Wad, short for “where’s all the data,” is the file format used by Doom. Over the past twenty years, Doom‘s fanbase has produced thousands upon thousands of these Wads, ranging from simple sprite swaps to full-fledged total conversion epics. Here on Tight.Wads, myself and Perry Ruhland aim to bring you some highlight wads—be they the most creative, punishing, or downright fun.
Fistful of Doom is a partial conversion for Doom II that centers around a western theme. The mod was developed by A-Ware, who are still kicking around today under the name Azeraaron today. It was released in 1995 and was one of the early big mods for Doom. The biggest change to the core gameplay comes in the fact that the only enemies converted for this mod are the trooper, sergeant, commando, and demon so almost every enemy fires hitscan projectiles, so more often than not you’ll be sprinting into cover and pre-firing shotgun blasts around corners. As far as weapons go, the shotgun, double-barreled shotgun, and chaingun are still intact, but the pistol has been changed to a revolver that you quickdraw for each shot and the rocket launcher has been replaced with dynamite that you throw out and detonate with a plunger.
The first of the two levels is a typical western town with a series of buildings for you to explore. The town is full of bandits who are robbing a bank at the end of the level, so you have to run through the town, complete with saloon, to get all of the keys you’ll need to get through the bank and shut down the robbery. The second level takes place in something of a pueblo and is much more open and packed with enemies.
In Fistful of Doom armor has been retooled as “Luck,” which you can grab via horseshoe pickups and it’s very scarce, as is health, so you’ll have to play carefully and keep an eye out for distant enemies waiting to snipe you in the mods open levels. The buildings that the levels are sprinkled with look great too and are very impressive considering the engine they were built on and that Fistful of Doom was released so early in the Doom modding scene. You can also grab cow skulls, which function as berserk packs so you can go nuts on some bandits with your spiked brass knuckles. You can also pick up bags of gold that occupy the same slot as ammo for energy weapons, although I found no actual use for them.
Overall the two short levels of Fistful of Doom aren’t a substantial meal, but just enough of a snack to recommend for any Doom or western fan.