Spawn Run

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Hello, I want to talk about a new way of playing (classic) Doom I recently discovered by playing co-op. I doubt this an original discovery but I’ve never heard anyone do this, even though all the ingredients are right there. It’s also interesting to see how it immediately changes how you play & it might make for an interesting sub-genre by itself.

Here’s what you do:

  • Play on Nightmare difficulty (hardest difficulty where monsters respawn about every 15 seconds & are faster then normal).
  • Play in co-op mode so you can also respawn (the level doesn’t reset when you die; you can do this singleplayer).

I would typically play Doom in a rather methodical way. As I play a level I would typically deal with situations one at a time, take note of what strategies I need to adopt, & methodically break them down.

With the above settings, the game turns into a mad race for the exit switch through a gauntlet in constant flux. There’s no point killing monsters since they’ll come back very soon (though it does help in clearing a path & getting further into a level) & there’s no fear of death because in a heartbeat you can spawn back at the beginning of the level.

Progress in a level is marked more by reaching a key or flipping a switch; opening up another route in the level. This becomes more challenging when you have it set so you lose keys on death. This means a player has to survive long enough to speed through monsters, pick up a key, & use it to open a door. One strategy to counter this on multiplayer is to have a player wait in the key room whilst the other runs to the locked door (keys are given to all players on pick up).

As you encounter harder levels, you start developing strategies on the fly & thinking in ways you normally wouldn’t with Doom; you focus more on ‘immovable’ obstacles. For instance, it might be better to lead monsters away from a narrow hallway they spawn in rather then charge them with a rocket launcher.

Another example is when you have two respawning bosses that need to both be dead so a route to the exit would open. You would need to whittle them down enough so you can kill them both in a single moment. This requires a bit of impromptu math as you try to mentally track how much damage you’ve dealt & hope other monsters don’t complicate things.

If all else fails, shear determination & brute force will eventually get you through.

I’d love to play more games like this. If I end up making a game based on this kind of gameplay I’ll probably name it after this post; because that’s essentially what you do – spawn, run, shoot, die.

Farewell.

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