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Final Doom (Mac) artwork

Final Doom (Mac) review


"Hell, in just one courtyard, you'll first have to deal with a legion of Mancubi while a few Revenants are aiming their missiles at you from higher ground. Finish them off and hit a couple of switches and a bunch of Arachnotrons make their presence felt. Dispose of them and flip a couple more switches to trigger a massive Cacodemon invasion. All in all, this is a very exhilarating series of battles and it's only one tiny part of this massive, combat-heavy level."



The success of Doom and Doom 2 created a monster. Since id Software had the intelligence to grant free access to their source code, fans worldwide jumped at the opportunity to create their own levels -- and some of these people actually had talent! Many of the best fan-made levels combined the excellent design of those present in id's games, while adding an extra degree or two of difficulty to please players who found it simplicity itself to breeze through the originals.

Allowing fans to make their own creations with their code was smart of id, but finding a way to profit off it was pure genius -- as evidenced by the existence of Final Doom. A collection of two 32-level episodes using the Doom 2 engine, this computer game was created by fans and marketed by id. Just like that, id Software was able to release a new Doom game with minimal effort on their part AND a bunch of amateur designers were able to get a foot in the door to becoming legitimate names in the gaming industry (as evidenced by Dario Casali's eventual work with the Half Life games, among other projects).

In reality, the only thing keeping this from being a perfect marriage was that neither of the two episodes featured in Final Doom come across as particularly iconic. They're both fun and definitely more challenging than Doom 2, but they lack that special "something" that made that game so amazing.

TnT: Evilution was created by a group of designers known as TeamTNT and was the closest of the two episodes to Doom 2 in spirit. There are tons of lesser monsters, such as imps, demons and various former humans, and most levels put more of an emphasis on sneaky traps and intricate level design than in ramping up the difficulty with huge fights with powerhouse foes. But it's not Doom 2.

It's really not easy to put into words how Evilution pales in comparison to Doom 2, but since this is a review, I guess I'm obligated to try. The episode is fun, but there's just a certain lack of charm to it. It reminded me of Doom 2 more than the other episode, but in a way that just made me nostalgic for that game. While there were a few levels I'd deem memorable, it seemed like too many were little more than big thrown-together mazes loaded with monsters. I'd go down corridor upon corridor blasting baddies and collecting goodies until I found the exit and move on to the next stage. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Occasionally, I'd go through a level that stuck out in my mind, such as the two bonus ones, especially PHARAOH. This Egyptian-themed stage would have to rate very highly in my favorite Doom levels of all time. It's long and packed with great fights from beginning to end. Ammo is plentiful, but you'll need all of it, as all your favorite beasties seemingly are around every corner. Hell, in just one courtyard, you'll first have to deal with a legion of Mancubi while a few Revenants are aiming their missiles at you from higher ground. Finish them off and hit a couple of switches and a bunch of Arachnotrons make their presence felt. Dispose of them and flip a couple more switches to trigger a massive Cacodemon invasion. All in all, this is a very exhilarating series of battles and it's only one tiny part of this massive, combat-heavy level. The other bonus stage, CARIBBEAN, doesn't reach its lofty standards, but still is better than most in this episode with its love of large-scale battles in and around some Hellspawn-infested waterfront property.

Those stages were designed by Dario and Milo Casali, who also created the other episode: The Plutonia Experiment. Unfortunately, that episode doesn't hold up to the lofty standards of those two Evilution levels. Part of this might be because some of what made a level like PHARAOH so special was how different it was from the rest of that episode, so the thrill of big fights would be diluted by essentially having an entire episode revolve around them. And part likely is simply because those two levels were superior to just about anything in Plutonia.

The main flaw here is similar to the main flaw of Evilution -- many of the levels just don't stand out from one another. The fights are bigger and the settings tend to be more open, but there just wasn't much that jumped out as me as cool. Excessive, yes. Cool, no. A couple of levels such as HUNTED, where you're dropped into a maze with "only" a bunch of the ever-so-deadly Arch-Viles between you and escape, stick out in my mind as innovative and entertaining. Most of this episode, though, seems content to toss you into one big fight after another until the thrill is gone.

When I look at the sum of Final Doom's parts, I see a few great levels, a bunch of decent ones and a lot that were just there. There's really nothing wrong with either episode, but neither is able to live up to the standards of Doom 2. Both are well-made and have their share of fun levels, but when it comes to truly awesome Doom-ing, there are both better licensed and fan-made games using the engine.

Rating: 6/10

overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (October 09, 2009)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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