Let me take you back to a time before the acronym FPS was recognized as a genre. A time before mouselook and jump/crouch buttons. A time when blood flowed as freely as the thousands of spin offs that would soon follow this game's unstoppable reign of terror. The "2" stands for "Your Going To Die"
As much as I loved killing Nazis in id Software's first creations of Wolfenstien 3D and Spear of Destiny, there was just something so satisfying about making demons spill their intestines that hypnotized me as a teenager. What was it? The sound of their gurgled death screams? The piles of broken bodies that I left in my wake? Or the look on my mom's face when she passed by the computer as I played? Its hard to say.
This game was my first real addiction in gaming I experienced. I would play, and replay it, over and over again. I became so good that I'd actually turn the tint down on my monitor so it was harder to see the enemies. It was also the first game I discovered fan made map packs (WADs
) that made me fall in love with creative PC gaming communities. Oh, and this little beauty...
"This... is my BOOMSTICK!" "Ohhh! Thats gotta hurt!"
With point blank fire being as powerful as a rocket blast, this new gun gave way to a new gameplay style that made the original Doom look like child's play. Speaking of, let me make a quick look back at the original Doom first to understand how we get to Doom 2 in all its glory. Artwork for Doom? Only Brom could fit the bill. A match made in hell.
The first Doom had three episodes and for the most part used a level design that was much more compact and enemy placement was more on the sneaky side. There was a lot more exploring with those early levels and everything was built around a methodical, plodding pace. This is especially true in episode 2. In episode 3 we saw a more frantic style of levels with tight spaces and lots of enemies for a more in your face approach as opposed to the earlier episodes. However, by that time the player has already seen just about everything and knew how to handle themselves well enough to carve their way through the hordes of Hell. Taking that hectic pace to heart, id Software moved on to create Doom 2.
Doom 2 - A classic start to a classic game
Level design for the first few maps was pretty standard. But as soon as you get that double barreled beauty in level 3, it was on. You'll see the numbers of enemies almost double. Nothing too crazy yet, just standard mix of what the first Doom had along with the new chaingun asshats.
Snipers with a machine guns right here. These fat fingered zombies will pick you apart from the distance if you let them.
Maps 1 - 5 were designed to get you used to the level of difficulty and the proper use of the new shotgun, which you are going to need. However in map 6 we get to see the giagantic spiderdemon boss from Doom get crushed, literally. That happens in map 6! Holy hell!
Right there you knew something was up with Doom 2. Those original bosses were held in unholy revere, kept hidden until the very end of the game in Doom. Here we see him in level 6! Its almost as if John Romero said, "Doom is dead, I crush it. This is Doom 2. Just wait for what we have in store for you later my little green space marine."
Once map 7 hits, you had best be ready. Cleverly titled "Dead Simple," this map introduces both the Arachnotron and the Mancubus in one unapologetic right cross to your face. Object of the level being, be the last man standing.
A Plasma gun and 4 legs of loud mechanical annoyance. MumjuMAARR!!! At least I think thats what they scream as waves of fire fly at you. Did I win yet?
From then on they slowly bring in the new enemies you'll learn to fear in different ways. The Pain Elemental that spits flying skulls at you, or the Baron of Hell's little cousin that packs the same punch but goes down a little bit faster. Then we have these skinny bastards...
Thats right, skeletons with two shoulder mounted launchers with homing rockets. Eat your heart out Predator.
And the ultimate of demonic healers...
Revives the dead as well as torches you with fire. Pretty much a must kill immediately if you see one. Just the sound his laugh is enough to make you cringe.
Once you hit levels 12 and on, the maps begin to open up in larger areas providing more space. Why? Because you'll need it to run your ass off! At times, very large groups of everything will come at you in seemingly never ending waves of evil. Sweet Jesus on a pogo stick!
This is when I learned how to REALLY play Doom 2.
What enemy to kill first and exactly what gun works best given the distance between us. How much damage it will take to drop said enemy. What amount of running space I have to work with if things get too dicey. Naturally you just start to pick up things as you go. What works best, what doesn't. Even what the enemies sound like, the way they move and attack.
And just when you felt like you were getting the hang of things, the next level would mix it up entirely. Levels began to take on a new form of ugly. Instead of just allowing you to have fun in exploring, they were also meant to destroy you. Ambushes became common and very dangerous. Need that health pack in that corner? Go ahead, take it... but that wall drops instantly and you'll find yourself staring at a horde of very bad things.
If you've ever watched a talented Doom 2 player, its a thing of beauty.
To see how they switch between weapons on the run and reacted quickly to a changing hostile environment. Its amazing to see how much chaos gets thrown at a player while they somehow manage to stay calm, assess a situation and think on the fly.
Like a good SHMUP player that can dance in and out of fire without blinking, a good Doom player can predict the direction of enemy projectile fire and how little they need to move left or right in order to bob and weave their way in close to unload that double barrel blast without getting hit. Being able to time their movements with the awesome reload animation that takes about 2 seconds is essential.
Feels so good to watch you die.
I played this game for hours on end. I was memorized by the hellish levels and sense of accomplishment I gained with bleeding my way through each new map. Every area provided a new challenge and double barreled blasts of holy retribution were usually my saving grace.
In looking back, the original Doom seems slow and easy compared to the experience provided in Doom 2. However, with a re release of Doom seen in "Ultimate Doom" they added a 4th episode titled Thy Flesh Consumed
. With the knowledge taken from Doom 2 on how best to kill the player, they created the hardest official Doom experience ever.
Still though, nothing will ever compare to the first shock of playing Doom 2. With its new level of difficulty and the massive amounts of in your face action that 32 levels provided. A landmark in gaming history and the reason I'm terrible at FPS games on consoles today. I was born and raised in the hell fires of Doom. Lost in a satanic world with my mouse, my keyboard, and my dear ol' double barrel.