Play the Original Doom for Free

Game play of monster from Doom

 BagoGames/Flickr

The source code for the original Doom and Doom 95 first-person shooter video game was released into the public domain in 1997. Was the original Doom freeware? No, you had to purchase it on several floppy disks.

Since this release, there have been dozens of source ports and clones, and thousands of mods. This includes clones of the original Windows version of the game Doom 95 and the MS-DOS versions as well. 

Downloading Original Doom Freeware

It's important to note that any site that offers an original iD Doom freeware download is illegal. This is an option you should avoid.

Doom is still a licensed game and the only way to legally play it is by paying for and downloading the game from Gog.com.

However, you can still download the original Doom for free by downloading a custom mod of the game, and a free game engine developed by fans of the original game engine (see below).

When you purchase the original Ultimate Doom game, it won't work without DOSBox. DOSBox is a free, open-source emulator that lets you play classic DOS games (like Doom) on a modern Window computer.

Installing DOSBox lets you not only play your original, purchased version of Doom, but also any other classic DOS game.

Sources and Clones

Many freeware Doom clones have come and gone, but a few survive and are still updated to this day.

In fact, one of the Doom source ports called PrBoom was used as a template by id Software in the development of the iOS version of Doom. These clones and ports have also fixed bugs and enhanced certain gameplay aspects and graphics along the way.

These free Doom clones are available for different video game platforms and computer operating systems. They all offer the groundbreaking gameplay that Doom introduced and what has made it one of the most influential and classic PC games of all time. Best of all, they let you play original Doom games for free, legally.

Chocolate Doom

Chocolate Doom is a custom game engine that lets you run several games built on the original iD game engine. including Doom, Chex Quest, Hacx, Heretic, Hexen, and Strife.

Playing original Doom with Chocolate Doom is easy.

  1. Download Chocolate Doom and extract all files to a new Chocolate Doom folder on your PC.
  2. Download Freedoom Phase 1+2 and move the Freedoom1.wad or Freedoom2.wad file into the Chocolate Doom folder.
  3. Double-click chocolate-doom.exe in the Chocolate Doom folder to run.

Freedoom is a custom fan-made clone of the original Doom. Chocolate Doom can run any .wad file that you can find online.

A screenshot of playing original Doom with Chocolate Doom.

Chocolate Doom is one of the best source ports because it is compatible with Windows, Mac, or Linux. It also supports the largest number of custom iD games than any other.

Doomsday Engine

The Doomsday Engine brings back nostalgic Doom gameplay on your modern computer. This free engine has all of the following features:

  • Enhanced graphics
  • Smooth gameplay
  • Supports numerous custom mods.
  • Excellent game library

You can point Doomsday to search for .wad files in various folders on your computer. Whenever you launch Doomsday, it presents all available games in one place for you to launch instantly.

Screenshot of the Doomsday game engine.
Ryan Dube

Doomsday is one of the best Doom game engines to use if you plan on downloading lots of custom mods for a wide variety of Doom versions.

Doomsday works on Windows, MacOS, and Linux, and supports mods for Doom, Heretic, Hexen, and Hacx.

Other Modern Doom Engines

Even though many game engines based on the iD game engine are no longer supported or updated, many excellent choices remain.

  • Zandronum brings the multiplayer experience to your Doom play. The first version of this engine was created in 2012, based on the older ZDoom and GZDoom rendering engines. It works on all major platforms and supports Doom, Heretic, Hexen, and Strife.
  • Vavoom was created by merging Doom, Heretic, and Hexen code into one port. The code has been updated since it was released in 2000, and today is one of the only source ports that includes support for the game Strife. It's also one of the few that offers free shareware game files so you don't have to go hunting for .wad files. Vavoom is not available for MacOS.
  • Eternity is a source port based on the Smack My Marine Up mod developed by Simon Howard. It works on all major platforms and supports Doom, Heretic, Hexen, and Hacx. The team plans to support Strife as well.

Depending on which version is downloaded, DOSBox may be required to run old DOS games on a PC running a current version of the Windows, Mac OS X or Linux operating systems.

Original Doom Mods

With most of the Doom game engines above, you'll need mods (.wad files) to download. There are thousands of mods online created by fans of Doom. These offer unique themed games that transform the original Doom.

You'll find storylines and characters with military themes, aliens, western-style, and much more. You can find these mods by searching online for "doom mods".

The following are some of the best databases filled with fan-built Doom mods.

Just download the mods to your PC, extract the files, and place the .wad file into the correct directory for your game engine. That's it! You're ready to enjoy many hours of Doom gameplay. Use these Doom cheat codes if you need them.

About the Doom Series

The original Doom was released in 1993 by id Software. It was the first game in series that's seen a total of just five releases its 23-year history. In addition to Doom there is Doom II and Final Doom released in 1994 and 1996, respectively. See our cheat codes for Doom II.

Following the release of Doom II, there was an eight-year hiatus in the series that ended with the release of Doom 3 in 2004. Doom 3 is considered a reboot of the series as it is a re-telling of the same basic story laid out in the original classic Doom.

There was one expansion pack released for Doom 3 titled Resurrection of Evil. In 2013 Doom 3 was re-released as an enhanced edition known as the BFG edition. This BFG edition includes the Resurrection of Evil expansion as well as a new single-player campaign titled The Lost Mission. The original Doom (Ultimate Edition) and Doom II plus expansions are also included in this release.

The Doom series received another reboot in 2016 with a new game simply titled Doom. This version has been very well received by fans and critics alike. Doom (2016) like Doom 3 includes both a single-player campaign mode and a competitive multiplayer mode with six multiplayer game modes and nine multiplayer maps.