Here at Tight.Wads, we've been covering weapon mods the past few weeks. We started in the more grounded sort with Accessories to Murder before going onto the absurd with Russian Overkill. But here we are with The Trailblazer, a happy fusion of the best of both worlds, and easily one of the finest Doom weapon mods out there.
The first thing you will notice about The Trailblazer is just how over-the-top it is. While it may not be as comedic as the aforementioned Russian Overkill (also by the same modder), it's impossible to take anything in this mod seriously. You are, after all, playing as an ex-military officer named "Malcom Striker" using weapons with names like "Skullthrottle," 'Fleshrend," and my personal favorite, the revolver wonderfully titled the ".50 Bitch Maker." The whole thing oozes with faux-80s charm, and I don't think anyone with a pulse can dislike the idea of plowing through demons with a flame-spewing shotgun.
As to be expected, each of the weapons play vastly differently and add something new to the fold. Even the melee weapon is more than just a reskined fist or chainnsaw—you can actually throw it to cut through enemies before returning to your hand like a boomerang. Like the knife, most weapons have a unique alt-fire that can range from something as simple as the ability to aim down sights of a pistol or rifle, or fire Half Life-esque bursts from your shotgun. If that isn't enough, weapons can be upgraded with scrap, adding an extra fold of complexity.
Of course, as to be expected, they all look fantastic. The weapon sprites are all vibrant and well-detailed, often featuring neat touches, such as engravings or glowing barrels after a burst of flame. Certain shots shake the screen, and the accompanying muzzle flash can be momentarily blinding. These little touches really help drive home the power of some of The Trailblazer's deadlier firearms, such as the ''Nutcracker," a rifle that packs enough of a wallop to send you flying back from its massive recoil.
Sadly, the reload animations are a bit uninspired. It looks less like actual movement and more like Doomguy's hand is sliding around with a magazine. Sure, it's fluid, but there's very little personality or detail conveyed with the reloads—if they even happen at all. There are quite a few weapons that just sort of drop off screen and then come back up with a full mag. It may be a small detail, but considering guns are the only new content, I figure that it's not unreasonable to expect the detail to be well-done.
But as far as complaints go, reload animations is as nitpicky as they get. The fact of the matter is that The Trailblazer is just a well-done weapon mod that works great with normal Doom, and when combined with fanmade maps turns into some of the least balanced fun you can get from a weapon mod.