Doom – Old Is New Again

With Doom, the fps genre has finally come back around to the point at which it started.

Doom (4) is an fps created by folks who obviously love the classics. I’m referring to Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, which are now Doom’s great-grandparents (once removed). Yeah, imagine that family tree.

What’s going on here?  There’s a case to be made against mimicry in the industry, and the trail of breadcrumbs leads right to where we are now. Doom was copied mercilessly in the 90’s. Many games that came out around the same time were a mixture of some of these ingredients: fps, gritty, violent, zombies, hell, and demons. Pour them into a 486 DX 66, and shake vigorously. Even Quake followed the recipe fairly closely.

Subsequent fps games provided more body parts stitched into the Frankenstein’s monster that is currently the fps genre.

As evidence I present Halo, which was a landmark FPS release. It was the first game I remember that had a weapon carry limit. At the time it was an interesting “feature,” and it made sense because the game was crafted around the concept. Enemies in halo drop weapons like they’re broken Pez dispensers. It creates the mystique of a lone ass-kicker on an alien world mowing down aliens, running out of ammo, and swapping dropped weapons on the fly in the heat of battle. When coupled with it’s reloading, grenade, and melee mechanics, it really worked.

Just about every game after Halo limited weapon carrying capacity. The designers didn’t necessarily understand what it was about this that worked; they just knew that Halo was cool with its x, y, and z features. That style of thinking somehow led to our current swamp of Call of Duty and Battlefield clones, which are carrying the baton for the current leg of the fps relay. I have already mentioned a few reasons why I think Call of Duty is artistically vacant.

Now, we’re back around to Doom. Everything I have seen of it is making my nostalgia sensors go off. Carry as many weapons as you want? Check. Reload? Hell no. Doom (the original) is almost a quarter of a century old now, and it’s been long enough that its features are now new and fresh. The after-taste of a million Doom clones has been swished away by the water and baking soda like mixture of modern military shooters.

The new Doom is like a young person tight-rolling their jeans in 2016. But, those jeans aren’t Bugle Boys, and they’re not acid washed. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it certainly makes me feel old.


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