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Doom (PC) artwork

Doom (PC) review

"Big ugly monsters live on the moon of Phobos. And they don't like houseguests."

Doom was released in the early ninties for the personal computer, specifically the DOS and Windows operating system. It was ID Software's follow-up to the hit game Wolfenstein 3-D. Wolfenstein was the pioneer of a new genre, the first person shooter, where all the action took place in front of you, as if you were actually there.

However, Doom took the concept started by Wolfenstein and ran with it. Wolfenstein had many quirks and bugs which made it difficult to play. Doom eliminated these, refined the gameplay for a quicker pace, and increased the graphics tenfold.

And now, the mandatory warning. Doom is an ultraviolent game, make no mistake about it. DO NOT PLAY THIS GAME IF YOU'RE SENSITIVE TO GRAPHICAL GORE, BLOOD, AND GUTS. Doom packs them all in abdunance. There is also the fair amount of realistic weaponry, and big ugly monsters, so you might not want Little Johnny and Jane playing this game.

In Doom, you play the role of a marine. You're on the Martian moon of Phobos. After not receiving a signal from a base on the other side, you and your crew investigate. Of course, something goes awry, and the rest of your crew are killed or enslaved by hideous monsters. As far as you can tell, you're the only survivor, and you don't intend on cashing in your chips anytime soon...

None of this is illuminated upon in the game though. The only text in the game is the help file, and small messages after major stages telling you of your accomplishments. Therefore, the story takes a backseat to outright carnage.

Big ugly monsters live on the moon of Phobos. And they don't like houseguests. Ranging from the relatively harmless zombies who can only fire at you with pistols to fifteen feet tall cyberdemons who use rocket launchers, they're creeping and crawling around everywhere. Well, excluding the cyberdemons and spiderminds; these baddies are so big that they can't really hide.

The intelligence of the enemies is decent for early computer. Nothing else released at the time could touch Doom in any aspect of gameplay, and this was true with difficultly also. There's five levels of difficulty, ranging from harmless (almost no enemies) to nightmare (enemies respawn every minute).

The enemies aren't the only factor though. Most of the game takes place on the base of Phobos, but some of it doesn't. At points, you'll be winding through underground passages and mazes, looking for exits and keycards. This is half the challenge - finding the exit, and somehow getting there alive.

You start the game out with a pistol and your fists, but luckily, you can acquire more weapons. Each weapon you acquire has it's strengths and weaknesses; the BFG might be more powerful than the chain gun, but if the monster claws you to death before you can fire, it doesn't do a whole lot of good. The weapon balance is extremely good, so good that it hadn't really been matched until Half-Life was released.

Your life meter consists of one hundred points. Each attack takes off different amounts of health, depending on how hard it hits you, and where it hits you. Also, WHAT hits you plays a big role in the health meter. Shotgun shells hurt a lot less than a two hundred mile per hour rocket. Your health can be replenished by health kits and stimpacks lying around, and combat armor strewn about also helps.

There's a fair amount of special and secret items lying around. Secret rooms in each stage hold extra ammo, armor, items, and new weapons. Some highlights include high powered vision goggles and beserker potions, which allow you to rip enemies into shreds with your bare hands. After you complete a stage, there's even a handy little screen which displays the percentage of monsters killed, secrets found, and items collected. Very helpful.

Once you get used to the first person perspective, Doom becomes easy to play. For the first episode. The second and third episodes take off the kid gloves, and start you out with the REAL challenges. Blasting your way through the twenty-four levels provides much entertainment, as you leave a trail of blood, guts, and gore in your wake.

Doom can be played with more than one player, either over an IPX network, or direct by phone to phone. Phone to phone play can be a bit choppy and notoriously unreliable, so the only good place to play Doom is on a stable IPX network. This means a REAL network, not a simulated online IPX network that some online gaming companies use. The online multiplayer for Doom is not outstanding, and ID Software made leaps and bounds with their next releasal, Quake.

Perhaps the best thing about Doom is its incredible adaptability. There's literally thousands of Doom map files out there, which allow you to play in new levels. Star Wars, South Park, and even Simpsons files are out there, letting you play as characters from the respective shows.

You can also save in the middle of the game, at any point in time. This is a HUGE benefit, as it means you don't have to spend twenty minutes wandering through a stage just to get back to the point where you died. Doom does a lot of the little things right that many of the newer games don't, and this is one of those features.

Graphically, Doom was advanced for its time. It can't compete with current games, of course. Or can it? Some people argue that no game has ever captured the dark and dismal look like Doom. There's a lot of evidence to support this claim; later first person shooters (Blood, Quake, Duke Nukem 3-D) all featured much brighter levels. They also didn't feature the outstanding monster design seen in Doom. The monsters were so nasty that little children got nightmares.

The music is Doom is perfect for Doom. It's gloomy and grim, and combines with the graphics to create the perfect atmosphere for the game. When you're playing Doom, alone, with the lights out, it's hard not to jump when you hear the startled hiss of an imp behind you, and knowing that you only have five health and one clip left.

The sound effects are VITAL for survival in the game. You must be able to hear doors opening, switches turning, and most importantly, an invisible demon stalking behind you, waiting to husk you like an ear of corn. Likewise, it's important to get down the timing of your weaponry.

The system requirements for Doom are low by today's standards. A decent 486 with eight megs of ram and twenty megs of hard drive space is all that's required to play Doom. That's a 486, BEFORE the Pentium processor for all you casual gamers out there. If you can't play Doom on your computer, then I'm surprised that you could even be reading this review...

Doom is more than just a game, it's an experience. Unless you're a Martian demon hellbent on revenge, or a religious fanatic, or an angry parent, Doom provides a great outlet for agression with its high paced and action packed gaming.

sgreenwell's avatar
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)

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