When I saw DOOM RPG at JAMDAT’s booth this year, I was thinking it would be yet another remake of DOOM many years after id Software’s legendary game was released. I was also puzzled at the game’s re-release. Practically every gaming platform gets a copy of DOOM once in their lifetime. But little did I know the theatrical version of DOOM was due to be released this year.
DOOM RPG looks like DOOM. It feels like DOOM. And if you listen to the sound effects, such as picking up power ups or opening and closing doors, it sounds like DOOM too. But it isn’t really DOOM. When I said it looks like DOOM, I want to emphasize the word like. It looks like DOOM but in fact there are new enemies put in and the graphics look more advanced than the original shareware classic.
However, it’s not exactly DOOM chiefly because it’s a turn-based game where combat does not rely on hammering keys but more on skill. It turns DOOM into more of a DOOM 3 kind of game. Ammunition is scarce. Weapons are hard to come by so you’ll end up in Resident Evil like situations where your back is up against a wall. You won’t be as freaked out since the game isn’t good at rendering darkness and the audio-visuals are more cartoon-like than gory.
The other thing unique about DOOM RPG is the inclusion of friendly non playable characters. Not everyone in this game needs to be shot and there are conversations to be had with the scientists and workers that are spread out in the Mars facility that DOOM RPG is set in.
Much of the game involves working through linear levels and finding keycards just as you would in the original game of DOOM. I really thought the idea to include NPCs was a smart move. It helps make the game feel less repetitive. Still, the whole finding passwords and keycard issue gets old and the keys are never positioned anywhere close to the door, so you’ll have to backtrack to find the key or the door.
I’m never really sure from sales numbers how DOOM has fared on mobile platforms such as the Game Boy or PDAs but I imagine it’s not that successful. Thus, DOOM RPG is a good design gamble. It won’t necessarily win new audiences but it turns DOOM’s twitch action into a slower paced game that plays more like PC RPG classics such as Might and Magic. This pace is more palatable to mobile gaming and a refreshing twist on the classic that coincides with the release of a new DOOM movie.