Ultra-Indie Spotlight Sunday: Vomitoreum And The Infinite Versatility Of DOOM
A vomitorium is the entrance to the Roman colosseum. It does not actually mean the place where Romans would go to throw up. A critical piece of information for this week’s spotlight: Vomitoreum. When a massive eldritch creature arrives from space, its mouth a gateway to a nightmare dimension, a unity of Earth’s heroes drive it back. It returns again, when the heroes have disbanded, and all would be lost if not for you. You play as the Nephilem, a lone super soldier with the ability to destroy the forces of hell. A familiar role to that as the DOOM guy, wouldn’t you say?
It really is incredible just how much mileage that the gaming community has gotten out of DOOM. Without a doubt, the DOOM community has more .wads, mods, and overhauls coming out than any game of its era. Perhaps its the simplicity that allows even novice modders to build on the game, and lets experts show their full ability on a more accessible canvas. Or maybe people just love to play a classic FPS.
In any case, the versatility that is still expressed in id Tech is mind blowing. Take the conversion mod Total Chaos, made from DOOM 2. I would never have guessed that this was built off a game released in 1994. So too is Solace Dreams. Another title made on DOOM 2 that looks like something entirely different. Other times, titles construct their games reminiscent of DOOM, such as Project Warlock or Prodeus or even Spooky’s House of Jumpscares. All testament to the endless possibility that DOOM gives the horror gaming community, even 27 years later.
Non-Wanky Game Recap:
Vomitoreum, like many DOOM style games, plays like a classic FPS. That part needs no explanation. This one is different in that it leans more into the Metroid style, both aesthetically and mechanically. A massive open world, with an emphasis on exploration in addition to combat. Significant areas are sealed off and require new equipment to proceed. Equipment which is also used for killing.
Certainly this game is not revolutionary. I chose Vomitoreum for no reason other than I think it’s neat and well executed. The beauty of DOOM is that there’s already a perfectly good game ready to be improved upon. There’s no need to focus on anything other than premise and content.
And indeed both of those are great in Vomitoreum. The inspiration from artists like H.R. Giger and Zdzisław Beksiński are more than apparent, and one could argue that the game is a bit reminiscent of Bloodborne. And it’s appropriate for the Nepahlim to have the abilities of DOOM guy, seeing as he is one of the most superhuman humans in gaming who ran faster than a cheetah nonstop through the entirety of Hell.
If I had to seriously come up with something that doesn’t work about Vomintoreum, I’d probably say there could be some better weapon variety in this build, and maybe areas a bit more dense with enemies. If you’re saying to yourself, “but wait that’s not a real issue at all,” then I would agree. You really can’t go bad with something as time-tested as DOOM. One could argue another issue is that there aren’t enough improvements upon the formula, but why add crafting mechanics or levelling up when you could simply Shoot More Monsters.
How To Fix It:
I suppose the only “fix” would be to wait to see the game completed. We already know they’re more than capable of adding in interesting weapons and enemies, seeing as developer Scumhead recently released Shrine and its sequel. Both of these are excellent previews as to what you can expect in the Vomitoreum final product.
Like I said before Vomitoreum is not doing anything that hasn’t already been done before. There’s nothing wrong with that. I like what they’re doing with the tools available, just like the countless other DOOM modders that came before. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put cool flame decals on your wheels anyways.
And since I had to type it out and then italicize and bolt it about 20 times just now this article is dedicated to MF Doom.