Doom Eternal's Marauders Will Kick Your Butt, And I'm So Glad
Just when you get comfortable, Doom Eternal shakes up its formula with a tough, boss-style enemy.
Especially if you're playing on a harder difficulty, Doom Eternal's enemies are quite intimidating. Anything more than the lowliest of demons can often prove too much to stand toe-to-toe with, ensuring you stay on the move at all times. Eventually, a unique challenge appears in the form of the Marauder, who won't hesitate to kick your ass. It's great.
Partway into the game, you're confronted with a showdown against the Marauder. The encounter feels like a one-off boss fight, both because of the preceding cutscene and because the way in which you deal with a Marauder is quite unlike anything else in the game. You can't blast away or otherwise use standard tactics, as you can read about in our guide to beating the Marauder.
The tutorial window that pops up before this fight unfortunately gives away both the basic strategies (seriously, turn these tutorials off) and the fact that this isn't likely the only Marauder you'll face, but it's a memorable encounter nonetheless. Marauders carry a shield that effectively deflects any damage, and they'll switch up which attacks they use depending on how close you are; they also periodically summon a wolf companion to flank you and generally keep you from devoting 100% of your attention to the Marauder.
Unlike most other enemies, your only chance to consistently deal damage is to enter what is essentially a boxing match: You have to square up and watch for an opening (in this case, a sound cue and flashing green eyes) where you can land a hit and open them up to additional attacks, rather than firing indiscriminately. Dodging attacks and managing your resources while you wait for an opening is essential, and it feels a bit like a Souls-style fight inside of a first-person shooter. The first time you fight a Marauder feels like an intense sprint as you try to anticipate what's coming, hold your breath as you evade attacks, and get your jab in when the opportunity presents itself.
As the tutorial spoils, and the pattern of other enemy encounters would suggest, the boss-like enemy fight isn't the only time you find yourself fighting a Marauder. But unlike that first go around, where your only concern besides the Marauder is his wolf companion and the occasional lowly demon who's there as more of a health/ammo/armor source than a threat, you'll later need to deal with Marauders in the context of larger fights.
There are certainly other big threats, including the Arch-Vile who summons reinforcements, but only Marauders force you out of the standard loop of staying mobile and attacking what's in front of you. Marauders are aggressive, and because of their shields and distance-dictated attack patterns, they completely change the flow of combat. They become a sort of anchor point that you need to stay aware of and monitor your distance from at all times as you strategize ways to either cull the nearby hordes or to find those moments to land a hit. Just as you come to grasp the flow of Doom Eternal, Marauders are thrown into the mix and provide you with a new element that upends your expectations.
Marauders might operate much differently than other enemies, but what I like so much is that they don't feel out of place. They're different and tough, yet still feel like they belong in Eternal. Whereas you're otherwise constantly moving, Marauder fights encourage you to slow down and try to establish a position, but this doesn't grind the overall flow to a halt because they're as intense as anything else--just in a different way. They bring a new element that forces you to adjust your strategy and ultimately result in a memorable fight every time. You might find yourself cursing them after a string of failures in a row, but the game wouldn't be quite so thrilling without them.
GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.