Doom needs no introduction. It was really only a matter of time until it hit the iPhone, what with the likes of Wolfenstein 3D already roaming the App Store.
The classic franchise makes its iPhone debut in Doom Resurrection. As a result, this game most certainly looks like Doom– especially since it borrows several assets from Doom 3– but a few fundamental gameplay changes will definitely have some purists groaning, as unfair as that may be.
The change, as we reported from WWDC, puts the genre-defining franchise on rails. That should be blasphemy as far as purists are concerned. The original Doom and Doom 2, after all, are what took us out of the arcade, away from games like Virtua Cop and Lethal Enforcers. But as dated as the rail shooter may be– it is soooo 90s after all– its concept should not be handicapped by the likes of other iPhone titles like Silent Scope or the flood of generic shooting galleries out there.
Ted was afraid he’d lose face for spilling his guts.
The rails mechanic actually works pretty well. Granted, the concept doesn’t ask too much of gamers, as the game really isn’t all that difficult. But its execution is well done, making Doom Resurrection easily the best rails shooter on the App Store.
In our WWDC interview with id founder and technical director John Carmack, he said they went with the gameplay decision to cater to casual iPhone gamers who might not be familiar with first-person shooter control schemes. As such, all movement control is removed as the player coasts through the level automatically.
Aiming is handled through a perfectly implemented accelerometer control, which recalibrates at the start of each level or through the pause menu on demand, with firing tied to a touch button. To add some degree of interactivity, context-specific actions are added, like dodging or taking cover.
We always cry at the end of Old Yeller.
To keep it from being a straight rails shooter, id allows you to switch weapons at will. All of the franchise favorites are here, from the chainsaw to the BFG, as well as staples like the shotgun and chaingun.
Gameplay is about what you would expect from a rails shooter. Enemies pop out at set intervals to either melee attack you or toss fireballs, among other things. Doom tries to get in a few cheap scares, but it doesn’t really pull it off. It’s a rails shooter, so if you’re turning around, chances are there’s probably a zombie behind you. The action, for the most part, is non-stop, although the earlier levels are rather slow in their pacing. Total gameplay clocks in around three hours for eight levels.
But id’s intention to cater to the more casual gamer is obvious, mainly because this game really isn’t that hard, even on Nightmare difficulty. Monsters rarely spawn more than two at a time, and difficulty levels only change the amount of damage the creatures dish out. Given the excellent implementation of the accelerometer aiming, headshots are a breeze, so you’ll rarely be in any real danger. The dodge and cover mechanics can get a bit repetitive, too, as monsters fire at fixed intervals for easy timing.
It’s totally understandable if hardcore gamers get turned off by the rails format and lack of difficulty, especially for a relatively short game length. But for the casual target audience id is hoping to reach, Doom Resurrection is a great game and quite accessible.
That said, the $9.99 price point might sit a bit high, all things considered, so we would encourage waiting for a price drop on this one.