DOOM Is a Bloody, Balls to the Wall Video Game Triumph

The new reboot of the acclaimed first-person shooter franchise is a hell of a lot of fun. “>

To hell with horrorfor DOOM, Bethesda Studios eschews the terrifying jump-scare tactics of 2004s awesome series reboot Doom 3, instead opting to go back to its original roots (1993s Doom and 1994s Doom II: Hell on Earth) to deliver a balls to the wall first-person-shooter extravaganza. Its a retro-reinvention that marries the best of all worlds, providing incessant, chaotic old-school combat with the graphics and controls that only a modern console (or PC) can afford. Think of it as the franchises Aliens to Doom 3s Alien. And prepare to be wracked with all-out anarchic anxiety.

The path to brutal satanic triumph wasnt always preordained for DOOM, which endured a rocky path to store shelves.

Initial production began all the way back in 2008, and first produced a game that developer Id Software and publisher Bethesda Softworks decided, in 2011, wasnt up to snuffleading them to start again from scratch. Considering this troubled history, its no surprise the title has been awaited with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, which is why the kick-ass quality of the game is a revelation and, also, something of a welcome relief.

On a narrative and aesthetic level, DOOM is both familiar and unique. As in its prior iterations, its story is simple: youre a faceless, nameless supersuited soldier whos tasked with closing a portal to Hell on Mars that, it turns out, was openedin order to harness the Devils unlimited powerby evil scientists working for intergalactic terraforming conglomerate Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC). At least until it inevitably sends you to Hades itself, the action primarily takes place in and directly outside UACs Red Planet loading docks, laboratories, medical stations, and control bases. These locales have been ravaged by hordes of invading demons, and thus recall the style of the Alien quadrilogy and its legion of sci-fi imitators: dark corridors marked by fire, steam, and flickering lights; steel rooms full of grated staircases, giant crates, and explosive canisters; industrial doorways locked by translucent keypads; and floors, walls, and ceilings coated in blood and guts.

Awakening on a stone tablet thats been the recent site of a satanic ritual (the giveaway: the candles and pentagrams embellishing the floor), your protagonist is immediately thrust into demon-killing duty, along the way acquiring ancient armor and a host of weapons that include not only standard firearms (pistol, shotgun, assault rifle) but also the series favorite tools of choice, a chainsaw and the BFG (i.e. the Big Fucking Gun). Like your suit, these armaments can be upgraded along the way, though DOOM keeps that easy and intuitiveas it does a new melee system that allows players to dispatch stunned enemies with close-range finishing moves that produce extra health rewards, and are (in keeping with DOOMs trademark gruesomeness) extremely graphic in nature.

More Halo than Call of Duty in its emphasis on simple gameplay over upgrade customization and tactical warfare strategy, DOOM is a gleeful kill-em-saga whose attitude is epitomized by recurring one-against-dozens skirmishes whose pace is as blistering as the speed-metal guitars and bass that begin to blare when things get truly hectic. In that regard, the game deliberately targets fans of its first two seminal outingsthe veritable godfathers of first-person shooters, thanks to then-cutting-edge visuals and an action-horror attitude that helped push games into Mortal Kombat-and-beyond ultra-violence.

DOOM superbly channels its predecessors chainsaw-crazy spirit throughout its lengthy campaign, which keeps things fresh by shrewdly doling out enhanced abilities, and pitting one against more fearsome foes (fireball-hurling Imps, gargantuan Hell Knights, levitating Summoners dual-cannoned Revenants) in wave after exhausting, nerve-fraying wave. The titles frantic pace also benefits its multiplayer, where solo deathmatches and team-based competitionsagain, resembling the look and feel of Halos fantastic online modesbecome blistering free-for-alls. Id and Bethesda have put considerable effort into making the game feel simultaneously fleet and muscular, and the brisk, unpredictable craziness of its large-scale battles (including timed campaign-interlude challenges in which you have to use a single weapon to slaughter foes) makes up for any minor AI shortcomings.

Read more: