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Nobody Told Me About id is a classic Doom song. It’s also a mod that turns Doom into a Build Engine-styled game. And I love the Build Engine. For those that don’t know Build Engine games include Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, and Blood just to name a few. For this review, I played the mod using the GZDoom source port. I played through the Going Down megawad for Doom II and also used the Precise Crosshair mod. Nobody Told Me About id includes some neat new features liked angled weapons, changes to monster behaviors, new visual and gore effects, and some other stuff that reflect what you might see in a Build Engine game. I should mention I download the dev build which is frequently updated but unstable according to the mod’s ZDoom thread.
I wanted to try Going Down because after reading what it was all about, it reminded me of Die Hard. Doomguy is sent to investigate the UAC Office Building, starting at the top and working his way down. Every so often, he’ll get calls from his mother which adds some humor to the basic storyline. It’s a megawad that contains small and confined maps. Most of them have you looking for a key so you can take the elevator down to the next map. Ultimately, it’s not like Die Hard at all but it is hard.
You move around just like you would in classic Doom but the mod makes movement less slippery. All of the classic Doom weapons are here but are angled and some have alternate fire modes. The shotgun can fire explosive shells, the rocket launcher can fire homing rockets, and the plasma rifle can fire a rail beam. You can also throw grenades at the press of a button. There is an inventory system and you can activate some pick-ups or items manually like portable medkits and the berserk power-up for example. The mod’s ZDoom thread states the mod takes the charm of the Build Engine games and implements them into Doom. So whether or not the goal is to replicate the feeling of a Build Engine game is not exactly clear. But based on that description, it definitely feels like Doom with some Build Engine features.
Sometimes I like to play Doom and certain mods with crosshairs enabled. I figured Nobody Told Me About id would be a good fit for the Precise Crosshair mod. If you enable crosshairs, all this mod does is show you where you shoot. The crosshairs will lock onto the nearest enemy. It respects autoaim, custom crosshairs, and GZDoom crosshair options. It can help you avoid getting jumped, too, because the crosshair will lock onto enemies behind objects if you’re close enough. Unless you consider that cheating, it doesn’t break anything nor does it drastically alter the gameplay. It’s just a neat mini-mod.
All of the classic Doom enemies are here but their behaviors have been modified. Barons and Hell Knights can hurl multiple projectiles simultaneously, Cyberdemons can fire two missiles simultaneously, Revenants will fly around, and monsters will jump around and charge at you. Because of these changes, the gameplay does feel a bit more challenging which becomes more noticeable in tight and confined areas and as it happens, that’s what the Going Down megawad is all about. The body count is going to be high. Monsters are everywhere. Getting overwhelmed is the norm and despite some of the encounters feeling tedious, Going Down is very well designed and creative. Even though the maps are small, I would often get stuck trying to figure out how to proceed or acquire the keys. Each map varies in appearance and the visual variety keeps the megawad interesting all the way through. And there’s some really neat ideas implemented here. For example, there’s one map which appears to have what I believe are two different timelines or time periods that you can warp between. One map has you traveling back through an area from a previous map or it’s designed to look like that anyway. There’s an interesting what I’m calling jungle-like map where you can shoot these fruit-things. There’s another map where you’re in an arena fighting off monsters with other monsters watching from the stands. It’s all very cool.
Going Down is for those that like a challenge. You’ll start out in techy maps and descend into more hellish and abstract maps. There’s going to be a lot of ambushes, a lot of running back and forth, a lot of enemies spawning in, and a lot of Arch-Viles. There’s one map that contains an insane amount of them in one area and a ton of Pain Elementals in another. Despite the map giving you a shit-ton of Invulnerability pick-ups, it’s still annoying to navigate, especially the Arch-Vile area. Many of the later maps have you engaging armies of foes. By the time I was ready to leave some of these maps, they were filled with corpses. Projectiles will be flying around everywhere, nowhere you go is safe, and you should always keep moving. It can be hard to distance yourself from the mass amount of enemies because of how small the maps are and it can be very easy to back yourself into a corner. You need to be aware of your surroundings. One step in the wrong direction or stopping just to think or look around can result in your death. The later maps will not only throw hordes of the common foes at you but also toss in multiple Cyberdemons and maybe even Spider Masterminds. Needless to say, some maps are extremely hectic and intense. And with the Nobody Told Me About id mod, the gameplay is even more challenging because of the changes to the enemy behavior.
Nobody Told Me About id includes higher resolution monster sprites. My only real gripe with the presentation is how the Revenants look when airborne. When they fly or hover, they appear as if they’re just kind of floating around because there’s no visual effects or animations that I saw to indicate they’re using a jet pack or anything. They don’t look more intimidating or threatening, there’s no blast off animation or effects, no fire and/or smoke trailing behind them when they’re airborne assuming they utilize a jet pack of sorts, they just float around in the air. Maybe it’s supposed to be magic. Other than that, everything else looks great. Blood will spray and splatter which makes the combat feel satisfying and the angled weapons help breathe new life into the gameplay. Going Down includes a lot of excellent texture work and architecture. All of the maps are packed with details that help the locations come to life. Going Down comes with a phenomenal soundtrack consisting of catchy and memorable tunes that fit the somewhat humorous tone of the megawad but also compliment the action. The weapons do sound more powerful compared to their vanilla counterparts and the gunplay benefits because of it. On the technical side, the gameplay was smooth but the game did crash on me multiple times. Usually after I picked up Invulnerability and was being attacked from all directions.
I had fun with this but in its current state, I can’t say Nobody Told Me About id feels exactly like what you would experience in a Build Engine game but it’s getting there. Ultimately, it feels more like some kind of an enhanced or updated Doom. There’s a lot of little things added in that work well together and make the gameplay feel different and satisfying, somewhat resembling what you would experience in a Build Engine game. Basically, it feels like Doom with some Build Engine features thrown in. One of the things I really love about the Build Engine games is the explosions and I’m happy to report this mod does add them in. I think more enemy death animations would be a good addition and for the ultimate Build Engine experience, you might want to look for more interactive maps and/or megawads. Nobody Told Me About id is a great mod and I hope to see more improvements and features in future versions. Going Down is one of the most memorable megawads I’ve played in a while. The maps are small but packed with detail, variety, and creativity. There are some moments and scenarios that come out of left field simply because you’re not used to seeing them in typical Doom maps. The insane amount of enemies you have to deal with will ensure a challenging experience and for some, it might border on tedium the further down you go.
I would absolutely recommend Nobody Told Me About id to fans of the Build Engine games. Even if you’re not, it’s still a fun mod. And as it is right now, to me, it felt more like Doom than a Build Engine game. I hope to see the mod grow and improve because I love the idea of a Build-Engine styled Doom. The ZDoom thread for the mod does recommend some maps/megawads for the best experience but I found it to be enjoyable with Going Down. Definitely check it out.