Doom Collector’s Edition
Once upon a time in a faraway land (a few towns away from where I currently live, or a fifteen minute drive), I played Doom almost every chance I could. I played it in the morning and at night, and when I could sneak away from my parents during the daytime (when I was supposed to be outside playing), I played it then too. Now, according to the expectations of many politicians, I should be out shooting up a school yard or committing various other crimes, but here I am, sitting here writing up a video game review.
I’m sure a lot of people picked this up just because it includes a bunch of preview stuff for Doom III. I wasn’t one of these people though. I picked it up because it also includes the full versions of Doom, Doom II, and Final Doom. Running through a plot analysis of these games is pointless. There isn’t much plot and there’s very little to connect any of the collections dozens of levels to one another. You’re a marine, and you’re in charge of saving humanity from demons of hell who’ve taken up residence on Mars in the original Doom. In Doom II, you’re a space marine, and you’re in charge of saving humanity…get the picture?
I suppose this is less of a review of the actual product and more of a review of the durability of the games after all these years. You’re probably wondering if the games are actually still playable, and even more so, enjoyable, even though they’re fairly ancient at this point. The good news is, all of these games work. They play fine in Windows XP, which was probably one of the reasons for this package in the first place.
Starting up any of the games reveals all sorts of new options. For starters, if you had a particular favorite level you don’t need to play all the preceding levels because now you can select it from the startup menu and play from that point. I was able to play my favorite level, Barrels ‘O Fun (level 23 from Doom II) and it was as fun as I remembered. The level starts you up in a series of giant rooms with loads of explosive barrels and some very angry enemies. I think you can figure out what to do from there.
If you want to plow through as fast as you can, you can disable all the enemies from the map. Outside of these upgrades, there isn’t much else to note. Even still, the lack of upgrades really isn’t a negative point against the collection. Sure, some work could have been done to make the games look a little prettier, but it wouldn’t have been dirt cheap then. And yeah, I couldn’t get my mouse to work and was forced to use the keyboard to control everything, but that wasn’t so bad either since they were designed to be played like that anyway. All of these “issues” are all easily ignored because the games are still enjoyable.
Sure, they might not have the features of the latest Unreal Tournament game, and the levels certainly feel small in comparison to some of the massive ones we’ve experienced with games like Painkiller and FarCry, but they’re still fun. Going up against intimidating Hell Knights is still a frantic and entertaining battle. Getting the BFG 9000 and decimating every foe you can with it as it screams out its all-powerful “umph!” is still incredibly exciting.
All of our old favorite enemies have returned too, which means you’ll still be pumping imps full of shotgun shells, filling spiders up with hot plasma, and turning zombies into giblets with your chainsaw. Blood and guts and demonic overtones are all still present and accounted for, but I’ve unfortunately become so desensitized to it all that by now it doesn’t bother me or even cause a second glance. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing…
That’s what the Doom games are all about. You run through levels collecting keycards to open locked doors so you can get to the end of the level and flip a switch. Only the Lord knows what that switch actually does, but it at least sends you onto the next area where you’ll do largely the same thing as you did before. The great part of the series is that it never, ever feels repetitive, even though it most certainly is. The level design is innovative and never feels the same, which is a truly amazing feat considering there are over 100 levels between all of the games in this package. They’ve even preserved the original soundtrack, so all the old tunes you used to rock out to while you played the Doom games are still there to listen to.
So, if you’ve played a little Doom before and want a trip back, buy this collection because it runs very nicely and it’s still damned entertaining. If Doom III was your first time with the franchise, check this one out if you want to see where all your fancy FPS games evolved from. As for me, I’m going back to some barrels and a big ol’ rocket launcher.
Nine out of ten