Doom II: Hell on Earth (PC) review
"The Space Marines were never trained to battle the endless streams of hellspawn pouring through the interdimensional rift inside their Mars base. Doom told of exactly that. You're the last one, the very last Space Marine standing between the people of Earth and eternal damnation. What felt like a massacre before was merely a warm-up to nothing less than a full-blown war between good (you) and evil (them)! It's Hell on Earth, literally. "
The Space Marines were never trained to battle the endless streams of hellspawn pouring through the interdimensional rift inside their Mars base. Doom told of exactly that. You're the last one, the very last Space Marine standing between the people of Earth and eternal damnation. What felt like a massacre before was merely a warm-up to nothing less than a full-blown war between good (you) and evil (them)! It's Hell on Earth, literally.
We pick up immediately after the "conclusion" of Doom, which offered no closure whatsoever. The Mars Base is still overrun with demons of every shape and size, and all you have is a weak pea-shooter. A small platoon of zombie soldiers grunt and groan as you gun them down like tin cans. Down a corridor lined with more shambling zombie Marines lies a big open area lined with towering earthen walls, and it's entirely unpopulated.
That is, until the precise moment when you think you're safe. Suddenly several glowing fireballs WHOOSH past you from every imaginable direction. Hidden panels in the wall are now open, and out comes an army of ravenous Imps with another furious salvo to char your ass to a fine crisp. Even your handsome mug, located on the HUD, has an "Oh shi" look on it. The Imps can withstand several direct hits from your pea shooter, and don't get too close lest you hear the lovely sound of rending man-flesh and realize it's your own. Yeah, they have nice sharp claws too.
Of course you could just run through the open "EXIT" door, but who the hell would want to do that when they have a shiny chainsaw primed and ready, always rumbling, always hungry for more demon meat? There's the eternal dilemma always hanging over your head in Doom II: you can always take an easy way out, but killing demons is just so much fucking fun. Instead of dreading big empty open spaces, you will RELISH the anticipation of slaughtering another relentless wave of monsters.
Into the next gauntlet of death our hardy Space Marine goes, with something akin to glee. This makes perfect sense because the shotgun lying beside a twice-dead Sergeant inspires nothing more than a massive shit-eating Cheshire Cat grin on his face -- and yours too. Zombies can now be mowed down like oderiferous weeds, not to mention the sound of a Doom II shotgun blast, for whatever reason, is so damned satisfying. The paltry weapon arsenal from Doom is hardly improved upon here. You've still got your chaingun, your plasma rifle, and your big fuckin' BFG 2000 keeping you company. The token improvement is a brilliant one: SUPER SHOTGUN. This beauty can blast a snorting Imp into the wall, along with the two others unlucky enough to be standing nearby!
Yet, merely a couple levels later, as you find yourself navigating sewage channels 'neath the foreboding future-gothic architecture, you'll get bloodied up by invisible bull demons and downright malevolent Chaingunners -- muscular goat demons boasting firepower that'd give Rambo a hard-on. Somehow, Doom II manages to up the ante tenfold with every level: more demons, smarter demons, demons who'll tear you several new assholes and ream you Cannibal Holocaust-style without batting a crusty, gore-spattered eyelash. Even Mr. Handsome HUD Face doesn't look so smug after a lanky Revenant's gooey, burning projectile is introduced to his forehead.
Death doesn't mean defeat. Shot to pieces by a leering 8-legged Cyberdemon while trapped in a painfully slow-moving elevator-cum-tomb? No problemo. In a split-second you're back in the game, now even more determined to blast your enemies inside-out and backwards. Granted, enemies only have one death animation, usually only taking up a handful of frames. Things look horribly pixelated from close-up. It's almost beyond explanation as to why wanton demon slaying is still so enthralling, 12 years after this game was first unleashed on the public like legal cocaine.
Maybe it's the driving hard-edged music, aurally encouraging you to kick ass at whatever cost, which does not suffer at all from 1994's technical limitations. It could be the sheer epic scale of some of these battles. On Ultra-Violence level (you are a complete and utter waste of Carbon should you NOT play on it), you will literally be swarmed with enemies in every single area, and the sight of 20 Imps, hulking hundreds of yards away, launching a fireball barrage at you, is nothing less than spine-tingling. So is the total satisfaction of surveying a room of dead and decaying foes, to drive them before you, to hear the lamentations of their women.
This is best in life.
No other game contains so much old-school demon blasting thrills for your buck, complete with nigh-invincible bosses that are cheaper than a night with your mom. Oh yes, there will be lots and lots of blood. Bar none, this is the pinnacle of id Software's FPS library, and it will doubtless be topped.
I think if my id were given a human personality and a face to match, it would look something like this gung-ho Space Marine.
Featured community review by johnny_cairo (March 06, 2006)
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