By: Jared Black
A. Palmer Productions/id
I think weíre
all pretty familiar with Doom by now, arenít we? Game that
proved shareware could work. Most influential FPS of all-time.
Highly controversial. Great FPS. You know all that stuff. Well, what
if I told you that you could play an almost perfect port on a
handheld? Doom for Game Boy Advance is here, and it rocks.
Doom thrusts you
in the role of a space marine in trouble. Your buddies are all gone
(dead), and youíre left alone to fight off horde after horde of
various demons and such. Thereís no real story to the gameÖyou
just blast your way through three episodes of eight levels each. And
once you beat it, thereís no fancy-schmancy ending scene.
Of course, none
of this matters because Doom is all about pure action. This action
is carried out through a simple, yet intuitive control scheme:
"A" controls your weaponry, "B" opens doors and
such, and the "L" and "R" buttons are used to
strafe. The level design is excellent, with multiple floors spanning
indoor and outdoor areas, numerous corridors and passages, various
switches that need to be toggled, and a lot more. There isnít a
wide variety in the different types of enemies, but each has itís
own unique attack patterns and weapons. And speaking of weapons, youíll
get to take on the bad guys with your fists, shotguns, chainguns,
plasma rifles, and many more. Each has a different firing rate and
strength, making choosing the proper one for each situation a
critical part of gameplay. The AI is rather antiquated by todayís
standards, but itís still excellent for a handheld game and
provides plenty of challenge.
also shine, with character sprites and level textures that compare
very favorably to the original PC hit. The color palette isnít
that varied, but thatís because itís Doom. The PC original had a
dark and spooky feel to it, and thus a faithful port must also.
Luckily the player can adjust the screen brightness, so not being
able to see whatís going on is rarely a problem. The framerate is
largely consistent, although in tight spots with multiple enemies it
can slow down considerably. To help offset this, they provided the
ability to toggle between static and dynamic lighting. Despite the
occasional slowdown, I recommend you leave dynamic lighting turned
on as static lighting floods every nook and cranny with light, and
as a result youíll miss out on some truly awesome lighting
however, that this port isnít quite a perfect port. First, enemies
ooze green blood instead of red. Activision (in the wake of recent
events like Columbine and the WTC) wanted to tone down the game a
bit to deflect any potential controversy from itself. This shouldnít
even be an issue (what does the color of the blood matter?), but
obviously itíll still matter to some people. Secondly, things get
a bit blurry off in the distance as a result of the GBAís small
screen. It doesnít hinder gameplay in any way however. Finally,
the sound of surrounding enemies no longer fades away depending on
distance. This was an important part of the original (you could tell
by the sound how far away an enemy was), but itís absence doesnít
effect gameplay as much as youíd think it would.
The other major
problem with this game lies in the fact that it is an almost-perfect
port of Doom. Doom is old, very old. Having been
ported to bazillion different systems, odds are youíve played it
in some shape or form. If youíve had your fill of it elsewhere,
thereís no real reason to purchase this one unless you simply must
own it in portable form. Additionally, newer gamers weaned on more
advance FPSes will find Doom very limiting. You canít look
up, you canít look down, and you canít interact with NPCsÖyou
just kill things and try not to be killed. This simplicity is the
big draw for many, but it will undoubtedly turn off others.
FPS fun tuned to perfection.
Doomís 3D raycasting engine has been ported to a handheld with
minimal loss in quality.
- Itís a near
perfect port of Doom.
presentation is faithful to the original, but doesnít make it
any less boring.
- Very minor
port problems associated with the platform.
arrived, and itís just as fun as it ever was. If youíre a Doom
junkie, then add a full point to the overall score and buy it
immediately. For the rest of you, Doom is a very solid purchase that
you should at least take a look at.