For a lot of people the Doom series of games was the ticket to a completely new world, filled with terror and unimaginable violence. The Doom games weren’t the first games in the first-person shooter genre, but in many people’s opinion they made the genre what it is today. A lot of people aren’t aware that the games have an actual story, so therefore I’d like to quote The Unofficial Doom FAQ v6.666:
“In DOOM, you're a space marine, one of Earth's toughest, hardened in combat and trained for action. Three years ago you assaulted a superior officer for ordering his soldiers to fire upon civilians. He and his body cast were shipped to Pearl Harbor, while you were transferred to Mars, home of the Union Aerospace Corporation. The UAC is a multi-planetary conglomerate with radioactive waste facilities on Mars and its two moons, Phobos and Deimos. With no action for fifty million miles, your day consisted of suckin' dust and watchin' restricted flicks in the rec room. For the last four years the military, UAC's biggest supplier, has used the remote facilities on Phobos and Deimos to conduct various secret projects, including research on inter-dimensional space travel. So far they have been able to open gateways between Phobos and Deimos, throwing a few gadgets into one and watching them come out the other. Recently however, the gateways have grown dangerously unstable.
Military "volunteers" entering them have either disappeared or been stricken with a strange form of insanity--babbling vulgarities, bludgeoning anything that breathes, and finally suffering an untimely death of full-body explosion. Matching heads with torsos to send home
to the folks became a full-time job. Latest military reports state that the research is suffering a small setback, but everything is under control. A few hours ago, Mars received a garbled message from Phobos. "We require immediate military support. Something fraggin' evil is coming out of the gateways! Computer systems have gone berserk!" The rest was incoherent. Soon afterwards, Deimos simply vanished from the sky. Since then, attempts to establish contact with either moon have been unsuccessful. You and your buddies, the only combat troop for fifty million miles were sent up pronto to Phobos. You were ordered to secure the perimeter of the base while the rest of the team went inside. For several hours, your radio picked up the sounds of combat: guns firing, men yelling orders, screams, bones cracking, then finally silence. Seems your buddies are dead. Things aren't looking too good. You'll never navigate off the planet on your own. Plus, all the heavy weapons have been taken by
the assault team leaving you only with a pistol. If only you could get your hands around a plasma rifle or even a shotgun you could take a few down on your way out. Whatever killed your buddies deserves a couple of pellets in the forehead. Securing your helmet, you exit the landing pod. Hopefully you can find more substantial firepower somewhere within the station. As you walk through the main entrance of the base, you hear animal-like growls echoing throughout the distant corridors. They know you're here. There's no turning back now.”
And now we get to play it on the Gameboy Advance!
A decent number of first-person shooters have already been released for the platform, but for a couple of major reasons people haven’t found them interesting. The first one is a fairly obvious one, being the severe hardware limitation. With less sophisticated hardware you’ll have a hard time rendering good 3D graphics, while having a reasonably good AI etc. The second reason is the gameplay, which in most cases is simply too limited. Going back to the basics of not using a mouse and not being able to strafe can turn off many a gamer, but in this particular game they at least made it possible to strafe easily.
Doom 2’s gameplay is relatively simple, but woven together with graphics and sounds in an awesome way. The levels are generally about getting from start to end, but they get increasingly tricky not only by adding more difficult monsters, but also by having multiple colored doors that all need corresponding keys to unlock. The levels, which were designed by guys like John Romero and John Carmack are absolutely brilliant, and should even today be a fun challenge.
Wolfenstein 3D was one of the first shooters to be ported onto the Gameboy Advance, and even with a engine as basic as the one it used the framerate wasn’t terrific, so you might be wondering how a engine like the one Doom 2 uses will run. In short; well. The framerate is generally the same as other shooters on the GBA, but you get a whole lot more juice than what the competitors can offer. While Wolfenstein 3D’s levels were basically a just a bunch of box-shaped rooms put together, Doom 2 has walls of many angles and thickness. You get real texture-mapped rooms with variable height, windows, light that goes on and off. The monsters are sprite-based, and even though I didn’t think the Gameboy Advance would be capable of rendering a Cyberdemon or a Spider Mastermind, but it does it; and well too!
I can’t say I’ve seen a single Gameboy Advance game with better, and more advanced graphics, but it doesn’t get a perfect score because it simply doesn’t look “perfect”.
The controls work much like in the original Doom 2, so moving is done with the arrow keys, opening doors (etc), and shooting is done by pressing A and B, while strafing is done by pressing L and R. Changing weapon is done by holding the use button and pressing L or R depending on the weapon you need. The only two problems I’ve noticed is that because of the framerate the controls respond somewhat slowly, and finally that I can’t imagine how we’d press IDDQD and IDKFA (cheat codes for god mode and all weapons, as a reference to younger gamer).
The hearable side of Doom 2 isn’t anything to be ashamed of either. Most of the sounds, like weapon effects, monster noises and doors opening sound very much like they did in the original, but it’s likely to assume that most of the sounds’ bitrate is lowered, to reduce space usage. The shotgun still sounds powerful, and the monsters still sound scary. For an added effect, a half-decent soundtrack has been included.
Eight years ago Doom 2 took the world by storm on the PC. The productivity all over the world decreased because of it, since it was the best action game up to that point. On the Gameboy Advance we’ve had the chance to play games like Wolfenstein 3D and Ecks vs. Sever, but neither have been especially amazing games. Doom 2, which is one of the very few 128Mbit (tons of textures etc) games out there, which not only has better graphics than practically any Gameboy Advance game, but also includes good gameplay and audio effects that should satisfy any fan of the genre.