Released in 1993, Doom paved the way for the first person shooter genre. I can still recall downloading the shareware version from one of my local BBS’, loading it up and playing until the wee hours of the morning. Doom has been ported a few times already and with Doom 3 in the works, what better time to bring the legendary shooter to the Game Boy Advance? That’s what Activision and David A. Palmer Studios must have figured when they announced the project last year. Now that the wait is over, handheld fans can enjoy a non-stop action-packed ride down memory lane.
The story of Doom remains unchanged. Players assume the role of a tough-as-nails space marine on the Martian military colony of Phobos. Hordes of demons have been unleashed through a portal, obliterating the entire human population. It’s now up to you to eradicate these hellish creatures and put an end to this evil threat.
The single-player portion of Doom features 24 of the original 27 levels. In order to fit the entire game onto the Game Boy Advance, the other three levels were cut and some levels were edited for content. For example, a couple of boss characters, the Cyber Demon and Giant Spider, were eliminated, thereby altering the endings of their respective levels and episodes. Catering to a younger audience as Nintendo often does, green blood supplants red and enemies evaporate upon death. With that said, Doom continues to showcase its trademark gameplay; frenzied and action-packed. Doom also offers multiplayer by means of a two-player co-operative mode and a four-player deathmatch mode via the link cable, both of which add replay value to an otherwise short single player game.
Visually, David A. Palmer Studios has done a sound job faithfully recreating Doom in this port.
While the frame rate suffers at times, for the most part the action is fast-paced, just like the original. A great addition to this and any Game Boy Advance title for that matter is the option to increase the brightness of the game screen, although at some points it was still difficult to perceive the surrounding environments. As for the audio, fans of Doom will surely recognize the classic MIDI tunes, synthetic bass and boisterous sound effects, all of which make a return appearance.
The controls in Doom are surprisingly tight. The D-pad controls directional movement, the A and B buttons act as the action buttons and the shoulder buttons are used to strafe. There are several preset configurations to choose from if you don’t like that set-up, but first-person shooter fans should feel at ease with the controls.
While the graphics aren’t as smooth as they should be and some of the levels have been edited for content, Doom still shines when it comes to its frenetic and exciting gameplay. Yes, there’s a been-there-done-that feeling to the game, but if you’re a fan of Doom and can overlook that fact, you’ll be in for one hell of a nostalgic ride. It’s not perfect, but if you’re looking for an action game for your Game Boy Advance, Doom is sure to get your adrenaline pumping.