Rip and Tear, Until it is Done

Gabriel Silvas, Columnist

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A pretty horrifying way to start your day would be waking up on a stone slab, chained and stripped down, alarms blaring, the room covered in blood, and a zombie shambling its way towards you ready for breakfast. Normal people would freak out and promptly get devoured, but if you were an ancient warrior hell-bent on destroying every last demon that stood in their way, you would break out of those chains out of sheer rage, grab the zombie, turn its head into salsa by introducing it to the side of your sarcophagus, grab a pistol, and then casually wipe out the rest of the zombies in the room before you even got your armor on. Sure, there’s some ambiguously evil, well-intentioned extremist of a scientist saying that you two should work together for the betterment of all, but who cares about that when there’s a room full of demons to slay and a shotgun to deliver lead-filled justice with? The legions of Hell will throw anything and everything they have to stop the one-man apocalypse that just woke up from their nap, but in the face of one of the most iconic and deadly FPS protagonists in the history of gaming, they do not stand a chance. Welcome back, Doom Guy.

Released in May of 2016, DOOM, also known as DOOM (2016) to differentiate from the original game, is the fifth main installment of the DOOM franchise by id Software. Taking control of the Doom Marine (here known as the Doom Slayer) once more, players trek across the surface of Mars and the catacombs of Hell in order to put a stop to the demonic invasion that has gripped the planet, taking down hundreds of demons as they try stop the Doom Slayer from foiling their ambitions. While DOOM 3 had some more Survival Horror aspects to it compared to the previous games in the series, DOOM (2016) goes back to basics and brings back some old-school FPS mechanics and blends it with modern day controls. Guns never need to be reloaded, the maps are large and hold a lot of secrets, and there are health and armor pickups ensure survival in combat, but there are also weapon mods and customization, special melee kills when enemies are stunned, and an encyclopedia of sorts the holds information on enemies, locations, lore, and other plot elements.

Despite being the trademark silent protagonist one would expect from a 90s FPS protagonist, the Doom Slayer is actually given a lot of characterization that is shown through his own actions and interactions with the environment and other characters. He could hardly care less about the collateral damage caused in his crusade against the demons, he refuses to listen to the technobabble about Argent Energy when he knows just how dangerous it is, and he has absolutely no subtly in any of his tasks, whether it be using a dead body to pass a retinal scan or ripping off a corpse’s arm to go through a biometric scanner. On the other hand, he does have smaller moments that shows that he isn’t just a mindless killing machine. He is visibly enraged when he sees a corpse of a civilian while Hayden is talking about how this was all for the betterment of mankind, he plays with the tiny figures of himself and even gives a fist bump to one, and he does show some care for the only character that is not blatantly using him for their own devices. Doctor Samuel Hayden is the one who revived the Doom Slayer once the demonic invasion began, but for only that purpose, as he still intended to use the Argent Energy within Hell to power humanity despite the insane risks. As cold and pragmatic as Hayden’s reasoning is, he does do everything he can to help the Doom Slayer because he knows that he is the only one who can successfully fight against the demons. Also assisting is VEGA, the A.I. that helps run the UAC facilities on Mars. He runs special combat objectives that rewards the player with additional upgrade tokens and is genuinely assisting the Doom Slayer with no strings attached.

The one behind the newest demonic invasion is Doctor Olivia Pierce, who was driven insane by Argent Energy and driven to worship the demons of Hell. Wishing to ascend to a higher existence, she formed a cult for this exact purpose and tries to stop the Doom Slayer from putting a stop to her ambitions. The demons themselves are all familiar faces from the previous games, which include the rank-and-file Imps, the flying Cacodemons, the elite Barons of Hell, and other iconic enemies. They form the cannon fodder that serve to only slow down the Doom Slayer’s rampage, but commanding them is an unknown being that seems to be the ruler of Hell and is behind Olivia’s own plan. There are only a few bosses, but the one shown off in promotional material is none other than the Cyberdemon, the most fearsome demon that Hell has to offer and one of the most famous enemies in the series. Needless to say, the fight against this monstrosity is an exciting and adrenaline-filled affair.

Harkening back to classic FPS games, the gameplay is fast-paced and relentless, with waves of demons attacking the player in larger areas with bullets and energy bolts flying everywhere. By the end of the scuffle, the room WILL be drenched in blood and otherworldly gore, either by the barrels of the Super Shotgun, the majesty of the BFG-9000 itself, or the Doom Slayer’s own two hands. Whenever enemies get to low-enough health, they become stunned and start flashing blue. When within range, the blue flashing turns orange, indicating the chance for the player to initiate a Glory Kill. These special melee attacks are fast, brutal, and provides health for the Doom Slayer, which is especially useful when near death and there are no health packs around. On top of this, several Rune Trials are hidden throughout the chapters, rewarding special runes that give various abilities when completed. Combined with a number of the other secrets including the mini-Doom Slayer figures, the retro levels, and data logs, there is a lot to be found in the main game.

While the multiplayer is fun enough, a lot of what makes Doom stand out aside from the stellar single player mode is Snap Maps mode. Here, players can make their own maps and customize them however they like, creating truly unique experiences from the mind of the fanbase. Anything from an office simulator and an arcade shooter to emulating Pac-Man has been made, and those are only a few of the more popular creations. Whether they want to make something simple or a bit more complex is up entirely to the player’s imagination. There is a tutorial system to help explain the basic and more advanced uses of Snap Maps, so creators will not be left flailing and trying to figure everything out.

A lot of people thought that DOOM (2016) was going to fail. A lackluster multiplayer beta combined with the game not being released early for critics almost seemed like the death knell for the title. Once it got out there, however, the floodgates of praise began pouring in as DOOM (2016) became an instant success and one of the best games of 2016. While the multiplayer itself is improved compared to the beta, everyone acknowledges that the multiplayer isn’t what the game is about. The stellar single player mode and the imaginative Snap Maps are what make the game an absolute joy to play. The size of the maps and the fast, visceral gameplay brings DOOM back into the public eye after a long absence much like Wolfenstein. With such a fantastic performance, there is no doubt that the ripping and tearing crusade of the Doom Slayer will continue. In the meantime, this is a game that deserves all the hype and your money.

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