The Infinite Zenith

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

DOOM: Encountering the Cyberdemon, A review and reflection at the ¾ mark

“If so powerful you’ve become, why leave?” —Master Yoda, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

After returning to the UAC facility on Mars, the Doom Slayer meets with Samuel Hayden and reluctantly agrees to work with him to shut down the portal to Hell. Picking up the BFG 9000 along the way, the Doom Slayer continues ripping and tearing his way through the UAC facility, eventually reaching a vast chamber containing the Cyberdemon. Despite defeating it once and stripping it of its Argent Accumulator, the Cyberdemon is resurrected, forcing the Doom Slayer to kill it a second time. With the successful defeat of the Cyberdemon and subsequent unlocking of the achievement, titled “Shoot it until it does”, I’m now three-quarters of the way through DOOM. It’s been a fantastic journey thus far, and the boss fight with the Cyberdemon brough back memories of old-school boss fights from classic games. According to the in-game documentation, the Cyberdemon is the synthesis of a Baalgar dæmon and an Argent Accumulator. With cybernetic implants and a UAC rocket launcher grafted into its left arm, the end result in a leviathan so powerful that the UAC struggled to contain it. Like most of the other dæmons encountered, this incarnation’s combat characteristics is remarkably similar to the Cyberdemon of classic DOOM, bearing a vast reserve of health that allows it to absorb BFG shots. While it attacks with a random pattern in the UAC facility, the Cyberdemon’s behaviours take on a more recognisable pattern once it is resurrected. In this long battle, I died several times, but as per Andrew Stine’s suggestion, the most effective strategy of besting the Cyberdemon is indeed to continue shooting at it until its health is depleted.

With the Doom Slayer’s base arsenal now fully unlocked, there seems to be no shortage of combat options in DOOM now: I add to my arsenal the chaingun, a powerful (if ammunition-consuming) weapon, and the BFG 9000, a legendary weapon so powerful it can clear out entire rooms of non-boss dæmons in a single shot. The weapons diversity and ability to carry all of them all at once has led me to internally debate, which weapon would be the most entertaining to field for the next section? With the ammunition scarcity for the BFG 9000, I opted to conserve on the rounds and utilise my fully-upgraded Gauss cannon, for which I’ve attained the mastery for: the AOE shot and decreased firing rate, plus the mobile siege mastery makes the Gauss cannon a miniature BFG 9000. I’ve further unlocked some of DOOM‘s more impressive runes, allowing the Doom Slayer to demonstrate the true extent of his combat capabilities. I’ve unlocked the “The Rich Get Richer” rune, which confers unlimited ammunition provided the player has more than 100 points of armour (it took me an inordinate number of attempts to finish this one, since I’m not good at all with remote detonation). In conjunction with “Armoured Offensive” and “Vacuum”, I’ve been able to enjoy the powers of limitless ammunition for the chaingun. The other runes can also be fun to utilise, as well: I’ve made use of the improved air mobility to move around and reach secrets more easily, even finding a hidden area that allows players to unlock classic DOOM levels for play. Altogether, DOOM appears to have struck a superb balance between gameplay, exploration and options, and I’m looking forwards to whatever lies ahead now.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I’m progressing through DOOM at a moderate pace, far quicker than I had been for Alien: Isolation; I’m not sure why WordPress has decided that DOOM is somehow related to Sword Art Online, but with this post, hopefully, DOOM posts will be related to other DOOM posts. Returning to Mars, the UAC facility has fallen into ruin as dæmons begin overrunning the facility. This level is essentially a damaged version of the fourth mission, with different areas open, reminding me of the backtracking missions seen in Halo CE and 007 Nightfire.

  • It turns out that there was a chaingun in Kadingir Sanctum, but I did not locate the secret to pick it up earlier. Fortunately, there’s one set on a turret at the UAC facility; in its base form, it must spin up before it can fire at full speed, and while it takes a while to reach full speed (and firing rate), the rounds it fire deal tremendous damage. Without any mods, I typically do not use the chaingun, since its lower starting firing rate is a bit of a detriment.

  • The Pinkie dæmons in original DOOM were merely nuisances, but in the modern DOOM, they are incredibly resilient to damage and require an inordinate amount of ammunition to take down from the front. However, their backsides are lightly armoured and when shot at from here, a Pinkie will go down in a few shots. Owing to their tendency to charge players, one can jump out of the way at the last second and shoot them, or else make use of explosive splash damage to target their backs.

  • The quad damage power-up in conjunction with the Gauss cannon’s siege mode is disgustingly powerful, able to utterly destroy a Mancubus in a single shot. When quad damage is enabled, I typically roll with the rocket launcher, since the AOE conferred by splash damage allows for a larger number of enemies to be damaged, or outright destroyed.

  • DOOM constantly forces players to be mindful of their surroundings: a gore nest is visible in the distance, and one of my favoured tactics is to explore an area with a gore nest after clearing out the Possessed. This way, I can determine where all of the health, armour and ammunition pick-ups are such that I may immediately retrieve them should I become dangerously low on any resource mid-battle. Once this is done, I then destroy the gore nest and commence battle, making use of everything to survive.

  • One aspect that makes DOOM so entertaining on the first playthrough is that one does not know what the game will throw at them: when one think they’re in the clear, additional dæmons will often spawn in to continue the fight. In one case, I thought I had cleared an area out of the Barons of Hell, but then an additional pair spawned in, and at that point, I was low on ammunition, forcing me to get creative in order to survive that firefight.

  • Here, I finally meet Samuel Hayden in person. A senior UAC official, Hayden replaced his original body with a cybernetic body after some regions of his brain began developing neoplasms, and he chose to go with a powerful new vessel owing to the inherent dangers of his position. He is resistant to conventional firearms and briefs the Doom Slayer with the means of stopping Olivia Pierce. Hayden’s office is well-organised and features some relics worthy of closer inspection, and he is voiced by Darin de Paul.

  • The Cyber-Mancubus is a modified Mancubus, equipped with UAC-engineered arm cannons that increases the range of its attacks. Some folks on Reddit, upon reading the properties of a Mancubus (what with its flammable, toxic innards), linked to a horrifying story about a surgical operation gone bad (for those who are masochists interested, look up “Dagobah swamp”, I shan’t post any links here or recount it): said story was very vivid, and back in DOOM, in the knowledge that Mancubi are supposed to be putrid, my awe for the Praetor suit and its environmental resistance properties doubles.

  • Because the mobile turret mod transforms the chaingun into one of the most over-the-top weapons in DOOM, this was the mod I immediately picked upon encountering a field upgrade drone. When engaged, the chaingun splits into three barrels that deal an incredible volume of fire, draining ammunition reserves at an accelerated rate and also overheating the barrels. The mastery challenge for the mobile turret removes overheating, allowing the weapon to be fired indefinitely (usually, until ammunition is depleted).

  • The BFG 9000 makes a glorious return, and I immediately use it to clear out a room full of Possessed. There’s a mini-puzzle that must be solved before players can pick up the BFG 9000: this weapon fires blasts of Argent energy that explode any enemies. Secondary pulses can deal further damage, making this a powerful room-clearing weapon, although the scarcity of ammunition means that the BFG 9000 is best saved for bosses. Upon encountering it for the first time, TheRadBrad remarks that the weapon is vicious: the weapon cannot be upgraded or modified in any way, and it’s still the most powerful weapon on a per-shot basis in DOOM.

  • The quad damage power-up with the mobile turret on the chain gun is absolutely nasty, and I make use of it to shoot down several Mancubi. Each of the power-ups has their own applications, and I’ve maxed out the Praetor suit tokens on power-ups such that the power-ups last longer, release a damaging blast wave when expired and also replenish health fully when picked up, making them a powerful asset to save for the middle of a lengthy engagement.

  • Upon starting the seventh mission, I equipped the Gauss cannon, set it to siege mode and fired a single shot when I saw a hallway full of dæmons. Already upgraded with the AOE rounds, the shot tore through the air and killed ten before impacting a wall, allowing me to complete the mastery to unlock mobile siege and simultaneously netting me a weapon upgrade point for completing the “Threading the Needle” challenge (“kill eight dæmons with a single shot”). This is probably the best shot I’ve fired in DOOM so far.

  • The Rich Get Richer rune challenge involves using the rocket launcher with remote detonation to kill thirty dæmons before the timer expires. Without item pick ups, and a weapon mod I was unfamiliar with, it took numerous tries to actually unlock, since I kept blowing myself up by detonating the rockets too early. Fifteen minutes and a large number of attempts later, I finally unlocked the rune, although at this point in DOOM, I have not spent enough of the Argent cells on armour to make the rune effective.

  • While the dæmons of DOOM might be horrific in concept, the fact that the Doom Slayer has such a vast arsenal and powers means that no dæmon is too tough. I was reading an interview on F.E.A.R., where the developers noted that horror is scary only if players lose a sense of control. In their mind, getting the drop on a chainsaw murderer and lighting them up would immediately dispel the fear, but an opponent that can liquefy an entire spec ops team would again result in the player feeling defenseless despite being armed with an assault rifle. It is this reason that Alien: Isolation was so effective as a horror game, and furthermore, is why DOOM definitely does not fall under the horror genre.

  • This is the Helix Stone in Olivia Pierce’s inner sanctum, disclosing the location of a legendary weapon called the Crucible that is able to put an end to all this. Looking through the time stamps on the screenshots, I’m amazed at how quickly time’s passed: it seems like this week’s gone in the blink of an eye, and that it’s already Friday. Autumn is definitely in the air, and the skies were chilly as I stepped out for a dinner at the 桃園 Café HK, where I ordered the vast and delicious American-style Hot Plate Mixed Grill (which features pork chop, beef short ribs, chicken steak and sausage with a fried egg and plenty of fries).

  • The Satanic imagery in DOOM is excessive and rather hilarious for the most part, although it can be a little disturbing if one thinks about their implications. Here, a hologram depicts some scientists engaged in a ritual of some sort, stabbing a body repeatedly with a stake: while these are scientists, one wonders if they believe in the occult and are conducting said ritual with the aim of pleasing some entity to further their cause.

  • Close inspection of this image finds that the barrels of my chaingun have taken on an orange glow from sustained firing. I’ve not encountered any groups of possessed yet that would allow me to accomplish the weapon mastery for this mod, which would allow me to fire the chaingun indefinitely in the mobile turret mode without having the barrels overheat. Coupled with “The Rich Get Richer” rune, this could be a fearsome combination.

  • Facing the Cyberdemon, the time has finally come for the BFG 9000 to be put to good use, and here, I use the weapon to stun the Cyberdemon before switching to the Gauss cannon and hammering it with as much ammunition as I can before it resumes its attack. The Gauss cannon, both its standard shots and siege mode, are highly effective. Should the ammunition for the Gauss cannon be depleted, the rocket launcher is also a hugely useful asset.

  • A powerful boss with a large health bar is an element from games of old, and it was remarkably fun to keep ahead of the Cyberdemon’s attacks. While a durable opponent that will deplete the player’s ammunition as the fight wears on, the Cyberdemon occasionally drops health and ammunition when shot, allowing one to replenish their provisions during the battle. This old-school boss fight was tremendously fun, requiring a combination of a sure aim and quick reflexes in order to best.

  • With the Cyberdemon vanquished, I’m set to return to the depths of Hell and continue the search for the Crucible. Mine eye now turns to future posts, and with both New Game! and Amanchu! in the books, we’re rolling into the fall anime season. Next weekend will be Thanksgiving, and Brave Witches should be coming out on short order, so I’ll probably be pushing out the first episode discussion next Saturday (I’m guessing there’s some faulty intel, since I’ve read that episode one is coming out on October 15 when in fact, it should be airing October 5). In the meantime, I’ll be looking to do a talk on the Non Non Biyori Repeat OVA, as well as a bit of a talk on Kimi no na wa and what I’ll be doing for that review now that I’ve seen the movie in full.

I’ve had nothing but good things to say about DOOM so far; even folks who do not typically play the single player campaign of a game have remarked on how solid DOOM is. The game offers enough features to merit replay, and on my current playthrough, I’ve not discovered every secret yet. Furthermore, I’m hearing that there is an “ultra nightmare” mode that is unlocked, which provides players only with a single life. It will be quite interesting to see how long I last before I die and are sent back to the game’s beginning. Similarly, there is also a multiplayer component in DOOM. While it’s not seen the same positive reception as the campaign did, I am curious to try that out and see just how different the gameplay there is compared to those of Battlefield 4 and the like: it’s supposed to be a high-paced arena-style shooter, featuring the gameplay that I often employ even in something like Battlefield 4. While this aspect is exciting, for the present, I’ve still got another quarter of DOOM to complete, and with the Spiderdemon on the list of things to see remastered, I foresee that this is going to be a fantastic experience.

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