Doom 2 is the second game of the franchise coming out only a year after the original was released. It is set right after the events that took place in Episode 3 of the first game where you have managed to return to Earth only to discover that it has come under attack by the forces of hell. It doesn’t take long to find out why humanity is on the verge of extinction as the amount of monsters you see on Earth is more than you even see exploring hell in the first game. To make matters worse they have sent brand new demons such as the Archvile, chain-gun wielding zombies and other demons far more powerful than those you spent the majority of the time fighting in Doom 1. This is definitely a sequel made for those with lots of experience playing the original and will hold no punches back. It is a far more difficult game than the original, as such I would suggest starting with that one if you are looking to get in to the series. If you simply want to play some of the insane number of mods available then this is the one to get since must mods are for Doom 2.
The only new gun in your arsenal will be a double barreled shotgun and packs a heck of a punch to anyone in its path but lacks the great range of the single barreled shotgun making both viable options instead of a straight upgrade. One of the first things you may notice is that there are no longer any Episodes to choose from. Instead you start from level 1 and make your way to the end of the game from there. It sucks not being able to start at the middle or the end of the game anymore though I did find this change to be for the better overall as you no longer end an episode and have to collect all your weapons over again when you start the next one. You may be thinking that has the potential to make the game too easy as you can now stock up on tons of ammo but that is not the case. Due to the powerful new enemies and the sheer amount of numbers they throw at you, ammo feels more valuable than ever. In the original game you would tend to stick to the shotgun the majority of the time to save ammo for Cyberdemons but in Doom 2 that will more likely than not get you killed as it is very difficult to handle the new monsters with a shotgun alone.
While the Cyberdemon is still the most powerful enemy you will face I somehow fear the Archvile just as much or even more. It is quite a nasty monster that will set you on fire if it can see you requiring you to hide behind any objects or walls to break its line of sight. All the while it resurrects previously defeated enemies making your situation far more dire every moment that it remains alive. Those are the kind of moments you will more likely than not swap out your trusty shotgun and use up much rarer ammo types in the hopes that you won’t need it later. The level design in this is downright sadistic and will lock you into small rooms full of enemies, descend the floor beneath you to fall face to face with an enemy or place enemies in hard to reach vantage points as they suddenly pelt you from above. Levels are much larger this time around and there is a big focus on verticality. The verticality can be very annoying as you cannot look up to shoot at them unless you are playing Doom 2 via a source port that gives you mouse aiming. Even then it is quite a rush as you are surrounded on from all sides and are even being shot at from above lending the game the feel that you are really fighting for your survival.
In Doom 1 more often than not you felt like you were a badass but in Doom 2 you really get the feeling that you are just surviving as the slightest mistake can be the end of you. Many of the times you will not see the fight coming as the walls drop around you to reveal that you are indeed surrounded in a room that appeared safe. It is a lot more action oriented than the original that had the sounds and groans of the enemy far before you see it to give it a bit of a horror feel. In this it is a lot more in your face merely dropping enemies without much indication. Whichever you enjoy more is up to preference though in some occasions Doom 2 does end up feeling down right cheap. One other thing I am not too crazy about is the obscurely hidden keycards for a few levels. I usually ended up finding them while searching for secrets only to discover that is actually the right way to go. I can see many players being completely stuck in some levels and ending up searching for a walkthrough. Thankfully most of the levels do not have obscure level design and flow rather well with you knowing where to go at all times.
All of the items make a return like the hazmat suit, night vision and soul spheres with no new additions. Secrets are still plentiful and more important than ever as finding a crate of rare ammo can be the difference between life or death down the road. If you die you start at the beginning of the level with only a pistol like in the original Doom. Environments were very impressive for their time featuring giant cities with skyscrapers and tons of things on screen. I still find it rather cool even today as everything you see will eventually be explored and is not just set dressing. Being able to fight in a large nonlinear city, shooting rockets while running faster than Sonic the Hedgehog is a lost art in modern FPS games sadly. Music is strangely enough no longer guitar shredding Metal and is instead a more laid back Industrial Techno sounding type of genre. It is strange as Doom 2 is a lot more action packed than the original and yet is the one with music that doesn’t get you pumped. It has some really good tracks nonetheless and is really just up to personal preference. Controls have been modernized and has movement set to “WASD” with the mouse controls allowing you to look left and right. Pushing the mouse forward causes your character to walk forward which is annoying and cannot be disabled without the use of a mod.
Your main mission is to help the remnants of humanity off the planet before being completely wiped out. Eventually you succeed in your mission and lay down your gun, sit back and wait for death while proud of the fact that you saved humanity. You get a call telling you that they found where the demons are pouring in from and you wearily stand back up to continue the fight. It sounds a lot better than it is to be honest. Story is minimal and you only get a bit of text from time to time. Like pretty much any other shooter at the time it is all about gameplay and it is still as fun now as it was back then. It is the same timeless gameplay from Doom 1 but with the addition of plenty of new powerful demons and much harder levels. If you liked Doom this is really more of the same only bigger, badder and more likely to make you John Romero’s b****. At the low price it is now being sold at it is more than worth it to take a trip back to memory lane or to any fan of fast and frantic FPS action that’s willing to look past the dated graphics. So rev up your chainguns and mow down demons until you are knee deep in the dead.