Johnny Doom is quickly becoming one of my favorite Doom mods to play these days. What puts it head and shoulders above many of the other Brutal Doom forks? Well, its partly the aesthetics. Johnny Doom looks, feels, and plays like a collection of venerable arcade and console games. It has the alert noises from Metal Gear Solid and the color palette of classic fighting games and side-scrolling shooters. And there are plenty of in-jokes and references to classic action movies. The guns sound really cool too when you shoot them. But there’s more.
You see, Johnny Doom doesn’t just add a token melee system. You can punch and kick. And perform combos. And sometimes get lucky and do Mortal Kombat-style fatalities. The linkage of a fighting-game style melee system to Brutal Doom’s existing fatality animations is just the start. The more you mix it up, the more “J points” you accumulate. And accumulate just enough J points and you will unlock special abilities you can briefly use. Like many of the “new Doom” mods this encourages a fundamentally more aggressive and fluid style of play.
You will rush into a room full of enemies, empty your shotgun into them, and instead of pulling back before the shotgun cooldown animation you then will Bruce Lee and/or Chuck Norris an unlucky demon. Maybe he will fall over and you will blast him again to finish the job. Maybe the combination of the shotgun blast and a flurry of punches and kicks will kill him outright. Or maybe it will even trigger a fatality animation. Either way, its more J points for you. And on to the next demon in the room, as shlocky sound samples from old movies, games, and rock songs occasionally play in the background.
Johnny Doom radically simplifies the basic Brutal Doom template. But in the process it also makes it more hectic and intense. You can play Johnny Doom perfectly well without hand-to-hand combat. But its dramatically less fun. The only major problem with Johnny Doom is that you may have to fiddle with the graphics and animation settings to get it to run well due to glitches on certain levels. This is hardware-independent, so having a weaker or stronger machine won’t stop the glitches from being triggered. There are other glitches you may encounter which are not fixable even after you fiddle with settings. But, for the most part, it plays well with Doom 1, 2, Final Doom, Sigil, and other add-ons like Thy Flesh Consumed, No Rest For The Living, and Master Levels for Doom 2.
You can play Johnny Doom with a retro-style add-on shader, but I don’t personally recommend it unless you’re hungry for even more nostalgia. Johnny Doom particularly shines on map packs like Ultimate Doom 2 or Flashbacks to Hell. The mod hasn’t been updated recently so I wouldn’t expect active development. Enjoy it for what it is.