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Doom II: Hell on Earth (PC) artwork

Doom II: Hell on Earth (PC) review

"Doom is probably the only first person shooter that you can never grow tired of. It defined itís genre back in the early 90ís and was possibly the most popular PC game of the time. Doom made FPS games what they are today, without the popularity of this gem back then I truly believe that games like Half-Life and Halo wouldnít have been successful as what they are now. Doom 2 stands out in the crowd as one of the greatest first person shooters available and even today, the classic charm and da..."

Doom is probably the only first person shooter that you can never grow tired of. It defined itís genre back in the early 90ís and was possibly the most popular PC game of the time. Doom made FPS games what they are today, without the popularity of this gem back then I truly believe that games like Half-Life and Halo wouldnít have been successful as what they are now. Doom 2 stands out in the crowd as one of the greatest first person shooters available and even today, the classic charm and dark atmosphere magnetize the player to experience Doom once again.

Doom 2 was the perfect sequel, not only did it take the exact same style of darkness and horror found in the first game but it added thirty brand new levels, a few new enemies and new gun. Okay, it might not sound that impressive nowadays but the atmosphere of Doom 2 is still something that gamers can play and get dragged into. Doom 2 made little changes to the its original and when you play the game it feels almost like an extension to the original instead of a whole new game. This isnít a bad thing at all and in fact it practically glosses the classic feel of the original Doom, it extends the play a lot by adding a few small things to it to enhance its performance.

Even from the first level of play, Doom 2 unleashes the classic formula. You walk through factories, decrepit buildings, satanic fields and even a Nazi bunker, which was cut out of the German version of the game. The whoosh of the opening doors, the grunts and groans of demons as they squabble around in their everlasting quest to destroy you. The whole game revolves around this atmosphere and thrives on it, the oozing toxic waste, the blood-stained floors and the decomposing remains of fallen monsters create this mind blowing atmosphere which leaps on the player and throws you right in the middle of Hell. A mix of slow and calm play creates an eerie feeling, you wonder through corridors knowing that something is going to spring out and get you. Then this changes to something a little more threatening as you duke it out with an enemy and goes to something of unimaginable ecstasy as you run through a field of monsters, shooting, dodging projectiles and doing your best to collect weapons, bullets and keys at the same time.

The levels of Doom 2 follow the same basic principle as before. You stay alive, you blow the bad guys back into hell with your selected gun, you quickly duck into a room nearby and pick up any health , armour or ammo that you might require. You keep going and blow more demons away, your ammo runs low so you switch to your peashooter of a pistol and try to hold back the assault. You down a zombie holding a shotgun and pick it up for yourself. Then, the gun fires and fires and blood splatters everywhere, but suddenly you are struck with a fireball from behind, although your body is badly battered you turn around and blow the monster to kingdom come. After surveying the room for any survivors, you pick up the coloured key card lying on the floor and continue through the dank and dark corridor, the atmosphere reverts back to the ďchillingĒ mode.

Certain levels stand out a little bit more than others, for example the popular level ďTricks and TrapsĒ is quite possibly the most infamous level in the game. A short level which is rich with secrets, really badass enemies, like the CyberDemon, a twelve foot goat-like creature with a rocket launcher for an arm. Not only do you have to go one on one with this devil but you have fight a shit load of Knights of hell (huge minotaurs) first. Then you have to fight a hoard of imps and Cacodemons (big heads that float around puking out fireballs), itís absolutely insane and just shows how well Doom 2 can switch its atmosphere in an instant.

Luckily, you get a lot to work with in Doom 2, along with the seven original guns you get a nice new Double-Barrelled shotgun, which packs a lot of punch. It does have a slight downside because you have to reload every time you shoot and it takes two shells from your stash every time you fire. It can be a chore to use the gun when youíre surrounded by foes but it is killer for cleaning out the weaker trash. All of the other weapons are back in action, we have the pistol aka the peashooter, a gun that takes off precious little from an opponent. Also you can pick up a chainsaw and ram it through your enemies chest, a fun task which causes the screen to shake all over, it does a surprisingly high amount of damage and is fun as hell but it can be the key to your downfall. If youíre concentrating on one enemy with the chainsaw the chances are that you might get nailed from behind, so donít get cocky.

We have the classic blasters for Doom, such as the electric pulsing plasma rifle, the rocket launcher, which does great damage on the bad guys and on you if youíre not careful and the BFG. This cannon, known as the ďbig fraggin gunĒ clears the whole screen of enemies and does a lot of damage on boss monsters. Ití takes a little while to charge up but when you unleash the beam of the gods youíll be laughing down at the crisp carcasses of your enemies. However, donít get too trigger happy, if you run out if ammo youíll have to use your fist as a weapon and you can imagine how pointless that is!

Speak of the devil! The gallery of nightmarish creatures has expanded slightly for this Doom. The classic monsters are back in action, the zombie marines, the gorilla-like imps and the hoof-footed knights of hell. Doom 2 also brings a handful of new monsters to the party, the obese alien Mancubus who is loaded with flamethrowers, we have a cybernetic spider who has some kind of plasma gun. Also, Doom 2 introduces another new boss enemy, another spider similar to the former one but heís a hell of a lot bigger and is equipped with one mother of a chain gun. The Pain Elementals are back in the full swing of things so make sure you donít get your ass toasted by his army of burning lost souls. The cast of creatures is wide and full of variety, so youíll never get tired of fighting the same group of monsters. Make sure that youíre well equipped with ammo before you face this monstrous montage or youíll be seeing red in a matter of minutes.

Luckily for you there are usually plenty of items and power ups lying around the levels to stock up your ammo or heal your bumps and bruises. If youíre in luck you might even find a weapon lying around and if an enemy has a better weapon than you then you can salvage it from their corpse. You can find medikits which boost your health dramatically, you can get armour boosts and stimpacks, which boost your health slightly. Occasionally, you may find a room loaded with small blue vials or helmets, these are health and armour bonuses which increase your health or armour by one percent. If youíre fortunate, you can collect orbs which can increase your health by one hundred percent. These orbs are very rare to find and you can also find different types, some can make you invisible and others can make you immortal. Both are temporary so donít do anything stupid, like try to kill the Cyberdemon with your fist or something., use the powers you gain for the best and donít waste them.

Doom 2 sports some smooth visuals that help in itís overall presentation of atmosphere. Even the characters face, placed at the bottom of the screen is full of personality. Heíll look around the premises and do the peoples eyebrow. When heís pumping monsters full of lead heíll show an expression of insane anger and when he gets injured his face becomes smothered with blood. The monsters move around fast and oddly enough look great from quite far away, the detail on the animation is as smooth silk but when the monsters get all in your face they look a little distorted, but they still look grand. The best creature scene is when they canít take any more from you and they burst open in a bloody mess, it looks yucky but the detail on the blood and guts are quite intricate and relatively gory.

Doom 2ís actual levels themselves are a mixed bag, some of them are visually captivating while others are dark and dull. Certain ones paint a picture of a hellish nightmare, full of satanic emblems, pictures of the demon leader and other devilish paintings. It can be quite freaky on occasion, with dead bodies of dismembered demons lying around and the moan of others from far away, it can be quite chilling. Most of the indoor levels are dull in immediate presentation but when you get into them you will find that they are full of the dark atmosphere that I mentioned a while back, the display may be a little grainy at times but the feel of the level makes it quite eerie. The final level is the pinnacle of fear as it takes the two special Doom 2 atmospheres and meshes them into an all out frenzy. A confrontation with the roots of evil and a huge army of minions are ingredients to one mother of a final battle.

The sound is a major contribution to the gameís atmosphere, the gunshots from enemy fire, the grunts and cries of various monsters are pretty freaky. Occasionally, youíll be walking through a quiet area and youíll hear an almighty scream from some brutish beast which leaps out of a hidden door. Youíll walk through a room and hear the grunts and roars of demons that are plodding around in the next room. It can be quite creepy with all of these sounds coming at you from all directions. When you are hit your man grunts in pain, when he is slain he lets out a horrifically realistic cry. The music can be a mix of fast paced beats which get the action on or it can be slow and chilling. The quality is impressive and although the tunes are no way as memorable as the first level on the original Doom.

So, Doom 2 is a huge improvement over the tacky original. The gameplay follows the same structure which is repeated almost through the entire game, finding keys, guns and ammo, blasting hoards of demons back into hell with a nice selection of guns and power ups. The demons themselves are diverse and original, what would hell be like without its lost souls, minotaurs and zombies? A pretty grim place to live in, thatís what. The gameís graphics and sound are wealth contributors to the different atmospheres that the game creates, they look and sound great despite the fact that they seem so aged nowadays. Doom 2 is the pinnacle of first person shooters and even remains as a high flyer, even against most modern fps games. Play Doom 2 and be sucked into the dark world of horror, action and really brainy spiders.

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Community review by goldenvortex (January 28, 2005)

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