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SummaryA Doom RPG? I know what you are thinking: LOL, WUT? Though it actually kinda works...
The GoodDoom! Doom! Doom! Does it really need any introduction? So lets get to the point: Whoever decided to mix Doom with an RPG was an idiot. An ingenious idiot, mind you, but an idiot nonetheless. I mean, how do you make an RPG out of Doom? Everyone knows a good RPG has depth, intelligence, and complex game elements. Introducing any of those 3 things to Doom and Doom will just cock its head in confusion before chopping them up with its chainsaw. Yet Doom RPG exists regardless on certain mobile phones, and as strange as it sounds.. it actually is kinda fun.
The game uses the classic Doom graphics engine, although for the sake of mobile phones rooms limits at the time (2005) are somewhat smaller and you can not move in real time. Although to be fair, the turn based format is probably best because considering how one controls a game with the cell phone numerical pad/d-pad it would be somewhat hard to play a real time FPS. Controls are simple, you move in 4 directions, have a button to move forward, two turn buttons, a backpedal button, a button that shoots stuff and menu/inventory buttons. The controls may take some time to get used to, and it definitely depends on what type of mobile you have (It seems a little easier on a mobile with a keyboard as it uses a WASD format) but once you have them down they work well.
All the classic enemy sprites appear as well as their respective physical form and there are colour swapped variations to give more variety as well as to indicate special or boss type monsters. They've included all the classic weaknesses to, albeit in different forms. If you don't know what I mean by 'weaknesses,' I mean the fact that in the Doom games each monster has a weakness to a specific weapon that a player can learn. For example, a chainsaw will keep a Demon in place and hack them to ribbons quickly. A chaingun will slow down a cacodemon and prevent them from attacking. Etc. Although they are implemented in different ways, the developers add them in as nods to the original games.
Gameplay is fairly simple. You walk down corridors, you pick up stuff, you find a monster, you use your stuff on it till it dies. The "RPG" elements are mild and probably best this way, as I said the game is turn based/grid based, and distance of enemies will matter although it will be fairly common that combat situations will have enemies up close although later on you'll find that this is bad for you because, understandably enough, enemies do more damage right up close. The RPG elements come in the form of a rudimentary leveling system and some auto-upgrading skills. It's lite, but it helps keep the turn based combat justified.
The game is funny. The developers packed in plenty of funny jokes. One of my favourites is towards the end when the Doom marine finally gets a hold of the BFG 9,000 (Ooh, yes!) and a funny dialogue pops up that says "Congratulations! You've got the BFG 9,000; the ultimate in killing things dead. We'd tell you what 'BFG' stands for, but this is a family game." and the smug, smartass tone of that sentence and of course the inside reference of "BFG"'s real acronym always gets a smile from me. The humour comes in various forms, mostly in dialog boxes read while looking at computer screens, but sometimes there are more clever ones like a level with a maze that after completing the maze, if you look at your auto map you will see the maze formed "1337." There's even some somewhat subtle humour in the combat. For example, guess what weapon Lost Souls are weakest too? Why, a fire extinguisher of course! You don't really think about it, but its kind of clever and silly when you do. There are smart ass computers that scoff at your attempts to blow them up, suicidal mental patients disguised as scientists, and oddly enough even a reference to Dog Meat from Fallout.
There's a weapon that allows you to control demon dogs (Although to be fair, these 'demon dogs' are really just the German Shepherds from Wolfenstein with occasionally recoloured sprites) and use them as a shield and weapon. This weapon is kinda cool, plus it makes me think of some sort of demonic version of "Pokemon."
The BadWhile its somewhat silly to criticize this element in a Doom game, the story is pretty lame. Its essentially yet another retelling of the first game, and now it has this somewhat silly and poorly tacked on subplot about two scientists that have always been competing, and how one scientist is Satan and the other is God. Naturally Satan is the one to open the gates of hell this time, and it seems kind of silly and anachronistic that for once it wasn't a botched UAC experiment. Also, why does Satan want mars? Unlike in Doom 3 or the first and second games, there are no rescue crafts from Earth coming that the demons can board and ship back, nor are there any teleporters that head straight to Earth. In fact, its never implied that Satan even wants Earth. What would Satan want with Mars? Seriously? Okay, I've dwelled on this FAR too long, gotta remember that this is a Doom game.
While most of the graphics are fairly good (For a mobile in 2005) most of the new sprites look fairly poor. All the classic sprites and textures like fine, but there are new ones added in such as scientists and MarsSec guards that look awful. It seems that the developers thought they could scan a picture of the scientists/guards from Doom 3 and turn them into a sprite and have good results, which is more proof that whoever came up with this is an idiot. They look like barely recognizable blobs of colour and pixels. If you press your face against the screen and squint really, REALLY hard you can see the scientists green labcoat or their PDA like in Doom 3 or a Doom 3 machine gun being held by a guard. Level graphics are also fairly repetitive, although there are a couple places that try to shake things up.
There's no level in hell :( While there is a portion where lava and strange anamolies start ripping apart the UAC base later in the game, it is disappointing that there is never a trip to hell here. First Doom 3 is too lazy to give us more than one trip there, and now Doom RPG is too lazy to even show us even a tiny glimpse of hell which is normally a trademark of a Doom game.
Save for the opening text scroll and menu, there's no music.
The Bottom LineSo yeah, whoever Mr. Ingenious Idiot is, congrats on somehow making a decent dungeon crawling RPG out of Doom. This is a very fun game for Doom fans and a fairly good game for mobile phones, even if its looking dated thanks to that damn iPhone thing. If your service provider still has it somewhere in their database, check it out.
(Yeah, I don't have an iPhone. Feel free to laugh at me, but I barely use my phone even for calling people and I don't feel like wasting 300 dollars on a phone with too many unnecessary gadgets that I'll probably never, ever use.)