The original Doom is, put quite simply, one of the greatest games of all times. It’s seen as the one that started it all. The original first person shooter. Ok, we all know it’s not. Wolfenstein 3D holds that title, but Doom took everything Wolfenstein had and built upon it to make the genre defining experience. It did away with the concept of Nazi occupied Germany and replaced it with a satanic sci-fi feeling, pulling the genre in an entirely new direction. Once you step away from historical facts based in real life scenarios, like Hitler being fused with a machine to create a monstrous Robo-Hitler, the flood gates are then opened to do whatever the hell you want. That’s exactly what the team of ID Software did with Doom. They created a savage world in which high tech weaponry and demonic entities could co-exist... Thankfully not in peace.
As the FPS genre was defined by this amazing piece of work, it has unfortunately found itself lost in recent years. The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 were absolutely smothered in first person shooters that all tastes somewhat mediocre. Nothing had really recaptured that magic of 90s’ FPS games. Titles like Duke Nukem 3D, Exhumed/Power Slave, and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter were created with such heart and imagination that they still stand up today as phenomenal shooters. Aliens, demons, and mystical monsters of all varieties made gaming exciting at the time. Interesting weaponry kept the genre from becoming stale as more and more games were released. It almost seems criminal that this incredible style of gameplay fell into the realms of mundane as what seemed like an endless amount of grey and brown military shooters lined the shelves of game shops the world over. It felt like there was no artistic flare, no real love put into these games when compared to the earlier titles. It all seemed a little dead and I personally lost interest in FPS as a whole for a very long time because of it. I watched my once favourite genre disappear into the rabbit hole of boring shit.
However, it seems that this stint of recycled shooters and annual releases may be coming to an end. As that alcoholic blonde guy in How I Met Your Mother would say, “Daddy’s home!” And it seems he’s brought a BFG 9,000 with him. ID Software have finally unleashed official footage of the next game in the Doom series. After years of speculation and placing bets, fans of the franchise received that fabled look at what’s in store for the upcoming game. There was gore, there was frantic action and there was the return of the motherfucking chainsaw. We saw demons having their jaws broken right before our very eyes as the speedy players character leapt over railings and landed on the chests of his enemies. It was everything I could have asked for and more! The footage seemed dark, threatening and called for the player to constantly fight for their life against unthinkable odds. Outmanned? Perhaps, but never outgunned as the world witnessed the carnage unfolding before them.
After an ungodly amount of respawning, Doom finally began to make sense to me. Once I understood it, the game became fluid, swift, and brutal. However, this did not make it an easy transition. Doom was a game that lived up to its name. It was built with the player’s death in mind. It cast me into this hellish world and didn’t expect me to the ever see the light of day again. The corridors that I traversed were a darkened hybrid of cybernetic and demonic. Some were laden with living walls, covered in flesh. Others were comprised of towers of screens staring back at me, encased in cold metal. There was an unbearable feeling of loneliness, coupled with a hint of claustrophia and unending waves of panic. I was utterly alone in this hostile environment, except for the savage natives therein... All of which wanted me dead. It was similar to being at school, except I in Doom, I was armed to the fucking teeth!
One of the most memorable things about my first outings with Doom was just how unforgiving it was. There weren’t three lives and a possibility of earning additional continues. No, there was just me, my gun, and my inevitable demise. The enemies here were nothing short of terrifying. Sure there were a handful of unimaginative grunts wielding shotguns and pistols to blow through. Those weren’t too dangerous and never really made me worry too much. One well placed helping of buckshot could easily floor a few of them simultaneously. However, when they called up their inhuman buddies, then danger levels really started to peak. Hordes of deformed pink skinned animals would rush at me, biting and snarling, unable to contain their need to feast on my flesh. Armies of imps lobbed balls of fire from a distance until they got close enough to tear at me with their claws. More horrifying still were the floating gelatinous blobs which brandished lines of razor sharp teeth across grotesquely large mouths. They actually looked quite similar to Boyzone's Stephen Gately, if he was an airborne cycloptic ball.
Although Doom may have felt like an endurance test at first, teaching me a whole new genre by way of beating me into submission, it ultimately made a better gamer out of me. It’s one of my favourite games for that reason and a million others. I can now flow through the game like a destructive river. Knowing myself, knowing my surroundings and knowing my enemies turned the hunted into the hunter. Being sure to have the right tools for each job and using them with an uncanny amount of accuracy simply thrills me each time I load the game up. I’ve bought the original Doom and its first sequel for pretty much every console I own. It’s my go-to game, and now, twenty years later, it’s still as much fun as it was when I first rented it. I’ve learned a lot about myself through playing Doom. It’s amazing what you can discover about your own personality when faced with extreme odds. It’s come to my attention that I’m a strategic kind of guy, spending time setting up traps and ensuring that everything is in place before opening a door to reveal another room filled to the brim with evil beasts. I’ve learned the art of patience, as I lure these animals one by one to the slaughter. It calls for a huge amount of calculations in a minimalist amount of time to stay alive, but it’s something that I kept with me through every game I’ve played since. It’s important to know who you are, and I can be as aggressive as a trapped rat with a plasma gun or as silent as the air itself. If nothing else, I’ve learned one thing that is as important in my day to day life now as it was back when I was a kid in the 90s. Advice that I’d give my son on his wedding day, and may even be the last words to escape my mouth on my death bed- Demons have to chew through your chainsaw before they can get to you!
Spud sits down with two of the most influential game developers in the business- John Romero (Doom) and Brenda Romero (Wizardry)- to chat about reboots, video game violence, gaming history and a whole lot more.
Spud dives into the First Person Shooter universe, to discuss the connection between players and lead characters in everything from Doom to Call of Duty.
War! Huh! Ugh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!
Spud discusses the extreme differences between actual war and that which modern war games portray.