Review: Hey! They used my ex-girlfriend's middle name!
Every fan of a first person shooting game owes a bit of credit to id Software for its creation of Doom on the PC. Titles like Quake, Duke Nukem, and Unreal Tournament have looked at Doom as being the foundation for its genre. While the company's Wolfenstien 3D was the first of its kind three years earlier, 1993 marked the period in which Doom sparked a genre and inspired a multitude of titles during the years that followed. Though Doom won't be the only FPS to grace the Game Boy Advance it is the first one to arrive and is likely to make a large impact on how other GBA titles approach the genre.
Just the idea of having a portable version of Doom will surely excite most players familiar with the original game. Just like in the previous iterations of doom you are the last human on a planet that was rid of all other beings by demons from another world. Now it is your job to blast through 24 levels, taking revenge on the demons with 8 classic weapons, providing a trip down memory lane. In all of its sweet, simple, and violent videogame nature, Doom is back with a vengeance brining classic memories to those who are free to roam with their GBA.
The GBA version of doom is a 98% match of the original game. There have been a few changes here and there, a level or so modified and another two cut out. In addition, the game uses green blood instead of red to instill a less gory atmosphere and confine itself to a Teen ESRB rating. Just like in the first version of the game the visuals are sprite based and grainy. As a trade off, the frame rate seems to stay fairly solid, only dropping when entering more expansive areas. The dynamic lighting effects in the game add a bit of realism to the overall mood of the game, lending a darker, more sinister look to the game. You can turn off the lighting effects and while the textures can look grimy when you do, it does improve the framerate and is an honorable inclusion considering how the Game Boy Advance deals with poorly lit games. The graphics do seem a bit dated when compared to the shooters we see on current systems but the developer, David A. Palmer, did an excellent job fitting everything onto one cart.
The music played throughout Doom suits the mood and dark nature of things with a bunch of underlying beats. Nothing overly impressive is heard but the tunes do a great job in keeping with the feel of the series in general. The sound effects are filled with groans, grunts, and effects that mimic the PC version, yet unlike the original, you won't be able to judge the distance of enemies by the level of emulated noise. However, listening to the snarl that accompanies their death is all the aural satisfaction needed.
Players should find Doom's controls simple making it easy to navigate their marine. Using the L and R buttons to strafe works great and with a little practice and good timing, switching weapons shouldn't be all that difficult for most players. If you do encounter any problems though, players can easily choose a different control scheme to make their life all the more pleasant. It may seem impossible to reach or fire upon enemies located on high platforms due to the fact that Doom doesn't allow players to aim like modern day shooters. However, something along the lines of auto aim comes into play when firing, and the rest is history.
If your friends have Doom as well then you are in for quite a treat. Doom includes a four-player deathmatch mode that is playable via an advance link cable. Although things are certainly fun, things feel dry do to the fact that there is no statistic information available during the game. The ultimate topper is that two buddies can go through the game co-op style, though it's not possible to save during play. While things are bare in what the multiplayer games offer, they do boast a load of excitement and fun, making the entire mode one of the best parts of the game.