Doom revives original's shoot-em-up spirit

Expect wave after wave of relentless, aggressive and increasingly powerful enemies to come at your character.
Expect wave after wave of relentless, aggressive and increasingly powerful enemies to come at your character.PHOTO: BETHESDA SOFTWORKS LLC

Doom's plot is just an excuse for you to shoot everything in sight to get to the end

I nearly vomited in my first hour playing Doom. My heart was pounding and my palms were sweaty.

But then again, it has been years since I played a first-person shooter that feels as frenetic as Doom.

Wave after wave of relentless, aggressive and increasingly powerful enemies would come at my character, known as the Doom Marine.

It begins like this almost every time. Doors would be barred. A percussive, industrial metal soundtrack would start in the background. And then the demons of Hell would teleport into the closed arena.

Adding to the feeling of being hunted, ammunition is scarce. There are few health packs to keep my character alive. And, to regain health, I had to execute ultra-violent melee moves, dubbed Glory Kill, to finish off enemies that are near death.

It all feels a little overwhelming. But, as it turns out, the cure for the motion sickness that was making me nauseous is to buckle down and get used to the pace of the game. In other words, play more Doom.

Your character, too, gets more powerful as you progress.

  • 8/10


    PRICE: $69.90 (PC, version tested), $79.90 (PlayStation 4), $79.90 (Xbox One)

    GENRE: First-person shooter

New weapons will be found, including recurring ones such as the BFG and the Super Shotgun, while existing ones can be upgraded to unlock alternating fire modes.

Armour improves and your health bar increases.

Complete special challenges, such as killing a certain number of enemies within a limited time, for runes that enhance your abilities.

While the new Doom is the fourth game in the series, it is actually a reboot of the original 1993 game. Also known as Doom, it was one of the earliest first-person shooters and was hugely influential in the genre.

Doom's plot is broadly similar to the 1993 game. The legions of Hell are let loose after scientists on Mars open a portal to the nether realms in a bid to harness Hell's energy to solve Earth's energy crisis - literally, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

But the plot is merely an excuse for you to shoot everything in sight. Doom is so old-school that it is refreshing. There are no hostages to rescue, no collateral damage to avoid, no dialogue options and just a single ending.

Like the original game, you find colour-coded keys to open doors, which lets you progress to the next area, get trapped with a whole bunch of demons, and kill them. Rinse and repeat.

Near the end, which took me around 20 hours to get to, the game felt like a grind.

It probably did not help that even at the Medium difficulty level, I was dying quite often and had to restart from the last save point.

Thankfully, to break the monotony, there were a number of boss fights featuring a single powerful enemy with special abilities.

After the adrenaline-fuelled action of the single-player campaign, Doom's multiplayer is a major letdown. Players start off with a handful of weapons chosen beforehand.

They can change the selected weapons after they are defeated, but the full arsenal is unavailable in multiplayer. Classic game modes, such as Capture the Flag, are also missing.

The matchmaking seems iffy, too. It took a while to find sufficient players for a team deathmatch session. I gave up trying other game modes because I could not find other players even after a 10-minute wait.

•Verdict: Doom strips the first-person shooter down to its essence and brilliantly recaptures the frenzied chaos of the original 1993 game.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2016, with the headline 'Doom revives original's shoot-em-up spirit'. Print Edition | Subscribe