You’ve played Doom, right? If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. The rest of us are going to play it for two reasons: it still holds up against modern games, and some people have forgotten what it means to be an “old school” shooter.
I still play Doom once a year to try the latest custom maps and mods. What keeps me coming back is the speed, the abstract design, and the “arcade” feel. By that I mean Doom feels like a shoot-'em-up or brawler now that I’ve been playing it so long. The gameplay has been distilled down to pure execution.
After 21 years, I haven’t found a modern shooter quite like it. I’ve seen some games described as “old school” shooters, such as Serious Sam and Painkiller. To me they’re missing something, and I’d like to discuss that as we play.
Pick up a copy at Steam and let’s get fragging!
Modders have ported the game source to support modern screen resolutions and control schemes. There’s no turnkey setup available, but I think a little manual labor sets the mood for 90s nostalgia.
The first step is to acquire the game. I consider Doom and Doom II to be interchangeable, so grab either one. Steam sells each one for $5. If you just want to hop into the series for an hour, I recommend the first game. The first episode of Doom is one of the best experiences in videogame canon. However, most of the WADs and multiplayer use Doom II. (More on multiplayer later.)
You only need the doom.wad and doom2.wad files. Then grab a source port and a launcher utility. I prefer GZDoom because it defaults to a little texture filtering. (Experts, please mention your favorites.) To launch the game, I use a simple utility called C#rp Doom Launcher. Start it up, then set one path to the Doom WAD files above, and one path to your GZDoom installation.
If it’s been a while since you’ve played, check out the first few levels. (Do you remember the secrets?) For those of us who have E1M1 and MAP01 burned into our retinas, it’s time to look for some maps and mods. There is still a healthy community churning them out. Doomworld highlights the year’s best WADs with the Cacowards. Download the ones that sound interesting and add them to the launcher. Or try some older classics, such as Alien Vendetta or Memento Mori II. (Experts, please mention your favorites!)
I’ve asked Jason McMaster to set up a private QT3 server so we can try co-op and deathmatch together. I haven’t heard back from him yet, so standby on that.
Until then, there are some public servers you can try. The server browser these days seems to be Internet Doom Explorer. The browser displays games from three source ports: Odamex, Zdaemon, and Zandronum. You’ll need to download one those as well. I haven’t tried multiplayer in years, so I can’t recommend one over the other. I also don’t know if the servers support automatic WAD download. If not, check out the /idgames archive.