The Doom engine's flexibility is legendary at this point, with source ports like GZDoom facilitating ambitious FPS campaigns like Selaco or The Golden Souls. Solo developer Sanditio Bayu is throwing his hat in the ring with a new total conversion of Doom, Mala Petaka, first spotted by Alpha Beta Gamer.
I was immediately won over by Mala Petaka's visual style—it almost reminds me of Futurama with its right colors and silly, one-eyed aliens. The demo features three different levels, each visually distinct from one another. My favorite is the first, a satellite base with a fantastic deep space skybox and some surprising visual effects, like a room near the end that's just suspended in the void like something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The music here is top notch as well, with developer Bayu shouting out "Indonesian Chiptunes veterans" like Remedmatika, Shakaboyd, and Son of a Bit. I still don't know much about Indonesia's chiptune scene, but the tracks are absolutely killer, really upbeat and cheerful in a classic Sega kind of vein, and they pair well with Mala Petaka's visuals.
Mala Petaka also distinguishes itself with its portals, which render their destination in real time like the ones from, well, Portal. I audibly hooted the first time I saw one, moved to its side, and realized there was nothing behind it—it's an extremely cool rendering and design gimmick to see in action.
For the most part, these are just used to transition between different portions of each level, but there is one boss fight where the four walls of the arena are each a portal, and they connect to each other, creating this infinite fractal space to do battle with the difficult dual boss. Once the bad guy goes down, the portals shut down, revealing how small the room actually was. I'd love to see Mala Petaka lean into this feature even further in the full game, in the same way They Came From Dimension X is playing around with gravity.
Mala Petaka's visual and level design is on point, but its enemies could definitely use some tweaking ahead of its full release. Standard foes match on to classic Doom archetypes, but they drop like flies and I didn't feel particularly challenged by them on normal difficulty. The singular boss-tier enemy on the other hand, who gets repeated a few times in the demo, is an absolute bullet sponge and I found myself getting frustrated in those encounters.
Mala Petaka's currently in development with no set release date, but you can wishlist it on Steam and check out its free demo, which took me about an hour to complete.