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Doom II

Review By:  Jared Black

Developer:  Torus Games
Publisher:  Activision
# of Players:  1-4
Genre:  FPS
ESRB:  Teen
Accessories:  Link Cable
Date Posted:  1-23-03

When Activision brought the original Doom to the GBA in a near-perfect port of the original, many in the industry were stunned that the GBA could pull it off. Now though several different FPS titles have been released for Nintendo's little handheld, and as a result they aren't quite as impressive any longer. Nevertheless Doom II has arrived, and once again proves to be an excellent addition to the GBA's library.

I never played the original Doom II, and thus I can't really speak on how well it's been ported. What I can tell you though is that it's basically just a bigger, badder improvement over the original. A few more enemies, a few more weapons, and a few more levels make this the better of the two GBA Dooms. Gameplay is virtually the same, with the L & R buttons used to strafe, B handling the firing, and A swapping weapons. There's no story to speak of, just monsters to kill. Enemies come at the player quickly and in large waves, and key events (like picking up a new weapon) will often trigger another wave of enemies to head the player's way. A few minor puzzle elements sprinkle the levels, but they basically boil down to finding key cards or flipping switches and then opening up the appropriate door.

Graphically, the engine has been improved but not dramatically altered. Textures look better, many more enemies are now displayed on-screen at the same time, it's easier to see enemies in the distance, and the framerate is faster. The first one included an option to toggle dynamic lighting on and off to keep the framerate steady, but in this version that option has been rendered obsolete due to the improved engine. The framerate stays steady throughout, although it's obviously not as fast as most console FPS titles.

Sound is basically the same as well, with more moody music and demonic grunts and enemy screams. Nothing remarkable here.

Highs:

  • More Doom.
  • It's still neat playing a FPS on the GBA, but not nearly as much as it was last year.

Lows:

  • A lot of good FPS titles have been released for the GBA in the last year, including ones with real puzzles and a decent storyline.

Final Verdict:

I know this is a really short review, but honestly there isn't much to say. It's more Doom, which means great gameplay but not much in the way of storyline or thinking. Since more is expected of a GBA FPS now than a year ago, Doom II gets a lower score than the first one even though head-to-head it's the superior game.

Overall Score: 7.9

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