Doom 2

About once in a year, usually during the Xmas break, there comes this time to dust off an old classic – Doom 2. To me, this is the paragon of all FPS games, mostly because by the time my parents replaced our 286 PC (with a monochrome screen) with a glorious and much, much coveted 486 DX2 (with a full colour CRT screen), Doom 2 was out already so I got to play it much more than Doom 1, and so it happened that it stuck with me more.

I admit that even if we eventually got to playing deathmatch games over LAN as kids occasionally, I was never really very good at Doom 2 (IDKFA was just too tempting, I guess). Some years ago, it occurred to me that I had probably never finished the game properly when I was a kid, definitely not on the Ultraviolence difficulty. So I set this goal to finish it on Ultraviolence with all the kills, item pick ups, and secrets completed at 100 %.

I started with watching some Youtube videos that showed how to get through all the levels with 100/100/100%. I was surprised by how many secrets I had missed when playing the game as a kid, and also how easy some of the more difficult areas were when you knew the proper way to do it. I spiced up my challenge a little bit by only saving the game in the beginning of each level, which made me repeat the whole level in case I died or finished with just too little health or low ammo.

And what a fun it was! Ever since then, I return to Doom 2 about once a year if possible. It’s very fast paced and I just love gliding through the levels. Even if it’s not my favourite game of all time (that’s Albion, btw), it’s probably in the second place and it’s definitely the most enduring one because it stood the test of time very well, I think. And even if I know all the official secrets by now, it still happens that I get surprised by something, like this shortcut on level 4 that only opens once you raise the platforms. It’s not listed as an official secret so I didn’t know about it from the walkthroughs, but it’s the earliest place in the game where you can get hold of an ammo backpack, which makes tremendous difference at this stage and I would normally pick it up only a couple of levels later before I discovered this shortcut by accident.

Doom 1

Now, this year, it’s been 30 years since the release of Doom 1. Even if I did play it and finish it, as I mentioned earlier, I liked Doom 2 more back then so I never played Doom 1 that much and I definitely did not know it the way I know the second installment now, that is almost by heart. And I don’t think I ever finished it on the Ultraviolence difficulty either so I thought it would be a nice challenge to do that this year. And what a fun if was! At first I was missing the upgraded shotgun weapon (that was only added in Doom 2) a little bit because it’s great for close encounters and it can be easily used against just any enemy perhaps except for the Cyber-demon, Mastermind and Revenant. But then I discovered that many levels in Doom 1 have this Berserk powerup located somewhere close to the beginning of the level. And because the powerup lasts for the duration of the whole level, you can go through the rest of the level (or a big part of it) just with this fist powerup if you’re fast enough to dodge long range attacks. Well, sometimes, in confined spaces, it’s better to use chainsaw on Cacodemons. But anyway, besides the Berserk fist being extremely fun, you also save a ton of ammo this way.

I didn’t finish everything at 100 % in Doom 1, I was looking for secret locations but I didn’t push it, I’ll leave that for another time, this was just about enjoying the game. Also, I added one mod that I really like, it’ called Voxel Doom. It doesn’t interfere with the original game aesthetics, all it does is replace 2D sprites with 3D voxel models, which is a really nice touch. All and all, I loved the level designs of Doom 1 and it’s been a really great game on it’s own.