In the future, humans have left Earth and settled throughout the galaxy. On Mars, the Union Aerospace Corporation has established a radioactive waste facility and allowed the military to conduct teleportation experiments on the nearby moons of Deimos and Phobos. Hours ago, the base on Mars began receiving incoherent distress messages from Phobos, while Deimos has disappeared completely. With all attempts to establish contact failing, you and your team have been dispatched to investigate. Upon arrival, you secure the perimeter as the rest of your team enters the facility. As you stand guard, your radio crackles with the sound of gunfire, cracking bones and blood-curdling screams and eventually falls silent. Alone, with no way off the planet or means to defend yourself other than your trusty pistol, there’s only one way out - into the complex of death and the horrors that await you within. If you plan to get out of here alive you must fend off the hordes of demonic imps, haunting spectres and your undead, former comrades waiting to tear you limb from limb. So, grab the nearest shotgun and blast your way out of this fragging madness!
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i am tempted to say it rips. that, it rips and tears. but i think what makes DOOM own is less the adolescent hell-ish ultra violence that it peddles on the surface and more the artisan tech pulsing underneath, its supersonic gameplay and the increasingly complex, Escherian level design.
i don't think i've ever been wowed by a game on a technical level like this before. after the first shareware episode (i played all three episodes plus thy flesh consumed and then Romero's Sigil wad) i ended up turning God Mode on so I could vibe with the game and take in everything DOOM had to offer beyond killing demons because the levels, children. my god - the levels. the ones where the lights flicker on and off? mmmMmmm. i played this because it's a shooter but its charms lie just as much in exploration and puzzles and there is as much satisfaction finding your path forward as there is in blasting an imp with a shotgun (i turned on the give me everything cheat too and played the 90% of the game with the shotgun, maybe gaming's ultimate weapon?). i was expecting to find DNA in DOOM linking to future FPSs but playing DOOM is like seeing behind the curtain of every modern video game and glimpsing the super secret code behind there that's running every single one of them. there's halo, call of duty and fortnite in there. but also GTA and resident evil and some half-life and metal gear solid and A LOT of dark souls. in fact it's basically just dark souls with guns. if i were playing without cheats i could see the same tension at play in Souls where not only do you have to register how to defeat and bypass each enemy but you're also marrying that to the other side of your brain that's trying to memorise and map complex levels and the way out/forward.
i am reading masters of doom and i don't think i really needed to to understand that DOOM was a game made by people who subsisted off pizza, soda and various Metallica and Dokken cassette tapes. the game just oozes that vibe. but reading that book enlightens me to the idea that john romero and john carmack were the doomguy for real. their shotguns were computers and their demons were innovation. id software basically invented the modern video game. the question, "what's the citizen kane of games?" is such a stupid and useless one but the answer is def DOOM, because like citizen kane DOOM is a modern technical marvel made by some brash dudes in their early 20s that most people today are sick of hearing about. but here we are. DOOM owns.