That’s right folks, it’s time for another look at Doom and why it’s so relevant today. And today we’re looking at the big reason: mods! Ever since its initial inception in 1993, Doom has has a ridiculous amount of user made maps. And with more advanced scripting and capabilities in today’s source ports, we’ve got more complex maps, and more importantly, much more complex mods. The good kind of complex, I mean.
Okay, hold up. Have you read Part 1 of this series yet? If not, I strongly recommend you go back and do that first, since it details how to set up GZDoom for the purpose of playing mods with relative ease. If you have read part 1 or you’re already well familiar with GZDoom and setting up mods for use with it, you’re good to go.
So, this article’s gonna be a bit different. Think of it as a sort of summary, yet also a sneak preview. There’s a LOT of Doom mods out there. And I do plan to do deep looks at a lot of my favorites, but I figured since this set of articles is a broader stroke, so to speak? We’re gonna be doing a rapid fire look at a ton of mods. Just the basics, what makes ’em neat. And then in future articles, I’ll be giving a more detailed look at them. Part 3 will be giving some popular Map Packs the same treatment. So think of this as a sort of sneak peek of what to expect in the future. So, that said, let’s get this show on the road and see what some of the best mods out there are that are keeping a nearly 30 year old game relevant! …Doom’s nearly 30 years old now as of this article’s publish date. That’s something alright.
One last thing to note: These are what we refer to in the community as “Gameplay Mods.” They’re designed to be loaded alongside whatever mapset you prefer to play, so long as that mapset isn’t one that comes with its own modified gameplay. Basically: if the mapset uses vanilla doom weapons and monsters without any significant changes to them? It’s good to use alongside these mods. So load up one of these alongside a mapset via ZDL and you’re good to go! I’ll be covering Total Conversions (Mods that are a combination of new maps AND gameplay) in another article, so don’t you worry about that.
GET IT HERE: https://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?t=65969
One of the most popular types of Mods for Doom are mods that bring weapons and gameplay elements from other popular shooters into Doom. And Doomreal along with Doomreal Tournament are probably some of the finest examples by my friend MarisaKirisame/MagusMarisa/MarisaDoom. Unreal was her jam back in the day, so she took it upon herself to more or less port the entirety of Unreal and Unreal Tournament’s arsenals over to Doom, along with movement physics and powerups. This is no simple copy/paste job, as everything was done to feel as true to the original games as possible while still working with Doom. The result? A hell of a fun time as you break out some iconic weapons to get a M-M-M-MONSTER KILL.
SOME WEIRD WEAPONS MOD GZ
GET IT HERE: https://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=67687
You can’t keep a good Marisa down. This is yet another of her creations, and honestly the name says it all. As the screenshot shows, one of your weapons is a literal 25 barreled, rotary type shotgun called the Wallbuster. And yes, all 25 barrels can be fired at once if for some reason you think you need that many shotgun shells unloaded into something. SWWM features a lineup of ridiculous and powerful original weapons this time around, though a few do take influence from Unreal. Along with that you’ve got some wild new takes on powerups, and a whole bunch of lore regarding the hero of the mod and her creator. Honestly there’s enough here that if you took out the Doom stuff, I think Marisa could make an original game out of this.
GET IT HERE: https://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?t=29915
Russian Overkill comes to us from PillowBlaster, and if there’s one thing his mods all have in common: It’s being overpowered as heck. As ridiculous as SWWM GZ can be, its weapons have a semblance of balance due to ammo limitations and having to use the right gun for the right situation. Russian Overkill does none of that. Russian Overkill just wants you to turn your brain off and mindlessly murder everything with one of the most overpowered arsenals in existence. You’ve got a Quad Shotgun you can Quad Wield (with only two arms), miniguns that fire smaller rocket propelled miniguns, unkillable tank minions, orbital strikes, and so much more there’s no way I can cover it all in this summary. Point is: Lots of guns. They’re all overpowered. Load up a slaughtermap and just have fun murdering, that’s this mod in a nutshell.
GET IT HERE: https://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?t=47494
Another of Pillowblaster’s signature style mods. This one goes for the 80s American Action hero vibe, but maintains that level of overpowered status that makes them so darn fun to play. That’s not to say it’s QUITE on the level of Russian Overkill though. All the guns of this particular mod are designed to add to the 80s vibe, with things like dual uzis, lever action shotguns you flip one handed to reload (Without breaking your arm thankfully), and a literal machete boomerang that can be thrown and returns to you afterward. Add in the fact you move and shoot faster the less health you have, and it’s easy to see why people love this one.
GET IT HERE: https://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?t=37066
The last of Pillowblaster’s mods that I’ll be featuring for the time being. This one has you playing as a dragon man with guns to match his ridiculous size. Also magic, even though said dragon man hates magic. This one is particularly fun since your magic and weapon are independent of one another, so you can combine them in various ways while murdering every demon in sight. Plus you can loot shiny stuff to buy what you want directly from a shop in case it’s not showing up in the maps themselves, win win, right? Plus there’s something about a mod that lets you turn an 8 barreled shotgun into a sentient minion that follows you around and helps you kill everything in sight.
DOOM ROGUELIKE ARSENAL
GET IT HERE: https://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?t=37044
This is, in all honesty, a very difficult mod to summarize in a concise manner. But I’ll try. Doom Roguelike Arsenal is a mod by Yholl that randomizes every weapon and monster by having it be one of several possible weapons or monsters from a pool, depending on what that weapon or monster is. A chaingun might be replaced by one of several kinds of fully automatic bullet hoses. A Revenant might be replaced by a nastier, armored variant that carries a powerful plasma cannon and can summon backup at will to assist it. You have five classes that each get their own distinct advantages, and you’ll be using one of them as you try to survive a mapset where you will never know exactly what’s in store for you, adapting to what’s given to you, and what’s thrown at you. It’s probably one of, if not my favorite Doom mods. When I start doing full looks/deep dives into these mods? You better believe this is going to be the first one on the list.
COMBINED ARMS: GAIDEN
GET IT HERE: https://combine-kegan.itch.io/combined-arms-gaiden
This one from Combine Keegan is a must have for any NES enthusiast. Guns from Bionic Commando, Blaster Master, Contra, and more are mashed up into this mod that’s all about using an 8-bit arsenal of yesteryear to frag some demons. Each gun is incredibly detailed while sporting an 8-bit NES artstyle, and of course uses sound effects to match. It even has a separate version with monsters that explode in classic gaming style instead of becoming bloody corpses, if you want to make the experience even more authentic!
GO MEDIEVAL ON THEIR ASSES (AKA GMOTA)
GET IT HERE: https://combine-kegan.itch.io/gmota
Another of Combine Keegan’s mods, and my personal favorite of the bunch. GMOTA re-imagines Doom as a fantasy medieval hack and slash with a blend of shooting added in for good measure. Every monster is given an appropriate fantasy style replacement, and you’ll play as one of several classes that fit the setting. You have Lord Blaz: An up close and personal swordsman, Doomslayer: A medieval take on Doomguy, and finally Kustam: A tricky blend of melee *and* ranged that’ll have you constantly changing up your approach. You’ll find a fair bit of love to NES and SNES era stuff in this mod as well, with shoutouts to countless games from those eras. If you want something that somehow manages to drastically change how Doom plays, but still maintains the fast and aggressive style it’s known for, you can’t go wrong with GMOTA.
I should note there are way, WAY more gameplay mods beyond these that are good, but if I tried to list all of them? I’d be here all day. Expect to see more of these in the future, regardless, on top of those Deep Dives I mentioned into the ones I REALLY like! Next time, we’ll take a look at Total Conversion mods, I’ll leave you with a sneak peek of what to expect there…