There’s no denying it: 1993’s Doom changed the FPS landscape forever with its fully realized world, rapid-fire gunplay, and shameless insistence on gore. DOOM, the series reboot also developed by id Software, hopes to recapture some of the magic of the original game. With its release just a couple of days away, we thought we’d send it to Reboot Camp to see how the new DOOM stacks up to its genre-defining predecessor.
(Note: the original Doom will be stylized as such; the reboot will be stylized in all caps as DOOM.)
Doom has an incredibly straightforward plot. As it lays out in the instruction manual, the player takes control of “one of Earth’s toughest [Marines], hardened in combat and trained for action” who has been sent to prison on Mars following an act of insubordination. While he’s there, a slew of creatures from hell begin to come out of the woodwork from teleportation gates on Mars’ moons. Everyone on the planet is either killed or turned into zombies, except for the player, who travels to Phobos moon to battle through its lunar complexes and reach the gate.
DOOM is an origin story. Also set on Mars, it takes place in the moments prior to the Mars population’s eventual slaughter. Our protagonist is tasked with closing the teleportation gates. Dr. Olivia Pierce, a scientist colluding with the monsters of hell, serves as the game’s primary antagonist.
Doom revolutionized the FPS genre. Players navigate the maze-like corridors of Phobos, searching for an exit room — labeled conveniently with a bright red “EXIT” sign — that leads to the next area. It’s not always so easy, however: there are a number of obstacles that the player has to contend with along the way. Monsters, pits of radioactive wastes, locked doors, and boobytraps all impede the players progress. One of the best things about the original Doom is the tally screen displayed at each level’s end, which counts the number of kills and secrets discovered.
DOOM is decidedly more fast-paced than its progenitor, complete with sprinting, double jumping, and obstacle hurdling. Constant movement is key to survival in this latest iteration. Rather than aping any number of modern military shooters, the gameplay is designed in homage to classic games in the Doom series — there’s no reload mechanic and health does not regenerate. In addition to a wide range of guns and melee weapons, players can now implement “Glory Kills” that kill enemies instantly with an accompanying 3rd person animation, a nod to Brutal Doom.
There are eight weapons in the original Doom. Currently, there are 17 confirmed for the reboot, with all of the original weapons represented. It’s clear which game is the winner here. That said, it all really depends on whether or not splattering an enemy with the iconic BFG9000 is as satisfying in the reboot as it is in the original.
For an FPS that came out in 1993, Doom had a surprising number of enemy types. From the zombie-like Former Humans and Former Sergeants, to hell-spawns like Imps, and Spectres, there are plenty of baddies in the old game to keep you frustrated for hours on end. Each enemy has its own behavior and learning how to deal with large groups of various enemy types is one of the most rewarding parts of the game.
That said, on sheer variety, DOOM has its predecessor beat by a landslide. So far, there are over 25 confirmed enemy types. The game updates monsters from almost every previous game in the series, and even adds newcomers, like the terrifying Cacodemons and something called a “Gore Nest.” That doesn’t sound like very much fun. At least the reboot allows for monster dismemberment!
Dethroning Doom as the ultimate installment of the series is an enormous — potentially impossible — challenge, but I’m nonetheless excited for this reboot. While Doom 3 tried — and succeeded, in my opinion — taking the series in an atmospheric direction, this year’s DOOM seems to be sticking to what made the original games so irresistible. We’ll see what Mars has in store come May 13.
Check out the launch trailer below!