While Brutal DOOM does get the most attention in terms of DOOM mods lately, it being the very mod that pulled me back into playing DOOM several years ago with the 0.17 version, the mod projects that have sprung up thanks to its popularity have given me a lot more hours of fun when compared to the original mod.
Chief among them, and my personal favorite, is Project Brutality, a mod designed by one nicknamed pa1nki113r. Brutal DOOM at the heart, it adds new weapons, enemy types/attacks, and gameplay and progression options. Doomguy also gains a personality, sounding like a bloodthirsty maniac most of the time, with just a hint of 80’s action hero. Not one as good as Arnold or Stallone, but a good one in itself.
My first experience with this mod was in 2016, when I was testing a number of gameplay mods with the Hellbound megawad. (It’s a personal favorite among the many .wads I’ve tried because of how atmospheric and well made the levels are.) The gore and animations were just as fun, and horrifying, as those from Brutal DOOM, but what sold me was the customization. How everything from enemy/weapon variants to spawns can be turned on and off at will.
Granted, I don’t play with anything besides the default settings, but on a whim, I tried playing on Brutal difficulty with Death Wish under Global Settings > Spawn Presets active. What I got was every top-tier enemy taking over for placed enemies and them using their best attacks all the time. Fun.
The mod also has two alternate ways to play the game outside of the customization options. One is vanilla Brutal DOOM v20b, so no having to leave the game and load that mod when you want to play it, and the other is Traditional Mode. A mode where you play the game just like regular DOOM, but the gore/death animations, as well as certain enemy actions, if enabled, carry over.
As of now, version 2.03 of Project Brutality is available over on ModDB, with 3.0 being worked on. Linked below is a video that has a link to Discord where the beta can be downloaded.
If you do not own a copy of DOOM I/II, the site I recommend buying them from is GOG.com. I do not know if those versions are censored, that is, if they have the red cross on the health kits replaced with a red and blue pill, and I do hope Bethesda lowers the price of this bundle to 5.99 in future, but for a guaranteed DRM-free copy, as well as a version that is the most up-to-date, GOG is the best.
Also, Project Brutality requires a source port, in this case GZDOOM, to run. The most up-to-date version of the stable release, 2.4.0 at the time of this posting, should work, but if not, grab an in-development version. Beware of instability and the like if this is necessary.
To run the mod, first copy and paste the DOOM II wad into the source port’s file, along with the Project Brutality .wad. Then, drag the Project Brutality .wad over the GZDOOM .exe file and it’ll start right up. To load mapset .wads with this mod, select PB’s .wad first, then the map .wad second, and drag both over the .exe file.