A classic game that noone should be without.
One thing about Doom is sure: it was not a raving success because of its story. You play as a space marine sent to Mars to monitor the Union Aerospace Corporation after you assault your commanding officer who ordered your platoon to open fire on civilians. Sometime after you arrive on Mars, a teleporter-like ‘Gate’ that the UAC has been monitoring starts to spew out demons, which overrun the base on Phobos. At the same time, Deimos vanishes completely. With almost everyone else either dead or zombified, you must fight your way through hordes of demons using a wide variety of weapons. More of the story is unfolded by text messages after the completion of each of the game’s episodes.
What really sells Doom is the gameplay. You are placed in a demon-infested level that you are to clear by entering an exit room and hitting a switch. Along the way, you will need to press some switches to open hidden areas, hunt for keycards to enter restricted areas, and mow down enemies like there is no tomorrow. While this may sound extremely boring, the experience is in truth highly addictive.
Being an FPS, half of Doom’s appeal is its arsenal. You start each episode with a pistol and your fists. Eventually, you will acquire some beauties, such as the shotgun, chaingun, rocket launcher, plasma rifle, chainsaw, and BFG 9000. Every weapon has a distinct, powerful sound. A couple of the weapons may feel a little overpowered, but are balanced out with some penalty or another.
Doom’s sound is a bit of a mixed bag. As mentioned before, there is not a single weapon that sounds in the least underpowered. The countless howls cries of demons found in Doom sound perfect. The bawl/roar of a Baron of Hell’s unique alarm call can make the player’s blood run cold. The music, on the other hand, is a little questionable. The music of Doom consists of MIDI files that may sound a little primitive when compared to what is used in modern gaming, but is still good. The game’s soundtrack features a wide variety of music ranging from raging electric guitar pieces, to soothing yet disturbing vocals.
One of the things that I personally find interesting about Doom is how it creates an increasingly hostile atmosphere. As you progress through each of the game’s episodes, the textures used in the maps become much more hellish. The sky also undergoes a similar change, from picturesque mountain scenery to a blood red sky. New enemies are thrown into the mix, such as the perpetually smiling, floating, and fireball belching Cacodemon. Despite the fact that Doom’s graphics are very old, they still make your surroundings unbelievably convincing. The only problem is that enemies can become pixilated when viewed from a distance, but since most of Doom's fighting takes place in pretty confined areas, it's more of a potential problem than an actual concern.
Doom has aged remarkably well, but there are many factors in the game that tend to make it a little easy. For starters, the enemy AI is not that bright. If a demon is in the room you are in, it will let out a cry after either hearing your gun fire or seeing you. After this, the enemy will lurch in your general direction, move left or right about a few degrees, and stop to take a shot at you. Coupled with the fact that monster placement does not vary, any veteran of Doom can blaze through the game while hardly breaking a sweat. To counter this, the player can increase the difficulty level at the start of a new game, but this just throws more monsters at you or simply upgrades some of the existing ones.
Once you hit the next to highest level of difficulty, the increase in expectations necessary to survive jumps astronomically. While playing on Nightmare difficulty, you face off against the same monster set found in the previous level. However, these monsters will respawn after a few minutes of being dead. This tips the difficulty of the game to the other end of the scale, making it not even remotely fair.
One thing’s for sure, you won’t want to jump into the extra episode of The Ultimate Doom on one of the higher skill levels. The Ultimate Doom contains the original Doom episodes, but hurls a new episode at you that is difficult enough for a Doom veteran on the default skill level. Anyone that was just able to stumble through the first three level sets won’t stand much of a chance.
Difficulty is not the only uncharacteristic thing about the new set of levels; the entire episode just feels like it wasn’t even made by the same company somehow. The architecture of the new level set doesn’t help define its location. In the original Doom, you fought your way through a tech base, a tech base that has been remodeled some by the demons, and Hell itself. In each case, the textures used in the game really made you think that you were in those locations. Thy Flesh Consumed claims to be set on Earth, but looks hardly looks like it. Most of your time, you’ll be battling through castle-like environments constructed from hellish-green marble. The coup-de grace is the sad choice of the designers to use silly names for the levels and the episode that give no clue as to where you might be, such as Sever the Wicked, And All Hell Followed, and Unto The Cruel. The ending text is also filled with such high and mighty phrases in its description of you as ‘a true hero’ that ‘brought forth eternal damnation and suffering upon the horde’ that make you think it may have been written by a clergyman. The episode is still a good play, but it just is not nearly as good as the original 3.
The Ultimate Doom is a classic game that no gamer at all should be without. Even if you aren’t a fan of the FPS genre or PC games, you should try to find a copy of the game that started it all.