In the first age, in the first battle, when the shadows first lengthened, one stood. Burned by the embers of Armageddon, his soul blistered by the fires of Hell and tainted beyond ascension, he chose the path of perpetual torment. In his ravenous hatred he found no peace; and with boiling blood he scoured the Umbral Plains seeking vengeance against the dark lords who had wronged him. He wore the crown of the Night Sentinels, and those that tasted the bite of his sword named him… the Doom Slayer.
If you read that in that deep demonic voice, then well done! Here’s to another game review and this time it’s DOOM. A franchise that’s been around since the 1993 (the same year I was born, wow!) and is considered one of the greatest and most influential games series ever. There are also many FPS games that are inspired by DOOM and I like to think that Halo is one of them.
Anyway, this review is for the DOOM game from 2016, the first game I saw and I wish I could remember how I discovered this franchise other than Steam, but no matter, this game is meant to serve as a reboot so let’s get started. As usual, I’m using the same format and there will be spoilers!
The story takes place in the future, where the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC) has a facility on Mars and its two moons where dangerous experiments are conducted such as ones to solve the current energy crisis on Earth by finding new renewable energy. One way this is done is by drawing up what is called Argent Energy from Hell, which of course is inhabited by demons and sometimes they are brought back to study.
But things quickly go haywire when one of the scientists opens a portal to Hell and the demons get loose all over the facilities. That’s where we come in playing as the Doomguy or Doom Slayer, whatever you want to call him, is woken up to stop the demons from wreaking havoc on Mars and close the portal by obtaining an artifact from Hell to do so. I have no idea how he got in that sarcophagus, but it most likely was due to a previous rampage. Straightforward plot but since the universe is new to me, I would always be reading the codex entries I found to learn about the demons and UAC.
The gameplay is where this game reigns supreme. I’ve played FPS’s before but damn I feel like I was born to play this, it’s the total opposite of any FPS game I’ve played! Like in Halo, I always had to proceed with caution depending on the difficulty and shoot from cover, hide to regenerate, and then pop out again when it’s safe.
Not DOOM, it’s a game where you get a load of badass weapons where you don’t have to worry about reloading, and you have to stay on the move to stay alive, no hiding in cover, just keep going because the demons will be everywhere and they will chase you! Shoot em nonstop when they come close; some of them are easy to kill while others have weak spots you have to aim for, and when the moment presents itself, you can do what is called a glory kill on them which feels immensely satisfying and it’s the best way to restore your health when you don’t have time to run and search for a health pack. Then there’s a chainsaw and a BFG (surprise surprise it stands for big freaking gun!) for times when I’m running low on ammo, want the satisfaction of cutting up a demon with it, or when I’m in a tough situation. Above all, I find going into the fray with guns blazing and glory kills is way more fun than hiding in cover all the time!
Not only is the combat fun as hell, but each level has collectibles (that appear in-game as mini Doomguy figurines in different colors) you can find which unlock models of weapons and demons, upgrades to Doomguy’s weapons and armor, and other secrets you can find. So, the levels may be linear, but it’s encouraged that you take alternate paths to find such secrets. There’s even hidden Easter eggs that give you access to classic maps.
Now, this isn’t a super story-rich game so there aren’t many characters. Doomguy is a silent protagonist and you never see his face; however some Easter eggs and memes give you an idea what he looks like. All he wants to do is kill demons and there is obviously a reason behind it. He prefers to also let his fists to the talking too aside from the guns!
There’s also Samuel Hayden, a scientist turned android. When in his human body, he was diagnosed with brain cancer at an inoperable stage, so he found a way to transfer his mind to that of an android so he could stay alive in a way to continue his work. It’s like he’s trying to help, but I feel like he also has his own motives, which I discovered at the very end of the game.
Olivia Pierce is another character that caught my eye and the first thing I thought of her as I played was, this is one crazy woman. There was even a time she was speaking to an unseen demon lord with the same voice from those Argent cells in Hell. Why she wanted to open the portal, I will get to that in just a moment, but she’s obviously done stuff to herself to improve her quality of life but at a cost just like Samuel.
So how do I talk about moments, well I thought that the game was starting to get really good once I got to the level where I had to ascend the Argent Energy Tower to stop Olivia, that’s when the demon fights got harder, (I was playing on the difficulty Hurt Me Plenty, which is considered the “normal” difficulty) as each level would add more demons and tougher ones to fight. It was tricky at first scaling the tower, but whenever there was demons to fight, I heard that badass BFG Division track which motivated me to rampage and slaughter anything that moved!
Of course, the Cyberdemon boss fight was epic as hell, not just the fight itself, but the buildup too, like I started the Lazarus Labs level and Samuel was telling me something about a Helix Stone, deep within the facility. Then, after climbing up a shaft, I spotted something large pass by on the other side of a blurred window, with some strange thumping and I was like, oh shit what was that? I went down into the lower chamber and an enormous stasis pod was broken open which made me wonder even more what it was I saw break out of there. Then I found some codex entries about a demon I had never encountered before. I’m sure I heard that thumping again in other places after that. All of these things, seemed to indicate a warning of what was to come, but I couldn’t think about it for long due to the other fights ahead.
My first thought was, is that the demon I had a dream about, I haven’t seen one in the game yet. By the time I got to the lower levels, I had those warning signs shaking me up because I had not seen or heard any signs of it in a while, and as I made my way further down and both Samuel and the AI VEGA said I would have to “remove” something from the specimen CD587-1. A few more fights and then boom, there came the mighty Cyberdemon roaring in my face and I fired at it with everything it got. It was tricky at first, especially the second round in Hell, but it I enjoyed it a lot in every way. It’s rare that such a monster leaves a big impression on me! Well done Cyberdemon, well done, now can I take you home with me? ❤️
Another level I enjoyed was Necropolis where I finally got to hear that Rip & Tear track as I fought my way through a bloody pit of horror. Sometimes I think Mancubus appear too frequently, but Pinkies are just as annoying. Then there was this lower part with ledges I had to jump across with three Cacodemons coming at me. I never let them get too close because they bite hard.
Fighting the trio of Hellguards felt like the Mantis Lords in Hollow Knight, one attacks first and the other two follow. Oh man, the first one had this firewall-ish attack that was tricky to avoid and drained my health like butter. After that, the other two Hellguards were easy since they didn’t have barriers around them, I would just shoot em with my Chaingun until they both fell and then I ripped out that parasite feeling very satisfied!
You’re one ugly mother. Well, I had no doubt that Olivia would be the antagonist, but I didn’t expect this to happen to her. I did wonder where she went because I had not seen her since she threw herself into the portal at the top of the tower. After I used the Crucible on the final spot to close the portal, I heard her voice and jumped down to the very bottom only to watch her get swallowed up and turn into this spider monster. Its weakness, the brain, duh. But the fight still proved to be a challenge because I also had to watch my footing while shooting at the same time!
Anyway, I learned about Olivia that she had been studying Hell in order to solve the energy crisis on Earth, and that’s where the Argent Energy from Hell comes into play. Her work involved exposure to Hell’s environment and resources left her paralyzed, so she underwent an experimental surgery to regain her ability to walk, but the results left her in extreme pain and she made a pact with a demon lord to aid their invasion in exchange for power and a cure for her illness.
Olivia became obsessed with the desire for power from the demon lord and prior to opening the portal, she began using UAC employees for sacrifices in a demonic-worshipping cult and giving cybernetic augmentations to demons, so there we get our Cyberdemon and the cyber Mancubus.
No one knows what happened to her when she was transported to Hell, but when I found her, she was weakened and perhaps her transformation was the godhood she was promised. That being said, she’s still crazy to me.
I must admit shutting down VEGA just to get to the Well had so many feels to it too.
One last praiseworthy thing for this game is of course, the soundtrack, it rocks! Give it a listen, even if you’ve never picked up a DOOM game in your life, and you’ll see what I mean.
Favorite levels: Foundry, Argent Energy Tower, Kadingir Sanctum, Lazarus Labs, Titan’s Realm, and the Necropolis.
Favorite weapons: Plasma Rifle, Super Shotgun, Chaingun, Gauss Cannon, and BFG-9000
Favorite demons: Hell Razer, Baron of Hell, Summoner, Cacodemon, and Cyberdemon.
All I can say to close this off is this game was so much fun, a brutal challenge with heavy metal, cool demons, and big fucking guns, how could I NOT recommend it?
I can’t wait to start DOOM Eternal next!