The 25th anniversary of Doom is here, and that means it’s time for us to blow out the Lost Soul-shaped candles and dig into the velvet cake made from pulverized giblets. Taking you from a post-apocalyptic future to the bloodiest version of Doom you can imagine, here are 10 of the best Doom mods you can play today.
Each level is designed by one of the game’s key designers 21 years after its release. Are you wondering how to actually implement these mods in your game? You can find everything you need to know about Doom modding in our guide.
For those interested in seeing Doom’s engine pushed as far as possible in terms of visual fidelity, Valiant remains the gold standard. A whopping 32 maps are arranged in a mega wad which includes monolithic space stations, brooding keeps, and dark forests – all of which are lit with sharp contrast in an impressive surreal aesthetic. I think it would look great in a modern art gallery, with some very striking design elements. There’s more to Valiant than looks, as it reconfigures attack patterns of traditional Doom enemies to present an entirely new threat, and each level is designed to start with a pistol, making for a self-contained journey from pistol to the plasma gun.
2. Golden Souls
The game takes the Super Mario 64 concept and violently debases it, placing you in the midst of a colorful castle filled with paintings to jump on. With each one you are transported to a different themed world, be it a verdant field festooned with flowers or a desert landscape strewn with sandstorms where demons lurk just below the surface. The mod is true to its inspiration in that it incorporates platforming elements and plenty of verticality as you traverse the land in search of the titular souls (Mario Stars, basically). In Golden Souls 2, the concept builds on that of Super Mario Bros 3, with alternative game paths opened up by a world map similar to that in Super Mario Bros 3. In addition to the spectacular environments, the level design and weaponry are equally impressive, taking the player through a medieval fairy tale village as well as a pink Candyland (home to blood-thirsty Pinky demons).
The online shooter Overwatch continues to be one of gaming’s most popular titles. That is why it is remiss of me to overlook OverDOOM, a mod that lets you use some of Overwatch’s most out there weapons on Doom’s Tokki is the glorious pink mech armed with dual fusion cannons, and Hanzo has his storm bow, Widowmaker has her sniper rifle and Widowmaker has her flash ball. With some really awesome animations (especially jumping into Tokki-see above), all weapons are rendered in the timeless pixel style they are known for. A key aspect of the film is that all weapons are clearly wielded by Doomguy with his hairy arms and gloved hands.
4. The Adventures of Square
You’ll quickly realize Adventures of Square is cut from the unholy Doom cloth once you start clearing out the coin people, rabid squares on a cheesy moon, or eye orbs in a The unpredictability and diversity of this game make it so hard to take your eyes off of. Various weapons are used in this game, ranging from strange magic wands to crossbows, and enemies explode into vibrant colors. It’s technically impressive too, thanks to GZDoom and a quipping hero, as well as verticality and projectiles.
5. Ashes 2063
If you are waiting for the highly anticipated movie Cyberpunk 2077, are you itching for something sleazy and cyberpunk? Your ticket to the retro-future is the new Doom total conversion Ashes 2063. With its grimy world of spiked collars, fingerless gloves, and weapons that appear to have been fashioned from gutter pipes and used hospital bandages, Ashes 2063 seems to run on GZDoom. Despite being a simple game, it offers a lot of variety, with trading, characters to talk to, and an inventory system similar to an RPG. This is only the first episode, which contains nine levels, pitting you against mutated baddies with mohawks and writhing muscles.
6. Pirate Doom
The Doom remake was painstakingly crafted so that it incorporates everything from the base game into a whimsical pirate-themed revamp. The Pirate Doom mod is one of the great Doom mods that commit to a theme and goes all out with it. It consists of 18 levels filled with pirates and pinkie demons, rum, and revenants. There is so much to love about this charmingly hellish reimagining of Doom, from the tropical accordion music to the old-timey weapons to the Monkey Island homages. There is only one thing that could be improved they should have called.
7. Going Down
As a winner of the 2014 Cacowards, Going Down has a bit of a Die Hard feel. In Doom 3, you start at the top of a skyscraper owned by UAC, the faceless evil company run by Doom. You end up in a hellish underworld at the bottom of the building after working your way down 32 levels. Mod’s corporate corridors and Deco touches add a nice contrast to the vanilla games, but the action is right on the ‘Nightmare’ end of the difficulty spectrum with tight confines that will require quick reactions. A custom soundtrack created by mod creator Cyriak Harris is a highlight of the game. It’s filled with nice details, humorous writing, and funny writing.
8. Doom 64: Retribution
The N64 version of Doom has been ported to PC in a number of projects over the years, but Doom 64 is the first. In terms of polish, Retribution is the best of the bunch. All the bells and whistles of GZDoom are utilized in this mod to offer precise controls, fluid framerates, and dynamic lighting – which serves the mood of this mod perfectly. those who are not familiar with the game, Doom 64 was developed by Midway Games (of Mortal Kombat fame) rather than id, and it had a completely different aesthetic than mainline Doom titles. A darker, more surreal atmosphere was created by the colorful lighting, and the sinister monster designs that gave the film an arty, horror vibe.
9. Tech Gone Bad (John Romero’s level)
The legendary Doom designer John Romero re-emerged from gaming obscurity and created a new Doom level in 2016. Technology Gone Bad replaces E1M8 in the first game, and it’s one of the most challenging and claustrophobic levels in the game (in classic Romero style). Taking part in a classic Doom level for the first time and discovering that it has been influenced by level design advances over the intervening 25 years is a treat. There are a couple of puzzles based on teleporters, but it’s not labyrinthine, and there are neat visual flourishes like red lights sprouting from cracked floors.
10. Brutal Doom
A true Doom Mastermind, Brutal Doom harnesses the strength of GZDoom’s technical brilliance to create the most advanced, spectacular Doom mod in history. As implied by its title, Brutal Doom adds hundreds of animations, death poses, and even finishing moves to Doom characters. only that, but it feels incredible when replacing the old hitscan gunfire with dynamic bullets, letting you crouch and jump like a mad dog. The Brutal Doom mod works with all the base Doom games, and it can also be thrown into just about any of the mods This is a testament to how even after 25 years, Doom can feel like a modern shooter with just a bit of polish.