Doom (Game Boy Advance) review
"It's a future day. As a Marine for Union Aerospace Corporation, or UAC, you're no pushover. You walk with purpose wherever you go, flexing as many muscles as possible. On the job one day, you hear a rumor that the Mars moonbase is having problems. This is somewhat surprising, as ever since its establishment, it had been surprisingly well-kept with few if any issues. As you hear more of the story, you realize that this is serious. Marines and scientists at the base are being slaughtered by hellis..."
It's a future day. As a Marine for Union Aerospace Corporation, or UAC, you're no pushover. You walk with purpose wherever you go, flexing as many muscles as possible. On the job one day, you hear a rumor that the Mars moonbase is having problems. This is somewhat surprising, as ever since its establishment, it had been surprisingly well-kept with few if any issues. As you hear more of the story, you realize that this is serious. Marines and scientists at the base are being slaughtered by hellish demons. As the last standing Marine it's your job to kick some demon ass all the way back to Hell, before they get to Earth.
Regardless of whether or not you consider Hell opening up on Mars a realistic situation, you have to admit that this is a badass story. It sets the bar up high for this FPS that has been portrayed on nearly every system. And with the story set, you are dropped without a word of advice into an empty room. After the immediate paranoia that sends you spinning around to every corner of the room wears off, you realize that you're alone. The game tells you nothing, offering no help. You're on your own, and opening the first door requires a decent amount of courage. And you'd better have some if you plan on charging headfirst into a pit of Lucifer's buddies armed with only your pistol and your badass ripped muscles.
When you meet the first baddies, you'll realize that they too are armed with pistols. Zombie like, they shoot your way and walk towards you. Shooting is horizontal, and there is no way to aim up or down. So from far away if you're up above or below one of the fiends, you'll automatically shoot at them if you're turned there way. Apparently the bullets somehow come out of your gun and change direction to go up or down to meet the demons. It's also notable that it's quite often hard to tell if you're really hitting them or not. Sometimes you can see some corny green blood coming out of them, other times they flinch slightly, but from far away you can't really tell, so you just have to keep shooting.
The first level is pretty straight-forward, offering little but a couple of beasts to shoot at to warm up your trigger finger. As you progress, not only will the enemies get bigger and scarier and the weapons get stronger and stronger, but levels will get longer and more labyrinthine. After the first level I was shown my stats, getting a high percentage of kills and items, but there was a third category too: secrets. I got a zero on that. Flatline. How was I supposed to know then that there are secret walls everywhere? In the first level they just lead you to some cool items, but later on they become a huge part of beating a level. Finding the secret walls and areas not only lead to rewarding bonuses, but also are necessary at times to beat the level.
I think it's this aspect of the game that is most overlooked. Yeah, there's plenty of cool hellions to shoot at, but the levels are also incredibly well designed. Sometimes finding a secret switch can open a door that leads to amassive secret area loaded with powerful weapons and power-ups. Later in the game the hardest aspect of the game often shifts from killing all the beasts to figuring out how to get out of the level. Warps are introduced later on that send you to completely different areas, and keys are also vital in the game. Finding the right key to open the door to go forward isn't always easy, and sometimes requires sacrificing health. There's also the fact that giant oceans of some kind of lava or demonic goo are everywhere, and stepping in them hurts you.
With secret areas abound, and keys hidden everywhere, the game's maps offer a lot. It's really this part of the game that is its greatest positive. The weapons and power-ups are cool, and some of the demons are pretty creepy, but without the great level design, this game would be nothing. So in the end, does it live up to the story it starts out with? Well, almost. As I mentioned, the way shooting works is just stupid sometimes, and looks wrong graphically. Not being able to look up or down gets annoying. The demonic grunts and yells are creepy enough, but music is boring and pointless. The game comes up short in these areas, but to couterbalance has excellent level and weapon design. A solid GBA port of this demonic FPS.
Community review by iamtheprodigy (August 05, 2007)
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