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Doom review: Glorious guns, gibs, and more guns

Hayden Dingman | May 17, 2016
So gloriously violent your own eyes might start bleeding before it's over.

You’re on Mars. There are demons. The demons need to die.

That’s it. That’s all the story you need, and it’s pretty much all the story you’re getting. This is Doom in 2016—not done up like Wolfenstein: The New Order, artfully blending the absurdity of ‘90s shooters with modern-day storytelling and bombast, but just straight-up Doom.

Big arenas, lots of guns, waves of demons, wailing guitar solos, and so much in-your-face violence that your own eyes might start bleeding by the end. Hell, there isn’t even a button for reloading your guns.

If it bleeds we can kill it

And the crazy part is? It works. Doom (available for $60 on Amazon) joins the likes of Rise of the Triad and Shadow Warrior, resurrecting long-buried arena shooter design for a generation that’s grown accustomed to regenerating health and the trappings of “realism.”

Doom

Not here. This is a breakneck tour of a thousand combat arenas. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: “We shall fight on Mars, we shall fight on the jump pads, we shall fight in the fields of (20-YEAR-OLD SPOILERS) Hell. We shall never surrender.”

It’s a pulsing rhythm of Corridor-Arena-Corridor-Arena, repeated a hundred times in a hundred places. Demons appear, you shoot them until they’re dead. And in service of that goal? A dozen or so weapons, which you carry around old-style in a bottomless magical backpack.

You’ve got your laser pistol, your shotgun, your heavy assault rifle, your rocket launcher, your bigger shotgun, and more than a few others—plus the iconic BFG, of course—and you sort of sprint around like a demented pinball, jumping and double-jumping and lining up Kodak Moment™ headshots.

Doom

I’d call it zen, except for the fact the results are bloody and chaotic. This is a game where you rip out a demon’s heart and force it still beating down his (her?) throat, and then it explodes. When the so-called Barons of Hell arrive—twelve-foot tall minotaurs—you rip off their horns so as to impale them.

Imagine if you showed this game to the same people who fretted about violence in the original Doom.

But it’s all so silly. I don’t know. Doubtless there will be some who will push away their half-eaten meal of gibs and blood splatters and say “I can’t. This is too much.” Me? I put it in the same box as Mortal Kombat. It’s theater of the absurd or cartoon violence, the (much) bloodier acquaintance of Tom and Jerry.

Doom

 

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