I stayed up last night playing Doom.
There is a sentence I have not said for a few decades.
Doom, along with a handful of other titles, is responsible for laying the groundwork for the first-person shooter genre that has endured since.
It does not take itself too seriously, it looks a treat — if you like lots of red (we are after all on the red planet Mars, and there are copious amounts of fire and blood) — and the action is frenetic.
Those wizard designers at id Software have captured the Doom essence; Ammo, Health, Shield as resources, a movement speed to match the cheese-ball metal soundtrack, health and ammo pickups as well as a massive amount of demon slaughter.
Couple this with secret finding, level design with verticality, spawning enemies, colour-coded keys and blood-thirsty irreverence and id has captured the essential Doom elements.
On top of this there are layers of modern elements — not too many, however — there are weapon upgrades – which are inventive and spark the return of an alt-fire mode which simply adds fun.
Doom-Guy upgrades to improve health and so on, as well as unlockable “rune challenges” where a mini challenge might result in a special perk.
The real game aspects come in the subtle strategy to game play; Doom rewards mixing it up. There is no regenerating health, so if pickups are rare, the only way to regain health is with a glory-kill. Whittle away a demons health until they glow, and then go in for the melee punch to have them drop health pills.
It can mean, our Doom-guy spends more time punching than shooting.
On that, run short of your favourite ammo, time to whip out the limited fuel chainsaw, and again get to arms-length with the demonic enemy, saw them in half and then pick up the resultant loot drops.
It’s all in all a great way to keep the action happening with quick decision making the order of the day. It’s no use running away to regenerate health – on the contrary, get stuck into the fray, be ballsy, it’s the Doom-guy way.
Story? Whatever. Multiplayer, yep it is here along with a SnapMap level editing tool, but we spent our time with the campaign.
Problems? While the sound design is suitably creepy (even the lifts sound like demons) layered over a unrelenting sound-track, it is exceptionally positional. Taking just one step down a corridor will completely alter the ambient sounds, take that step back and the original sound effects are restored. I guess id just wants you to be unrelentingly moving along.
The melee system takes a bit of getting used to, like the platform scrambling, there is some unnatural warping that occurs depending on targeting. At the speed this game is playing at, that can cause significant disorientation.
Doom is back, Mars needs saving or something, whatever, kill demons.