling their shields at you or the shambling mummies that can now cough deadly mist in your direction. All of these, plus the new weapon the Plasma Thrower, fit so well into the game that a newcomer wouldn’t notice they were additions at all.

The other issue the authors had to get around was that Chasm has a far larger library of enemies than Doom - twenty-four of them according to the game’s wiki! To get them all into this conversion, straight replacements of monsters wouldn’t be enough. So they came up with a way for the mod to perform some clever tricks with Decorate and ZScript to make sure all of them got some screen time. For some classes of similar Chasm enemies, it’s enough to replace Doom monsters with a spawner that will randomly replace them with one of the various rough equivalents - a Hell Knight, for example, could randomly be replaced with either a Lion or an Orc. But for others, a bit of ZScript is used to substitute the entire population of imps or pinkies on a map with a single chosen species from Chasm, effectively giving the map a random theme for its enemies each time it’s loaded and making sure the game doesn’t throw its entire menagerie at you at the same time.

Rather than copy the weapons directly over, the authors have recreated them all to give them an overhaul with a slightly more Doom-flavoured twist visually, complete with the gloves that we’re all used to seeing hovering in front of our eyes. They’ve managed to give a fantastic punch to them, with a lot of weight behind the staples the double-barrelled shotgun and the Vulcan chaingun in particular - but it’s the way that even the much more unconventional Chasm guns have been translated that really catches my attention. One of the most fun is the sort of razor-sharp deadly frisbees - you can collect a stack of these from fallen jester zombie lizards, throw them around wildly, watch them ping off walls and embed themselves into enemies and you can even pick them up to be thrown again afterwards. Comfortingly, the frisbees pass harmlessly through the originating player, unlike the comparable Ripper from Unreal Tournament where I invariably managed to slice my own head clean off within ten seconds of laying my hands on it.

With all this in mind, it’s a bit of a shame that ZRift doesn’t provide any actual maps that are made for this new weapon and monster set - the new content could honestly form the basis for a complete TC of its own. Several suggestions for mapsets are provided in the release topic, though, and I elected to play through it with Erik Alm’s Scythe2 because of the note that it was laid out similarly to the original Chasm with several changing level themes. I hadn’t played through this WAD before, and having ZRift on top of it felt completely natural. Health is both lost and gained a lot more quickly in ZRift compared to the original Doom - health packs give you a greater boost but attacks from even the weakest enemies can sometimes be devastating, keeping you constantly on your toes.

If I have one gripe with the content of the mod it’s a small issue with the HUD - which, as you’d expect from a project of this quality, has been completely overhauled to resemble the Chasm status bar when it’s visible. In fullscreen mode, though, it switches to a nice hybrid between the two games - Doomguy’s twitchy face is stuffed into the helmet from the Chasm status bar and is flanked by a few counters. My complaint is that the arrangement of the counters relegates the crucial health display to a small font in the middle of the screen, with much more prominence given to armour and ammunition - it can be difficult to remember which counter you’re meant to be looking at when judging a retreat from a horde of time-travelling viking zombies.

That aside, this really is a great example of using ZDoom’s capabilities - especially its support for 3D models - to create a game that feels very different from any of the standard Doom WADs. At the time of writing, it’s planned to be made officially available as “ZRift Legacy”, with the aim of splitting it into two different packs in the future - one called Classic with the aim of being as vanilla Chasm-themed as possible, and the other called Beyond which will continue to build more on top of the base game.

ZRift (Legacy) forum topic

MetaDoom by Kinsie [Mod][Doom]

Posted by on at 23:27
(5) Comments

Forum topic
Mod page


MetaDoom is a weapon/monster randomizer with a twist: smart progression. Instead of throwing everything on the player's head from the start, MetaDoom gradually unfolds itself, keeping the consistent flow of surprises.

If you are impatient, though, look for the “Intelligent Spawn Options” switch in MetaDoom options and select “Content Locust” there. It turns off the smart progression and gives enemy and weapon variants a chance to spawn right from the start.

MetaDoom combines monsters and weapons from Doom, Doom 2, Doom 64, Doom RPG, Doom 3, and Doom 2016 into a solid and remarkably cohesive package.


There are seventeen weapons at your disposal, from a fire axe to a gauss cannon. Most of them have two fire modes, and the punch attack is available for every weapon. The punch has two purposes: pushing the enemy away and giving you a bit of extra health. The melee punch attack is available via a special key bind.

There are eight inventory item types for dealing with enemies in tactical ways and to defend yourself. The item amount counter is shared between all item types, so beware. You spend one item, the counter for other items goes down too. You can carry up to 25 items. These items have a chance to spawn alongside other pickups. More stuff!

This amount of tools results in many ways of killing enemies. Where else can you use a demonic dog as a weapon?


- EMG Sidearm - what a neat tool! It carries an unlimited supply of ammo, and also has a flashlight. Everything 's better with a flashlight.

- Chaingun's alternate fire turns you into a stationary turret. You cannot move, but it's not a problem at all considering the firepower you get.

- Lightning Gun's alternate fire stuns enemies, so you can take your time deciding what to do next.

- Soul Cube - the mysterious artifact with probably deep history of occult research and development, created by long-gone aliens. Maybe the origins of Soul Cube will be revealed to mortals someday, but for now, two things are certain about it: it hits hard, and it makes enemies burst into health, armor, and ammo pickups. It is powered by exactly ten soul orbs, and note that you cannot carry more than ten soul orbs.

- Kinetic mines: probably the safest way of killing. Throw it on the floor, or on a wall, or on a ceiling, and it knows what to do. If no unlucky monster walks by it for a period of time, a kinetic mine will detach itself from the surface and will wait to be picked up again.

Blur Sphere is replaced with Haste Sphere. Berserk has a chance of being replaced with Quad Damage. Berserk itself changed: it lasts only a limited amount of time, unlike its vanilla counterpart, but monsters drop health on hit. Other powerups remain effectively the same but look fancier.


MetaDoom is not a power fantasy mod. New monsters know new tricks. Don't expect them to play fair. Each monster type is different from the others in movement behavior and/or attacks.


- Imp Lord - teleporting around makes fighting these fellows much trickier than ordinary imps.

- Former Assassin (Chaingunner variant) can pull you closer to perforate you with the chaingun more effectively.

- Dogs which are enemies unless you have suitable equipment (hint: a certain inventory item).

- Cyber-Mancubus: harmless at long distances, but devastating when it's close to you, even after death.

- Hell Knights and Barons of hell that are not big imps anymore, but know how to jump. Sometimes this leads to nobles leaving their designated places on the map, making the combat less predictable.

- Summoner. Oh, this Arch-Vile variant. Do you hate Arch-Viles? Prepare to hate it twice as much! It not only resurrects fallen monsters but also summons new ones. And it teleports around, so killing it may be tricky. Better have big guns ready.


Codex is an in-game description of monsters, weapons, and pickups. Make sure you bind the key to open it!

The entries reveal themselves one by one when you encounter new monsters or find new items, giving the satisfying feeling of progression. The descriptions are fun to read and contain references to Doom lore and history.


Various ways of restoring your health allow more aggressive, faster, up-close gameplay style. I've counted 4 different extra ways of obtaining health: melee attacks (including Berserk), Siphon Grenades, Soul Cube strike, and Holy Water Pistol. Wait, I haven’t mention Holy Water Pistol yet? Well, something has to be left for you to find out.

In general, with MetaDoom arsenal you can survive even in the most unexpected fights, given you know how to utilize the inventory and weaponry.

Also, MetaDoom replaces Nightmare difficulty with respawn-less Nightmare and adds Ultra-Nightmare (hardcore/ironman mode) for those who seek an additional challenge.


MetaDoom is not only weapons and monsters. Breakable decorations, gore effects, mirrored deaths, blood colors, footstep sounds, water splashes, and first-person death animations are added for good measure.

It also features a custom HUD and 100% completionist messages.

You can notice the big amount of attention to detail even not directly in a game: custom main menu, custom mod options menu with descriptive hints, selection of player genders to choose from, custom quit messages.


MetaDoom lets you play several Dooms at the same time, in one game. If every Doom game existed in the same universe, this is how it would look like.

This mod clearly received a lot of love from its creator, and it deserves a lot of love from the players too. It’s good both for replaying your well-known maps, because the new monsters’ behavior creates new battle situations, and for visiting new ones because you still understand where is what and how the map is supposed to be played.

So, what the proper Doom fan can wish for? More Doom and more MetaDoom.

Vanilla Essence by Pixel Eater [Mod][Any]

Posted by on at 12:58
(1) Comment
"Correct way of playing Doom". This strange term shows up from time to time. What is the correct way of playing Doom?

It's simple. There is the only correct way of playing Doom (and any other game): the one that you enjoy. If the game doesn't bring you fun, you're playing it wrong, or you're playing the wrong game. Some games are meant to be played in a certain fashion, and cannot be tweaked or modified to one's liking. Fortunately, it's not the case for Doom.

Since December 23, 1997, when id Software released the engine source code, there is no single mandatory way of playing Doom. The fact of publishing under a permissive license signifies that a program is meant to be changed and developed further. In a way, every source port is encouraged directly by id, including GZDoom.

This engine contains many additions to the original Doom engine, and a lot of the original code was replaced. With extensive modding capabilities, it allows even more radical shifts in gameplay and visual style. It made possible creating standalone games that barely resemble the first-person shooter from 1993.

But in its core, in its soul, GZDoom remains an engine to run Doom and its derivatives. It continues to support a surprising amount of the vanilla gameplay mechanics, including options for id Tech 1 engine limitations and even bugs. Finding and fiddling with all the settings may be tedious, and this is where Vanilla Essence mod comes in handy.

Vanilla Essence started off as a simple shortcut menu, grouping together GZDoom options that make the game behave and look more like the original Doom. Now, it includes a key that toggles between the default mode and vanilla mode.

(images are clickable)

You can also configure how strong the vanilla flavor will be by tailoring the settings to your heart's content. For each option, Vanilla Essence hints what value conforms to the original, which is very convenient.

There are options for the game behavior, appearance, lighting, special effects, sound, and user interface.

Vanilla essence not only highlights the options that are already present in GZDoom but adds its own feature: configurable low resolution.

With this mod, you can easily have any combination of vanilla and modern dooming. For example, this is a combination of dynamic lights, brightmaps, and low resolution:

Or play with any gameplay mod and have near-1993 experience:

With GZDoom and Vanilla Essence, everyone can find their own favorite color on the wide and deep dooming spectrum.

Forum Thread

Shadow/Rise of the Wool Ball by MSPaintR0cks [TC][Doom]

Posted by on at 23:46
(1) Comment
Shadow of the Wool Ball and Rise of the Wool Ball are a pair of total conversions released in 2016 and 2017 by MSPaintR0cks, also known as WatchDaToast. Far from the usual rip-tear-explode-demons setting that we know and love from Doom, they instead take place in a peaceful anthropomorphic world that has been invaded by nazi cats from outer space, who are enslaving the population and planning to mine the planet to restock their supply of cat litter. The two WADs were both mentioned as runners-up in the Cacowards of their respective years, and are great examples of building entire new games in the GZDoom engine.

In the first adventure “Shadow of the Wool Ball”, you take the role of Scott, an unassuming hedgehog in a little tie who has been captured by the fascist invaders while attempting to rescue his girlfriend Rebecca from their wool ball-shaped mothership. He’s forcefully thrown into a small cell, which fortunately turns out to have a woeful structural flaw in one of its walls. He takes the chance to escape the cell, gets his tiny hands on a big gun and then rampages through a series of feline bases to rescue Rebecca.

From the moment you start up the first game and see the animated title screen followed by the wonderfully stylized scripted introduction, you know that this is going to be something special. Despite its simple appearance on the surface, the world that you play through has an extraordinary personality to it - the game adopts a graphical style that I would broadly describe as “MS Paint except it’s good”, where the characters and environments take on a deliberately simple flat-shaded look. At first glance, this might make the game look underwhelming - the characters only average about eight frames of animation each, but when you see them in motion, you quickly get to appreciate just how much personality MSPaintR0cks crammed into that small collection of images.

Throughout the game you’re faced with a large number of types of bad-tempered kitties with a varied arsenal of weapons and appearances - from frenetic lower guards with pistols to hulking genetically-engineered Berserker abominations, or the deceptively fast flying saucer cats who are determined to kamikaze into you at all costs. Each one of them has their own set of voice samples when they notice you and attempt to hunt you down, delivered in a wonderfully cartoonish pitch-altered fashion that suits them perfectly. Occasionally, you’ll be accosted by the big boss of the cat invasion through monitors built in to the level walls, showing increasing fury that you’re surviving his carefully laid traps.

Like the graphics, the layout of the game stays deliberately simple - the angled walls and varied floor and ceiling heights of the Doom engine are eschewed here in favour of sticking to flat, grid-locked levels like Wolfenstein 3D. But just like the author of this review, the game knows it has to make up for what it lacks in the height department by being more interesting in other ways.

Most obviously, the familiar cycle of blasting through levels to reach the exit is given a refreshing twist - your objective in each level is to find the Shutdown switch placed conspicuously on a wall, which when activated will leave you just a window of just a few seconds to sprint to the emergency exit. This nod to Interplay’s Descent makes finishing a level much more interesting, as you have to plan your escape route - helpful emergency lights will guide you to the door once the switch is pulled, but it’s up to you to make sure that you won’t be blocked by enemies or locked doors on your way out. Once you reach the exit, the camera swings around to show Scott outrunning a series of fiery explosions as the level blows up - a very satisfying conclusion that I never got tired of.

The levels are peppered with other obstacles as well that break up the usual strafing and shooting - enemies can take you by surprise by bursting through doors and even some walls. You’ll encounter large fans on the walls that blow you forcefully away from them, often straight into deadly spikes, and during levels on the cat mothership you have to take care to avoid slipping out into space because you deactivated a forcefield.

If you look closely around the levels, you’ll discover some walls are destructible and conceal secrets in the best of FPS traditions. In another Descent similarity, the secret rooms also occasionally house chained-up hostages - when freed, they’ll reward you with bullets for your golden shotgun, which is a powerful weapon that you’ll certainly want to keep in your back pocket for encounters with larger enemies and bosses. As for the other weapons available, they’re fairly standard - you have a punch, a pistol, a shotgun, a minigun, and that’s all. In a small annoyance, the golden shotgun is bound to the same key as the regular one like the shotguns from Doom, even though there would easily be enough room to give it a key of its own.

The levels tend towards short and sweet, with a couple of dozen enemies generally being the maximum population. The same could be said of the game itself, with just fifteen maps (plus three secret ones) - which might seem a little short, but really it’s the perfect length not to outstay its welcome.

The sequel Rise of the Wool Ball was released the next year, and adopts the same formula as the first game but builds on it in new ways. As the title might suggest, this time the level design is inspired by Rise of the Triad, literally adding a new dimension to the game - the levels are still boxy and fixed-height but can be multiple storeys high. To let you use this new axis, this sequel provides platforms or stairs of floating objects, ladders, and a collection of bouncy mushrooms that can comically but painfully smack you into the ceiling. On the weapons front, the golden shotgun is no more, but in the late game you’ll find a launcher that shoots explosive cucumbers and a “bird cannon” that, er, explosively excretes a stream of deadly white blobs as long as you keep it topped up with bird seed. Both of these are very useful against the expanded army that you’re facing.

Most of the enemies from the previous game make a return here, along with some new ones such as a bomber cat that utilizes the increased height of the levels, and an army of iron-pumping gym-bro cats called Cute Nukems that throw their weights at you and finish you off with twin miniguns. You’ll also have to deal with more physical obstacles like giant spiked wool balls that roll along paths and are very eager to run you over - and one of the best moments is when you enter a waste disposal room only to realize that it’s rapidly filling with cat litter and have to run to avoid being crushed!

The presentation really moves up another notch in this game as well, with a between-level map screen and dialogue with an expanded cast of characters within levels. I really can’t overstate how charming the game and its characters are - MSPaintR0cks’ ability with cinematics really shines here, with a set of wonderfully animated cutscenes telling the unfolding story between maps. Just like in the first game, the end of each episode is guarded by a boss, climaxing with a truly spectacular fight to get rid of the master cat once and for all.

The Wool Ball games really are fantastic fun and exude personality - even though I meant to just start them up quickly to refresh my memory for this review I ended up playing them all the way through again. MSPaintR0cks used GZDoom to make a pair of games that aren’t simply reskins or derivatives of Wolfenstein 3D, but that blend a lot of the best parts of the Doom clones of the 90s shareware era and have their own unique charm.

Shadow of the Wool Ball forum topic
Rise of the Wool Ball forum topic

Hocus Pocus Doom by ravage [TC][Doom]

Posted by on at 23:50
(3) Comments
Fangames honestly don’t have the greatest of reputations throughout any of the game-making communities that I’ve been part of. Often, they’re made by overambitious beginners as their first project, haphazardly slapping graphics and sound together in a representation of the original work that could be described as crude at best. (I know that’s what all mine were like.) On the other hand, there are also the rare gems of fangames thought up by really dedicated people which show true love for the source material and get everything just right while putting their own spin on to the gameplay and world.

Hocus Pocus Doom is a shining example of the second kind. It’s based on the 1994 game Hocus Pocus, one of several thousand side-scrolling platformers published by Apogee Software during the golden age of PC shareware. The original game is the story of a young apprentice wizard who is tasked with retrieving a vast number of magic crystals from hostile castles in order to drain them of their powers, thus earning his place on the Council of Wizards and the respect of his tutor Terexin. This incarnation by Ravage and company sends you on the same quest again, this time translating the entire game to 3D within the confines of the GZDoom engine.

Each level sees you fighting your way through one of a number of charming Lego-brick castles with the aim of finding all the magic crystals. There are usually four to six of these on each level, and once you’ve grabbed the last one you’re instantly teleported off to the next map - as a result, the levels are all impressively nonlinear. Some of them have a fairly obvious progression to them, but others are entirely hub-based and let the player decide the order in which to complete the paths. Along the way you’ll have to deal with physical obstacles like lava, spikes and switch puzzles that alter the castle’s architecture, and you can zap the various magic creatures that get in your way with your little lightning bolt spell - the monsters are also imported from the original game and consist of a variety of crawling or hovering enemies that may or may not be able to fire back at you.

The game casts off most of the things that we’ve learned to take for granted in Doom and reworks them to suit the game that it’s based on. On your HUD, you’ll find the number of crystals that you’ve collected so far, the time you’ve taken to do it, and your current inventory of keys, health and magic. Unlike the health and random damage system that Doom players are familiar with, here you get a bar of exactly ten hearts (though it can be temporarily extended) and enemies will take off one of those with each hit. You have to be cautious, though, because you’ll encounter enemies that can take off more than one heart very quickly, meaning that your comfortable ten hit points are reduced to an actual maximum of five.

You start off with just one lightning bolt on your magic meter, though it can be extended to ten as well - each of these represents another shot before you have to wait for them to recharge, making it possible to fire faster as you collect more of them. You’ll also encounter potions in the levels that give you extra abilities temporarily, such as shots that explode and produce more shots on impact, or a stream of rapid fire - very useful for dealing with a suddenly-appearing horde of rabid penguins.

The familiar Doom level statistics are also replaced - a monster count still exists, but instead of the usual “items” tally for powerups, you’ll be judged on the number of treasures that you picked up in a level, and will net a large bonus if you manage to recover all the various crowns, goblets and other trinkets that have been left lying around. This number effectively represents the number of secrets that you’ve found in the level as well, as treasures can be hidden in out-of-the-way areas or behind breakable walls (which are cleverly created using shootable objects with models attached to them). Some areas use the Z-axis as part of the puzzle and have you carve out a ladder for yourself out of shootable bricks to get up to the treasures on a balcony above, which makes you feel extraordinarily clever the first time you succeed.

Throughout the game, the sheer level of attention to detail borders on psychotic. The environments of the original game are all present, with graphics faithfully adapted from the 2D version and reworked to produce three-dimensional levels that suit the first-person view perfectly while still evoking the feeling of the original. Even the parts of the game that you’d think wouldn’t really be necessary are meticulously recreated - treasures sparkle by spawning some shiny particles after they’ve been sitting around for a while, monsters burst into little bits of dust, every little effect that existed in the 1994 game can also be found in here. It would have been absolutely fine to have made a death sequence like Doom’s where you just keeled over and restarted the level, but instead the exploding player and interstitial summary screen from Hocus Pocus are thrown in for good measure.

The architecture, too, maintains an incredibly high standard throughout - the use of 3D floors, ramps and some models all come together to form an imposing array of corridors, towers and ramparts in every different style of level, with the blocky bricks of the castles blending in with angular outdoor environments. The levels are varied and have interesting characteristics per style that set them apart from each other - in fact, they’re often rather better than the original game’s levels, which had a habit of using very long repetitive corridors in many places. Look up at any point and you’ll see intricate patterns on the high vaulted ceilings stretching off well into the troposphere. Considering that this mod manages to keep this kind of standard up for forty levels, it’s a truly impressive feat.

If this TC has any weaknesses to speak of, it’s really just as a result of its adherence to the source material - for example, it faithfully recreates the original game’s habit of having monsters materialize out of thin air when you’re already a bit too close for comfort, often resulting in a monster teleporting right into a player’s face leaving them no chance to prepare or pick them off tactically. Additionally, Hocus knows surprisingly few spells for a wizard (but then, that must be why he’s an apprentice) - having only one main weapon available can get a little dull, especially as you start every level with it downgraded back to its lowest level again and have to build it back up. The cumulative weapon upgrades don’t increase the power of your shots but just the number you can have in the air at one time, eventually making it possible to fire as fast as you physically can - and while I was okay hammering the fire button for hours on end in the 90s, these days it causes a bit of repetitive strain on my creaky old joints.

Otherwise, Hocus Pocus Doom is a truly amazing use of the GZDoom engine, and could easily be mistaken for a commercial release or an official remake. It requires an IWAD to run, but I honestly can’t think of anything that it uses from its Doom roots. Indeed, if Hocus Pocus Doom didn’t come as a pair of PK3s that you have to drag it on to your gzdoom.exe, you’d be hard pressed to notice that you were playing a Doom mod at all - the transformation is admirably complete, blending a wide variety of different features possible in the engine to produce something that feels very authentic. It’s a remarkably faithful translation of a classic platform game into a new form in which to enjoy it all over again.

Hocus Pocus Doom forum topic

Accessories to Murder by wildweasel [Mod][Doom]

Posted by on at 16:09
(4) Comments


The weapons are the centerpiece of this mod. There are nine of them. They roughly conform to the standard Doom weapon formula, taking a bunch of liberties. These weapons are known as an example of how to make weapons feel right. The theme is futuristic, so Accessories to Murder probably go better with tech levels, but they won’t look out of place in the medieval setting, too.

Accessories to Murder are meant to be played with mouselook on.

The power balance is shifted in favor of the player, but this weapon set is not overpowered. The game remains a challenge.

Most of the weapons need reloading, and, as the author of the mod warns you, it’s clip-based. This means that you lose the ammo remaining in the weapon if you reload. This forces the player to be more mindful with reloading.

Your melee weapon of choice is the Sledge Hammer. It is one of the two starting weapons. Why bother hitting enemies with your fist if you are able to carry around a heavy chunk of iron on a stick at all times? Look out for an upgrade for the Sledge — the Mjolnir Device (which replaces Berserk pack). This contraption causes your unfortunate targets being struck not only by the iron but also by electricity. Mjolnir Device also heals the carrier to 100 health (just like Berserk) for some reason, but I doubt anyone would complain.

The second thing that you have readily available is Marston KP-8 10mm Handgun. It’s a handy gun that allows you to fire as fast as you are able to pull the trigger. It holds 10 rounds. Nothing much can be said about it, except that if you are lucky, you can find another one. In this case, you will fire them akimbo.

Taiga Revolver is another weapon you have in Slot 2. It’s a powerful gun that has two fire modes: primary (single shot) and secondary (fanning), which is faster in the expense of accuracy. Taiga holds 6 rounds.

Two shotguns are available. Unlike the original Doom, they swapped roles: double-barreled shotgun (Maxwell Labs 1-2 Special) is weaker than single-barreled (M2097 “Bicentennial”). You can fire Maxwell Labs’ barrels either one by one or two at the same time. M2097 “Bicentennial” not only has much better accuracy, but it is also actually a good distance weapon, and it can be aimed down the sights.

Kurdd & Schaumers R90-PCW Assault Rifle is a robust multi-purpose weapon. It quickly disposes of your enemy on short and middle distances. It holds 20 rounds and has holographic sights. The accuracy could be better, but it’s still effective.

Corbex @99 Emplaced Miniature Anti-Tank Weapon (EMAW) is a rocket launcher. It holds 8 rounds, and it means that it is capable of destroying almost any enemy before reloading. The rocket trajectory is a fancy spiral, so the destroying is conducted with style. It’s hard to aim this monster of a gun, but you rarely need high precision while launching explosives. Just point to the general direction of your enemy, and you should be fine.

The original Plasma Rifle replacement is a surprise — it’s not an energy weapon, it’s Makoto Arms SOBAT 17.5 Infantry-Fighting Rotary Cannon. It’s a mighty weapon, demolishing anything that happens to stand that side of its barrels. The suppressive fire is enough to keep the enemy occupied with feeling pain.

The last, but not least, is the BFG, Big Fu… Wait, no. It’s the Bergmann Field Generator. It comes in handy in situations when something somehow survived the application of the previous arsenal entries. The Bergmann Field Generator has a huge blast radius and is especially effective against multiple targets.

Weapons have a dedicated ww-doomnukem-lore.txt lump inside the mod, so if you want to know more about them, check it out!


There are two of them: visor and minimalistic. Visor HUD is pretty and immersive, but if visor HUDs are not your thing or it takes too much screen space, there is a minimalistic one.

Also, in automap mode, the HUD displays how much ammo you have for each of the weapons.


Monsters are a ragtag team. This is a part of a mod that still looks pretty much WIP: some enemies are complete replacements, some of them are mere reskins and may have slightly altered behavior, and Spider Mastermind is not changed at all.

Interesting points are that Baron Of Hell and Hell Knight (now called Tribal Knight) now have more differences. Tribal Knight’s usual attack is weaker but faster, and sometimes Tribal Knights can use baron’s attack.
Imps come in three variants. The difference is mostly in the looks, they have slightly different attacks. Imp is the only demon type that is randomized.

Cacodemon behaves like the original, but its death animation may make you chuckle. It doesn’t fit the more serious theme of the mod. Or maybe it’s the death sound that is guilty?

Arachnotron is replaced with Hazmat Trooper with slightly changed behavior. Arch-vile is replaced with Vore from Quake. It shoots powerful exploding seeking missiles. Pain Elemental is replaced with Bog Elemental, which looks similar, but instead of emitting lost souls, has two kinds of projectile attack. Also, it releases poison clouds on death.

Because monster lineup feels unfinished, one may want to play Accessories to Murder together with another monster pack. This setup is totally playable, with the only exception that the player won’t get akimbo Marston KP-8.


A lot of attention is given to gun sounds, explosions, fire, and smoke. These things are top-notch. They constitute a lot of what Accessories to Murder so satisfying to play.

This mod incorporates Droplets by Josh771 (formerly known as SidDoyle), so the good amount of colorful blood is guaranteed.

One of the distinct elements of this mod is the use of voxels. Almost all the pickup items are represented with them, and even empty shells of some weapons, including the ones from Makoto Rotary Cannon. This looks cool but may cause the frame rate to drop on some machines.


As previously mentioned, there’s a lot of new sound going on in this mod. The weapons all have distinct sounds for their reload, fire, pick-up and raise animations. A common theme for all the firing sounds is, that they carry a lot of punch, which really plays well with the metallic, raw look of the weapons.

Some monsters audio queues have been redesigned. I find the new zombie sounds to be somewhat silly, but I’ll write that down as a matter of personal taste. One thing can be said about the length of the death sounds. Some new sound files are much longer than the originals, which in some cases result in a very chaotic arrangement of gurgling / garbling when blasting through a room of zombies. Whether this is good or bad is once again subjective. As far as I’m concerned, longer death sounds work better with bigger monsters, since it’s less likely that 10 Barons of Hell go down within seconds of each other as opposed to Zombies.

Another example of a redesign is the Spectre (now called Mech-demon). Graphically the Spectre no longer appears as “old-school tv-static”, but instead is completely invisible. The only thing that gives the Spectre’s whereabouts away, is the dust and sounds from its footsteps. Personally, I think the addition of sound vs. the subtraction of visuals works very well.

For most of the power-ups and reward sounds wildweasel has gone with what I like to call an “arcady” style. The “secret found” and automap pick-up sounds in particular are composed of synthesizer jingles. Short, sweet and to the point. Nothing more to say really.

Minor nitpicks can be pointed out, such as the pick-up sound for the cigarettes has a smidgen of noise at the end, which is noticeable when picking up several of them. Also, some of the firing sounds are cut short before the reverb fades out completely. On the other hand there are some details which work really well. For instance, Doomguy has 3 different tiers of pain which works in the same manner as in Quake. The lower the health when hit, the more agonizing the sound.


Accessories to Murder is a mod that is totally worth playing. It contains elements that make it stand out from other mods. The arsenal is an unforgettable experience. But the quality of the different parts of the mod is uneven, especially in the monster department. It would be awesome if the author revisited the mod at some point and filled the few remaining gaps.

You can download Accessories to Murder by the links provided in the original post.