Doom II: Hell on Earth (PC) Review

By Athanasios 06.05.2016

Review for Doom II: Hell on Earth on PC

The original Doom was one of the few flawless diamonds of videogame history… and yet few, even amongst series fanatics, play it as often as its sequel, which is somewhat strange, given the fact that Doom II: Hell on Earth could easily be named "Doom 1.5," since it only adds a handful of new enemies, a new weapon, and, finally, a new power-up. Of course, the technological advancements that took place in the tiny span of time before this hit the stores enabled the creation of larger, more intricate levels than before; and yes, this truly feels more epic than its famous predecessor. While it's an, otherwise, fantastic addition to the series, something feels missing.

Doom… is awesome. Not only did it make the FPS genre famous, not only is it one of the most important videogames of all time, and not only does it look and sound great, but it also feels so. It's fast and in-your-face, its demons hold no punches, its complex levels are treacherous, the boom-sticks are varied and easy to handle, and, finally… it's fast and in-your-face. There are no sleep-inducing cut-scenes and loading screens, no need for "Character Creation" dialogue, and, thankfully, no tutorials, quest markers, and stupid "return to the combat zone" warnings - just press 'New Game' and start filling enemies with hot lead, missiles, and plasma.

After its enormous success, it was only natural that a sequel would soon be available. id Software wasted no time, and, before you know it, brought the action back home - evident by the title of this fantastic sequel, Doom II: Hell on Earth. The story? Who cares! Once again, it is the typical placeholder plot of the series: demons have reached our world via UAC's experimental portals, and a nameless space marine is the only one who can foil their plans for dominion over this side of the cosmos. The only problem is that it all seems to be the same experience all over again, graphic engine and all.

Screenshot for Doom II: Hell on Earth on PC

From a technical standpoint, nothing has changed. It is the same, SVGA-powered, MIDI-sounding, DOS game as before, with the same - perfect - controls and fast gameplay. Something has changed, though. First of all, the music leans more towards the ambient side, but, thankfully, it's still great. The action is placed on Earth, however, and Earth is, at least according to id Software, dull. Forget the colour variety of the original, since most textures are mostly wooden or stone/brick walls, and because the palette consists of greenish brown, reddish brown, yellowish brown, bluish brown, and… brownish brown!

Boring, boring, and boring! Fortunately, the same can't be said about the seven new enemies. Apart from the Hell Knight, who is just a colour swap of the Baron of Hell, there's the obese, duel rocket launcher-wielding Mancubus, the skeletal Revenant and Arch-Vile, the mini-Spider Mastermind, Arachnotron, Cacodemon's cousin, the Pain Elemental, and, finally, an undead with a chain gun. Once again, they all look fantastic, and their death animations are simply awesome, but, as expected, their area of expertise is the battlefield, and, luckily, they are far more innovative than the original cast of monsters.

Screenshot for Doom II: Hell on Earth on PC

The original crew of enemies was great, but most were actually just a stronger, bigger, badder variation of the fire-throwing Imp. Doom II's new additions, though, make things more interesting. The first four are relatively simple: the Chaingunner is a simple human with a minigun, the Hell Knight is a weaker version of the Baron of Hell, the Arachnotron fires rapid plasma projectiles, and the Mancubus throws two rockets instead of one, with the second one being a bit harder to predict, and, thus, avoid. The best ones, however, are the final three.

The Pain Elemental spits the weak-but-fast Lost Souls, which means that the most annoying enemy of Doom comes out from the mouth of the most annoying enemy of its sequel. The Revenant (not the one with the Oscars) is a very fast skeleton, with two rocket launchers embedded on his shoulders (best parrot ever!), which throw homing missiles, and, finally, the Arch-Vile, which is a mean-looking half-corpse, half-hellish awesomeness that can summon fire where the player stands (as long as the monster is in view), and take away a big chunk of health if they don't take cover, and, even better, it can actually resurrect baddies.

Screenshot for Doom II: Hell on Earth on PC

In order to kill these new fantastic members of hell's legion, a new weapon has been added, and while the number 'one' is not impressive, the piece of joy called Super Shotgun is a great newcomer. Being a double-barrelled shotgun, it takes a while to reload, making it the slowest weapon after the BFG9000, but it's great for crowd control, or even fighting against the biggest meanies. In conclusion, then, this sequel doesn't exactly bring much to the table, but it still feels fantastic. There is one flaw, however, and it's a serious one, to be honest…

Doom is great and all, but it really owes it all to its level design - the part where Doom II makes a couple of mistakes. Yes, the new stages are bigger, harder, and, at times, more intricate, with some very lethal traps scattered around the place - not to mention its new, very dangerous denizens. The problem? A bit too much focus in searching for keys and switches, as well as lots of "platforming" sequences, with many parts of the game requiring fighting on top of extremely thin bridges. As for the quality of the action alone, it's great, but somewhat inconsistent, with some levels clearly far better than others.

Screenshot for Doom II: Hell on Earth on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The "problem" with Doom II: Hell on Earth isn't how it's actually a marginally updated Doom. In fact, even though the number of new things is a bit low, the additions are fantastic, especially when it comes to some of the enemies, or the Super Shotgun. It's not even the fact that this looks a tad boring, with a palette filled with all shades of brown. The main flaw is the level design, which while not bad, could be much better, or at least as good as the one in the original. Having said that, though, this is a fantastic videogame, and a must-have for all FPS fans out there.

Developer

id Software

Publisher

Virgin

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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