Doom 2016 demake brings the game into the classic Doom engine

If there’s one thing about the original Doom that Doom 2016 doesn’t quite get, it’s the former’s ability to be run on almost anything. However, thanks to a new mod, that is not the case anymore. Doom 4 [2016] Vanilla takes id Software’s 2016 demon slaying simulator and stuffs it onto the engine of the 1993 original.

Released by a modder named Noiser, the mod is actually a collective effort from a number of modders and took nearly two years to make. Described as “Doom 2016 the way 1993 did it,” it takes the original Doom 2 executable and adds a number of tricks and features to make that game play more like its 2016 sequel.

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With as close as the 2016 game comes to the originals, some may be forgiven for thinking that the Doom 4 [2016] Vanilla mod simply recycles the assets from Doom and Doom 2 — the 2016 game revisits the same settings and enemies, after all. However, the team behind the mod has taken the extra step of creating new sprites based on the assets from Doom 2016. The changes to the enemies aren’t just aesthetic. The modders also added new powers and abilities to better make them play more like they do in the 2016 game.

In addition to the baddies, other elements of the game also got changed. The weapons now also sport their 2016 looks and some of their abilities. This includes adding in some weapons not in the original games. Of course, the mod also implements the “glory kills” from the 2016 game. That said, this shouldn’t really be a surprising addition, Doom 2016 itself borrowed the idea for these from another mod of the original games, Brutal Doom.

In addition to this, the mod also adds some new effects, including visible blood splats, as well as brightmaps for both sprites and environment textures, on top of tweaked palettes for the game’s stages. The latter two changes really help make the mod stand out from the original games. While it still retains the sprite based nature of those, the change in color and lighting make it look much more like the 2016 sequel.

The soundtrack is complemented by all of the visual changes. These new tunes feature a mix of original tracks alongside tracks from Doom 2016. However, to make everything fit the ’90s aesthetic, the latter songs are actually MIDI versions of Mick Gordon’s compositions.

The most amazing thing about the Doom 4 [2016] Vanilla mod is just how portable it is. The mod of course runs on the original Doom 2 executable. However, in addition to this, it is also designed to work with the various source ports of the game that fans have made.

Over the years, a number of fan projects have emerged that have ported the source code original Doom engine, now called idTech, to run on newer hardware. These ports, such as ZDoom, GZDoom, and Doomsday allow modders to push the engine with mods and features not possible in the original. That the Doom 4 [2016] Vanilla mod works with all of diverse source ports is amazing on its own. Even more amazing however is that it still runs on the original Doom 2, on MS-DOS even, despite how old that engine is.

Of course, some may be wondering if the mod works with the recent re-releases of Doom 1 and Doom 2 on modern consoles. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case as the trailer for the mod makes no mention of them. Additionally, these ports haven’t been confirmed to support mods. However, with how portable the engine has proven to be, running on anything from a fifth gen iPod to a MacBook’s Touch Bar, it probably won’t be long before someone gets the mod running on a Nintendo Switch.