Final DOOM Review - An average and bland experience
Final DOOM is an FPS shooter developed by TeamTNT and the Casali Brothers for Id Software and published by GT Interactive. It released in 1996 for the PC, Mac, and PSX. The game consists of two individual episodes, each with 32 new levels for the player to play. It offers nothing other than additional levels and contains average level design with at times improper enemy placement.
Two Episodes, Two Plots
In my continuation of playing through the DOOM series as preparation for the upcoming reboot just on the horizon, I have one last retro stop before entering the dark, creepy corner of the series. That final stop is Final DOOM, which consists of two episodes developed by two different teams for Id Software.
Each episode has its individual story, the first being TNT: Evilution. The plot to "Evilution" takes place after the events of DOOM 2, where the UAC has not learned its lesson with teleportation. Despite the demonic invasion from Hell, which killed billions of people, the UAC continues to experiment with teleportation.
This time, UAC is conducting experiments on Io, one of the moons of Jupiter. At first, the experiments go well -- and upon opening a portal to hell, the Marines fend off the demons. Several months later, a transporter arrives earlier than scheduled.
Despite its massive size, security lets the ship through only to find that it is a transport ship from Hell. Demons come pouring out, killing or possessing everyone they come across. During this time, the marine commander is talking a walk before being attacked by an Imp.
After dispatching the Imp, he returns to base to find everyone dead. He swears to avenge his fallen comrades and kill as many demons as he possibly can while ending the raid.
The second episode is "The Plutonia Experiment", which again takes place after the events of DOOM 2 but in an entirely different universe. The plot to "The Plutonia Experiment" is that after the invasion of Earth, the UAC is now under new management (the old management are dead) and is working towards a defending Earth against any further invasions from Hell.
The scientists begin working on a device called the Quantum Accelerator, which can close gates to Hell, stopping any attacks. The experiments go well, but it isn't long before the demons of Hell begin to become aware of the device.
A portal opens within the heart of the compound and demons begin to pour out. The Quantum Accelerator works correctly, closing the gate and stopping the invasion. The next day, however, a ring of seven portals open all at once. After an hour, the device closes six of the seven portals, but the demonic horde becomes too powerful and numerous.
The remaining gateway is left open, and an ancient guardian with the power to create and protect portals comes through. The government is terrified that the Quantum Accelerator will be destroyed or used against humanity, and sends all Marines to the site.
At the time, the player's Marine character was on leave and located on a beach near the complex. Upon arriving, he can hear the demonic activity coming from within. He knows the gatekeeper must be working on something which will soon reach an awful climax.
Knowing that no matter how many Marines there are or how much firepower they bring it won't be enough to face the demonic hordes, the Marine decides to go and defeat the Gatekeeper alone.
Both plots are exactly what you would expect from the DOOM series. They aren't particularly creative, new, or offer a deep storyline. "Evilution" just feels almost like a copy and paste of the original plot, but the invasion occurs through a demonic spaceship as oppose to a portal.
"The Plutonia Experiment", though I give it credit for at least some creativity, is still nothing much more than what the storylines of DOOM and DOOM 2 give. Final DOOM certainly doesn't deliver on the storyline, but does any DOOM video game? Action is the primary focus of a DOOM game, and Final DOOM is certainly no different in that regard. If you are looking for an in-depth story, you will not find it here.
More Action Less Atmosphere
The primary focus of the DOOM series has always been the action, but the previous games were not without their fantastic atmosphere. The levels had an excellent sense of horror to them, with gruesome sights and a fitting soundtrack.
In Final DOOM, both episodes do indeed primarily focus on the action, even going one step further with increased numbers of enemies and larger amounts of tougher enemies. The issues with increasing the action further are that it is not needed, and the atmosphere of the levels suffer because of it.
"Evilution" does attempt to create more of a unique identity with its very own soundtrack, but it doesn't make the overall experience better. The soundtrack is more action-packed and upbeat, as opposed the slow horror theme that added to the atmosphere like in the original games.
Unlike in "Evilution", "The Plutonia Experiment" uses the same soundtrack from that of the original games. Despite using the original soundtrack, it doesn't add to the overall atmosphere. The levels are missing those well-placed horror elements that the soundtrack needs to work efficiently.
The gruesome sights of the dead Marines are more of a shock element, as oppose to being used to add to the atmosphere in Final DOOM. There is no doubt that the levels are action-packed, but they miss that beautiful combination of music and ideally placed gruesome satanic imagery that the original games contained.
No additional features and average level design lead to a bland experience.
Final DOOM brings nothing new to the table following the release of DOOM 2. All that Final DOOM has to offer is sixty-four new levels, thirty-two for each episode. With nothing new to offer, the game relies entirely on the levels and their design.
The two teams involved in the development of the levels were not professionals, but wad creators who made custom DOOM maps. Both teams show their lack of professional experience in the level design.
The levels of both episodes don't possess the general fluent design of DOOM and DOOM 2. They can at times be hard to navigate and cause confusion, along with a lot of backtracking. Such issues cause the game's pace to slow down -- a sin for such an action-oriented game.
There were also a lot of missed opportunities within the level design. Very often, the player will enter a large room which will contain little in the way of enemies or danger. Such large rooms are perfect for Pinky Demon ambushes or decent sized groups of Hell Knights.
The other main issue with the level design is the enemy placement. Enemies are often placed in very arbitrary positions -- not to mention large groups of chaingun wielding soldiers that rip through the player's health in seconds.
There are a lot of enemies who have attacks that hit the player instantly, placed at a distance that isn't efficient for the player to attack with lower end weapons. It forces the player to use higher end weapons on weaker enemies.
That is not including the rage-inducing maze level of "The Plutonia Experiment". I give credit to its creativity and effort at trying something new with DOOM level design, but a labyrinth filled with fourteen Arch-Viles is just ridiculous.
Overall, the levels in Final DOOM are perfectly fine to play if you are looking for more levels that are not of typical Id Software quality. If you are looking for professional level design like that of DOOM or DOOM 2, it is probably best to stick with them as opposed to Final DOOM.
An average and bland experience
Final DOOM is an average experience in every possible way. It offers nothing new, and the level design is average in quality, leading to a bland experience. Without the fluency of the level design in previous titles, the general pace of the game is slow in comparison.
The difficulty levels of the game are also extremely high due to the arbitrary enemy placement, which alone would be enough to put some players off playing the title. Just to complete the game on the Ultra-Violence difficulty, I had to install the Brutal DOOM V20B mod.
If you are looking for more DOOM, Final DOOM may be enough to satisfy, but anything other than that and the title is entirely missable. If you do decide to play the game, I highly recommend installing the Brutal DOOM V20B mod just to even the playing field a bit by giving yourself modern controls -- such as mouse looking, jumping, and WASD movement.
Final DOOM is available to purchase on Steam for €4.99 ($4.99) or as a part of the DOOM Classic Complete bundle for €14.99 ($14.99). It is also available on GOG.com and come free when purchasing DOOM 2 for €8.99 (Approx $10.08)
IMAGE SOURCE: Final DOOM Steam Store Page