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Doom (Game Boy Advance) artwork

Doom (Game Boy Advance) review

"Probably the first aspect of this game you'll notice are the graphics. You'd also probably be wondering about them the most--Are they as good as the PC version? Are they up to the standard? And, sad as it may be, the answer is no. Let's face it--Having those kind of graphics on a handheld game would seem impossible, and really..."


Being one of the first FPS games ever, Doom is thought by many as one of the best in it's genre. I'm not different--When this game came out Six or so years ago, I played it all the time. I thought it was great, even though the graphics are now dated, at the time, it was great. Hearing about a portable version of this game coming to GBA got me quite excited--I could think of nothing cooler than to have the ability to carry one of the all time best PC games around with me, in my pocket. Naturally, I was a bit skeptical when I reviews declared it as a near-perfect port of the great PC game, but really, that's not so far from the truth.


Probably the first aspect of this game you'll notice are the graphics. You'd also probably be wondering about them the most--Are they as good as the PC version? Are they up to the standard? And, sad as it may be, the answer is no. Let's face it--Having those kind of graphics on a handheld game would seem impossible, and really, it pretty much is, for the time being. The GBA has neither the power, or the resolution on it's screen to dish out those kind of visuals. Nonetheless, the graphics ARE good, and are very playable.

Sure, it may look highly pixelated in parts, but in the heat of the gameplay, you don't notice that much. The game is all nicely textured, and basically looks like a version of Doom done in much lower resolution, with not as many colors. The animation works fairly well, and you'll recognize all the weapons from the original Doom. The only real aspect in terms of graphics that was changed from the PC game is the presence of red blood. The developers changed the blood to green, I suppose to make the game fit a ''T'' rating rather than an ''M'' rating to help their image, and to have it appeal to a wider audience. Ah, well, no big deal.

The lighting is also quite exceptional in the GBA port of Doom. There are two modes: Static Lighting and Dynamic Lighting. Dynamic lighting is a realistic lighting system which is high-quality, and gives a nice atmosphere. Static Lighting is basically just lighting which is equal around the level, and isn't great quality, but is fairly easy to see. Dynamic lighting is darker, and harder to see, but better quality, and static lighting is easier to see, but lower-quality. There is also a brightness control. With all this room for customization, the game is actually very easy to see. Quite surprising for a GBA game.


The object is the same as usual: Play through about 30 levels of chunk-blowing goodness. Your job is to tear a bunch of aliens to pieces while collecting 7 different weapons, and a bunch of different card keys. The concept is classic, and definitely fun.

However, there are a couple things that the GBA version changed from the PC version. The most major is the unability to save anywhere--Now you can only save at the end/beginning of a level, which can get pretty annoying, considereing levels can take a while to complete. And the other is how bodies no longer lie around throughout the level--Now they disappear shortly after falling on the ground. I suppose this is probably because the GBA cart doesn't have the storage space to allow a bunch of data to be just sitting around in a level, but it can get a bit annoying, especially because seeing the bodies was an easy way of telling if you'd been in that room or not. Anyway, the gameplay was barely changed at all, and plays pretty much exactly the same as the PC version--It's the same game.


The sound effects are actually quite good. All the gun sounds, monster groans, and explosion effects all sound pretty much the same, just a bit lower in quality. I was still impressed with the overall aural experience of the game. Barrels still make that cool sound when you blow them up, and everything is just so familiar. Unfortunately, the music from the original was not kept. In it's place Activision has filled the game with very low-quality, obnoxious, annoying tunes, which really don't suit the game, but you can just turn those off if they really get to you.


The way Doom GBA controls is probably the most flawed aspect of the game. While there may not have been an easier way to do this on GBA, unfortunately, the game is a bit of a pain to control. L and R work well for strafing, but the normal D-Pad just doesn't seem like the most efficient way to control your character. He seems to often ''slide'' around the level, making it difficult to judge dodging enemies, etc... And also, sometimes the gun doesn't shoot quite where you want it to. Often, I could've sworn I shot an enemy, but really, the game says I missed. Another little issue is the button combination required to change weapons. You actually have to hold down L and R, and up. L and R being the strafing buttons, it's kind of hard to change weapons in the heat of battle without messing up someone, and you might also find yourself changing weapons when you're really just trying to dodge enemy attacks.

Overall, however, the game is quite playable, and the somewhat flawed control isn't all that noticeable during gameplay.


You have to go to mars and kill some aliens, or something... I dunno. It's stupid, and really plays no part in the game itself. I wouldn't worry about trying to keep up with the practically absent storyline.


Let's face it: Doom is one of the greatest PC games of all time. Not only did it publicize and improve upon the FPS genre that Wolfenstein practically created, but it was also groundbreaking in terms of graphics, gameplay, scope, challenge, and depth. Never before had a player been able to see so much blood in so little time. Unfortunately, it's six years since that time, and games with graphics 100-times better have been shown to us. FPS' with more weapons, more enemies, more levels, more everything. But still, the privilege of being able to play this PC milestone on a handheld system is quite amazing, and while a lot of the initial craze has rubbed off, the game is still a helluva lot of fun to play.

Admittedly, It can get tedious after a while, and the graphics are definitely outdated by today's standards, but it's all here! All of the original levels, secrets, weapons, enemies, sounds, and features from the PC game have all been packed into the tiny cartridge. Any Doom fan should rejoice at the thought of playing this old favorite wherever they go.


Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 7/10
Gameplay: 9.10
Story: 5/10
Control: 8.5/10
Replay: 8.5/10

ender's avatar
Staff review by James Gordon (Date unavailable)

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