I love Doom. The fast-paced action, the creative levels, the large variety of weapons and enemies. It’s no wonder it’s held up as a classic in the first-person shooter genre. In recent times, people have made Doom last longer by way of modding – changing Doom‘s weapons, levels, even adding stuff never before seen on the Doom engine.
Some of these mods, like Alien Vendetta and Doom the Way Id Did, take an existing spin on the tried-and-true formula, while others like Brutal Doom change the game drastically. Those mods are famous and well-known among the Doom community for their good quality. I wish I could say the same thing about the mod I’m talking about, featuring a certain blue hedgehog.
Sonic Doom II: ‘Bots on Mobius is the work of one SSNTails, a Sonic the Hedgehog and Project GeeKer fan. It’s okay if you had to Google search that last one, I don’t remember the show either. Back then, mashing existing franchises with Doom was pretty common – there was the Aliens TC for Doom, as well as Batman Doom, made by the guys who would later go on to make Zeno Clash. Naturally, SSNTails decided to mix the speed and fun of Sonic with the run and gun tactics of Doom and see if he could make something truly amazing in the Sonic fan games realm. Unfortunately, he didn’t succeed in that.
You get to play as either Sonic, Tails, Knuckles or Metal Sonic. The only differences between each is stuff like firing speed. You choose the character of your choice and hop in, shooting a bunch of reskins of existing Doom enemies in retextured Doom levels based on levels in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. Grounder replaces Zombiemen, Shotgun Guys and Chaingunners; Coconuts are your imp replacements, and various new badniks replace the Demons, Spectres and Barons. You grab emeralds to unlock doors and eventually find the exit. It’s typical Doom fare. That’s all the good I can say about it. Because everything after it is much worse, especially for Doom mods.
Do you like running through large, square rooms with nothing to make it stand out besides a prop or two? Do you like areas where you have to move quickly through the area, otherwise you get stuck and are forced to slowly lose health and die? Do you like fighting reskins of Revenants and Arachnotrons that are ripped straight from Sonic the Hedgehog 3, looking terrible as a result? Do you like terrible-looking gun reskins, even for 1998? If you said yes to any of these, you’ll have a blast with Sonic Doom II.
I know some of you may be quick to defend the mod for being creative by replacing the sprites and enemies, but by 1998 we were seeing people make a lot of amazing levels with Doom, such as these:
That’s Requiem, Cyberdreams and Hell Revealed, all considered classics of Doom from around this time. They’re all featured in Doomworld’s Top 100 WADs, and are must-plays despite being mostly vanilla Doom levels. By comparison, Sonic Doom II is the epitome of a 1994 level. At times, this feels like “my first Doom mod,” but the textures and sprite modifications are a bit higher than the average 1994 wad.
I can forgive SSNTails a little, since making Doom levels is pretty hard, but he should’ve put more effort into this. Especially when you have levels based entirely on remaking Sonic the Hedgehog, a franchise that was in its dark period. It doesn’t help when you have levels that look that look like colored blobs:
I remember playing this a long time ago and thinking it was amazing, but the nostalgia train hit me like a ton of bricks and made me realize how this is not good at all. This isn’t even a funny joke wad like The Sky May Be or deathz0r Online: the Internet Made Stupid, this is just bad.
Eventually SSNTails abandoned the Sonic Doom II mod in favor of continuing his next project, Sonic Robo Blast 2. Which, last I heard, is still in development and has been since 1998, and still getting updated today. This will likely beat Duke Nukem Forever for the longest-developed game award, and if it ever actually gets released in its entirety, maybe Doomworld will give it a Mordeth Award.
I did play SRB2 back in the day, and it was a nice little novelty. Certainly more playable than stuff like Sonic Heroes, but nothing to really write home about.
Sonic Doom II used the Doom Legacy source port to run, but SSNTails fixed the mod, about 13 years later, just to fix a few bugs involving some of the levels and change a few things, including replacing a secret level full of enemies from SSNTails’ other favorite project Project GeeKer with a level from Sonic Robo Blast 2 wholesale. The mod now works in GZDoom, so you can slap the files into something like ZDL and play it with mouse look and jumping, the way he intended way back in 1998. Too bad it doesn’t make the mod any more fun. You can download it from his website here, if you’re curious like I was.