Hell is no place for wimps.
Yes, the last incarnation of the revolutionary Doom series has arrived for the PlayStation. 'And how is it?', you ask? Well, gather 'round children and I'll tell you the story of one man's descent into the depths of Hades and out again. 'Story?' you ask, 'You mean that Doom has a plot???'
Actually, I was a little surprised at this myself. I have played all the versions of Doom, plus quite a few modified ones, including a porno-doom, and my personal favorite: Simpsons-Doom (Homer, not O.J.). However, I never realized that there was actually a plot to these games until I read the back of the CD case for this one. Well, I gess even ID admits that its not much of a plot: 'This is not a cumbersome role-playing game, but an action oriented slug-a-thon!' reads the manual. 'Manual?' you ask.
Well, the PlayStation version of Final Doom offers up some good, some not-so-good, and plenty of ugly (by way of hellbeasts). Now most of you already have an opinion about Doom one way or the other. But if you're one of the few that hasn't yet made up their mind, lets start with the graphics.
The background graphics in Final Doom are quite good. They move more quickly than any other 1st person shooter to date. This is because they use ID's background engine instead of relying on the PlayStation's built in 3D chip. You can see the difference this makes when you compare it to a game like King's Field where the backgrounds are smoother, true 3D, but much slower. Final Doom backgrounds are well varied, and well defined, especially for the speed. There are more than just stone corridors, and their are several different skies featured overhead as you slog through caves, castles, lost jungle cities, and Hell itself.
Unfortuantely this is where the superior graphic capabilities of Final Doom ends. The enemies are terrible. While they are appropriately gruesome, they are fairly low resolution sprites which get horribly pixilated when you get near them. Even worse is the animation. When several of the infernal beasties move, they are animated with a whopping 2 different frames.
The sound in Final Doom is masterful. The blast of guns and the explosions of distant rockets (or near ones) are perfect. The growls of the demons are frightening, especially when you hear them, but don't see the yet. Time for some evasive maneuvers!
Best of all is the background 'music'. There are a wide variety of tracks to entertain you through the 30 levels. They certainly can't be called music, but they are more artistic that just noise. They fit the mood of the game perfectly and never get repetative. Take a tip from me: creepy hellish background noise is even better with the lights off.
Despite the problems with the enemy graphics, the gameplay in Final Doom is totally addicting. The PlayStation controller works better for Doom than any keyboard/mouse combo I've ever used. Once you get a hang of using the triggers to 'slide' sideways, you can realy begin to perfect your death-dealing skills. It takes a good deal of both strategy and finesse to blast your way through many of the levels.
With '30+' levels to go through, you'll need every bit of that skill. There's a big cyber-demon on the 30th level who's very difficult to beat. This guy can take a lot of punishment! Obviously, Final Doom is as full of secrets as all the others, you just have to find them!
Perhaps the most fun you can have with Final Doom is to link to your friend via the PlayStation and hunt each other. Forget the cooperative mode, this is deathmatch time! If you've never seen what happens to office productivity when you install the PC version of this game on their network, you can experience the next best thing at home.
While Final Doom has excellent playability and brilliant mood-setting music, its graphics are just no match for the newest 1st person shooters that are coming out. Games like Quake and the upcoming Turok: Dinosaur Hunter for the N64 are rendering the enemies in true 3D.