Modders just won’t give up on the Doom engine, and every year more awesome creations are released by an endlessly dedicated community of WAD creators. There are so many weird and creative map projects available for the first Doom, we had to spread the choices out over 8 years of map-making.
Here, we’re going to pick out the best and brightest Doom WADs and explore the archives of Doomworld to pick out 8 amazing WADs from the last eight years, starting from 2016 and going back. To play any of these WADs, just download any of the Doom Engines available on Google.
2016 – Comatose
Comatose is like your average DOOM map, and it’s a completely unique, incredibly detailed creation that’s so unlike any other map in DOOM. Heavily inspired by games like Silent Hill, Russian WAD-maker Lainos has made a map that’s (almost) literally insane. This map is so vast, it actually reaches the DOOM engine’s sector limit. It couldn’t be any bigger.
Like Silent Hill, the map is built like a town you can explore freely. There’s a working class beauty in these simple environments, and it just goes to show how much life the old Doom engine still has. Modern environments that actually look like modern environments? Yeah, that’s possible.
Also, all the enemies are invisible. Have fun!
2015 – Valiant
Just look at that screenshot. This “MegaWAD” immediately stands out thanks to its out-there design elements and white-knuckle action set-pieces. The maps of Valiant are designed to force players out of their Doom comfort zones — the bizarre architecture is just the start.
All the enemies have remixed patterns and speeds, even turning those standard, basic Imp baddies into viable threats. And what makes this a MegaWad, you might ask? This isn’t just a map pack. There are five complete episodes here. Just like the original Doom.
2014 – The Adventures of Square
The mean streets of Shapeland aren’t what they used to be. Angry dots hang out in the alleys behind the square skyscrapers, and the geometry of the world just doesn’t feel right anymore. Yes, The Adventures of Square is about a Square shooting other shapes in silly, family-friendly environments.
Everything is new here, including constant quips from our Duke Nukem-esque protagonist. New enemies, new weapons, and a totally new style. The first teaser episode was released all the way back in 2014, but the first episode is available now. If you want more Chex Quest in your Doom, this might be your only option.
2013 – Pirate Doom
The Pirate was a distant memory when this high-seas themed DOOM total conversion landed back in 2013. If anything, the silly Pirates-lite theme makes this little gem even more charming. Instead of the pistol, you run around with dual flintlocks. Instead of the rocket launcher, you drag a cannon around and spread pellet shot with a honking blunderbuss.
It helps that Pirate Doom is all fun-silly all the time. The original Doom monsters are back with a pirate-y makeover, gaining eyepatches, Pirate hats and little beards. There are 18 levels to explore, and we suggest you get on that right away. It’s a hoot.
2012 – Strife: Absolute Order
Built off the Doom Engine, the little-known FPS-RPG Strife is finally getting some recognition in old-school cirlces. It was only a matter of time before someone released more maps using assets from this almost-forgotten game.
But Absolute Order is more than just a map pack. New enemies populate a hub environment with six external maps to explore. Just like Strife, you’ll access areas from the hub, follow a simple story, and fight tons of monsters. Yes, there are new monsters too. See why Strife is worth your time with this bite-sized sampling on the Doom engine.
2011 – Doom 64EX
This isn’t exactly a WAD in the traditional sense, but there’s no way we’re going to ignore an important project to preserve Doom history. Doom 64 wasn’t just another remake of Doom, it’s a completely new game.
And one group of modders brought Doom 64 to the PC with a load of modern engine upgrades. That includes controller support and compatibility with modern versions of Windows and Linux. There’s a lot to love about Doom 64. Bringing it back and making it better than ever is a pretty great step forward.
2010 – Arcadia Demade
The “demake” revolution sprung onto the scene at the dawn of a new decade, and it’s a pretty great one. Instead of remaking old games to make them look brand new, some clever map-makers are building lo-fi versions of hi-def levels in more recent games.
But the creator behind Arcadia Demade is no regular map maker. The author was a principle artist involved in the design of Bioshock. He helped bring the underwater garden paradise of Arcadia to life. The author focused his attention on atmosphere in the Doom engine, and even wrote an essay on level design based on this interesting project in miniature. Check out the essay (and download the map!) with the link below.
2009 – Harmony
After Doom, there was no FPS genre. Nope — every game that came after was a “Doom-clone”, and there were a deluge of crappy games in that post-Doom area trying to capitalize on Doom‘s success.
Games like Redneck Rampage, Shadow Warrior, Chex Quest, Corridor 7: Alien Invasion, Prime Target, and hundreds more budget titles lost to time. There’s a certain janky charm to early ’90s Doom rip-offs, and Harmony aims to replicate that charm completely.
Yes, Harmony is another cool total conversion that doesn’t look anything like standard Doom. Instead, it looks like a Doom rip-off. The enemies and weapons are all new — and even better, the enemies were created using actual models and digitized into the game to truly replicate that almost-Claymation early 90s aesthetic.