Slayer’s Testaments Review

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Doom 2016 was my favorite first-person shooter of that year. I’ve beaten it several times and while it’s not quite as incredible as the classics, it’s extremely enjoyable and replayable. It retains the spirit of the classics while also breathing new life into the franchise. I think its biggest issue is the lack of proper mod support. SnapMap is neat but it’s not the same thing. Modding communities have been keeping classic games alive. Classic Doom and Quake are two examples. I’ve always preferred Doom but Quake was amazing in its own right. It offered full-time 3D rendering which was a big deal in 1996 and the gameplay of both Classic Doom and Quake is very similar. These are fast-paced action games that have you blowing away tons of enemies with a varied arsenal of firepower. It’s not uncommon for modders to create mods based on other games and in the case of Slayer’s Testaments, it’s a Quake mod based on Doom 2016. For this review, I played through several of Quake’s maps and the Eternal Path To Destruction campaign which is a set of maps designed for Slayer’s Testaments. During my time with the mod, a new Start Map was released which is a hub area. I did play this using the QuakeSpasm source port.
Slayer’s Testaments adds some new keybindings. You can perform melee attacks, weapons have alternate fire modes, and there are keys for your fists and the BFG. The gameplay of Quake is here but now it just feels like Doom. You run around shooting Doom 2016 enemies with Doom 2016 weapons. If enemies are staggered, you can kill them easily with melee attacks but the Glory Kills are not yet implemented. You just kind of punch and kick them to death. Enemies can drop health pickups when killed. There are typical Doom pickups you can acquire and you’ll come across Jump Boots which is more of an upgrade than a power up. They allow you to double jump. Unfortunately, Praetor Suit upgrades are not present.

Most of Doom 2016’s weapons are here. I never did locate the Chainsaw and after installing the Eternal Path To Destruction Campaign, I couldn’t start a game with the progs.dat file it came with. The error indicated a missing chainsaw model. I replaced the dat file with the one that came with Slayer’s Testaments and loaded the new maps through the console. That is until the new Start Map was released. The weapons that are present feel awesome and most resemble their Doom 2016 counterparts. However, the Plasma Rifle looks more like the classic version. You can charge up shots with the pistol, obliterate foes with the Gauss Cannon, and mow them down with the Heavy Assault Rifle or Chaingun. Furthermore, the field drones have been implemented and they do carry weapon mods like the micro-missiles for the Heavy Assault Rifle and the grenade launcher attachment for the Combat Shotgun, among others. Unfortunately, you cannot upgrade any of them.
Slayer’s Testaments can be difficult even on the Normal difficulty level. Many of the enemies from Doom 2016 make an appearance. Imps, Mancubus, Hell Knights, Barons, Cacodemons, Lost Souls, Pinkies, Cyberdemons, and many of the Possessed enemies are all here. I actually find the Possessed Soldiers to be one of the more dangerous enemies in the mod. They’re very accurate with their shots and you’ll see them more often in the Demo and Eternal maps. Possessed Security can be a pain in the ass and for two reasons. One; their shields prove to be a problem unless you have the plasma rifle or can hit them with an explosive and two; I would constantly get stuck if I ran into their shield. Hell Knights and Barons will chase you around until you kill them. Barons can’t fit in many of the smaller areas just because of how big they are and Hell Knights often get stuck in specific spots. There’s certainly some bugs that need to be ironed out. Cyberdemon shows up as a boss-type enemy and he’s pretty tough. But I really enjoyed fighting him, more so than the battle against him in Doom 2016. He’s huge, he’ll fire rockets, and stomp and slide all over the place. If you’re not constantly on the move or behind cover assuming there is any, you’re going to die quickly. The maps and encounters will always keep you moving.
You’ll get the most out of Slayer’s Testaments when playing through maps that are designed for it. The Demo map is clearly inspired by the presentation of Doom 2016 and ends with a cool Cyberdemon battle. The Eternal campaign contains a pretty good set of maps and for the most part, the campaign feels like classic Doom but with Doom 2016 weapons and enemies. There are several maps to play through, many of which are re-creations of classic Doom maps. However, I think some maps should be modified further to accommodate the new enemies. For example, bigger foes like Hell Knights and Barons can’t fit through certain doorways and have trouble navigating around some areas and you can easily exploit the sometimes poor pathfinding. The new Start Map that was released is just a hub area that allows you to select the difficulty and play through the Quake episodes, Demo map, and Eternal campaign without entering any commands. It’s actually quite nice and it also indicates another campaign for the mod is coming and I’m definitely looking forward to that.

I did play through all of the standard Quake maps in Episode 1 and a small portion of maps in Episode 2. What I learned is that you’re going to be up against a ton of Hell Knights since they seem to replace Ogres and some areas are made easier because of the enemy replacements. Basically, any areas where enemies would be hurling projectiles at you from a distance is made easier. And since Ogres are everywhere in Quake, that’s going to be many areas. I didn’t run into any Field Drones or Gore Nests in the vanilla Quake maps and when I got to Episode 2, I started seeing some vanilla Quake enemies so it became more and more obvious that I was better off playing the Eternal campaign. The Quake maps are certainly playable but they feel like standard Quake except with some Doom enemies thrown in and Doom weapons. If you play through the Eternal campaign, the encounters feel more balanced.
Visually, the mod does a decent job with the character and weapon models. The weapon models do look a bit crude at the moment. Enemy models are a good reflection of their counterparts in Doom 2016 but the weapons could use some more refinements. If you don’t play through a map designed for this mod, then the experience might not feel very Doom-like. However, the Demo and Eternal maps will make the experience feel more like Doom than Quake. The textures, models, and overall visual styles make the mod feel like a neat mix of classic Doom and Doom 2016. In fact, many textures appear to be ripped straight from the classic games. But they’re implemented nicely. The visual and gore effects are excellent. Muzzle flashes look cool and shots will often turn the lower tier enemies into gibs. Body parts and blood will fly through the air. Barons and Hell Knights can be split in half and you can blow off a Hell Knight’s head. Needless to say, the combat is very satisfying. Slayer’s Testaments takes music directly from Doom 2016 which means the soundtrack is awesome as are the sound effects which also sound like they were taken from Doom 2016. I did download a music pack that contains songs from classic Doom and it’s a nice compliment to the classic Doom visual style. Weapons fire is loud and booming and enemies will grunt, roar, and groan during combat. I did encounter several bugs and the mod’s readme file does list known ones so you should go into this expecting it be buggy in its current state. Enemies would get stuck in the environment, their pathfinding could use some work, I would often get stuck on a Possessed Security’s shield as mentioned earlier, and certain things refused to load. There were some sound effects that didn’t load and as I also stated earlier, before the new Start map was released, I had to load maps for the Eternal Path To Destruction campaign manually because it couldn’t find the chainsaw model.
As of this review, Slayer’s Testaments is still early in development and I do hope there’s more to come. It’s a little rough around the edges but is certainly enjoyable in its current state. The biggest issue with it is that the mod can’t reach its full potential in standard Quake maps. It works and is playable but you’ll get the most out of it if you play through maps designed for it specifically. Regardless, it’s fun to play and can be very intense. It also offers a decent challenge. And if it takes off, I imagine the modding community will go nuts with it. Slayer’s Testaments is an excellent mod and when I really think about it, it’s not that surprising that it works so well. And that’s because classic Doom, the original Quake, and Doom 2016 share many gameplay elements.

Slayer’s Testaments is shaping up to be a great overhaul and reflection of Doom 2016. It may not look as pretty but it’s fun as hell. Not only is Slayer’s Testaments a great reflection but it also captures the spirit of Doom 2016 and classic Doom. At times, it really does feel like a Doom game. We can only hope it’s improved upon as time goes on and bugs are ironed out. But if you’re looking for a great mod for Quake, I would absolutely recommend Slayer’s Testaments.

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