Doom: Still Awesome

Posted: May 30, 2011 in Game Review
Tags: , , , , ,

So here’s the story, I was on newgrounds and I found out someone had created Doom in Flash. Now its not like they just made it from scratch and tried to make it as close to the original as possible. If they are to be trusted, they took actual Doom source code and converted it into flash action script. As far as I know, all of the textures, enemies, and level design is exactly the same as in the original Doom. It might not be, so if something I’m saying here doesn’t sound quite right, it might be because it wasn’t a perfect copy of the original, but I do believe this is a faithful copy of the original.

The other problem is that it is 0nly the first third of the game. Since the beginning of the game is free, its perfectly okay to make a free flash game to let people play it, but the other two parts must be paid for. Right now I’m still trying to see if there’s somewhere to get the other two parts of Doom, but so far no luck. It may very well be impossible. I do think that playing the first third of the game does give me the ability to make some observations about it though.

First of all, the graphics. They are pretty horrible and it bothered me at first, but after playing for awhile I was having too much fun to even care about graphics. If you are trying to make a game that immerses the player in a new world, than good graphics are something to strive for, but for a game like this, immersion isn’t really a big deal. If you can tell who the enemies are and shoot them, then the graphics are good enough.

Another interesting thing about this game is that it doesn’t use the mouse at all. WASD for movement and the left and right arrow keys to look left and right. Which brings up another point, there is no way to look up and down. No mouse for aiming and no looking up and down at all, might seem like it would be quite bad for an FPS, but it turns out to be okay, because Doom is quite generous with the aiming. If a guy is sorta close to the middle of the screen when you shoot, you’ll hit him.

You might be wondering, whats the point of playing an FPS if the aiming is so dumbed down. Well there is another area that Doom does quite well, which I think makes up for this. Movement. Most FPSs I’ve played recently go something like this, you and the enemies sit behind cover taking turns taking potshots at each other until they all die. Since the player has regenerating health and the enemies don’t it would take amazing levels of incompetence to actually be killed. After killing all the enemies you can run to the next cover an repeat this process.

So clearly movement is not very important in most modern FPSs, but in doom it actually is. Many enemies will shoot fireballs or other projectiles that you can avoid if you react quick enough. Rather than staying behind cover, moving around is the key to beating your enemies. I actually wish more games were like this.

Level design is pretty good. If I had one complaint about this game it would be that sometimes I have to flip a switch and backtrack through an area to find the door that just opened, but its not too bad. It certainly isn’t Halo levels of backtracking so I can’t complain too much. For the most part, you keep moving to new areas without a lot of backtracking.

Another good thing about the level design, is that it isn’t as linear as some modern shooters. There are branches off the main path that have things like, health, armor, guns, ammo. Its no surprise that after FPS games widely adopted regenerating health that they also became incredibly linear. Without the  need to find health and armor, there’s really no need to have anything but one long, linear path to go down. I actually quite enjoy looking through the levels to find all the health, armor and ammo I can. Its much more fun than just advancing through a linear shooter.

Weapons. Sadly I didn’t play through the entire game so I didn’t get to use all the weapons. I understand this game has a BFG, which sounds pretty cool. Of the guns I did use, there’s a pistol, which is nothing too special, but its gets the job done against the weaker enemies. There’s the shotgun, which is awesome. Before I said the game was quite generous with the aiming, if the enemies are sorta close to the middle of the screen you’ll hit them. This goes double for the shotgun. The spread of fire is ridiculous and it does a good amount of damage. Sometimes I could kill multiple people with one shotgun blast if they were standing close enough together. And lastly there’s the chaingun, which uses the same ammo as the pistol, and for all I know, it does the same damage per shot as the pistol, it just fires a lot faster. Very useful against tough enemies.

This game had quite a few types of enemies, and if I’d played all the way through, their probably would have been more. Of the ones I did see, their were some that looked human, zombies maybe? There were some that didn’t look human, but were humanoid and brown. They shot fireballs and were a bit tougher than the human enemies. There were some sort of rather large monstrosity, that I can’t really properly describe, but they tend to use melee so its best to keep moving when they are around. And most surprising was that there was an invisible enemy that can barely be seen, except that there’s blurriness wherever they go.

At the end of the section I played there was an epic boss battle. Two really tough guys shot fireballs at me. It actually wasn’t too bad. They had a ton of health and it took most of my ammo to kill them, but there was plenty of room to move around, and they only hit me a few times with the fireballs.

Overall I’d say this is a good game. The title is slightly exaggerated, its not really awesome, but it is quite fun. Many modern FPS developers could take a lesson from Doom.

  1. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I’d say that it’s an interesting experience to play a game made “way back then”, even if you actually played it at the time. The devs were definitely less forgiving in those days and I imagine for many players some titles took a lot more time and a lot more attempts to finish, some perhaps never did. It kinda changed as the games became more and more a mainstream thing.

    Other titles that come to my mind would be Strife, which was interesting in that it was pretty storydriven (as opposed to Dooms “enemies out there, KIIIILL!!!”, and, now that I think about it, the good old Duke Nukem 3D for level design, most of the levels at least had some idea behind them rather than just another set of corridors.

    Also, not sure if it’s up your alley but as for Doom being one of those games to live eternal there is this little bit of inspiration:

    • maxff says:

      Of course as I said, I only played the first third of the game, so I can’t really comment on the difficulty. I died a few times, and got the sense that it was getting harder and harder, so the parts I didn’t play were probably more unforgiving than what I did play. I do realize that older games are generally more difficult than newer ones, having played and beaten the original Super Mario Bros, which is quite difficult.

      I found a place online to play strife, so tanks for suggesting it. It seems pretty awesome and so far the biggest difference between it and doom, is basic dialogue trees to talk to NPCs.

      As for that link, roguelikes aren’t really my thing. I don’t know what to say except that I almost enjoy roguelikes but can’t quite seem to get into them. It is interesting to see that doom is still inspiring other works though.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Yeah, I get it roguelikes aren’t everybody’s thing, pretty high frustration value and even for many people who are retro ASCII is either confusing or going too far in the simplification of things. Just thought I’d mention it as a proof of the original doom still being remembered.

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