Selaco is the Perfect Tactical DOOM Clone

Dawn from Selaco leaning over gameplay footage of an exploding room

Dawn from Selaco leaning over gameplay footage of an exploding room

Created in the GZDoom engine, Selaco is a technical marvel. Playing with the constraints of the modernized engine for the original Doom games, this retro-inspired FPS game manages to perfectly merge the frenetic pace of Id Software’s iconic series with the tactical nature of F.E.A.R. and a little dash of System Shock to spice everything up.

While DOOM: The Dark Ages’ recent reveal has every FPS fan foaming at the mouth for more boomer-shooter goodness, Selaco has slipped under the radar. Released in early access with one lengthy, secrets-filled chapter available, this indie darling has already cemented itself as one of the greats.

In Selaco, you play as an ACE Security Captain known as Dawn. The titular underground facility of Selaco has been invaded by violent, tactically minded soldiers, and it’s up to you to find out what happened while also gunning down hordes of purple-blooded baddies in the process.

First person Selaco gameplay showing Dawn wielding two SMGs at the same time
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If you don’t think this is cool, there’s no saving you

It’s apparent from the offset that Selaco is one of the slickest retro shooters around. Instead of typical Doom movement, you can jump and slide, quickly gaining momentum to slip from cover to cover and you take out foes with a variety of awesome weapons.

Selaco is hard, it’s fast and brutal, but enemies dish out just as much damage as you do. It’s Doom-like speed doesn’t come from rushing into a room, ripping and tearing enemies limb-from-limb. Instead, your movement is focused on sliding out of harm's way and attempting to flank some of the smartest enemies in any retro FPS.

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Just like F.E.A.R., the enemies you’re fighting are just as smart as you are. They’ll split up and pincer you, attempt to back you into corners and even use the environment against you. It’s refreshingly unique for a genre that often focuses on pure spectacle, although this game certainly has that in spades as well.

Everything in Selaco reacts to your firefights. All gunfights in the slick, corporate buildings of the underground city start off in clean rooms before you arrive. As you fight, walls crack from the blasts of exploding barrels, sheets of paper fly from stacks on desks, paint cans fling across the room and body parts become decorations along their gratuitous blood splatters. On a powerful PC, you can make every single change permanent, each room perfectly holding the memory of your visceral conflict.

Of course, no gunfight feels great without an arsenal of brilliant weapons, and Selaco’s weapons feel fantastic. From the starting rifle to the nail gun to rocking around with Dual SMGs Halo 2-style, Selaco’s weapons sandbox is sublime. As you explore, you can even find weapons parts to improve your guns or game-changing weapon kits that swap out your aim-down-sights for unique functions.

Unfortunately, Selaco isn’t perfect. Some of its map designs — specifically early on — are confusing and annoying to navigate, but it’s a game that definitely improves as it goes on. Furthermore, performance can heavily dip in some areas as the GZDoom engine screams against its limits. However, as the start of a debut project, it’s clear that the game’s dev team is creating something great, and we really hope they stick the landing.

Selaco is available right now on PC via Steam. The game has also launched with mod support.

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