DOOM Resurrection

DOOM Resurrection is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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id’s John Carmack Talks Doom Resurrection

We just got off the phone with legendary developer John Carmack of id Software, who gave us the official scoop on the House of Doom’s new iPhone project, Doom Resurrection. We’ve got all the juicy details and screens right after the jump!

Doom Resurrection looks a lot like Doom 3 for a reason.

id Software has already established a presence on the App Store with Wolfenstein 3D, and Carmack has gone on record effusively praising the iPhone as a gaming platform.

In some of those same interviews, he alluded to a secret iPhone project id was working on, prompting much speculation. It turns out that game was Doom Resurrection, which id and external developer Escalation Studios have been working on for the last 8 months.

According to Carmack, Doom Resurrection is an entirely new game “built as an iPhone exclusive from the ground up.” Its story runs parallel to Doom 3, returning gamers to a different part of the monster-infested moon base as a new hero.

The connection between Doom 3 and Doom Resurrection runs all the way down to the technical level. We learned from Escalation Studios’s Managing Director Tom Mustaine that Resurrection reuses many of Doom 3’s assets, and displays them “only one level down” from the original PC game’s resolution.

“Doom Resurrection pretty much has all of the original weapons and most of the monsters from Doom 3, including the bosses,” Mustaine said. One notable exception is the infamous flashlight mechanic, which Carmack called “my biggest mistake from Doom 3.”

Dude, tuck your shirt in!

Doom Resurrection is very much its own title, too. The game’s eight levels have been built from scratch, the story is original, and the gameplay has been switched up to be appropriate for the iPhone. The player moves through the levels automatically, tilting to aim and then hitting a fire button to shoot. Contextual buttons pop up when you have an opportunity to dodge or take cover.

“We wanted an opportunity to control the game’s pacing,” Carmack said, noting that iPhone gamers may not be as familiar with first-person shooter mechanics as the typical console gamer. “This way, the game won’t make you feel like an idiot because you can’t figure out which way to go.”

Carmack and Mustaine stressed that there’s plenty of action to be had in Doom Resurrection. They estimated that the game’s good for 4 to 6 hours of play the first time through, depending on which of the four difficulty levels you choose. Also, the game assigns a performance ranking after each level, so there is some replay value in working to improve your ranking.

Doom Resurrection is a landmark for id Software and Carmack in several respects. “This is the first time id has ever funded an external team,” Carmack said. “It’s a lot riskier than letting a publisher do it. If the game didn’t turn out well, we were prepared to can it and let it remain a secret.”

Contextual buttons allow you to dodge.

And according to Carmack, the game’s future was something of an open question at first. He wasn’t satisfied with the first iteration of the game, which used a sort of “Whack-a-Mole,” tap-to-shoot mechanic.

“Tapping is actually too efficient of a control mechanism,” he said. “It felt like a productivity app. There was no tension, and you couldn’t see the damage animation on whatever you were shooting at because your finger was in the way. But the game really turned the corner when we put in the new aiming mechanism.”

Even though it may not sound like it, the notoriously hands-on Carmack actually took more of an advisory role for Doom Resurrection, joking that he was working as “the world’s most expensive beta tester.” Katherine Anna Kang, the president of id Mobile and Carmack’s wife, served as producer on the project.

Carmack hasn’t been sitting still, though. He described id’s iPhone strategy as a “three-pronged attack,” the first prong being “classic” id titles like Doom Classic, which will be out in July, Wolfenstein 3D, and possibly the Quake games. Carmack codes all of these games personally. The second category is for id’s mobile RPGs, like Wolfenstein RPG, which is also ready for submission, Carmack said.

The third is iPhone-exlusive projects like Doom Resurrection. Carmack hinted that the next title in this vein could be related to Rage, referring to id’s post-apocalyptic racing game that is still in development.

Doom Resurrection is due out later this month. The team doesn’t have an official price yet, but Carmack said it would be at the premium end of the scale. He also told us that future updates may include features such as cooperative multiplayer as well as downloadable levels. We are waiting on the official gameplay trailer, and will post it as soon as we get it.

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Doom Resurrection Review

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.