NJ Doom is a custom WAD file for Doom. A WAD file holds the level data itself and *is* essentially the game, so a custom WAD file is really just a way of saying a custom set of Doom levels. There are hundreds of such WAD files floating about, and it might surprise some to know that the Doom 1 & 2 modding community is still alive and kicking after all these years. I have been playing these fan-created doom levels and remakes on and off for a while now, and I thought it might be time that I share some of the better ones I come across. I doubt I will ever get around to playing all of them, but I can try. Though not nearly as many, there also exist similar custom made levels and mods for Hexen and Heretic as well, which I also like to play through whenever I can find them.
NJ Doom is quite interesting in that it is representative of the early days of Doom modding, all the way back in the mid-90’s. The levels are created specifically to be played as a game, with entire sections existing for no other reason than to challenge the player or to make a key difficult to find. It might sound weird to point that out, but a lot of the newer Doom WADs are designed to be areas and places in which the action happens, but not as part of the game itself, if that makes sense. There are some interesting areas in NJ Doom which are obviously there for the novelty factor, but that in and of itself doesn’t stop them from being fun to play through. The modders of the time made good use of basic architecture and balanced gameplay.
The levels themselves are simple, but enjoyably so. There aren’t many levels in which you will get frustrated trying to find the next key or way out. The number of enemies is quite manageable as well. One thing I really don’t like about about newer fan-made Doom levels is the absurd amount of enemies or enemies in places which make no logical sense. ‘Monster closets’ are known as closed off sections of walls full of enemies which open when the player does a specific action, like cross a certain point or flip a switch, at which point the wall, or ‘closet’, opens and the monsters are released. I know it sounds ridiculous to say ‘the positioning of these green fire-ball hurling demons is unrealistic’, by why in the blue fuck would they be in there and not just attacking as usual? Who put them in there? How long had they been waiting there? Just fucking WHY?
Anyway, get your hands on zDoom and give NJ Doom a play, it’s well worth it.