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Battle_Korbi

The Most Annoying Tropes of old-school Doom Clones

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NOTE: Just something I wrote out of boredom. Feel free to criticize. Also, please read the P.S. before replying.

 

The most earliest first person shooters, also known as "Doom clones", are some of the most memorable pieces of gaming history, with people looking at them nowadays as a source of inspiration for some future title or even a new block-busting indie project. Most popular titles have aged with quality, evidence being people who are having happy flashbacks just remembering their first FPS they played. Of course, during the early era, Doom clones were merely pioneers of the genre, open up to experimentation, with many diffrent a designers issued a artistic licence to do whatever they want with their game. The tech was amazing, so why bother making up something complicated right?

 

Cue at least two decades later, here are some of the most annoying tropes encompassing these games that haven't aged as fine as the others of the time.

 

1. Weapons that look like absolute overkillers but are merely pea-shooters.

 

This cliche is impossible to miss. After all, you start the game with one.

 

You click on the New Game, choose a difficulty, and the first thing you notice is some badass pulsing railgun-looking thingy rising up from the bottom of the screen. Eager to test it out, you find a mook and start firing. You then notice how despite being punched over and over by your superweapon, the mook doesn't want to drop dead. After more firefights, you realize that this weapon is frankly useless against whatever mooks you are fightning against, be it gangsters, zombies, aliens, imps and whatnot.

 

One can imagine how that looks in-universe to the people living in it.

 

"Hey Johny, check out this one"

"Oh cool, it looks totally awesome"

"Look at this. Adamantium covered barrels and grips. Powered by the souls of the damned, fires .357 rounds of Explodium at the rate of 600 rounds per minute, and comes with a miniature black hole generator which powers your flashlight AND laser beams!"

"HOT DAMN! I bet those aliens would drop like flies when I fire this one."

"Wait... what? Have you lost your mind John? This, against the Icy Coffee Cake aliens?!"

"But... you can punch one of these guys dead since they are so soft and creamy! Wouldn't this level a entire field of them?"

"I'm sorry John, I would have to send you to get psychologically re-evaluated... after this mission of course."

 

2. Mooks that look squishy as hell but are tough as nails.

 

Look, you are supposed to be a badass soldier who had fought on numerous fronts during both World Wars 7 AND 8! You have seen all, you are genetically modified to punch people's lungs out! You are trained in use of every weapon possible, even ones which haven't even made it to the whiteboard!

 

How the fudge you cannot just get rid of that hobo with a plank? Look, the plank doesn't even have a nail in it! Is that hobo actually a cyborg with a durasteel skeleton inside him or a spo---

 

Oh finally he died! Wait... he is just a regular human after all, looks at that blood and guts!

 

This trope is the second thing you would notice within a old school Doom clone. Mooks that are supposed to be on the bottom of the barrel, and so damn squishy you could hug one until he dies, but apparently he doesn't go down as easy. Is this game really that hard? Bonus irony points if the "elites" look like absolute monsters who can kill by staring at you, but dies like it was made of Icy Coffee Cakes.

 

"Theres the sonuvabitch!"

"Take this bad grandma! Night nig--- wait, what the foxtrot?"

"JUST KILL ME ALREADY!"

"I CAN'T! Do you have armor or something?"

"I was just given this pointy stick! Just hit me here! End my misery!"

"I'M TRYING!"

 

3. Super sci-fi setting with little no explanation as of what.

 

Is there a manual around here or anything? Nope, the developer just dropped some technical notes on how to install, and a mad-libbed line which is supposed to be the plot.

 

So I am supposed to break into this building right? Are you sure this thing isn't infested with aliens? Oh wait, those worms are bodyguards.

 

Ugh, could you stop trying to make this game more edgier than it is? How the hell this pencil can shoot lasers out of it? Why am I shooting puppies with this laser pencil? Why are these puppies combat janitors of the place? Just why?

 

"Wereboar Number Toothpaste, have you arrived at the location?"

"I think I didn't HQ, there are just some bikini-clad blue cows patrolling around this phallic-shaped building"

"Good, you have made it. Now listen, the Snake Cook Lord is on the floor numbered with a lost number between 5 and 6. You have to eliminate him with earrape"

"Anything else while I am at here?"

"Beware of the Icy Coffee Cake Aliens. Rumour has it they are infesting the sewers of the area around, you may find them in bathrooms"

"Bathrooms?"

"Yeah, those rooms with a plus sign on it"

"Okay, Agent Wereboar Number Toothpaste out"

*muttering to himself* "I wish I had a time machine"

 

4. THE LAST X - THE LASTENING

 

YOU ARE THE LAST NINJA CYBORG VIKING DRAGON PIRATE ZOMBIE VAMPIRE WEREWOLF ICY COFFEE CAKE ALIEN PIZZA BAKER!!!

 

Just shoot some guys I guess.

 

"It is my destiny as the last Ninja Cyborg Viking Dragon Pirate Zombie Vampire Werewolf Icy Coffee Cake Alien Pizza Baker to ... shoot these gangsters I guess"

"Oh no, its the last Ninja Cyborg Viking Dragon Pirate Zombie Vampire Werewolf Icy Coffee Cake Alien Pizza Baker in the world! Shoot him down!"

"Haha! I have to win, because it is my destiny of the last Ninja Cyborg Viking Dragon Pirate Zombie Vampire Werewolf Icy Coffee Cake Alien Pizza Baker to shoot you dead!"

"Okay, I guess that is a fair bargain"

 

I guess in this world, to extend your legacy as the Last Whatever, you have to shoot people, instead of actually doing something more useful, like baking pizzas as a proper Ninja Cyborg Viking Dragon Pirate Zombie Vampire Werewolf Icy Coffee Cake Alien Pizza Baker would do, and try to find a succesor to teach you your secrets. Hmm, nice game plot, be the master, and try to find a... *grabs a marker and a whiteboard*

 

5. The Movie - the Game.

 

Fair enough, game designers and developers actually tried to make games out of movies ever since. Numerous NES games have them as plot, with gameplay being generic as hell, riding purely on the gold of being based on some popular movie. Now find a movie, get a license from the guys who made it, and just cram in some assets of the movie into a word-to-word Doom simulator (don't even bother changing the mechanics, have a actual rocket launcher in a romantic comedy).

 

Stu: "Why can't we remember ANYTHING that happened last night?"

Alan: "That's one of the side-effects of Roofies. Memory loss."

Stu: "You are literally too stupid to insult."

Alan: "Thank you."

Phil: "Okay, now lets shoot up these guys."

 

6. Trying to make a mook tell the same joke over and over whenever he dies.

 

This one is more commonly found in games which are meant to throw references from a comic or a movie, or just a quite good joke which loses quality with every reprisal. Instead of just making a bigger elite mook say a awesome quote and have the lesser mooks just scream or something, they make that granny with a pointy stick say the same joke over and over.

 

"Like a stain on a shirt, I vanish!"

"Good."

"Like a stain on a shirt, I vanish!"

"Okay."

"Like a stain on a shirt, I vanish!"

"..."

"Like a stain on a shirt, I vanish!"

"...!"

"Like a---"

"SHUT THE FUDGE UP ALREADY AND DIE!"

 

7. Instant shooter plot! - Just add aliens!

 

Lazy man's FPS plot. Literally. There be aliens. Shoot them down, would ya?

 

"Okay, I don't get it, why do Icy Coffee Cake Aliens keep killing men and raping women?"

"Because they are like that. They are aliens, duh!"

"But... don't they need to reproduce, is there a hive mind? Are they part of some cosmic empire?"

"I dunno. They probably are."

"Have you tried capturing and interriogating one?"

"No time for that kind of sheet! Eventually they have to run out of Icy Coffee Cakes to throw at us, so why bother?!"

"But what if they reproduce or clone super fast? Wouldn't you like to figure that out?"

"Are you nuts? Is there something wrong with your noggin'? JUST GRAB YOUR DAMN GUN AND SHOOT!"

 

8. The player character wouldn't drop his toaster in favor of a machine gun.

 

This kinda ties with the first cliche on the list. I know the player character can only carry just one kind of a weapon from a weapon category, but why do they keep hanging on a joke weapon (like a toaster in this case) and not use the machine gun all the mooks carry around? Yeah, the protagonist may not know how to operate one, but if you are a badass trained in use of all sort of firearms (and can operate a interplanetary CNC milling machine of a BFG), why do you hang around that toaster that isn't that effective? And how come bullets convert into toasting bread?!

 

"Oooh! A 9mm SMG! Along with several clips of ammo!"

"AGENT WEREBOAR NUMBER TOOTHPASTE THIS IS THE HQ! YOU BETTER NOT TOUCH THAT GUN OR YOU ARE FIRED!!!"

"What? But it is a actual weapon!"

"YOU MUST USE THAT TOASTER UNTIL THE END OF THE MISSION DO YOU COPY?!"

"EEHH?! HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?!"
"THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING! STEP AWAY FROM THE FIREARM!!!"

"Can I atleast take the clips?"

"Oh, sure."

"Thanks."

 

9. Just that, a Doom clone.

 

This kind of a game ranks more into shovelware, with maps and mechanics being literally copied over, but with new textures, sprites and sounds used (most commonly ones of bad quality). Worst thing is, this wouldn't be a fanmade reskin of Doom, this would be sold on shelves as a totally original game! Thankfully, most of these never made it big, unlike console shovelware games.

 

"This feels exactly the same like my cousin described his workplace in the UAC corporation. In fact..."

*takes out a picture*

"Wait, this looks exactly the same room! But these walls are... purple? What the fudge?"

"AARRRGH DIE BIBCH!"

*shoots, dies*

"Like a stain on a shirt, I vanish!"

*takes out another picture*

"Wow, that guy moved exactly like some demon my cousin fought! Just what kind of aliens are the Icy Coffee Cake Aliens?"

 

10. Aesthetics - bad map design, pace, and glitches.

 

If a bad Doom clone had a developer which at least tried to make some effort, it would have it's own map-set. Most likely the developer never really thought out the flow of the map, and haven't tested it out over and over before trying to make The Next Big Thing a real deal which would make him rich.

 

"Woah, these Icy Coffee Cake Aliens had made a big impact on this building! Rips of reality around every corner, and I think either these hallways are repeating, or I am doing circles in this place?"

"AAAAGH! I AM A ICY COFFEE CAKE ALIEN OVERLORD! HAVE SOME ICY COFFEE CAKE IN YOUR FACE!!!"

"Oh shippe, RUN!"

*pant pant*

"Argh! Where was that 'Big Trap Designed For Icy Coffee Cake Alien Overlords'? What room?!"

"SO WE MEET AGAIN!"
"Oh chocolate fudge! Son of a biscuit! Eat burnt toast and pencil lasers!"

*three days later*

"Oh, good, that damned thing is down onto his last Icy Coffee Cake!"

"HAHA! How innocent and naive! My father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate is the famed Cyberdemon! Just before he left to invade Deimos, he had taught me the trick of infinitely reloading projectiles on weapons, so I shall never run out of Icy Coffee Cake! Now die!"

"Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

"What kind of sense do your last words mean?"

"Absolutely nothing, which is what you are about to become!"

"We shall see when I call in the Combat Janitors!"

*absolute shootfest*

"LIKEALIKEALIKEAVANISHVANISH!"

"How can this be!? You have defeated a entire legion of my Combat Janitors while dodging my Icy Coffee Cakes!"

"That is, because I am the last Ninja Cyborg Viking Dragon Pirate Zombie Vampire Werewolf Icy Coffee Cake Alien Pizza Baker! And that is my destiny! To dodge your projectiles and kill you!"

"I REFUSE!"

"Too bad"

*the Icy Coffee Cake Alien Overlord dies from a single burnt toast. Apparently, he had dodged out all the other toasts and pencil lasers beforehand, and all it took to finally kill him was a single burnt toast*
"AAAARGGGHHHH!!!"

*explode*

*silence*

"Ahh come ON! No badass last words or anything?! I am tired of the same shirt-stain joke, and this badass just screams and dies! How anticlimatic!"

"AGENT WEREBOAR NUMBER TOOTHPASTE, HAVE YOU DEFEATED THE SNAKE COOK LORD?!"

"Yeah, and it turns out that he was being controlled by the Icy Coffee Cake Alien Overlord all the time. So I killed both of them!"

"GOOD JOB AGENT! NOW REPORT IN TO GET YOURSELF PSYCHOLOGICALLY-EVALUATED BECAUSE OF THAT COMMENT FROM BEFOREHAND"
"OH NOOOOOO! I HAVE TO ESCAPE FROM THE GRASP OF MY AGENCY OR THEY WILL STUCK ME INSIDE A LOONEY BIN!"

*The end? Also a sequel hook in itself*

 

-----

 

P.S. Yeah, there was a entire crack fic jammed inside this article. If you made it to here, you may realise I had written a crack fic beforehand and needed a excuse to post it instead of just posting the crack fic and getting bad comments and replies about my sanity.

 

Hope you had a good laugh at least.

 

Also, the points above still matter. I know I know, back in the 90's, it was hard to make another game in a Doom engine and change the mechanics and whatnot, but still, it gets increasingly cringy thinking people tried to cash out on points above. At least I can be thankful these tropes haven't persisted AFTER the 90's (unless it was a cartoony game or something), and developers had managed to discover a good formula for making FPS games we can actually enjoy. To this point in time, they are probably still experimenting, but at least not without thinking out and testing it over and over before trying to shovel it to the public like a spoonful of baby food. It makes me laugh thinking how modern Doom MODS are way up high above in quality than entire games back then.

 

Alas, I probably wasn't talking about your favorite retail game. I wasn't talking about Hexen, Strife, Blood and whatnot. I was talking about numerous shovelware games which tried to cash in on Doom's tech, but failed gracefully and thankfully. I wouldn't like to live in a world where Doom would just be a shadow to a game called "INVASION OF THE ICY COFFEE CAKE ALIENS 1 !!!". And yes, System Shock bailed out on Doom, but at least Doom wasn't a cringefest. They are both excellent games in comparison to the design I wrote about up here.

 

If this gets enough attention, I may expand my next satirical bulletin article on Doom mods.

 

Thanks for tolerating my shit.

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My biggest problem most games referred to as "DOOM clones" is that they are generally much closer to Wolfenstein 3D in terms of gameplay and technology than they are to Doom. 90 degree walls, flat ceiling and floor, maze layouts. These aren't really problems in and of themselves, but calling them all DOOM clones really dismisses what Doom actually brought to the table in terms of level design and technology. Nowadays you often end up seeing any game where you point a gun forward and shoot monsters compared to Doom, no matter how fundamentally they may differ.

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4 minutes ago, Pavera said:

My biggest problem most games referred to as "DOOM clones" is that they are generally much closer to Wolfenstein 3D in terms of gameplay and technology than they are to Doom. 90 degree walls, flat ceiling and floor, maze layouts. These aren't really problems in and of themselves, but calling them all DOOM clones really dismisses what Doom actually brought to the table in terms of level design and technology. Nowadays you often end up seeing any game where you point a gun forward and shoot monsters compared to Doom, no matter how fundamentally they may differ.

I used the phrase Doom Clones purely to say that they were mostly aiming to be that. Clones, but different!

 

Obviously, Doom Clones was just a phrase to use until the phrase "first person shooter" was coined (as far as I remember, the manual refered Doom as a Virtual Reality simulator or something). And most of these clones were riding on the hype of Doom, with "shoot at anything that moves", no matter how much sense what you are shooting at and with what you are shooting at makes.

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5 minutes ago, Jayextee said:

Like a stain on a shirt, what the fuck did I just read?

A daring story about a genetically modified super soldier brandishing a toaster and a laser pencil fightning his way into a evil megacorporation puppeteered by the Icy Coffee Cake Alien Overlord and his army, who tried to invade the Future Earth by doing absolutely nothing and throwing Icy Coffee Cakes at innocent people (and rape women, cuz they aliens duh). That, jammed into a satirical article of sort.

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Although this isn't really a problem anymore due to source ports, it is kind of weird how during the doom clone era nobody ever wanted to put in mouse look. I figure that would of been a really weird scenario back than.

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I'm trying to think of as many doom clones as I can and I'm having trouble connecting most of the items in your list to things in those games. (Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, Rise of the Triad, In Pursuit of Greed, Tekwar, Last Rites etc.)

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There are 2 tropes I've gotten tired of "hate for movie games" and "the blank - the blankening." I have just heard too many jokes against both.

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Like, how do you even define a Doom clone? The only game I can think of that even remotely emulates Doom's engine limitations/appearance and level design style is Marathon, and that's far too good a game to accuse of being a clone of Doom.

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7 hours ago, dethtoll said:

Like, how do you even define a Doom clone? The only game I can think of that even remotely emulates Doom's engine limitations/appearance and level design style is Marathon, and that's far too good a game to accuse of being a clone of Doom.

Anything that looks like its from the 90s that was a first person shooter without being 100% 3D? I think an additional caveat to it has to be "game's popularity lived on for more than a year."

Edited by geo

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3 hours ago, 40oz said:

I'm trying to think of as many doom clones as I can and I'm having trouble connecting most of the items in your list to things in those games. (Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, Rise of the Triad, In Pursuit of Greed, Tekwar, Last Rites etc.)

Like I have said in the P.S., I am probably not talking about your favorite "Doom clone", honestly, the only popular Doom clone I really hate is Hacx. That game looks like a mumbo jumbo of all sorts of stuff. And Hacx got its own number (it is 3).

 

If anything, I was talking about games that had really bad quality but tried to make money out of it, even while Quake was out and running.

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2 hours ago, dethtoll said:

Like, how do you even define a Doom clone? The only game I can think of that even remotely emulates Doom's engine limitations/appearance and level design style is Marathon, and that's far too good a game to accuse of being a clone of Doom.

Doom clone was a old phrase for the time when people couldn't really touch down what kind of a videogame Doom was (and even the manual for Doom said it was a virtual reality slaughter fest or something along the lines), until the phrase "First Person Shooter" was coined. In this case I used to it to call on potential shovelware games, people basing most of their hopes in using the Doom engine to do their job, stuff that was supposed to be sold on shelves in stores, but were of bad quality. Kinda glad most of them cancelled.

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3 hours ago, geo said:

There are 2 tropes I've gotten tired of "hate for movie games" and "the blank - the blankening." I have just heard too many jokes against both.

If it is a good movie you could base a shooter off, like Apocalypse Now or Saving Private Ryan (this one DID inspire a lot of games), then sure, I would play the living hell out of this one.

 

If the game was based on a Adam Sandler's romantic comedy, I really doubt I would try it (unless it is so bizzare and funny, and short, and free to play).

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I've always felt that Heretic was the only real Doom clone, per say. Most of the others try something a little different or add something, and while Heretic does that too with the  inventory system, it feels far to similar compared to the others.

 

One dumb trope I never got was why so many of the main Build Engine games after Duke tried to include such shitty platforming sections. 

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To be fair to HACX, it is literally a Doom mod that was rushed to shelves.

 

As far as shovelware FPS games of the mid-90s, there's quite a few, but they're so obscure as to be little more than red-link references on Wikipedia.

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17 hours ago, dethtoll said:

As far as shovelware FPS games of the mid-90s, there's quite a few, but they're so obscure as to be little more than red-link references on Wikipedia.

exploding lips, anyone?

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As weird as that crack fic was, it's surprisingly accurate for much of the earlier Doom clones that flooded the market back in the day. Namely, by just how either derivative they were in terms of copying the superficial aspects of Doom, or just how clownshit insane they were. Angst: Rahz' Revenge, anyone?

Like a stain on a shirt, I- *shot by a toaster*

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Battle_Kirby deserves the custom title "Like a stain on a shirt, I vanish!."

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1 hour ago, Voros said:

Battle_Kirby deserves the custom title "Like a stain on a shirt, I vanish!."

I think "The Supreme Edgelord" would be better but whatever floats your boat :D

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Battle_Kirby, do you think you can post the crack fic in its original unedited format? I have a feeling we're missing some things due to the way you structured your post as a list instead of a narrative.

 

Also, +1 on "Like a stain on a shirt, I vanish!" as Battle_Kirby's custom title.

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The most annoying thing about Doom Clones is that they aren't Doom. They don't have the finesse, balanced gameplay, enemy variety, level design etc etc etc.

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There are few thing that annoys me about most Doom-wannabees: terrible, mazey level design and horrible, drab low-res visuals. Games like Quiver, Depth Dwellers, Josephine, Nerves of Steel, Operation Omega have this in common. Even ROTT, a game I really enjoy, has a couple of levels so mind-bendingly designed I hardly believe anyone got through the whole thing without cheat codes. The murky visuals are also detrimental, I've never got into Eradicator further than third mission I think, because the game looks like the designers were afraid of bright colours.

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One thing that really annoys me about imitations of Doom (Or imitations of 90's fpses in general) is when they're a straight line full of enemies, as if the shooting and action aspect is literally all Doom had to it. No exploration, no nuance, no real thought process, just gun and run. That's more COD than Doom. It's like they wanted to capitalize off of the mindless shooting aspect but failed to realize that Doom wasn't entirely mindless, exploring every nook and cranny (Even if some of it was wall humping) rewarded you and there was some thought to killing enemies, given crushers/telefragging/infighting.

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Useless starting weapons. I can't believe it took until the year 2000 before we started regularly seeing FPS games where the pistols and starting melee weapons started getting to not be immediately obsolete.

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Gore. No, seriously, I'm not a big fan of it. It seemed like a lot of those old Doom clones thought they could sell more copies than Doom by just adding more blood and louder death sounds.

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