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My name's Malcolm Striker. You can call me... the Trailblazer.
Malcolm "The Trailblazer" Striker

Malcolm Striker, a former member of Earth's special forces, goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge between Hell and worlds ravaged by the Serpent Riders to avenge his slain love and hunt down the man responsible—Vladimir Vladimir—while at the same time grabbing his hands on every cigarette pack he can find. Not really a plot that can be elaborated on, but then again, neither can Doom's.


Trailblazer is a gameplay mod compatible with Doom, Heretic, and Hexen, created by a modding team that consists of several ZDoom forum members (including the team lead, PillowBlaster) who had previously worked on Russian Overkill and Guncaster. Trailblazer takes heavy influences from '80s action movies and applies them to the shooting action of the Doom engine—Stuff Blowing Up, Smoking Is Cool, Gun Fu, Jet Packs, and whiskey combine together for no other purpose than the Rule of Cool.

Trailblazer can be downloaded here.


This mod contains examples of:

  • '90s Anti-Hero: Malcolm's backstory, appearance and attitude pretty much check all the boxes to qualify, though it's all Played for Laughs.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Trailblazer features some extremely cool-looking but lengthy reload animations for most guns. Usually, you would need to reload manually by pressing Button 3, but the mod has a toggle that makes this automatic (and is set to this by default).
    • Word of Godinvoked is that the high precision of most of the guns is the result of PillowBlaster's frustration with bullet spread messing up long-range shots.
  • Battle Boomerang: The Macheterang is what you'd expect it to be: a machete that flies back to you being thrown, and if it doesn't, it'll just teleport straight into your hand.
  • BFG: It wouldn't be a PillowBlaster mod without several of these:
    • The Skullthrottle's main barrel covers most of the right side of the screen. Its weapon upgrade adds a Browning machine gun that covers an equally large part of the other side of the screen.
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    • The Nutcracker muzzleloader fires two-bore slugs which can rip enemies apart (and theoretically your arms too due to the immense recoil, which thankfully doesn't happen in actual gameplay). Upgrading it gives you access to the "Glory Shot", which freezes every enemy on the screen as it travels to its target, and releases what can only be described as a miniature nuclear explosion on impact.
    • The Double Deuce is a massive double-barrel shotgun that fires the same two-bore rounds as the Nutcracker, except as a blast of bouncing shrapnel (and the upgrade makes the shrapnel home in on enemies); you can, of course, fire both barrels at once.
    • The Conqueror gun platform is described as a gun made of guns (and apparently parts off a forklift) - when fully upgraded, it has at least thirteen barrels firing four different types of ammo, with a cannon as the centerpiece, and a mortar for good measure. Apparently it uses Russian technology. Its first-person sprite takes up the entire bottom third of most modern displays. Its massive size is even lampshaded when you attempt to pick up another one.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: The upgrade for the Skullthrottle attaches an M2 Browning to the minigun. You can fire both guns in tandem (the Browning is fired by pressing the Fire Button, while the minigun is fired with Alt-Fire), creating a truly unholy storm of lead that can take down Barons of Hell in the blink of an eye and stunlock Cyberdemons and Spider Masterminds to death.
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • The Ammo Junkie powerup gives you unlimited ammo for a period of time.
    • Initially subverted with the Cradle & Grave—although the guns need to reload, they have a separate ammunition pool that never runs out—and then double subverted once you apply its weapon upgrade, which makes the guns draw directly from the ammunition pool, removing the reload animation entirely.
    • Downplayed with the Bitchmaker's "Keep Shooting" blueprint, which gives it a 25% chance of not consuming ammo when you use either its secondary or tertiary fire. With luck, you can theoretically rapid-fire DEM rounds using the Bitchmaker for an entire level without having to load.
    • The Conqueror gun platform's main cannon has a self-recharging ammo pool, although it is not fast enough to keep up with the cannon's maximum fire rate and caps at 100.
    • The Paintrain also has a self-recharging ammo pool after you upgrade it.
  • Charged Attack: Upgrading the Bitchmaker allows you to charge up a Magnum Ball shot. It consumes an entire cylinder's worth of ammo and leaves you open to attack while charging, but is strong enough to kill anything weaker than a Mancubus in one shot.
  • Emergency Weapon:
    • Although the Macheterang is reasonably powerful even without the Berserk powerup, gives you a small speed boost when you're holding it, can be used without alerting enemies, and can be thrown around, you start off with only one, and unless you have crafted spares, or ammunition for other guns, throwing it leaves you with only your Quick Melee for defense. Upgrading it allows it to create Sword Beams with each swing, giving it a bit more versatility.
    • Your starting pistol, the Sidekick, is largely obsolete once you get the FMG and/or Leadspitter, since the FMG does roughly the same amount of damage per shot at a higher fire rate, and the Leadspitter's rate of fire is second to none. This is Subverted, however, when you factor in upgrades and blueprints: the Sidekick's weapon upgrade adds a laser sight and silencer which, combined with the "Uranium Shot" blueprint that turns its regular bullets into more damaging explosive bullets, makes it the only ranged weapon in your arsenal besides an upgraded Macheterang that can shoot, kill, and explode without alerting enemies to your presence.
    • The Cradle & Grave revolvers have infinite ammo but must be reloaded like the Colts in Serious Sam. With their weapon upgrade and the "Colt Burstshot" blueprint, they get true Bottomless Magazines and three-round burst fire, greatly increasing their viability.
  • Death from Above: Upgrading the Conqueror allows you to summon a mortar strike by pressing the melee key.
  • Excuse Plot: The Lost Lenore and "refrigerator accident" apparently has Malcolm become a Crusading Widower, intent on hunting down and killing Vladimir Vladimir, but otherwise he's just slaying hellspawn like in every other Doom mod.
  • Exploding Barrels: Trailblazer not only inherits the properties of this trope from Doom, but amplifies them, with the explosions of the barrels doing more damage and having a greater blast radius.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Malcom sports one as an obvious reference to Snake Plissken from Escape from New York.
  • Gatling Good: The Skullthrottle minigun was cobbled together from parts of spare Harley-Davidson motorcycles (and smelted cyborg, apparently). The result is a gun which looks and sounds very cool to fire indeed. An optional CVAR even allows the gun to play either heavy metal or redneck gibberish when firing.
  • The Ghost: Parodied with the game's Big Bad, Vladimir Vladimir, who is apparently responsible for the events in Doom, but is never seen in-game. This may also be a Foregone Conclusion given that Trailblazer is a gamplay mod instead of a megawad and the enemies are left unchanged, which brings with it some Unfortunate Implicationsinvoked.
  • Grenade Launcher: The Patriarch automatic grenade launcher fires high-explosive grenades which can either bounce or explode upon impact. Great for clearing whole rooms of enemies.
  • Guns Akimbo: Malcolm can dual-wield revolvers, Uzis and shotguns for double the firepower. Amusingly, the question of how he can reload with a gun in each hand is Hand Waved as he has magnetic clip holders attached to his belt.
  • Hand Cannon: The Bitchmaker magnum shoots fireballs which can kill a Hell Knight in one or two shots. More than enough to kill anything that moves indeed. Version 1.5 changes its weapon upgrade, giving it the ability to consume a full chamber of bullets to shoot an absolutely massive "magnum ball" that creates an equally massive Sphere of Destruction upon impact.
    • Even the humble Sidekick becomes this once you get the Uranium Shot blueprint, which gives it exploding bullets.
  • Heal It with Booze: Whiskey (or "Pisskey" as it's called) acts as a portable healing item.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Parodied with one of the death messages for the player blowing themselves up.
    Player was so awesome that he had to kill himself for the good of the universe. Else the universe would explode.
  • Hollywood Silencer: The upgrade for the Sidekick gives it a silencer and laser sight. It gets downright ridiculous if you have Uranium Shot, in which case you can outright explode enemies without alerting their buddies.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: From version 1.5, pressing the "use" button on an Exploding Barrel, will cause you to drink its radioactive contents, giving you 20 seconds of damage floor immunity that stacks with every successive barrel you consume, a slight decrease in damage taken, and an aura that damages enemies within melee range.
  • Item Crafting: Malcolm can salvage junk lying around to create ammo and upgrades for his weapons.
  • Jet Pack: It randomly spawns alongside the backpack and it grants Malcolm flight upon activation.
  • Kill It with Fire: While there are no flamethrowers in this mod, Malcolm can still set things ablaze with incendiary rounds, such as the DEM shells of the Chrome Justice and Hellraiser bullets of the Bitchmaker.
  • Lightning Bruiser: With full health and armor, Malcolm has the speed of Doomguy, the resilience of a nuclear bunker, and the stopping power of a tank. The only way to One-Hit Kill him at that stage is an Alpha Strike from every enemy in a slaughter map, or a Tele-Frag.
  • Magikarp Power: The Cradle & Grave revolvers start out rather unimpressive. Once you upgrade them with the toolkit and apply the Burst Shot blueprint, they become capable of stunlocking most enemies to death.
  • Magnetic Weapons: Version 1.5 introduces the Paintrain, a scoped railgun that is constructed with a blueprint instead of being discovered in the game world. Upgrading it allows it to regenerate ammo.
  • More Dakka:
    • The Leadspitter Uzi fires (and consumes) bullets faster than any other slot 4 weapon in the game. Dual-wielding it doubles the rate of fire (and ammo consumption). If Malcolm is on very low health, and the Blazingsphere powerup is active, continuously firing dual Leadspitters can deplete a full reservoir of bullet ammunition in seconds.
    • The FMG has a slightly lower but still respectable rate of fire, and applying the Heavy Machine Gun blueprint doubles its magazine capacity-though the rate of fire remains the same. Its weapon upgrade gives it a sniper mode toggle, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin and the antithesis of this trope.
    • The Skullthrottle on its own already fires an impressive barrage of bullets, but with the "Throttle Instaspin" blueprint, the barrel's spin-up time is removed, so it immediately unleashes rapid-fire death. With its weapon upgrade, it gets an extra Browning machine gun that fires a little slower but can fire in tandem with the main barrel.
    • Version 1.5 adds the Conqueror gun platform, essentially a gun made of guns equipped with a centerpiece cannon that regenerates its own ammo. Once upgraded, it sports 13 barrels of various calibers—everything from grenades to minigun bullets to shotguns—and has a mortar launcher. With all guns firing at once, you can't really see what's in front of you due to the Bullet Hell.
  • Quad Damage: Added in version 1.4, and it even sports the Quake symbol.
  • Quick Melee: You can press a key to perform a quick punch. If you've picked up a berserk pack, the punch will cause a miniature explosion.
  • The Quiet One: While Malcolm does not have any of the one-liners from action movie heroes in the mod, he does speak in the official trailer, and his grunts as well as his nonchalant one-liner whenever he finds a secret already give him a distinct personality. The mod also has custom intermission text which is as witty and funny as any action hero's arsenal.
  • Patriotic Fervor: With the "Spontaneous Freedom" upgrade, the Leadspitter randomly spews red/blue/white firework missiles while firing. As for the Nutcracker, its "upgrade" is literally just draping an American flag over it, which somehow enables it to fire a time-stopping "Glory Shot" projectile that makes everything around it explode from freedom overdose. While the Chariots of Fire theme plays. The full recharge of the Glory Shot is signaled by the cry of a bald eagle.
  • Purposefully Overpowered: While not as insane as PillowBlaster's other works, the mod definitely tilts the balance in the player's favor compared to vanilla Doom. The weapons are pretty powerful to start with, and with sufficient upgrades you can tear through hordes of enemies with little effort. Combine that with an insanely high HP and armor cap, portable items that can instantly replenish your armor and health, powerups that can be stored if you have the right blueprint, and the ability to craft armor and ammo for your most powerful weapons, and you can blaze through all but the hardest WADs with little effort.
  • Rated M for Manly: The whole mod is a pastiche of '80s and '90s action movies. This trope is part of the package.
  • Repetitive Name: Vladimir Vladimir, the Big Bad.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Malcolm's arsenal includes three: the Cradle & Grave paired revolvers and the Bitchmaker magnum.
  • Road Runner PC: Like Doomguy himself, Malcolm runs at roughly the speed of a freight train. He even moves and shoots faster when low on health.
  • Secondary Fire: All of your weapons have this.
    • The Macheterang can be thrown at the enemy.
    • The Sidekick, FMG, and Paintrain have an aim-down-sight function for greater accuracy.
    • The Chrome Justice fires incendiary shells with primary fire and standard shells with Alt-Fire, though this can be swapped in the options menu.
    • Dual-wielded weapons have the left and right guns mapped to Fire and Alt-Fire respectively.
    • The Patriarch fires a bouncing grenade.
    • The Bitchmaker can have its hammer fanned for a faster rate of fire.
    • The Double Deuce fires both barrels at once.
    • The Nutcracker fires a "Glory Shot" that freezes every enemy on the screen while it's flying and creates a massive explosion on impact.
    • The Conqueror fires rockets. Upgrading it allows you to call in a mortar strike by pressing the melee button.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: The Fleshrend, which uses ordinary shells, has a somewhat limited range, though it can be boosted with the weapon upgrade and Tricorne Shot blueprint. The Eliminator and Chrome Justice use special DEM shells, giving them a much tighter spread.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better:
    • The Fleshrend sawed-off shotgun can be dual-wielded. Its weapon upgrade adds an additional barrel to both guns without a proportionate increase in ammo drain, while the "Tricorne Shot" blueprint increases the concentration of bullets per shot.
    • The Chrome Justice pump-action shotgun can fire either a concentrated wad of buckshot or an incendiary spread. When upgraded, it becomes an automatic weapon. The "Striploader" blueprint changes the per-bullet reload into a full clip reload.
    • The Eliminator lever-action shotgun does solid damage with a wide (but very flat) spread, can be dual-wielded, and also has a zoom function that narrows its spread. It also benefits from the Uranium Shot blueprint.
    • The Double Deuce is a BFG-tier two-bore double-barrel cannon of a shotgun that fires blasts of bouncing shrapnel that home in on enemies once the gun is upgraded.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Malcolm constantly puffs away like your average '80s action hero. And he can pick up cigarette packs which give him health or armor. Somehow.
  • Squashed Flat: Invoked with the death message for the player being killed by a descending ceiling.
    Player became their own favorite vinyl record
  • Time Stands Still: The "Glory Shot" alt-fire for the Nutcracker freezes everything but the player until it reaches its target.
  • Trick Bomb: The spikebomb unleashes a cluster of smaller bomblets upon detonation. An upgrade gives it the ability to pull enemies towards itself for more damage.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: While backpacks in vanilla Doom only increase your ammo capacity once, here every subsequent backpack you pick up increases your ammo capacity by 10%. As a result, it's possible to collect thousands of rounds worth of ammo if you're playing a WAD that has lots of backpacks and ammo pickups.
    • Your health and armor both top out at 999. If you're skilled at avoiding damage, it's possible to get to a point where you're basically unkillable.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • Malcolm is inherently resistant to explosions of all types, including the splash damage from explosions caused by his own weapons; he gets full immunity from the latter with the "Master Exploder" blueprint. This means Rocket Jumping is actually viable.
    • Consuming Exploding Barrels, which provides several temporary buffs as well as Damage Reduction.

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