19 June 2015


E3 came and went (I assume) and it looks like it's another year of mediocre games. If you got excited about any of these games clearly you and I have completely different taste in things because I didn't see anything worth getting excited over.


Not the Doom that they showed in the trailer. That Doom was slow and gory, like somebody looked at the turd that is Brutal Doom [1] and was like "Yeah! What Doom is missing is hyper-violent decapitation and a weapon select screen and really slow imps for some reason! Everything should be muddy and brown! Killing something should take up your entire screen for three seconds so you can look at an animation that totally won't get repetitive after you've killed your 50th demon!" What a joke! You're telling me that over 20 years they can't get somebody who actually likes Doom to make a sequel of it? There's nobody on the Bethesda team who has looked at what the Doom community is still producing in terms of wads and total conversions and mods? Nobody who understands that Doom is about movement punctuated with shotgun blasts, about space management? Doom is like a beautiful dance... a beautiful dance with chainsaws.

I didn't see any of that in new Doom, but that's fine. Old Doom, real Doom still exists and nothing can change that. [3]

This is the only Doom the world needs, and yet there are 4 of them.
Anyways, I'm actually a little grateful for the new Doom thing because it makes me think about what, exactly, I like about old Doom, and plus it's given me an idea.

I want to run a Doom tabletop game. I want to doodle up a tech base and populate it with pink demons and floating skull monsters and have players run through it, trying to get through it so they can get to the portal that leads back to the blasted landscape of Mars where the demons are all coming from. I want them to worry about only having six shells but they can hear the demons grunting on the other side of the door and if they have to fall back to pistols it's gonna be rough because they only have one more medikit and they don't have a map so who knows how big this damn base is anyways. I want them to find a rocket launcher and lay waste to a baron of hell who's tearing through the walls to get at them because he's animated by hate. I want to create variations on demons; a greenish, gilled Demon that lurks in toxic sludge, or a charcoal black flaming skull that spews caustic ash-smoke everywhere, or a bright red imp that doesn't shoot fire but is fast as hell and nearly impervious to pain...

I don't have the foggiest idea what system would even work for this sort of thing, but you know what, I bet there's something out there.

My first thought was "13th age hack," because let's be real that's my group's current game and it's got a pretty good structure, but really it's not that suitable. Classes might be able to be squished in a little, based on vague Doomlike concepts as seen in DoomRL, but there are no Icons, scaling damage per level doesn't make any sense, the recharge concept is right out, recoveries and full heal-ups might be sort of ok and healing potions are now medikits and those little health bonus things (not that drinking blue potions you find lining the ground in Hell makes any sort of sense in actual Doom lore)... weapons could have their own moves depending on your class, with each class having a move or two based on how you use them, plus bonus moves as you level or something...

Might be better in a Powered by the Apocalypse thing, where everybody's got basic weapon moves (roll +Kill, with 6- being some sort of catastrophe, 7-11 being like "choose two; you kill your foe, it doesn't take more ammo than you thought, and nobody you care about is hurt in the process" and 12+ being "pick em all") and the weapons are some sort of bonus, and you only have discrete units of ammunition like "box of shells" or whatever the heck rockets come in, some sort of box or something, right? And you'd have limited inventory? Like LotFP, so a box of shells takes up like 2x and a box of bullets is 1x, weapons are just 1x and so are medikits, except giant weapons take up more space... I know that DoomGuy [4] can carry thousands of pounds of weapons and ammunition and still move at fifty miles an hour but that's a gameplay thing that doesn't really apply to a tabletop environment. That said, mixing up the capabilities could be pretty cool, if there's a Fast class that moves absurdly quick but can't carry much, then there's a big hulking marine who carries a bunch of shit, then there's the marine who's real good with his fists and his pistol (Tyson run), then the dude who treats the shotgun like his baby, that could be pretty good.

Let's be real though, the shotgun is everybody's baby
Anyways, this is all I'm gonna write. Is there a game that could reasonably run Doom out there? Maybe a good light modern framework system I could plug demons into? A science fiction game where I could just ignore the laser blaster and reskin the aliens into monsters?

[1] Brutal Doom isn't really all that bad, I just dislike two things: 1) the fan community that thinks it's "Doom the way it should be" because it's not and if you think it is you're wrong and I'll argue with you about it until the moon explodes into a stone shower and kills us both like we're the fucking Zax , and 2) It focuses on gore and graphical chrome over actually solid gameplay, which kills me because the basic idea of speeding up Doom and changing the monsters to be more aggressive is actually a pretty good idea and something I enjoy through the use of other mods, so it's really frustrating because that's all I want from the mod. It's like when your favorite band releases an album that you hate [2] and your friends are like "Wow did you hear the new album? Pretty killer right" and they just don't understand that if it were an album from another band then it'd be ok, you guess, but listen, the guitar is flat and the singer's phoning it in and ugh this is shit. What is even happening, how did you get it this wrong?

[2] Case in point: Slayer's World Painted Blood literally sounds like they're ripping themselves off, the entire album is one note and the only good song is the single from it. When I listen to Eyes of the Insane it's like I'm listening to old Slayer again, with their passion and weird lyrics and everything, and then the rest of the album is just this flat boring mess of forgettable songs. I mean it's fucking Slayer, they're still good- I've seen them live like three times and every time it's better than the rest and Tom Araya has aged like fine wine and his voice has only gotten better over the years and then they come out with a fresh fucking turd like World Painted Blood, man, what a slap in the face!

[3] I've never played Doom 3 because I don't like survival horror games. I'm sure it's fine. I hear, occasionally, from Doom 3 fans who don't like Doom 1/2 and even they are disappointed in Doom 4 because they thought that maybe they were going to stick with the horror angle and do more about lurking through demon-infested techbases armed with a flashlight and a glimmer of hope and you know, I think I'd have been cool with that too. To keep with the music analogy from my other asides, it's like how Pantera broke up into two different bands and even though I don't like either of them, I think it's cool that they were doing different things. Why not do different things? It's like how Mastodon is doing progressive hard rock instead of crazed sludge metal. I liked the old stuff and this new stuff is very different but this is completely fine. Or Opeth- they don't even do metal anymore, it's like this melodic psuedo-metal and that's cool. Or Samael, who used to be black metal and I don't have any idea what they are anymore. This is all good stuff, let's have more of that.

[4] Did you know that the Doom Guy has an official name? They actually wrote a bunch of backstory for a document called the "Doom Bible" that has the setting and lore and stuff, but they decided "who cares about all this shit" and just sort of dumped it. Some stuff still made it into the game, but they figured that since they never actually gave you much of a story it'd mostly be incomprehensible. Gameplay always comes first and telling you a story while you're trying to shotgun demons made the game slower and got in your way, so they just left in what lore they had and kept trying to make the best game they could produce. Good advice, in my opinion.

1 comment:

  1. I rather enjoy Doom Rogue-Like myself, it's got the highlight of Doom mentioned above: movement punctuated with shotgun blasts, and dancing with chainsaws.