Doom is straightforward and simple, but it serves its purpose: to thrust you into increasingly dire scenarios fueled by rage and the spirit of heavy metal.
In Doom, I see a world brimming with demons, explosions, and hellfire. I see familiar faces screaming, with bloodthirsty eyes and unwavering stares. Playing it delivers the same cathartic craze the original Doom and Doom II did in the early ’90s: overwhelmed by the horrors around every turn, but empowered with an impressive collection of weapons at the ready.
But the new Doom is louder and faster than the old model. Its battles ask more of you, and its heavy-metal soundtrack causes your body to quiver from turbulent surges of adrenaline. From the outset two things are made immediately clear: you were born to kill demons, and you’ll do anything it takes. You will wrench countless jaws from their joints and eviscerate the swollen flesh of your enemies between bouts of furious gunfire. These powerful moments carry what, at its core, is a simple game. The cadence of Doom’s campaign is unwavering to the point of predictability as you make multiple round-trips between Mars and the depths of hell. Each location bears its own distinct but static identity, and your return trips inspire more deja vu than surprise as you tread familiar ground on either side of the dimensional portal you’re charged with dismantling.
You rarely take an unexpected turn, but any bothersome feelings this gives you are washed away the moment you enter battle. Doom equips you with a range of weapons that start simple and grow ever more elaborate. Not all are created equal, and there are some you will ignore for their lack of stopping power, but many are formidable, and a near constant stream of upgrades allows you to tweak your favorites in order to give them greater functionality and strength–more cause for attachment to, and wonder in, the power at your fingertips.
This power extends to Glory Kills, Doom’s contextual dismemberment techniques that can be triggered when you cause an enemy to stagger. They are the embodiment of gore fetishization, offering multiple ways to tear enemies into pieces, dependant on your angle of approach. Glory Kills are also strategically valuable. Enemies occasionally drop health items and ammo when felled by a gun, but you’re guaranteed an injection of health when you flay your opponents using your bare hands–and occasionally with a body part of their own. This incentivizes you to rush in even when on the brink, offering hope at the end of a potentially deadly tunnel. Similarly, you also collect a chainsaw that can rip demons in half as a one-hit kill, which causes ammo to spout from their corpses. Your chainsaw requires precious fuel and should be used sparingly, and figuring out the best time to use it becomes a tense mind game of its own.
Playing such dope graphic video games reminds us of the days when Super Mario was the shiznit!! We done come from far…