Review by Megamur
"The best DOOM ever...period!"
Ahh, yes, the DOOM gods truly smiled upon me when this game was made. Final DOOM for the PSX (that's short for ''Playstation'', in case you don't know) was the third (I think) DOOM game I ever played, after falling in love with the SNES version (yes, the Super Nintendo version. What's it to you?), then being totally disappointed by DOOM 64 (the crappiest DOOM to date). I didn't know what to expect. I had just rented a Playstation for the first time, along with this game. When I finally played Final DOOM, my dreams came true.... This was and IS the best DOOM to date.
The story is this...well, actually, Final DOOM is divided up into three separate games, all with their own storyline. Here they all are:
Master Levels: 13 of the best levels that internet DOOM level designers could come up with! (If you can't tell by now, there is no storyline for the Master Levels. I could make one up, but...that'd be stupid and pointless.)
TNT Evilution: The Union Aerospace Corporation (the company that caused the invasion of Earth by Hell by opening up Martian teleporters known as Gates) hasn't been taught a lesson by what has occurred already. They still wish to continue their experiments on interdimensional teleportation. To protect Earth from any further invasions, the testing was moved far away to one of the moons of Jupiter.
The testing began, and the Gates were opened. Quickly, demons began pouring through, waiting to slaughter whatever awaited them on the other side. What awaited them were heavily armed Marines, who blew them to kingdom come. The demon invasion was stopped, almost as soon as it began.
Months passed with no demon activity, until the yearly supply ship arrived. Oddly, it had come early, and from the wrong direction. Unusual, but not inexplicable. Of course, when the scientists and technicians of the UAC base when out to the landing pad to greet the ship, they realized that something was terribly wrong.
The ship could not have come from Earth. It was extremely large, and was constructed of bone, flesh, and metal. Demons poured out from it, and the UAC employees were quickly killed or turned into zombies. The Marines, who were prepared for attacks from the Gate, were caught off guard, and were easily brought down.
You are the Marine Commander. You were nowhere near the base when the demons attacked, but, when you returned, you were horrified to see the carnage...and totally ticked-off that those things killed your men. The demons have caused you so much pain, and now it's time to return the favor...not for the sake of Earth, but for vengeance....
The Plutonia Experiment: After the demon invasion of Earth, the US government took steps that such a catastrophe would never occur again. Several Hell Gates still remained on Earth, allowing easy passage for the demons, and it was commissioned that the UAC, under completely new management (since all of the previous employers were killed), must find a way to close them.
Right away, the UAC got to work. Quickly, a Quantum Accelerator device was created. Upon it's maiden test, the device worked perfectly, closing the Gate permanently.
A few days later, though, a ring of seven gates appeared inside the UAC base. Within an hour, six were closed, but, by that time, the demons were too numerous. The UAC workers were all killed quickly.
Now, with the Quantum Accelerator device in possession of the demon Gatekeeper, Hell was ready to, once again, take over the world.
Fearing that the Quantum Accelerator would be used in some terrible way by the demons to attack Earth, all available military personnel were ordered to the base immediately. You were on leave at the beach when you got the call. You raced over to the base in your pickup truck.
Now, it's up to you to infiltrate the base alone, destroy the Gatekeeper, and retrieve the Quantum Accelerator device. Sure, backup will arrive soon, but it will be too little, too late. If you want something done, you gotta' do it yourself....
Well, that's the storyline, but, what's the game like? Final DOOM is a first-person shooter. You, from the eyes of the Marine, must navigate through semi-3D mazes (it's not true 3D. You can't go under AND over an object, like in Quake, or have multiple floors stacked on top of each other) on foot, opening doors, finding keys, blasting demons with lots of heavy weaponry, and finding the exit all in one piece. Sound simple enough? It usually isn't.
Be warned, though. This game is very violent, and features lots of blood and gore (even though it's not as excessive or realistic as in games like Resident Evil 2). But, fear not, Final DOOM isn't focused on carnage alone. Navigating the mazes will take a good amount of brain power. As the manual says, ''you'll need both brains AND a killer instinct''.
Final DOOM features a 1-player mode, as well as a 2-player co-op and deathmatch mode via Playstation Link Cable ONLY.
30 levels are available to play on four difficulty settings. These levels are ported DIRECTLY from the PC versions of ''The Master Levels'' and ''Final DOOM''.
When compared to it's predecessor, ''DOOM: Custom Playstation Edition'', no new enemies, enemy graphics, weapons, or items are featured in Final DOOM. New levels, wall textures, some new music, and backgrounds are included.
On to the review!
Graphics- The graphics in Final DOOM are a mixed bag. The levels themselves are usually nicely constructed, and feature reasonably good texture-mapping, as well as colored lighting, and shadow effects, which, although totally outdone in games like Quake II, still look kinda' neat. The levels aren't boxy or only one height like in Wolfenstein 3D. They can be of varying shapes and sizes, and can look really cool.
The enemies, though, are a different story. While from a distance they look rather neat and quite menacing, close up, they become a blocky mess of pixels that can become highly distorted, resulting in some battles where only half of an enemy is visible. They also animate very poorly, which is a darn shame. Still, for being flat, 2D sprite characters (compared to Quake's fully 3D polygonal models), they pull off a 3D look rather nicely.
The weapon graphics are very cool. They look almost photorealistic. They don't animate very well, though, much like the enemies. They still look really neat, nonetheless.
Other graphical touches, such as a constant shroud of darkness (not fog, mind you) that makes areas seem larger and more real, animated fiery skies, cracks in walls that are actually passageways, and weapon attacks that light up the entire room (which isn't as spectacular as it sounds), add to the graphical enjoyment.
The only problem is that all of these graphics can cause a significant decrease in framerate, and graphically intensive areas can really slow the game down, causing you to screw up your timing. Still, Final DOOM is a great game to stare at, and really isn't all that dark, as some people claim it is. DOOM 64 is MUCH worse in that department....
Sound- Some people will love it, some people will hate it. The person who brought you the cool sound effects and music of the PC versions of DOOM, Bobby Prince, has had all of his work replaced in the PSX Final DOOM by another reasonably talented person, Aubrey Hodges. The result? Well....
The sound effects are pretty darned good. The weapon effects kick (that Plasma Gun sounds totally awesome!), and the enemy effects are just as good, with lots of eerie moans and screams that will haunt you throughout your trip (the giant skeletons, known as Revenants, chilled me to the bone when I first heard them!). This is especially freaky when you can hear something growling nearby, but you have no idea where it is...and it just gets closer, and louder...and closer...and LOUDER...and CLOSER, UNTIL...OH MY GOD, WHERE IS IT?! ARGH!! IT'S BEHIND ME!! AUGAAAAHHHH!! ...Umm, anyway, where was I? Right, okay....
Now, for the music...well, here's the deal. There really isn't much in the realm of music. Final DOOM contains a special kind of music called ''Atmospheric'' or ''Ambient'' music, which is very quiet, and doesn't really have much of a tune. It's mostly just there to creep you out. Still, from what you can hear, the music can be pretty danged good. With time, you might be actually start to hum it. The title theme and tally screen theme totally kick butt.
Other times, though, the music is just so quiet, there's nothing to appreciate. I sware, sometimes the music begins at the start of a level, then is never heard again until the level is over. It reminds me of ''Finale Toccata'', played throughout most of the inverted castle of ''CastleVania: Symphony of the Night'', where it has a very strong opening...then, hardly anything at all for a really long time.
Another musical gripe (which may apply to me only) is the fact that the music for the first level of TNT Evilution sounds all screwy, like the disc is scratched up. Sure, I'd contribute the problem to a scratched disc...but the exact same song is on the ''DOOM: Custom Playstation Edition'' disc...and it does EXACTLY the same thing...and ONLY during that song. How very odd....
Play Control- Play control for Final DOOM is simple and responsive. One button for this, one button for that. Don't like the controls? They are customizable in the options screen. Final DOOM is also very easy to control, because complicated functions, such as jumping and looking up and down are not available (even though you can sort of jump if you take a running leap off a ledge, and Final DOOM auto-aims at enemies that are higher and lower than you. Just point in their direction, and Final DOOM aims up and down for you! Great, huh?). You can even use the Playstation mouse!
Still, there are some movement problems. It's very difficult to maneuver your Marine when lots of slowdown occurs, because it can really throw your timing off (as mentioned before), and sometimes presicely aiming can be difficult, since, no matter lightly you tap the directional button, you just can't seem to line up you shot just right! The PSX mouse may help this, but, I don't own one, so I have no idea. Auto-aiming doesn't always work correctly, either.
Still, with minor problems aside, Final DOOM is a breeze to play. You should experience little difficulty accustoming yourself to the play control, which is a very good thing, considering how well coordinated and quick you're going to have to be to survive this game! Which brings me to the next part of the review....
Challenge- Just about the most important factor to me in any game review. Final DOOM is no cinch. The enemies aren't too smart, but pack some serious firepower, and can take it, as well as dish it out. You may have lots of weaponry, but so do they...and they outnumber you about 10,000 to 1.
If they weren't enough, you can totally strain your brain trying to figure out some of Final DOOM's many puzzles. The mazes in which they are featured in are also very complicated, and it's easy to get lost, even with a map. There's even secret rooms to find in almost every level, which makes things even more confusing. I wouldn't be surprised if this game stumped you for weeks.
Still, most objectives are rather simple. The entire game consists mostly of flipping switches and finding keys to unlock doors. It's just finding where those locked doors are and what that switch you just hit did is what increases the challenge.
Unfortunately, you won't experience this for long. Final DOOM features only 30 levels. This may seem like alot, but it's very little for DOOM fans, especially considering that the PC versions of Final DOOM and The Master Levels all added together would total over 80 levels (now, THAT...is alot).
At least Final DOOM has four difficulty settings. Ultra-Violence, the most difficult, will test the limits of most any player. The last episode alone, The Plutonia Experiment, is difficult enough to give Final DOOM an extremely high challenge rating, even though it's only 5 levels long. Anyway, if things get too tough, there's always the password function to back you up!
Despite it's brevity, with the difficulty of the enemies and levels you must conquer, you'll spend a pretty good amount of time beating this one.
Replay Value- Very low, as in all DOOM games (and in almost every first-person shooter). Once you beat the game, all you can do is crank up the difficulty some more and try again, or just play once more just because you wanna'. Sorry, folks.
So, to sum it all up:
Graphics- Good level designs, with nice texturing and cool lighting effects, but poor animation, and blocky, distorted character graphics when up close.
Sound- Really cool sound effects, but no real music.
Play Control- Easy to learn and customizable, but has a few tiny faults when it comes to absolutely precise movement.
Replay Value- Very low. Once you finish it, there's nothing else you can really do in the game, except maybe look for all the secrets, or something.
Other Gripes- Hit detection is a little off at times, it seems. It's always very annoying when you blast an enemy at point-blank range, only to miss completely. Still, it's not very much of a bother. It does exist, though.
Also, while Final DOOM has lots of neat monsters, they lack variety in the levels. There's so many times where you'll see the same enemies OVER AND OVER during the game. On top of that, some of the coolest enemies barely make an appearance (the Spider Mastermind, showed at the end of the game DOES NOT make a single appearance during the actual game!). It's a total bummer.
Overall- DOOM is one of my favorite games, and Final DOOM features some of the best DOOM levels ever created. Be warned, though. Those who have played DOOM before and are looking for something new should avoid Final DOOM. It's the same old thing, with no new weapons, monsters or items, just levels. Heck, there aren't even any new levels that weren't featured in the PC versions of this game. Still, it's great for the DOOM fan who just wants more plain ol' DOOM action. If you've never played DOOM before, or the PC versions of The Master Levels or Final DOOM, enlist in the PSX Final DOOM today!
Rent or Buy?- If you've never played DOOM before, give it a rental. If you already have the PC versions of The Master Levels and Final DOOM, I'd forego picking this one up, unless you're a collector or something. If you haven't played those two games, but really like DOOM, BUY THIS GAME RIGHT NOW!!
Other Suggestions- If you liked playing Final DOOM, I suggest playing DOOM, available on just about anything that can play video games, or Quake for Nintendo 64, PC, Saturn, etc.
If DOOM III (currently in production) is never released, I'll be upset...until I remember that I have Final DOOM to play. This game is that good.
That's my two cents.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 03/06/01, Updated 03/06/01
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