Party like it’s 1993
Bethesda’s monster-mashing revival is worlds apart from contemporary first-person games – there are no setpieces, stealth bits, puzzles or AI companions. Just a faithful renewal of the 1993 original.
In their exploitation of an inter-dimensional energy source, Mars-based megacorp UAC has opened a portal to Hell, giving nightmarish monsters a shortcut to free food. You’re on a one-man mission to plug it up and clean up the mess. The narrative is fed through loading screen passages, brief holographic records and occasional voices in your ear.
At first you’ve got nothing but a pistol and a gallery of gory “Glory Kills”, shooting foes until they’re staggered before hitting the right button to twist their skulls 180 degrees/sweep their legs and squelch their faces. It’s not long, however, before your combat acumen evolves, as you grab new guns, add secondary fire abilities and slot in armour power-ups. The action is perfectly honed, hectic, and cloud-drift-smooth. You feel like you’re gliding around on a magic carpet. Each environment is self-contained and separated by a loading screen, and while there’s enough space to wander, you’re always pulled towards the fight. These revolve around Gore Nests. Destroying one triggers a shootout against a sudden rush of demons; only by wasting them all can you progress. It’s an experience best taken in several short, sharp doses.
The game’s online offering is impressively full-featured. Calling SnapMap a map-editor would be a disservice to what’s actually a powerful programming tool. There are tutorials for logic editing, how to set win/lose conditions, and training in the use of item spawners. Even if you take one look at some interweaving AI paths and decide the grind isn’t for you, SnapMap will power brilliant user-created content for years.
An overabundance of Glory Kills hampers combat, and the uninspiring grey confines of SnapMap mode prove restrictive. Still, with the icy bloodlust of a polar bear, Doom instantly bridges the generational gap between ’93 and now in a blaze of blood and bullets. It’s an old-school shoot-fest made with new-school expertise. Ben Griffin
Has the icy bloodlust of a polar bear
Look out for random bits of metal rebar in the ground. Hit one and a door opens to reveal a classic slice of ’93-style Doom.
Some people take diets too far.