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Score: 100%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: id Software
Media: Download/1
Players: 1; 2 - 12 (Online)
Genre: Action/ First Person Shooter/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

How do you reboot a great original? Ask id Software. They’ve done it. They’ve taken their decades-old franchise and faithfully retooled it for the modern era. The result is one of the most confident, polished, complete, and pure first-person shooters in years.

Doom's presentation is pitch perfect, and it all starts with the visuals. id Tech 6 is certainly a beauty. Enemy design is almost completely faithful to the original, with only necessary concessions being made for the sake of diversity. Imps, Cacodemons, Lost Souls, and Pinkys look like natural translations from their previous two-dimensional incarnations. The Hell Knight is the only one who looks notably different from its previous manifestation, but it's a welcome change from the palette-swapped Baron of Hell it used to be. Animation work is astonishingly good; the speed at which you move is frequently matched by the demonic horrors you face off against. Compound that with their combined repertoire of offensive abilities, and you've got the foundation for a fantastic combat system. Oh, and did I mention that all of this runs at 1080p and 60 frames per second? Because it does.

Doom boasts one of the best soundtracks in recent memory. Mick Gordon's hyperaggressive metal/electronic/trance hybrid tracks perfectly match the game's outlandish, in-your-face attitude. Filthy bass drops, pinch harmonics, blast beats, and choral interludes abound, and you wouldn't want anything else accompanying the on-screen insanity. And then we have the sound effects, which are universally excellent. Demons screech with unearthly rage, and their bodies squish and break with a varied selection of appropriately disgusting noises. Gunplay is impactful as hell, and that can't be accomplished without the sonic arts; every blast from a shotgun, every roar of the chainsaw, and every single magnificent explosion sounds exactly as it should. Awesome.


The Union Aerospace Corporation operates under the assumption that harnessing the power of Hell is how you solve an energy crisis. Tens of thousands of these idiots are summarily transformed and/or slaughtered on their Mars installation. You wake up on a slab and proceed to viciously murder everything in sight.

Anyone who calls out Doom for not having much of a narrative is not only comically missing the point, but possibly a moron. Doom’s contempt for this modern trend is positively withering, and most of that comes from its staunch refusal to develop its main character. He has no name. He has no voice. He has a suit of armor. He has a bunch of guns. And he exists for one purpose: to destroy. Put an individual like this in contact with some ludicrous UAC propaganda and a deathly serious robotic steward, and you end up with a subtly satirical, genuinely hilarious, wonderfully self-aware experience that practically shoots the finger to every high-minded shooter on the market. Doom opts instead to grab you by the short hairs and redline through an insanely violent, magnificently cathartic heavy metal odyssey.

A marvel of excellent game design, Doom's Campaign is one of the finest ever created for a shooter. Between its exquisite, labyrinthine levels that encourage (and occasionally require) exploration, the breakneck, almost suicidal pacing of its combat encounters, and the sheer audacity of its script (such that it is), it's bursting at the seams with pure awesomeness at every possible turn.

Doom's multiplayer suite plays it safe. Some are going to take that as a negative, but I personally do not. We haven't seen an old-school arena shooter in years, and this game confidently fills that void. Besides, the twitchy skill-based combat is so exciting that it's easy to forgive the otherwise standard offering of modes on hand.

None of the multiplayer modes in Doom are particularly new in concept or design, save for one particular twist (which I'll explain later). That being said, they are invariably engaging regardless of what you pick. id Software pioneered Deathmatch, and its vanilla team-based variant is replete with simple, freewheeling pleasures. We've seen Domination in just about every contemporary shooter up to this point, and it appears here, as well. Warpath is like King of the Hill, only the Hill moves around the map at a regular pace. Soul Harvest is essentially Kill Confirmed, where you have to collect the souls dropped by fallen enemies while collecting the ones left behind by fallen teammates. Freeze Tag and Clan Arena are more tactical in nature, and require fast teamwork and smart strategizing in order to succeed.

In terms of player progression in multiplayer, id delivers the right scheme for doling out rewards. There are no special enhancements to unlock for the weapons; the playing field is level from the get go. Instead, most of Doom's experience-related rewards are cosmetic and novelty items: armor pieces, colors, patterns, and my personal favorite, taunts. Hitting the max level and increasing your Echelon rank are actions that only earn bragging rights. Hack modules are the only rewards that have a tangible effect on gameplay. You're allowed to take four into battle, each of which provides its own benefit upon use. These can boost your attributes and experience gain, increase your situational awareness, and allow you to see certain enemies and allies through walls.

id could have left well enough alone with Doom's amazingly fun Campaign and solid multiplayer, but they sweeten the pot even further with SnapMap, a fully-featured platform for user-created content. Think of it as LittleBigPlanet with good gameplay. Using a simple interface, players can not only build and customize their own maps from the ground up, but create their own gameplay. Creations can be published, and anyone with a copy of the game can try it out or even download it for personal editing. There's already a wealth of experiences to be had in SnapMap, and while you may have to spend some time separating the wheat from the chaff, it's good fun -- especially when you find a good cooperative map.


Doom does not screw around. It’s the Ninja Gaiden of shooters, and I can’t think of any higher praise in terms of its challenge factor. Part of the mania comes from the fact that all of your enemies have absolutely no sense of self preservation. Most of them rush you with wild abandon, with no concern for their physical well-being. If they're able to take the tiniest bite out of your health pool before being dismembered and reduced to a pile of giblets, they consider it a fair trade. Most of the time, you'll contend with demons by the tens and twenties, and all of them want you dead.

If you have no experience with shooters of Doom's like, your experience will likely involve an adjustment period. Taking cover is never a viable strategy; a slow Doomguy is a dead Doomguy. Health does not regenerate; instead, you must actively seek it out, by looking for pickups, or more commonly, Glory Killing the nearest enemy. Its systems ensure that the experience balances precise, fast-paced twitch shooting with on-the-fly tactics. Staying on top of your health, armor, and ammunition is quintessentially Doom, and I'm happy to say that id Software certainly remembers this.

Game Mechanics:

Run. Jump. Shoot. Punch. Stomp. Grind. Rip. Tear. Doom distills the first-person shooter down to its purest components and perfects each and every one of them before taking any modern touches into consideration. Despite lugging around a small armory, you are incredibly light on your feet. Doom is fast. Not only can you circle strafe and juke with ease, but you can briefly take to the air using special thrust boots. Mantling is also a breeze; if your jump takes you near a precipice, you will haul yourself up without breaking a sweat.

Implements of destruction are at the core of every Doom game, this one included. However, this one is absolutely brimming with opportunities for you to upgrade your weaponry and passive abilities. All of these are reserved for the many secret areas. Yeah, remember those? They used to be a staple of shooters until they devolved into on-rail shooting galleries and chase-the-waypoint level structures. Every level in Doom has a clear beginning and a clear endpoint. And between the two, id has filled its spaces with collectibles and upgrades. Finding a deceased Elite Guard rewards you with a token, with which you can upgrade your Praetor Suit. Locating special Rune Trial stones gives you the opportunity to complete challenges and earn slottable abilities. Argent Cells provide permanent upgrades to your health, armor, and ammunition pools. Best of all are the Field Drones, each of which allows you to select one of two upgradeable mods for all but a few of the game's weapons. And let's not forget that this is an old-school arena shooter; most arenas feature a hidden power-up. All the classics (and a couple new ones) are here, and include the likes of Berserk, Invisibility, Invulnerability, and Quad Damage.

It wouldn't be a Doom game without a chainsaw, and its application here, while contrived, is kind of brilliant. In this game, the chainsaw is an instant kill weapon that requires fuel. Depending on the enemy you choose to dispatch, it will consume a certain amount of fuel. However, regardless of the kind of enemy that finds itself on the business end, it will spew a metric ton of universal ammunition upon being cleft in twain... or however many pieces. So this also factors into the quick thinking required during hectic gunfights. Do you consume the maximum amount of fuel to saw open a Mancubus' belly or do you conserve your fuel and bisect the nearest Imp?

Perhaps the only truly modern addition to the core of Doom's combat is the inclusion of Glory Kills. Staggering an enemy opens the door for one of many possible context-sensitive melee fatalities. Pulling one of these off results in a grisly display of blood, bone, and viscera, a quick infusion of health, and occasionally some armor and ammunition. Surprisingly, these kills don't interrupt the lightning-fast flow of combat, and instead contribute to the franchise's tactical aspect. Regardless of how nimbly you traverse the environment and how accurately you fire your weapons, you will inevitably lose health. If you find yourself in a fix, you'll catch yourself beelining for the nearest Imp or Possessed Worker to earn a quick Glory Kill and some health.

Remember that twist I mentioned in the multiplayer explanation? It's a hell of a twist, at that. During most multiplayer matches (with the exception of a few modes), a Demon Rune will spawn in the field. The first person to touch it transforms into one of four demons: the rocket-powered Revenant, the hulking Baron of Hell, the tank-like Mancubus, or the lithely lethal Prowler. Each demon has its own strengths and weaknesses, but when utilized properly, one of these beasts can turn the tide of battle. If a demon is killed before the timer runs out, the Rune is dropped and temporarily locked out to the team that possessed it last. And the vicious cycle continues.

Power weapons generally spawn when Demon Runes appear; these can act as either a countermeasure to an enemy demon or just another method in steamrolling the opposition. The Gauss Cannon, the Chainsaw, and the legendary BFG-9000 are capable of insta-killing most marines, but they usually require more than one use to take down a demon.

Doom is easily the most fun I've had with a shooter in years. It's so confident and surprisingly clever about itself that it's hard not to be taken in by its charms. It aspires only to entertain, and it does so with aplomb, perhaps better than any other shooter to date. On top of that, it's absolutely stuffed with content, especially when compared with most other modern shooters, which seem eager to withhold content for future releases as downloadable content. Ultimately, id Software's latest is exactly what the shooter genre needs. And if its success paves the way for the rebirth of franchises like Quake and Hexen, then I'd say that fans of classic first person games have a lot to look forward to.

Doom may have its detractors. They are all wrong.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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