The Infinite Zenith

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

DOOM: Final Review and Reflection at the Endgame

“The road to Hell is paved by Argent Energy.” —DOOM tagline

The Doom Slayer squares off against three Hell Guards and triumphs over them, retrieving the Crucible and returning to Hell with assistance from the AI Vega, the Doom Slayer closes the portal and defeats Olivia Pierce for all time in a titanic battle after the latter transforms into the Spider Mastermind. With the portal closed and the dæmonic threat contained, Samuel Hayden arrives to confiscate the Crucible and moves the Doom Slayer to a remote location so that the UAC can continue its research into Argent energy. With this, DOOM‘s campaign draws to a close, marking the end of a fantastic voyage: the perfect combination of modernity and nostalgia, DOOM is a remarkably effective callback to old-school game designs. The end result is a title that emphasises fun factor over seriousness, reminding players that games are intended to bring enjoyment for their audiences. With its movement system and incredibly smooth gameplay, DOOM succeeds in doing so; the game outright tells its players that the key to victory is movement and risk-taking. In a market saturated with modern military shooters, games like DOOM represent a refreshing return to an older style of gameplay: high-paced game play is facilitated for with an unbelievably smooth movement system and the absence of reloading. During firefights, the constant rush of opponents offer no opportunity for taking a breather, and surviving each firefight is incredibly satisfying. Similarly, the inclusion of well-integrated secret areas yield advantages that encourage players to find them. Unlike the intel in Call of Duty, for instance, the secrets feel like a natural part of the game; at the time of writing, though I’ve tried, I’ve not found everything yet.

DOOM has never been well-known for its narrative elements; the original games simply depicted the Doom marine moving through the UAC facility and Hell itself, shooting through anything impeding his progress. However, in DOOM, the rudimentary narrative presents the possibility for a greater quantity of lore. In this DOOM, an energy crisis has resulted in the use of Argent energy to help meet the world’s energy demands. In spite of the dangers, the UAC continue their experiments with humanity’s interests cited as their reason for proceeding. The Doom Slayer, on the other hand, understands the hazards and consequently, fights to prevent further exploration of Argent energy lest a calamity result. The main theme in DOOM, then, is that even if a particular solution is beneficial to society as a whole in the short term, there might be unforeseen consequences in a decision that proves detrimental in the long run. As such, doing the right thing may entail causing short term tribulations in exchange for long term stability, and while the Doom Slayer succeeds, Samuel Hayden decides that he cannot intervene any further for the time being. It’s admittedly surprising that there could be such an element in DOOM; numerous codec entries seem to explore such lore in far greater detail, presenting a much more detailed and vivid world than previous versions of DOOM. In fact, this level of attention to world-building is quite conducive towards continuations, and it would be quite pleasant to see sequels of DOOM in the future.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • As the finale post, this DOOM discussion will feature the extended thirty images rather than the usual twenty. After beating the Cyberdemon, the Doom Slayer returns to the Titan’s Realm in search of the Crucible. The architectural style in Hell reminds me of the sort of imagery that come to the mind’s eye whenever something like Warcraft or Diablo are mentioned. named thus because the level is set inside the skeleton of a dæmon far surpassing even the Cyberdemon in size.

  • Cacodemons complicate the battlefield to quite an extent now that they have the capacity to blur a player’s vision, and consequently, I make it a point to take them out as soon as possible. The Gauss cannon and its mobile siege mode is a highly potent tool against them: when utilised, it can disintegrate them with a single well-placed shot. The structures of the Titan’s Realm are covered in blood and organic remains, adding much to the sense of foreboding in the level.

  • According to my list of achievements in Steam, I’ve performed a glory kill on one of every common dæmon type in DOOM, and as such, have no further surprises. Against bullets, plasma rounds and even rockets, the Revenant, Hell Knights, Mancubus and Barons of Hell can be quite resilient, requiring sustained fire to bring down. I usually make use of the glory kill mechanics to maximise the amount of pickups I obtain, and consequently, accumulated a large number of glory kills.

  • Because the moral guardians seem so offended by DOOM‘s chainsaw, I will feature a gratuitous screenshot of my using the chainsaw here to replenish my ammunition pool, resulting in what I believe to be a Possessed to be sawn messily in half. The chainsaw mechanic was well-balanced in DOOM, limited by its fuel pool, in contrast with the classic DOOM chainsaw, which was much weaker and featured unlimited ammunition (in essence, it was automatic fists).

  • My pacing in finishing DOOM‘s remaining levels increased as I approached the ending, and so, I finished on Saturday, just before Thanksgiving Dinner on Sunday. I helped clean the shrimp and prepare the loaded baked potatoes. Thanksgiving dinner itself, which also featured turkey, ham and pineapple, and mixed vegetables in addition to garlic-butter shrimps and cheese-covered fully-loaded baked potatoes, was delicious, enough to even ward off the decidedly colder weather we’ve had this year.

  • I stare down another Baron of Hell here before unloading several homing rockets in a burst against it. The glory kill animation from the front is ripping out one of its horns and beating it down with said horn. While this year’s Thanksgiving did not see another beta, I had a fantastic time beating DOOM and even managed to complete Enter The Matrix for PC. A review for that will be coming out at some point in the future.

  • After reading an article about how all of the visual effects in DOOM were created, I was rather impressed at all of the mathematics and computations that go into creating each scene. Critics of DOOM‘s violence do not likely understand (much less appreciate) the amount of technical expertise that goes into creating visually compelling worlds: more math goes into crafting these frames and optimising the game’s performance than vindictiveness in designing the glory kills and weapon effects.

  • After filling my armour capacity to its limits twelve times (I used a trick where I stood in an acidic flow for a second to lose some armour, and picked up armour pieces for 5 armour each, several times to do this), I unlocked the “Rich Get Richer” rune’s second form, which allows me to have unlimited ammunition after reaching 75 points of armour. I utilise that here in conjunction with the heavy assault rifle’s micro-missiles and note that unlimited micro-missiles is remarkably entertaining.

  • As I make my way further into the labyrinths of the Titan Realm, I am reminded yet again of the sort of atmosphere so prevalent in fantasy worlds such as World of Warcraft. I’ve heard that World of Warcraft has a new expansion and is presently free-to-play up until level ten. Having not played World of Warcraft since the Burning Crusade, I am most unfamiliar with any of the lore and updates that have since happened.

  • The first of the Hell Guards possesses a powerful energy shield that negates all damage done to it, as well as a hammer and ranged weapons for offence. The trick here is to dodge its attacks at close range  — when it attacks with its hammer, it drops its shields, opening it for attack. The Gauss cannon or super shotgun can deal massive damage. According to the UAC documents, Hell Guards are biological mech operated by a parasite, and upon besting the first Hell Guard, the Doom Slayer must face two more in tandem.

  • The second phase of the battle is actually easier than the first: while the player is facing two Hell Guards simultaneously, neither have energy shields. A combination of the Gauss cannon’s mobile siege, in conjunction with rockets, micro missiles and super shotgun blasts, will deal with both on short order. Here, I finish off the last of the Hell Guards, tear the parasite from its controls and rip it in half, before claiming the Crucible and returning to Mars.

  • The UAC must be a vast facility, since I return to a section of the complex in the colder regions of Mars. By this point in the game, I have all of the weapon mods for each weapon, so the remaining field upgrade drones, I obtained the heat blast for the plasma rifle, the turret with reduced spin-up time and the remote detonation for the rocket launcher. The reduced spin-up turret looks remarkably different than the mobile turret, and in general, I’ve found the latter to be superior in combat performance in all ways.

  • Back in the depths of the UAC installation, it’s back to business as the Doom Slayer disables the security switches in preparation of rerouting Vega’s power to send the Doom Slayer back to Hell. The further I progressed in DOOM, and the more Aria I watched, the more I feel the two worlds are unequivocally linked to one another. The power of Argent energy is used to successfully terraform Mars and cover its surface in water, as well as help it in maintaining an Earth-like atmosphere and gravity.

  • Anomalies in Argent energy extraction and processing would thus lead to some more Neo Venezia’s more unusual phenomenon, such as when Akari steps back in time into Aqua’s past, as well as when President Aria encounters gender-swapped versions of everyone in Aria The Natural. This use of Argent energy would explain why Mars (Aqua) is known as the “Planet of Miracles”, and the events of DOOM could suggest that one man made all of Aria possible.

  • I stop to admire the lighting and particles in this here hallway after yet another firefight, and by this point in DOOM, I’ve stopped actively hunting for secrets. I note that my speculations about the ties between DOOM and Aria are purely for entertainment’s sake, but given how few people out there would have the unusual background of both enjoying DOOM and Aria, I am very certain that no-one else will put the two side-by-side in discussion.

  • By this point in DOOM, the number and ferocity of the dæmons spawned is such that it becomes necessary to draw the BFG 9000 and fire it to buy one some breathing room. Ideally used in areas with a large number of mid-range dæmons, such as Mancubii, Pinkies and Hell Knights, the BFG fires an initial plasma round that yields secondary discharges capable of instantly shredding opponents. Ammunition for it is very rare, and I prefer having all of my charges available for a pinch during a boss fight, but when I see BFG ammunition hanging around, I am at a greater liberty to utilise this weapon’s awesome capabilities.

  • After looking into the so-called moral outrage propagated by the moral guardians out of curiosity, it turns out that these individuals do not even believe in the position they were backing, and instead, were making such remarks merely for attention’s sake. From the looks of things, their complaints about DOOM came as part of a much bigger internet-based culture war that was instigated back during 2014 over an obscure and poorly-made title posted to Steam.

  • While the aforementioned culture war was ostensibly about “ethics in video games journalism”, things devolved into an unproductive and meaningless debate about the so-called “gamer image”. I say that it was meaningless because the objective of some parties was to eliminate games such as DOOM, and rudimentary market forces illustrate that such a drastic course of action is futile: so as long as people are willing to purchase shooters and higher-end hardware to attain a pleasant experience, these products will continue to be sold whether or not people hold opinions against them. So, as to whether or not “gamers are over”? The fact that there are increasingly powerful GPUs, and the release of new games like DOOM, strongly demonstrates that no, gamers won’t ever be “over”.

  • As far as I’m concerned, I pay very little attention to the component of video games journalism reviewing a game for its “artistic merit” and instead, mostly keep to news on when a game (or its features) are released; I’ll be the judge of whether or not a game was fun or not. Returning to DOOM,  the fight at this section was perhaps one of the toughest I faced. Besides a seemingly-endless number of dæmons, a pair of Barons of Hell also make an appearance: I died here on several occasions from the sheer volume of destruction sent my way.

  • The aforementioned deaths come on top of making liberal use of the BFG to clear out a path and gain some breathing room. After a few attempts, I managed to clear out the area, obtained all of my weapon upgrade points and at last, could proceed to the final stage of this mission. Because I was constantly on the hunt for Argent cells, I upgraded each category of my Praetor suit fully on a single play-through: at maximum, players double their health, increase their ammunition pool by three times and can carry three times as much armour.

  • After clearing out the last of the dæmons, I make my way to Vega’s central processing core, which has a design reminiscent of the cyrogenic chamber seen in Akira. The final goal is to disable the core itself, and in a flash of energy, the Doom Slayer is back in Hell once more. The English phrase “Go to hell” is meant as a rejection functionally equivalent to the phrase “go away”, “get lost” and “leave”, but given how often the Doom Slayer has indeed “gone to Hell” and come back, said phrase would translate to “get to work” in DOOM.

  • The final mission in DOOM is titled “Argent D’nur”: I’ve always wondered why science fiction and fantasy worlds made such extensive use of apostrophes in their names, and unsurprisingly, there’s a fascinating story behind it. Use of apostrophes were inspired by some real-world languages, where the apostrophes are used as a consonant rather than punctuation, and H.P. Lovecraft used them for a more exotic feel in his names. Star Trek and author Roger Zelazny would contribute to their increasing usage. While some are not fond of them, I personally find that they definitely add a bit of mystique to science fiction and fantasy names.

  • With the power-ups section of my Praetor suit fully upgraded, the Berserker mod turns the Doom Slayer into a wrecking machine: even Mancubii and Barons of Hell fall before his fists in a single shot, and the powerup is perhaps the most entertaining to wield. There was a similar power-up in Brutal DOOM, where picking up the Berserker mod would allow players to punch dæmons so hard they exploded, or else carry out brutal executions on them (one of the more violent ones includes ripping out an enemy’s spine). It appears that this was split in DOOM, allowing players the executions through Glory Kills.

  • DOOM is a fantastic game I can easily recommend to all DOOM fans, although folks who’ve played through Brutal DOOM may be disappointed at the fact that the ability to kick enemies, or flip them off, did not make it into DOOM. With that being said, these were “nice to have” features, and DOOM‘s engaging upgrade system more than makes up for the fact that I cannot flip the bird at dæmons to further aggravate them; in Brutal DOOM, fingering the Cyberdemon sends it into a rage, increasing the rate at which it fires rockets at the player.

  • Because this is the finale post, I’ve opted to double the number of chainsaw images. Sparingly used, I find that it’s usually unnecessary to chainsaw larger dæmons because it consumes more fuel units, but in a pinch, the chainsaw can be used to quickly take out a particularly tough dæmon. While each fuel can restores three units, some opponents (such as the Barons of Hell) require five units of fuel to down. The most economical (and unsurprisingly, least fun) way is to use the chainsaw on Imps and Possessed as a means of obtaining ammunition.

  • Individuals who’ve been around games long enough will know that it’s bad news bears whenever a game gives this much resources to players. In the Argent D’nur mission, once the Argent wells are disabled, players are treated to some information detailing the Doom Slayer’s past: I absolutely love the high fantasy style descriptions of the Doom Slayer as a dark lord from the ninth age who destroyed the power of the Necromancers.

  • After seventeen hours of gameplay, we come to it at last: a confrontation with the Spiderdemon (known in DOOM as the Spider Mastermind). The ultimate boss in DOOM, it has a vast health pool and range of attacks that it will field against the player. Shooting at its limbs or armour won’t deal substantial damage, even with the Gauss cannon, and for the curious, I did not last very long against it using just the pistol.

  • Aiming for the Spider Mastermind’s exposed brain, on the other hand, deals substantial damage. Making use of the rocket launcher and Gauss cannon is probably the fastest means of dealing serious damage, although when the Spider Mastermind’s health begins dropping, it will start spawning spike bombs and electrify the entire floor, which I learned to be more lethal than any other attack the Spider Mastermind possesses.

  • The BFG 9000 becomes an indispensable tool in this fight; besides its base damage, the weapon will stun the Spider Mastermind, opening it up to attack. The Gauss cannon and its siege mode is highly effective against this monstrosity. According to the in-game documentation, the Spider Mastermind is known as the Aranea Imperatix (similar to the Latin Aranea Imperattrix, or “Spider Empress”). Beyond this, not much about its origins are given in the cryptic tomes.

  • After running out of ammunition for the Gauss cannon, I swapped over to the rocket launcher and pounded the Spider Mastermind until its health was depleted, ending the game. After besting the Spider Mastermind, Samuel Hayden appears, and similar to the G-Man, remarks that the Doom Slayer’s services will be needed another day, but for the present, cannot be allowed to interfere, before teleporting the Doom Slayer to an unknown location. Thus, I’ve beaten DOOM, marking the first time where I’ve upgraded my GPU for a game.

When it was first announced, I wondered if DOOM would be something that I would enjoy; I had a blast with DOOM and DOOM II, as well as the Brutal DOOM mod (which appears to have inspired some elements seen in DOOM, no less). Having passed on DOOM 3, I wondered if DOOM (then known as DOOM 4) would follow in the trends set by modern shooters. Early trailers seemed to suggest so, but when DOOM underwent a redesign and the 2015 E3 trailers revealed that DOOM would be returning to its roots, my hesitation was erased entirely. Coupled with a well-timed summer sale, my decision to pick DOOM up became much more straightforward. With the campaign now complete, I feel that the game is well worth its cost: besides this initial play-through, I will probably go back at some point to find all of the secrets and collectibles, then see about unlocking and trying out the legendary “ultra nightmare” mode. There’s also a multiplayer component: this might be less well-received than DOOM‘s campaign, but the inclusion of a multiplayer similarly serves to boost the game’s replay value. My final verdict on DOOM is very straightforwards: this game earns a strong recommendation for any and all fans of first-person shooters. DOOM fans will enjoy the game without question, and the ultimate question of whether or not one should get DOOM really boils down to whether or not one has the hardware required for this game. Although somewhat on the steeper end, DOOM is very well-optimised and runs buttery-smooth provided that one meets the minimum requirements.

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