DOOM Review – Over the top adrenaline filled action
After assaulting your commanding officer who ordered you to open fire upon innocent civilians, you are transferred to the Union Aerospace Corporation Base on Mars. Being assigned to the base is referred to by Marines as the most boring assignment imaginable, something which is about to change. The UAC are conducting secret teleportation experiments between the two moons of Mars, Deimos and Phobos.
One day, something goes wrong with the tests. The computer system on Phobos malfunctions and Deimos disappears entirely. A gateway has opened with demons and evil spirits pouring out from within, killing or possessing everyone within the base. You are the only one left. The only way out is to fight through the Phobos compound.
DOOM is a first-person shooter developed and published by Id Software. The game released in 1993 for PC and later ported to consoles -- including Atari Jaguar, SNES, Sega Saturn, and PSX. DOOM continued to release on systems in more recent years through online distribution services, including Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, and the PlayStation Network.
DOOM is not just a classic FPS game, but the granddaddy of all FPS games. Despite not being the first of its kind, it brought FPS into a genre of its very own. Using never-before-seen graphics and gameplay, it became a worldwide phenomenon.
To this day, DOOM is still highly playable and just as much fun as it was back in 1993, despite its extremely aged graphics (and to some degree, gameplay). With over-the-top, fast-paced action, gore, and excellent level design, there is much fun to have. There are, however, certain levels which cause frustration and slow down the game's pace. And it won't necessarily appeal to all FPS fans.
All Hell Breaks Loose
With the release of the new DOOM title just on the horizon, there is no better reason to go back and play the original titles. And what better place to start than from the very beginning.
The plot to DOOM revolves around the player attempting to stop the demonic invasion of the base. What starts off as what can only be described as a nightmare soon turns into total Hell. Upon fighting their way through the Phobos compound, the player then finds themselves on the Deimos base, which disappeared after the disaster struck. The base itself now lays upon the edge of Hell due to the malfunction with the teleportation experiment. Left with no choice, the player must fight their way through the Deimos Base and Hell itself to stop the invasion and return home.
The overall story to DOOM is nothing that can be considered original or even fantastic to any extent. It is a very typical story that is often told in the 80s and 90s action flicks -- where a one man army (think Arnold Schwarzenegger) kills everything. It is entirely over the top and ludicrous from a realistic standpoint.
DOOM, however, is a game where the story is very much secondary to that of the action and gameplay. It is not a game that requires that much in the sense of story. The guns, action, and demons do most of that on their own. It is easy to see that the action and gameplay are the primary focus of Id Software when all thought of story goes from the player's mind while playing.
If you are looking for an engaging, original and well-written storyline, DOOM is certainly not going to provide it. It is all about the action, and when playing, nothing else matters. Tons of demons, big guns, excessive amounts of gore and a Marine who can break the land speed record is enough to understand what DOOM is all about.
An Experience Unlike Anything Else
Players always have and forever will know DOOM for its extremely fast-paced action, something which no other developer has created in any other game to date. Indeed, developers have made relatively similarly paced FPS games, but nothing quite like ID Software accomplished with DOOM.
What makes the action of DOOM stand out from any other title of its genre is the fluency of the gameplay. The action is constant, giving little breathing room before another wave of demonic entities comes charging at the player. More modern games of the same style work using what I describe as a room-by-room shooting gallery. Other titles that use this include Serious Sam, Painkiller, and the 2013 release of Shadow Warrior.
There is no denying that the titles mentioned above are great games in their right, but they miss that fluency and smooth constant action that DOOM possesses. It is that quality which, even twenty-three years after release, still makes DOOM so playable.
By today's standards, the level of violence that DOOM presents would not have near the impact that it did in 1993, mainly due to the aged graphics and animations. With that said, very few games throughout the years have dared to attempt reaching the gore levels that DOOM did.
The vast amounts of blood, the gory death animations of the enemies and the gruesome sights of the players fellow Marines. Such violence was unheard of -- and still to this day, it holds up pretty well despite its age. Violence and gore have never been something which I deem necessary for video games to be fun. In DOOM, however, I feel it is an important element for what it is attempting to portray.
The game takes on the depiction of demons as being these monstrosities that want to kill humans and torture their souls in Hell -- a never-ending suffering for all eternity. Seeing the quivering bodies of your fellow Marines impaled on metal rods, and the satanic imagery the player witnesses, only add to the feeling of dread and vulnerability. It gives the sensation that you truly are in Hell, or at the least the closest thing imaginable to it.
Without the violence and graphic scenes, it would not give the player that sensation -- and DOOM would not be the same. That, mixed with the fast-paced action, is what makes it unlike anything else.
Iconic Enemies and Weapons
The demons and weapons of DOOM have become some of the most iconic entities in video game history. Enemies such as the Cacodemon and the Cyberdemon are just two who are well-known for their unique and fearsome appearances.
It was not just the enemies' general appearances that makes them stand out, but the sheer quality of their sprites. I feel that the sprites of the enemies from DOOM stand above even those from games that came after it -- like Duke Nukem 3D, Blood and Shadow Warrior.
The design, quality, and attention to detail on the sprites within DOOM are just fantastic for its time. It is this that makes them so memorable yet so fearsome in the heat of combat. Case(s) in point: the red, bright skin of the Cacodemon, the metallic legs and rocket launcher of the Cyberdemon, and the spider-like design of the Spiderdemon.
Throughout the history of video games, there are many unique, strange, and unsettling monster creations to find. The enemies of DOOM, however, truly stand out from the crowd again due to their excellent design and quality, making them easily some of the most iconic there is to find.
The weapons are also is an important part of what makes DOOM the excellent experience that it is -- the powerful shotgun, the destructive rocket launcher, the rapid firing plasma gun and, of course, the most iconic of all the room clearing BFG 9000.
The guns are big, they are loud, and they give one hell of an impact as the player begins shooting down hordes of demons that charge towards them. You will never forget the loud explosion of the BFG 9000 the first time you use it.
The BFG is certainly not the most creative weapon ever made by name or design. You would, however, be surprised by how memorable and satisfying such a weapon can be.
Excellent level designs with a few minor issues.
The level design for DOOM is excellent. The levels are fluent, easy to navigate, and satisfactory in length. Throughout the game, players are treated to a varying array of levels, from the metallic grey-brown base levels to the fiery levels of hell to everything in between.
There is never a sense of having been somewhere before or wondering when things are to going change. There is a refreshing feel to the levels from start to finish. They are quite linear, but do leave some room for exploration -- giving a slight sense of freedom throughout.
With that said, there are minor issues with certain levels, though not many. Those problems that are present cause frustration. The levels containing teleporters are a good example.
There are times where the player can easily get confused attempting to figure out what teleport leads to where. It slows down the gameplay, as going more than a minute without killing something in DOOM, shows there is something wrong.
Some levels also have instances where the player can get stuck by falling into a particular area which kills them. This form of gameplay may have been a regular occurrence in video games at the time, but in DOOM, it really should not be the case.
Due to the fast-paced and over the top action nature of the game it can at times be easy to fall into a pit of death. Death then forces the player to load a save or start the level over.
A Great Game that may not appeal to all.
The quick and gruesome action, along with the generally excellent level design, memorable enemies, and satisfying weapons, offer more than enough for FPS fans of all skill levels to enjoy. DOOM is a great game and is still immensely playable to this day. In 2016 however, it may not be so easy for everyone to get into and enjoy. More modern FPS fans may have a hard time playing the game due to the aged graphics and controls.
The inability to jump or look up and down may be extremely off-putting to a player who has always had those controls available to them. It will make the controls of DOOM most likely feel uncomfortable, clunky, and awkward to use due to general FPS instincts.
If the controls alone are not enough to put a player off playing the game, then the graphics may. The resolution of the game is very low in comparison to today's standards and models being sprites as oppose to 3D models may not appeal to all.
There are, of course, plenty of mods that fix the controls and resolutions issues mentioned above, But if you are looking for a mod-free, as it was back in the day experience, it may not be for you. If dated controls and graphics are tolerable, however, players will most certainly be in for a fun and adrenaline-filled time.
DOOM is available to buy on GOG.com for €5.39 and Steam for €9.99. Alternatively, the entire classic DOOM collection is available to buy on Steam for €14.99 containing DOOM, DOOM 2, Final DOOM and Master Levels of DOOM 2.