Saturday!

Underwood Deviled Ham Commercial with Mason Reese

Okay. Doom.

Here’s an oldie but a goodie from somewhere around the time of Doom 3:

design

Remember that one? Good times.

Anyway, one of the main things that the developers of the original Doom always said in interviews was that they didn’t know how to make a FPS, really, since the genre was so brand spankin’ new, so they used games like Robotron 2084 as a template. Just have a guy and have a ton of monsters and throw the ton of monsters at the guy.

“Do we need a story?”

“Um. Hell opens a gate. Demons start pouring through the gate. And they’re on Mars.”

I mean, you don’t need more than that. This is one of those “why are you doing this?” situations where “why WOULDN’T you do this?” is the perfect rejoinder.

Well, Doom II improved on the formula somewhat. Still no jump button, of course, but it was the 90’s. We didn’t need jump buttons.

Well, Doom III was the reason we had that graphic right there. Plus there was the flashlight thing. Gamespot gave Doom 3 an 8.9 and I should have seen that and flailed my arms about and yelled “DANGER DANGER” but, instead, I said “Huh… 8.9 is still pretty good.” Well, it wasn’t. It wasn’t pretty good at all.

But Jaybird!, I hear you asking. What about the New and Improved Doom?

Well, I’ll tell you: They didn’t mess up. They actually did a pretty solid job of making a fun game with fun levels where you run around on Mars shooting demons because they opened a gate. There’s a bit more back story this time. There are people who try to explain things to you over intercoms and you get a feeling that the place you’re running around shooting up was a vibrant scientific community for a good long while before this demon gate opened, but that’s not the focus of the game at all. They put you in a level and they give you some guns and they let you run around shooting demons.

Some of the levels emphasize hallways, yes… but some of them are wide open spaces and you have all sorts of everywhere to run around feeling vaguely agoraphobic rather than vaguely claustrophobic.

Now, when it comes to what they’ve added, they’ve added all kinds of stuff. The weapons are fun (and upgradable!) and, on top of that, your armor is upgradable and you can give yourself all kinds of bonuses, whether they be treasure based (like, have the map light up when you’re near a secret area) or attack based or defense based, depending on your preferred play style. They’ve added grenades (did they have grenades in 3? I don’t remember… but 3 wasn’t fun so it doesn’t matter). They’ve added a *JUMP* button.

It feels like Doom.

Which is probably the highest possible recommendation I could possibly give a non-RPG FPS.

But get it on sale for $20 anyway. If I had paid $60, I wouldn’t feel like I got away with something. For $20? I feel like I got away with a steal.

So… what are you playing?

(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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4 thoughts on “Saturday!

  1. Spent a bit of time with the two FPS from 2016 that most interested me, and if I’m allowed to torture a metaphor, I’m getting a bit of Seahawks vs. Lions vibe… Doom is the Seahawks, seemingly just the same as it’s always been, only not quite as good. Shadow Warrior 2 is the Lions, who have lost some talent and emphasized what they thought they were good at, but weren’t necessarily right about that. And the favored side might win in the long run, not necessarily because of their strengths but because the other guy doesn’t have corresponding strengths.

    Doom is, for what it’s worth, Doom. My first evening I had a fairly negative review, but it turns out that was just crap design in the very first level. Twisty outdoor paths, red ground, red enemies, red fireballs, red sky, red mist, red dead redemption – ok, maybe not the last one, but still… Once we got back indoors, it became Doom again. I’m not sure that weapon upgrade levels and alternate fire buttons are really in the old spirit, but you can’t really avoid them these days, and it’s executed about as well as it can be. I’m not thumbs down on the hyperviolence, although it does encourage a more melee-focused playstyle than I expected going in. Still, Doom is, again, Doom – well worth the price on a Steam sale – and if it doesn’t enthrall a 50-yo in 2017 the exact same way the original did a 27-yo in 1993, well, fewer and fewer things do…

    Shadow Warrior 2, on the other hand, gave me just the opposite reaction. The early story levels are far superior to Doom at the same point. Lo Wang – A for Asshole, C for Champion – is in fine form, the level design is good, and early game weaponry has the same ninja feel as the 2013 original. Then it all goes Tango Uniform. The metagame is a Borderlands clone (which makes it a copy of a copy, since Borderlands just stole from the Diablo franchise). Enemies come in small groups of powerful, linked foes, as opposed to the occasional shambling herds the franchise is known for. There is crafting, which neutered the skill trees, so customization is all from drops and not from strategy. I blame multiplayer. I believe that, theoretically, even campaign missions can be played in co-op (as opposed to the procedurally generated levels that provide a Diablo-like endgame), so when my pal gets his new setup we might see if it can be salvaged. Still. Disappointed.

    I wish that Croteam had ever been fully successful in a Serious Sam relaunch, since the ones they actually managed were so mediocre. IMO, Serious Sam: The Second Encounter might have been the best FPS ever, certainly the best I’ve ever heard of for co-op multiplayer.

    And I don’t think this all is just me being a fat old man. I don’t think it’s possible to make a true spiritual successor to the 1990s FPS games anymore, because of feature creep. Yes, Doom, Hexen, Duke Nukem, Serious Sam, Shadow Warrior, Blood, etc. were crap in a lot of ways, but they had the advantage that their designers were able to focus on what they actually were, and weren’t tempted (or forced) to drag in a lot of crap that isn’t what they actually were. Which is what Shadow Warrior 2, and to a lesser extent Doom, have done.

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    • Kinda felt the same way RE Doom. Good graphics. I liked the “old levels” you could find. It was more of a nostalgia run for me than excitement. I did like the alternative weapon mods. I have realized that I’m no longer that much into FPS. I seem to now prefer the likes of Witcher and Fallout and a more open ended world.

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