Play the Original 'Doom' for Free

Game play of monster from Doom

 BagoGames / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

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 Software "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.

The original "Ultimate Doom" game only works with DOSBox. DOSBox is a free, open-source emulator that plays classic DOS games (like "Doom") on a modern Windows computer.

When you install DOSBox, not only will you be able to play your original, purchased version of "Doom," but you'll also be able to play 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 that made it one of the most influential and classic PC games of all time. Best of all, they make it possible for you to play original "Doom" games for free, legally.

Chocolate Doom

Chocolate Doom is a custom game engine with the capability to run several games built on the original id Software 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 runs any .wad file that you 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, and Linux. It also supports the largest number of custom id Software 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. When you launch Doomsday, it presents all the available games in one place for you to launch instantly.

Screenshot of the Doomsday game engine.

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 that are based on the id Tech 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. 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 in the correct directory for your game engine. That's it! You're ready to enjoy many hours of Doom gameplay. And if you need help, use Doom cheat codes to level up your game.

About the Doom Series

The original "Doom" was released in 1993 by id Software. It was the first game in the series that's seen a total of just five releases its 23-year history. In addition to "Doom," there's "Doom II" and "Final Doom" released in 1994 and 1996, respectively. There are also cheat codes for Doom II to make your gameplay more exciting.

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.