Title screen
Authors Kinsie et al.
Port GZDoom
Year 2011
Link ZDoom forums thread
Cacoward.png This mod received one of the 2012 Cacowards on Doomworld!

Reelism is an arcade-themed Doom II mod created by Kinsie for the GZDoom source port, originally released on December 21, 2011. Loosely based around the "Invasion" style of gameplay found in some other games and mods, the premise behind each map is surviving a series of enemy waves that teleport in all around the level, until the boss appears, whose defeat is necessary to complete the stage. The game has a score system, which increases by killing enemies and collecting score items.

The main difference between Reelism and similar mods however is that each wave of enemies fundamentally changes depending on the outcome of a slot machine: up to three options (called 'reels' in the mod) at a time may be different, which influence the types of enemies that spawn, the type of weapons and ammo that you may find, as well as other miscellaneous changes such as player speed, health regeneration, gravity, and more. Because of this, each match feels fresh and unpredictable.

The mod has seen several content updates (called expansion packs) after its initial release, with the latest version being Reelism Gold: Expansion Pack 3, released in September 2015. Reelism was one of the recipients of the 2012 Cacowards. In 2022, Reelism 2 was released, a standalone sequel with further content.


Expansion Pack 3 Trailer


As explained above, each map in Reelism is structured around timed rounds during which different enemies and items are spawned and gameplay modifiers are applied. The three reels - taking the form of a slot machine - that determine this operate independently of one another, thus allowing for all sorts of different combinations ensuring that rounds rarely play the same. The first reel establishes the gameplay changes that will affect a certain round. These include low gravity, greatly reduced friction, the ability to fly, infinite ammo, and others.

The second reel determines which weapon and item types will spawn during the round (if any). These tend to be thematically similar, such as weapons from Raven games (Heretic and Hexen), all-melee weapons, weapons from Duke Nukem 3D, et cetera. The spawn locations for items are represented through a sparkling effect which is colored brown for weapons, and blue for items.

The third and final reel determines what types of enemies will spawn in the level: these are, as with the weapons, generally grouped thematically, such as hitscan zombies (zombiemen and shotgunners), imp variants, guards, SS and officers from Wolfenstein 3D, and many more. When playing with standard settings, once five rounds have been completed, a boss enemy (randomly chosen from a pool of 13) will be spawned in the map, and killing it will complete the stage and display the player's high score and assorted statistics. Said score and statistics are also displayed should the player die beforehand.

Besides the standard mode, there is a number of different gameplay modes which offer slight variations on the gameplay:

  • Endurance Mode: Ten rounds before the boss instead of five.
  • Infinite mode: After beating the boss, the whole cycle restarts instead of going to the high score screen.
  • Shuffle Mode: Rules don't repeat. Boss arrives after all rules have been played.
  • Boss Practice: Just the boss round, no monsters.
  • Boss Rush: Unique mode in that it's not played on the main maps, you have to take on every boss, one after the other, with boss-appropriate monsters spawning at a slower rate.
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