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Doom (PC) artwork

Doom (PC) review

"Just as you feel you have a chance to overcome these stacked odds, an unholy screams emits, filling the room with a further sense of dread. Because it's then you know that further hostiles exist. And they are right behind you!"

It's almost like they wanted to die....again.

With the vibrant retort of the shotgun still echoing in your ears, the last of the zombie marines falls in a pixelated puddle of gore. These pistol-wielding freaks were all that stood between you and the silver space-age door that you've managed to obtain a keycard for earlier in your travels. This level has proved to be a cakewalk so far, and whereas a veteran Doom player would find this suspicious and worrying, you're pumped up on a killing spree, thirsting to thrust your chainsaw into the ribcage of some fireball-spewing imps some more. It's with confidence you open the door, which slides open with a hydraulic hiss.

You find yourself the only occupant of a cavernous and circular room. The only things of note within are the level's exit at the far end and the altar in the middle containing yet another keycard, one perhaps needed to open the door that will lead to your escape. It's times like these that distinguish between a dead Doom marine and a live one.

You need to always remember: iD Software hates you. They want to see you dead.

Those that have been lulled into a false sense of security will merrily skip toward the keycard, already thinking ahead to the next level, unaware of the fact they are about to die. Several sadistic traps could be laid out here to catch the unwary in a rather fatal fashion: the altar could prove to be false and plunge you into a skin-melting river of acid; the keycard presented could prove to have the wrong colour coding, ensuring you need undertake further exploration to achieve your escape; the room could fill with angry hellspawns at a moment's notice. Or, because iD hate you, all three.

Maybe you'll be saved by quick reflexes and manage to escape the drop into one of the many radioactive streams below and consider yourself lucky to do so, but you would then have to contend with the veritable cornucopia of fireballs that has suddenly flooded the screen. Spinning yourself on the spot will show a depressing number of imps suspended above you in now-opened hidey-holes situated high in the once-smooth wall. You now stand in the middle of a shooting gallery, and presenting these pyromaniacs with a stationary target promises more than a slight singeing.

So you move. The shotgun is replaced with the rapid-firing chaingun as you fling bullets at your aggressors while trying to dodge the worst of their onslaught. A lot of bullets are wasted as you strafe away from fireblasts and your targets fall out of your aim, but that's the price of carelessness. Just as you feel you have a chance to overcome these stacked odds, an unholy screams emits, filling the room with a further sense of dread. Because it's then you know that further hostiles exist. And they are right behind you!

More secret doors have slid open, but this time they have done so on floor levels. From one of these doors comes a swarm of Lost Souls, pesky flying skulls that swoop towards you with unpure intentions. From the other comes a stampede of Bull Demons, physically dominating beasts that see you as nothing more than snack sized. These new threats surge towards you with impossible speed, biting and tearing chunks out of your life. It's then you start to realise that you probably won't make it out alive.

So the sound of more doors opening is just insulting. Again, the bastards have got behind you.

Cacodemons emerge form their hiding places. Huge, bulbous spheres of decaying flesh that float a few feet from the ground and belch hellfire at you like it's going out of fashion. You strafe, you dodge, you let loose an onslaught of rockets and plasma fire to try and dissuade the hordes, but the numbers are too great. The bloodied mug staring back at you from your Heads-Up display panel, which records your health via its graphic deterioration, finally drops its gaze in defeat. You slump to the floor whilst the armies of hell turn on each other in a blood-lusting frenzy. They've won; you've lost.

A clever player would have seen that the exit didn't even require a keycard and walked unharmed past the altar and onto the next stage.

Doom isn't content to just wear you down with sheer numbers. Make no mistake, the constant waves of demons, zombies and hellspawns are in themselves quite the challenge, but the bigger threat is in how iD simply hates you. They want you to die frustrated; they want you to fall into tricks, traps and cunning designs. The first Doom does this well; the second does it flawlessly, but even if it doesn't have the sparkle of its sequel, it's still a perfect slice of insanity laced with murderous intentions. Kill or be killed; rack up the body count! It's you or them.

But watch your back -- there is always something wicked behind you.

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (November 18, 2005)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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