Review by Jerrynsteph4eva
"The definitive version of console Doom. Why aren't you buying it?"
If you're reading this review, I can safely say that you fall into one of two categories. The first is the Doom lovers who heard that one of the most beloved shooters of all time finally made it's way over to the PS3 in an amazing new collection and wanted to see what it was and how it's different from the other games. The second is anyone born after 1993 or has been living in solitude with no outside media and has never heard of the game (in which case, skip the review and just buy it). But either way, this review will hopefully tell you everything you need to know about the newest Doom collection and whether or not you'll want to pick it up.
Doom is widely acknowledged as being the first FPS game that popularized the genre (though there were several before and the title of first is usually given to it's older brother, Wolfenstein 3D). However, Doom's over the top, run and gun style gameplay is what truly popularized it and it's still fun to this day to run through the halls collecting keys and mowing down enemies with weapons both realistic and fictional. For both of you who have never heard of this game, this sums up the gameplay pretty well. You explore maze like levels, searching for the three colored keys (depending on the level) so you can get to the exit, mowing down hundreds of demonic enemies along the way as they fall into gory piles of flesh. Eventually, you'll find the exit, which rates you depending on how many of the items you found, monsters you killed and secrets (hidden areas, usually found by pressing the action button on a wall) you found. The game then moves onto the next level, where you repeat the same. This collection contains all five classic Doom games: Ultimate Doom (which contains an extra episode and other features), Doom II, Doom II: Master Levels and both campaigns of Final Doom. However, to say that these are all different versions of Doom is misleading and they may as well be considered expansions to Doom, as the gameplay is unchanged with only a few new monsters, levels and textures scattered around. However, the gameplay is still fun for the most part, but there's a few things that bring down the experience that I'll get into later.
The storyline for the games remains pretty much unchanged with one exception (which again, I'll get into later). You're a nameless marine stationed on one of the moons of Mars where they conduct secret teleportation experiments. However, they accidentally open a teleportation gate that leads in demons and you're stuck fending them off so they don't attack Earth. However, as Doom 2 fans will tell you, they eventually go to Earth and you fend them off in the sequel. Final Doom contains two campaigns set after Doom 2. The first, TNT Evilution, is set on Io, where researchers are trying to perfect the gate system again. However, a large demonic spaceship overtakes the base and it's up to you to reclaim it. The second, The Plutonia Experiment, is similar in story and has you reclaim a base that is dealing with experimental technology to close demonic gates. However, it was quickly overrun. The Master Levels contain no story and are simply a collection of levels meant to challenge you. However, even though this games all have storylines, they're almost written as an afterthought and are completely unnecessary to play through the game (unless you're a big fan, you'll likely not remember them anyway).
The graphics are still the same 16 bit, controversial graphics that you've come to know and expect from Doom. Doomguy's face still bloodies as he takes more and more damage, enemies still collapse into bloody piles of flesh and sinew as well as explode into a million pieces when shot with heavy weaponry. Large goat heads and pentagons still litter many of the levels. The graphics are still pretty good for their age and there's still a sense of adrenaline when you finally fell a Baron and watch it almost disintegrate.
Of course, playing Doom by yourself back in the 90s was an option, but the real fun came in playing it with your friends and that option is still here for all of the games in this collection. Whether you're playing 4 player co-op and running through each of the campaigns or playing deathmatch games on Level 31 of Doom 2, whether you're inviting a couple friends over to play on the couch or connecting online to play with them or total strangers. Nearly every level is playable in co-op or deathmatch (with only two master levels unable to work) so you can experience 99% of the classic Dooms with your buddies, which is honestly way more fun than playing it by yourself (which can get tedious and old after a while). However, be forewarned that you can't save your progress in multiplayer, though it does offer you a level select (you'll just have to re find that backpack and super shotgun!).
One of the coolest minor features of the game is the rumble feature. While the Xbox version had rumble as well, the Dualshock 3 rumble feels way more powerful and it actually adds a layer of depth to the game that keeps you coming back. While it may be a minor feature, it's one that immersed me into the game a bit more as it felt like I was actually firing a shotgun.
Now, most of you out there already know what Doom is and have played these classic games to death and want to know what changes to expect in this version of Doom. Frankly, I feel that it's a pretty faithful port, especially since Master Levels and Final Doom have only been released onto consoles once before and Final Doom was pretty shoddy. Doom 1 is a pretty flawless port of Ultimate Doom 1.9 and as far as I can tell, it's the same game as the PC version with added rumble. However, the same can't be said for Doom 2, which has the nazi imagery of the secret levels removed (likely so that it could be released in Germany after all these years). Final Doom fans will be angry when they find that, though the levels remain unchanged, the story blurbs in between have been removed and replaced with Doom 2's storyline. Master Levels, which were originally a collection of different WADs, have been combined into one large wad, which means that you can keep your items and health, but unfortunately means that many of the skydrops have been replaced with the original cloudy sky, which changes the feel of some of the levels (especially the night levels!). One last thing to note is for those of you who feel that Nightmare is the difficulty of choice, which still has respawning monsters. However, they move at normal speed, so for those who are really looking for the original Nightmare challenge will likely be disappointed. However, in my opinion, this doesn't detract from the awesomeness of this collection and should only affect the hardcore Doom fans who are looking for a perfect port.
One major complaint I have with all the Doom games is the gameplay. While the run and gun style gameplay is pretty fun, you'll soon find out why it became just a fond memory of the past. The maze like nature of the maps are oftentimes frustrating to those of us who haven't yet memorized the maps and wandering around aimlessly for ten minutes looking for a clue on where to go next is simply boring and frustrating. While the early levels certainly are no problem to blaze through and experience the fun of fragging down tons of monsters, later levels will have hidden keycards, labyrinth like tunnels that confuse you (even with a minimap) and even tricky warps. Take for example Mt. Erebus in Episode 3 of Ultimate Doom. I wandered around that level for a good 2 hours looking for the exit, only to finally get so frustrated I had to look it up and found it was well hidden in a small crevice. Now imagine if the fact that there are tons of levels like this in all five games (especially Master Levels, which seem to be based around this concept). You'll soon see why it's frustrating to play by yourself (unless of course you bring a buddy along, then it's slightly less frustrating).
The second complaint is more for the new players but it concerns the game's difficulty. While seasoned veterans who grew up with the game will likely be able to blaze through the game on the higher difficulties, new players will likely choose I'm Too Young To Die!, which normally isn't a bad thing. However, add in the above twists and turns and factor in the fact that Final Doom and Master Levels weren't created for new players and you'll start to see the problem. Even on the easiest difficulty, the other three campaigns are brutally hard and unless you're playing co-op, you'll either be restarting the level a lot or reloading. While there's nothing wrong with a game being difficult, if you're a new player who is looking to test the waters, this will likely frustrate you and make you give up on the game (which is a shame).
Another complaint I have is with the lack of WAD support. With hundreds of thousands of custom WADs available on the internet to play, you'd think by now they'd have figured out a way to load custom WADs onto console versions. This is especially glaring if you look at the support Unreal Tournament 3 got, allowing users to import custom maps, weapons and objects and even make their own with the Unreal Development Kit. This collection could have been a thousand times better had it been able to load custom WADs, either through a file browser or through USB/SD/etc. Not only that, but with all the advancements developers have made with the game in ports like ZDoom and Boom, you would think that they could have added in some of those features to the game (such as looking up and down, console commands, etc). But alas, it only contains Vanilla versions of the Doom games, which have since lost a bit of luster due to the numerous improvements fans have made over the years.
One minor complaint is the fact that the audio seems to garble every now and again as well as there being random frame rate drops. While it's not a major issue and the games can all be played normally from start to finish, it's somewhat annoying to all of a sudden walk a little slower than usual or hear a chirp in the background. It just makes you wonder why they still can't emulate a 20 year old game properly.
Also, one last minor note is that the game has no cheat codes of any kind. Yep, if you're planning to run through with God mode on or turn off clipping, you're outta luck here. Sorry.
All in all, this is the best version of Doom on consoles hands down. While the gameplay can get a bit frustrating at times and purists will likely criticize the game for minor differences, this is ultimately one heck of a package and worth every penny of the $15 you pay for it. While Doom is beginning to show it's age, it's still one of those games that's always fun to go back and play through every few years and this is the definitive version for consoles. I'd still recommend the PC version of the games over any version, but if you're looking to play this with your buddies on the couch, this is certainly the version to get and is a definite buy for anyone with a PS3.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/01/13
Game Release: Doom Classic Complete (US, 11/20/12)
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