Gloom Busters is a Doom mod that replaces all of the dark, violent imagery of the game and swaps them out with colorful, kid-friendly counterparts. It changes out nearly every aspect of Doom to fit this new aesthetic from the music, weapons, enemies and everything in between. Minus the level designs, it feels like you are playing an entirely new game and this mod does an excellent job at mixing together all the new elements, so nothing feels out of place in this new world.
It works with both Doom 1 & 2 though to see all its content you will need to play through the second. Every level has had its name changed, and we are now able to choose from one of three characters to play as. Their only difference is their starting weapon, but it is a cool touch nonetheless. Whatever weapon you use, they will not kill your enemies. Instead, it will pacify their negative energy and return them back to normal females. Most of the new enemies will be female humanoids other than the cacodemon replacement.
Armor pickups have been changed into bras, explosive barrels are now CRT monitors, and after defeating enemies, they drop cookies. It has a very nice tongue in cheek feel to it that really adds to the cutesy style they were going for. The cookies can, in turn, be used to purchase stuff such as sodas from vending machines scattered about. Sodas are actually quite a potent weapon as it turns out. Toss one into a cluster of enemies, and they will be defeated by its caffeinated goodness.
The star of the show here really has to be the sound effects for the weapons. They are both equally nostalgic and awesome. Your typical weapons have been swapped out for some pretty crazy stuff like a motorcycle that blasts out music while you ride it, replacing the regular chainsaw. Speaking of music, quite a lot of work has been put into tweaking that as well. They have not been tweaked enough to become unrecognizable, but it has done the impossible and somehow made E1M1’s iconic theme sound cute.
It is a ton of fun to go around and see just how much has been changed from a game you’ve played countless times. There is one test map that showcases everything the mod has to offer as well. It is set on an island, and as soon as you fire a round, you will be swarmed by every enemy in the mod. Your best bet is to immediately go for the red jello that replaces the invincibility orb and go right for the BFG counterpart. It is not immediately clear which weapons are what from the original game, and some are their own thing such as a short burst assault rifle that requires reloading.
With how colorful everything is, it can be easy to wonder where in the world to use your colored keycards if you are not familiar with the levels. It is not impossible by any means, just definitely harder to spot here than in the base game’s dull color palette. Gloom Busters is incredibly cute and is a perfect way to introduce your child to Doom. It does far more than simply exchanging all the textures and has a great, kid-friendly sense of humor. If you ever thought that Doom needed more cookies and a rockin’ motorbike to zoom through the levels with, this is the mod for you.
Link to download: Gloom Busters