People are doing so many cool things in Doom modding these days, it takes a lot to stand out. First spotted by Alpha Beta Gamer (opens in new tab), Captain Wayne – Vacation Desperation (opens in new tab) does so with aplomb, boasting a grungy “smart people doing dumb guy,” Duke Nukem-y sense of humor and the colorful, nautical fun of Spongebob Squarepants—just with like, swears and stuff.
The presentation and graphics really is where Captain Wayne knocks it out of the park—character sprites have a perfect ’90s animation look in a similar vein to Pizza Tower (opens in new tab), and the whole thing’s awash in this groovy, Tequila Sunrise color palette. Seriously, I love the environments both here in the free demo and hinted at in screenshots of later levels on Steam, it’s like “Florida retirement village nautical-themed steakhouse” crossed with “’80s lounge glam.”
Cheap nautical gags abound, with some of my favorites including a women’s restroom labeled “No Man’s Head,” and omnipresent ads for “Melville Whale Oil.” The soundtrack’s mostly a very fitting heavy metal joint that propels the action along, but I was really tickled by the proggy organ lines developer Ciaran Games threw in—more of that, please. The whole thing’s just got this very cheeky, madcap sensibility, and it extends to the gameplay as well.
Your weapons are classic boomer shooter staples but they all feel great (I mean, it’s built on Doom) and have a fun Captain Wayne twist. Most of them are presented as different “modes” for the good skipper’s robot arm, with the lone exception being a fully classico big ass pirate cannon as your rocket launcher. My favorite is easily the humble melee though, here augmented with a sick instagib charge up function like the broadsword in Dusk (opens in new tab). An instakill windup melee power attack is possibly one of the most slept-on things you can just chuck in a shooter to make it instantly more fun, and it never got old winding one up to go all “Pow! Right in the kisser.”
The demo’s lone level does a great job balancing twisty, switchback level design with “this feels like a real place,” and there were some real standout encounters. My favorite is a classic boomer shooter arena swarm set in and around a hotel pool, complete with enemies taking pot shots at you from the water as you zoom around poolside. Captain Wayne is fun as hell, and I’m now eagerly awaiting the full game. For now, you can wishlist it on Steam (opens in new tab)and check out its free demo for yourself over on itch.io (opens in new tab)
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