Ask anybody who has known me for more than five minutes and they’ll tell you about my passion for retro and vintage PC gaming. My collection contains hundreds of big box PC titles including legendary titles such as Doom, Doom II, Heretic and Hexen. I’ve completed all these games many, many times over and spent countless hours playing co-op, deathmatch and building maps for these games.
These days I use GZDoom as a front-end loader for those titles. It allows for Open-GL, higher resolutions, modern control schemes and a swathe of options. I’ve also downloaded a number of high-resolution texture packs, 3D sprites, music packs and more for these titles. My Heretic is looking particularly tricked out.
Another thing that GZDoom allows for is improvements to the original Doom II engine and a heck of a lot more modification. Many of you may be familiar with the infamous Brutal Doom mod for Doom II for instance.
After recently completing another play through of Brutal Doom and the Hexen expansion ‘Deathkings of the Dark Citadel’, I was on the prowl for something new to play. A few minutes in Google and I tripped over WolfenDoom – Blade of Agony.
I’ve played a number of maps, mods and total conversions but I have to say none of them compare to this. The sheer amount of work that has gone into this mod is simply mind boggling. For starters you won’t believe this is using the Doom II engine. Sure, it’s using a bunch of the new engine abilities GZDoom provides but if I told you it was the Build Engine you’d believe me.
This is the story of Cpt. William “B.J.” Blazkowicz as you’ve never seen it before. From what I can tell it’s not a prequel or sequel to the original Wolfenstein 3D game but more of a retelling perhaps of some of those early adventures. Items such as the ‘Spear of Destiny’ make a prominent appearance and in this story Hitler is still very much alive.
Currently Chapter 1 and 2 of 3 are available for download and play. For FREE.
Many of the assets in WolfenDoom – Blade of Agony you’ll recognize from other games. Textures from Hexen, a 3D model from Hexen II, a sprite from Duke Nukem 3D, a sound effect from Unreal. There’s nothing wrong with that, and considering the sheer amount of content in this mod so far I couldn’t see how a small team would have created so much otherwise. In some regards it just adds to the nostalgia. There is plenty of unique and original assets though, from textures to the excellent music and fully voice acted dialogue, not to mention the completely original maps and storyline.
The levels are huge and richly detailed, pushing the ancient Doom engine to the absolute limits and even causing my machine to drop a frame or two now and again. While each chapter may only have a dozen missions or so it will take you many hours to finish each, even on the easiest difficulty.
Speaking of difficulty, WolfenDoom – Blade of Agony is no push over; many players have lamented the games difficulty. Personally I played the game on the easiest difficulty on my playthrough and even then found myself dying now and again, typically to an enemy tank or long fall.
Between each mission you’ll return to a central hub, your base of operations. Here you can dialogue with NPC’s, buy new equipment, heal up or get in some training. It feels very akin to the much more recent Wolfenstein titles and helps to strengthen the story. Keep an eye out too for hidden areas, easter eggs and secret levels. Plenty to keep you exploring every nook and crannie.
Visually the game is a fantastic blend of different retro styles. I personally think it’s a great idea that they decided to keep 2D sprites for the enemy units while adding a variety of 3D elements such as furnishings and vehicles. It really does look and feel more like an upgraded Build Engine title (that used by Duke Nukem 3D and the original Shadow Warrior) than a Doom engine title.
The orchestral soundtrack is excellent and gives the mod an overall AAA feeling (Although I believe it also to be ‘borrowed’ from other games). The voice acting is suitable for it’s retro fitted theme, and I believe mostly original. Sound effects are also varied and well done, although I’m yet to hear the infamous ‘Mein Lamen’ line from Wolfenstein 3D.
Deathmatch isn’t supported and while the game wasn’t designed for co-operative play it is possible, which is really neat. I’m hoping to play through the campaign with a friend or two in the near future.
All of this adds up to a near 600mb PK3 file. Pretty impressive. WolfenDoom – Blade of Agony can be downloaded as a standalone product, or if you are like me and already using GZDoom then a simple mod package.
While I (and many others) thoroughly enjoyed Machine Games’ Wolfenstein: The New Order and are very much looking forward to Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, there is more than enough room on the shelf for titles like WolfenDoom – Blade of Agony. Whether you’re a fan of Doom, Wolfenstein or both, this mod is a definite must play.
Head over to the official website and download the game now – http://boa.realm667.com/index.php
Hopefully we’ll see Chapter III inside the next 18 months.