Doom II (Game Boy Advance) review
"The pillars in front of you open to display a veritable cornucopia of hellspawn, and you are quickly made aware that the ones behind you are doing the same. You are standing in the very centre of a rapidly closing circle of death: imps scream furiously at you as they unload a torrent of fireballs in your direction."
Where are they?
Before you spreads an enormous cavernous chamber, its boundaries fading indistinctly into the pervading gloom. You edge cautiously forward, moving further into the foreboding room, beginning to regret leaving the sunlight behind. The skin on the back of your neck prickles ominously. As your eyes adjust to the gloom, details gradually emerge; two tiers are present, with thick supporting pillars littering the area. The eerie music picks up a notch. Nothing sinister is in view, but this only escalates the feeling of dread that nags at you.
You step through the threshold, and the unnerving lack of assaulting zombified corpses plays on your nerves more than the aggression you have come to expect. With your chaingun bobbing comfortingly in front of you, you slowly ease into the room, edging past the first row of supporting pillars that had previously blocked your vision. The middle of the room is reached without incident.
Then all hell breaks lose.
The pillars in front of you open to display a veritable cornucopia of hellspawn, and you're quickly made aware that the ones behind you are doing the same. You find yourself standing in the very centre of a rapidly closing circle of death: imps scream furiously at you as they unload a torrent of fireballs in your direction. Abusing the shoulder buttons, you start strafing madly, smoothly avoiding the majority of singeing hellfire that blasts violently towards you, the sounds of its passing drowned out by your chattering gun. The lead-struck imps dance on the spot as their bodies are torn asunder by the rapidly-flung bullets.
Your chaingun clicks empty as the last of the demons fall. You spin easily on the spot to assault those cunningly positioned to outflank you, hitting the simple combination of buttons that switches your weapon to a fresh firearm. But you quickly realize it's not only imps that vie for your demise: they've also invited a cacodemon to the party.
Whipping out your rocket launcher, you pepper your foes with explosive mayhem. The imps burst into small chunks of gore, but the five-meter-wide floating head soaks up your ballistic onslaught with maniacal glee. In a stalemate with the greater demon, you fire continuously to avoid getting the worse of the exchange. That's when you stray too near to the walls, and the hidden doors open.
The zombie masses you expected as you walked into the room now arrive. Most of them have pistols. The rest wield shotguns.
The crossfire is now too great for you to dodge, and your survival hinges solely on quickly exterminating the hostile forces around you. The cacodemon finally falls into a gruesome pile of melted flesh as one of your last remaining rockets slams into its rotting flank. You turn your attention to the zombie hoards, still garbed in the same military uniforms they had worn before joining the ranks of the undead. You show no lingering sentimentality for your former comrades as your double-barreled shotgun sends them back to the grave with a greater sense of finality. Your aggressors have become corpses (again), but at a price. One look at your bruised and bloodied mug staring back at you from the display panel is enough to tell you that you've become a mangled mess, low on health, short on ammunition and out of armour.
You limp around the now uninhabited room, claiming any remaining bullets from the scattered corpses. With a little investigation, you find some of the troublesome pillars give way to secret caches of health and armour. Somewhat refreshed and rearmed, you drag yourself towards the second tier via a lift that waits at the far end of the room. You don't know if you should feel relieved for what you have just survived, or anxious about what you might find lurking around the next corner.
You search for the enemy, but they already know you're there. And they wait.
This is what drives the Doom games: the continuous assault of many on one. Things aren't easy, and when your enemies range from flame-chucking demons to a militia of zombies to the odd seven-foot-tall skeleton in body armour with twin plasma launchers, they shouldn't be. Doom gives you only one true aim: kill everything. Kill every single last one of them, because they will not stop. They have a reputation to uphold, and you're the only thing left alive in a dead world.
Doom 2 doesn’t serve you an epic, twisting plot, and nor will you get the smoother controls that its PC brethren boast. Neither does it have looks -- its pixilated, jagged graphics scream dated. The frustration level can also easily climb as high as the repetitiveness.
What it does grant you is a slice of insanity on the move. Bring on the carnage -- whenever, wherever. Kill or be killed.
And if at first you don't succeed? Use the BFG.
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