The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

DOOM: Passing the Game’s Halfway Point

“So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.” —Corrax Entry 7:17

Unsurprisingly, there are a total of thirteen missions in DOOM. Thirteen has long been considered to be an unlucky number, and triskaidekaphobia is quite prevalent, to the extent where buildings omit their thirteenth floor and folks sometimes avoid registering for license plates ending in -13. Although not quite as intimidating as 666, 13 is nonetheless associated with ill-tidings, and consequently, it is perhaps quite appropriate that DOOM opts to go with thirteen missions in its campaign. Having just ripped and torn my way through the Kadingir Sanctum of Hell itself, I’ve now made my way to what is, more or less, the halfway point of DOOM, with the intent of closing off the portal to Hell and stopping Olivia Pierce. Fighting through the hoardes of Hell’s dæmons through the UAC facility, the Doom Slayer continues to find new weapons to aid in his one-man crusade, eventually reaching Hell. Along the way, the Doom Slayer learns more about the UAC and Samuel Hayden’s objectives, as well as how Olivia Pierce’s fascination with Hell and its constructs resulted in this calamity to begin with. Having spent ten hours in the campaign thus far, DOOM never ceases to entertain and impress with its high-pace action and constant incentives for players to explore.

At the forefront of the list of reasons to explore the levels in DOOM is the fact that there are field drones scattered about the more quiet places of each level. These field drones provide players with weapon modifications for the weapons they’ve already found, adding a substantial firepower and versatility advantage to the Doom Slayer’s arsenal. In my case, I’ve chosen to unlock the explosive shots for the combat shotgun, transforming it into a makeshift grenade launcher that is remarkably powerful for weakening tougher opponents. For the heavy assault rifle, the micro-missiles likewise add explosive capabilities to a weapon whose rate of fire can result in a devastating combination. For both of these modifications, I’ve unlocked their respective masteries to further enhance their explosive output. I also have the charged burst for the combat shotgun and the tactical scope for the heavy assault rifle, but these were unlocked simply because I found the field drones before I had any other weapons. I’ve also chosen the stun bomb for the plasma rifle: it’s able to knock out the Possessed Security, whose shields can absorb a fantastic amount of damage and render them a frustrating enemy to take on in great numbers. For the rocket launcher, the lock-on burst is what I’ve gone with so far, being quite useful for ensuring three rockets hit more mobile targets, and the Guass cannon’s siege mode is a monstrosity that deals tremendous damage. Taken together, these mods add additional depth and usefulness to each weapon in the game, encouraging players to play strategically to each weapon’s strengths and also time their application of a weapon mod to maximise combat efficacy.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • One of my coworkers mentioned that the level design in DOOM is what would happen if a fifteen-year-old began sketching their opinions of what a world being consumed by Hell would look like while being bored by a high school class. Everything is over-the-top and absolutely marvelous to behold. DOOM is rifle with Satanic imagery: there are pentagrams, candle-lit alters and sacrificial corpses littering the UAC facility.

  • The over-the-top nature in DOOM contributes to its immense fun factor, and in contrast with modern military shooters, DOOM rewards players generously for walking into the midst of combat and manually tearing apart opponents to recover health and ammunition. Despite its high pacing, DOOM offers players much more control over how they’d like to play the game: in between combat, there’s always an opportunity to explore maps in more detail.

  • I’ve heard varying opinions pertaining to whether or not the remote detonation or lock-on burst modification is superior for the rocket launcher. As is evident in this here image, I’ve elected to pick the lock-on burst, which allows the rocket launcher to lock onto and fire three consecutive rockets at an opponent for massive damage. It’s a powerful fire-and-forget solution useful for situations where movement is essential to survival, and while remote detonation could be useful in giving rockets indirect fire capabilities, I’m generally up in the dæmons’ faces, so I don’t see myself as making too much use of that mod for now.

  • The double-barreled shotgun makes a glorious return. I found it as a secret during the fourth mission, and have since upgraded it so it reloads faster. Should I choose to add the uranium rounds, I’ll be able to unlock the weapon mastery for it that doubles its ammunition efficiency: each shot would only require one round, but this does not compromise its firepower. In the upper right hand corner are combat efficiency points: wiping out dæmons earns one more points that can be used to further improve a weapon modification.

  • It takes nine weapon modification points to fully upgrade one mod, and once all upgrades are obtained, there is an additional challenge to unlock the weapon mastery. The mastery confers nigh-ridiculous firepower for a given weapon, and perhaps the most blatant instance of excessive firepower can be found in the heavy assault rifle’s micro-missiles: the mastery gives the mod the ability to fire as many missiles as they please (until ammunition is depleted). Here, I cross the Argent facility’s bridge, a section of the map that reminds me greatly of the bridge missions in both Half-Life 2 and Wolfenstein: The New Order.

  • Save the pistol, every weapon in DOOM has the potential to turn a target into chunks of meat. I usually try to go for glory kills where possible, although when confronted with multiple dæmons, I will usually keep back and make use of a combination of grenades and directed fire to gain some breathing room. After encountering my first argent cell in the third mission, I’ve since alternated between upgrading my health and ammunition capacity. Once those are maxed out, I will focus on upgrading my armour.

  • The mancubus is a grotesque, lumbering dæmons armed with a pair of biological cannons capable of projecting a noxious stream of super-heated fluid at their enemies. The official documentation states that these weapons are purely biological in nature, whereas in the original DOOM, they were merely flamethrowers. Capable of absorbing a tremendous amount of damage, these brutes are best dealt with from mid-to-long range. One of the glory kills scored against a mancubus is quite macabre: the Doom Slayer will rip out one of its organs and stick said organ down its throat, causing it to explode.

  • The quad damage power-up is absolutely vicious: as per its name, it allows players to deal four times as much damage as they otherwise would, allowing for normally-tricky opponents to be shot down very quickly. A single rocket salvo with quad damage enabled is enough to rend a mancubus, and I’ve upgraded my Praetor suit so that a blast wave is issued whenever a power-up’s duration has passed.

  • The environments in DOOM never cease to amaze me, and here, I climb up the Argent tower. I’ve not attempted it, but those conduits for the argent energy are probably one-hit kills. Owing to carelessness, I did fall from this height and watched as the Doom Slayer’s limbs fell off from the fall. There are some parts of DOOM where this becomes quite amusing: when falling into a “bottomless” chasm, the Doom Slayer’s limbs will explode off him even if the actual fall was only around 10 meters or so.

  • The fourth mission’s single objective is to “kill Olivia Pierce”, but given Samuel Hayden’s dialogues, it would seem that the game would end once that objective is done. As such, when the end of this mission is reached, rather than fulfilling the initial assignment, something surprising happens; Olivia opens a portal, ending the mission. On a completely unrelated note, I wonder who’s reading this post and wondering how someone who greatly enjoyed GochiUsa could find equal enjoyment in something like DOOM 😛

  • So, here I am, in the Kadingir Sanctum of Hell. The name itself sounds like something taken out of a high fantasy epic of the sort that one of my friends from high school were particularly fond of reading. He was very much interested in things like WarcraftWarHammer  and Lord of The Rings; we spent numerous math classes talking about these elements while working on the day’s assignments (and my math instructor allowed it simply because I wasn’t in too poor a shape with math back then).

  • At one point, my friend grew weary of not having anyone to talk to about Half-Life 2‘s episodes, and so, lent me both games so that I could play through them and share with him my experiences. At the time, only a handful of my classmates had a computer that could run the game, and my then-new Dell XPS 420 proved up to the task: previously, the game’s requirements looked quite steep, requiring a 3.4 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM and a GT 6800. After I beat both games, we recounted the achievements and challenges encountered, wondering when either Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2 Episode 3 would come out.

  • I’ve not conversed with this friend since I was in my undergraduate program a few years ago, and I’m hoping he’s doing alright. Back in DOOM, I wield a Gauss cannon against a Hell Knight. Firing a flechette at extremely high velocities, the Gauss cannon deals massive damage against opponents. It shares an ammunition pool as the plasma rifle, and as a semi-automatic, precision weapon, it is effective at longer ranges.

  • The Hellscape of Kadingir Sanctum reminds me of the more fantastical (and uninhabitable) regions of Azeroth: some regions, such as the Blasted Lands, Burning Steppes and Searing Gorge come to mind, although the floating geometries also bear some resemblance to places in Outland. I’ve not set foot in Azeroth since I was in high school, when another one of my friends hosted his own private World of Warcraft server. In DOOM, however, the objective isn’t to complete quests and do raid instances: it’s merely to maximise the amount of destruction as possible en route to the portal that will take the Doom Slayer back to Mars.

  • The cacodemons make a return from the original DOOM: these floating dæmons bear much resemblance to their original incarnations, although their ranged attack (now described as a toxic, charged ball of sludge rather than being plasma) now blurs the Doom Slayer’s vision for a few moments, enough for the dæmon to close the distance and utilise its biting attack. The projectiles the cacodemons hurl are slow and can be dodged, so in conjunction with the rocket launcher or gauss cannon, they can be easily dispatched.

  • Bottomless micro-missiles can be abused to deal massive damage in a very short period of time, and while this can chew through ammunition very quickly, the damage dealt is unreal. With the narrative in DOOM as it stands now, I posit that the UAC were the forerunners who utilised argent energy to render Mars habitable. After the Doom Slayer defeats everything Hell throws at him, colonists from Manhome begin arriving to populate Mars, which subsequently becomes renamed Aqua as argent energy provides enough power to terraform the planet, maintain a gravity more similar to that of Earth’s, and help the planet retain a breathable atmosphere.

  • With this in mind, it’s not particularly implausible that ARIA is the result of the Doom Slayer’s heroics, allowing Akari and her friends to experience the peacefulness of life in Neo Venezia. Some of Aqua’s more supernatural phenomenon can therefore be explained as a result of remnant argent energy artefacts. Halfway through DOOM, I fight the Baron of Hell for the first time. Ever-faithful to the original DOOM incarnation, these Minotaur-like dæmons are among the toughest of all enemies. Besides possessing a powerful ranged attacking taking the form of a verdant hell-energy fireball, these beasts are highly swift in their movements, and dying to them results in the Doom Slayer’s lower body being torn off, before the screen goes black as his head is crushed.

  • The siege mode modification for the Gauss cannon allows the weapon to fire a devastating beam that can punch through multiple targets. Its tradeoff is that it freezes player movement while it’s charging, but with the weapon mastery, siege mode is said to transform the Gauss cannon into a miniature BFG. Notions of “siege mode” are not new, and I recall a friend playing through Starcraft with siege tanks, right before a Halo 2 LAN party was set to begin. The siege tanks have a mode where they can increase their attack range and damage at the expense of movement, and I wonder if DOOM‘s incarnation of siege mode was inspired by Starcraft.

  • The floating islands and forbidding-looking environment reminds me of World of Warcraft‘s Hellfire Peninsula to some extent: I first visited the location shortly after beginning my final year of high school and was overwhelmed with the intimidating atmosphere, having spent most of my time on Azeroth previously. However, as I quested more frequently here, that sense gradually faded. I’m certain that, were the friend who had lent me both Half-Life 2 episodes to still be in contact with me, he’d definitely enjoy the atmospherics and gameplay of DOOM.

  • With the sixth mission now complete, I return to the UAC facility on Mars to continue seeking the means to shut down the portal to Hell. This post thus draws to a close, and in the near future, I will be aiming to get a finale post for New Game! out, as well as one for Rick and Morty‘s first season; the latter, I’m finally finished after some two-and-a-half years. I’ve heard that a third season is coming out, so I’ll see about watching the second season at a faster rate than I did for the first season. Once October rolls around, I’ll also be rolling out a talk for Amanchu!, which I’m enjoying immensely — both the New Game! and Amanchu! posts will be extended to thirty images each, since I’ve got quite a bit to discuss for each anime.

The further I progress in DOOM, I more I realise that DOOM handles similarly to the Halo ports for PC. I’ve gone back and played some Halo 2 Vista for PC, finding the controls were more or less identical for both titles. Both games also feature memorable campaign missions, each of which are easily differentiable from one another. With this in mind, DOOM handles significantly more smoothly, and even eight hours after my initial experience, there are still so many moments that amaze and astound, whether it be the appearance of familiar enemies from the original DOOM (and watching the different death animations that result should I fall to them), or watching all of the different graphics effects when entering a new area. I’ve still not seen the chain gun or BFG 9000 at this point in the game; similarly, the pinkie dæmons have yet to make an appearance, but my instincts tell me those additions won’t be too far off, and I’m excited to continue moving through DOOM to see what other cool features are in the game. In fact, at my current rate of progression, I might be able to finsih this game just in time for Thanksgiving Weekend.

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