Crafting a modern version of a classic game is fraught with dangers – never more so than with a game as iconic as Doom.
As the game which popularised first-person shooters (developer id Software's previous game, Wolfenstein 3D, invented that most enduring of genres), the 1993 origina is one of the most recognisable games in history.
But the initial signs were a little worrying: publisher Bethesda held back on dishing out the game's campaign mode, which left alarm bells ringing that it might be a stinker with little to captivate.
So is Doom doomed to failure, or is the 2016 reimagining as iconic as the original?
Gunning for glory
No matter what its flavour, there are certain signature elements we expect to find in a Doom game: running-and-gunning gameplay; super-squelchy demons that explode in showers of gore; insanely powerful shotguns plus, of course, a chainsaw; giant bosses; and a super-basic storyline which essentially operates as an excuse to send you to the farthest reaches of hell.
If that's what you seek from Doom, then you're in luck: all those elements are present in spades, clad in gorgeous visuals and running in a super-smooth game engine.
But there's much more, too. Returning to the Doom blueprint in 2016 – set, initially, on Mars, but often swapping for a pleasingly Dantesque vision of hell – id Software has found some ways to enhance Doom's mega-satisfying gameplay without compromising the game's distinctiveness.
Those include Glory Kills, in which you can stagger demons so they halt in a daze, then move in for spectacular melee kills, endowed with animations that will have you cackling at their over-the-top nature. For example, you Glory Kill a Pinky by ripping out one of its tusks and shoving it into its eye. Judge your attacks correctly, and you can embark on a chain of Glory Kills, which leaves you feeling positively God-like.
Attention, too, has been paid to the weapons upgrade system. You unlock new alternate-fire modes for the familiar but uniformly glorious weaponry by finding UAC drones, and then upgrade those unlocks by earning and spending weapon upgrade points earned by pulling off spectacular kills.
Plus, dead marines yield keys that you can use to upgrade your marine-suit, and finding Argent Energy, Mars' energy-giving substance, lets you upgrade maximum levels of health, armour and ammunition.
You also find Rune Trails, specific challenges involving precise guns and targets, which are well worth overcoming, as they give you useful perks.
All the above may sound complicated, but it isn't, and the end result is that it makes your favourite weapons even more appealing – and leaves you more inclined to use the ones you weren't previously keen on.
Which is just as well, since furious weapon-swapping is the order of the day. Periods in which you aren't running around frantically, shooting, evading and picking up whatever ammo and power-ups (all the classics like Quad Damage and Berserk operate much like they always did) are few and far between. Although there are some rudimentary puzzles, and sequences of platform-like jumping, especially in some of the more fragmented areas of hell.
Story-wise, you play a near-mute space marine as usual, having to deal with an infestation of demons in the Mars facility in which you're based, which resulted from the crazed scientist Olivia Pierce opening up a portal to hell.
You aren't quite the only survivor – the cyber-enhanced Director of the UAC, Samuel Hayden, guides you throughout. You can pick up snippets of back-story from logs, but otherwise the entire story involves being told to go to places and do things (frequently involving finding coloured key-cards or, if you're in hell, skulls). Basic, sure, but Doom shouldn't be about anything other than full-on, relentless action.
Multi-player and modernity
In further sops to a modern audience, you can jump into multiplayer, which is serviceable but not spectacular. Thus it pales in comparison with the single-player campaign game and just feels somewhat generic.
However, the multiplayer maps are good, there are plenty of game modes and, at times, each team can control a demon – which is fun, but it has attracted a bit of controversy for restricting its load-outs. However, once you start levelling-up, you regain control over your load-outs, so that's a bit of a storm in a teacup.
For the inveterate tinkerers – or perhaps ex-Minecrafters who are now old enough to play an 18-rated game – there's something called SnapMap, which lets you edit, create and upload your own maps. SnapMap is nicely designed and harks back to the old Doom and Quake modding days, but it hardly constitutes a reason to buy the game.
Whatever Bethesda may believe, and whatever the tastes of millennials, Doom is all about its single-player campaign, which is a blood-smattered brilliant beast of a game.
It's extensive, insanely hectic, unbelievably satisfying, gloriously gory to behold, and more than worthy update of the classic original.
Indeed, Doom in 2017 is good enough to demonstrate to those who turn their noses up at any game that you don't have to make yourself or play online only that they are guilty of extreme folly.
Doom may be old-fashioned on paper, but in the quivering, bloodstained flesh, it feels very modern indeed. It's perhaps the most successful remake of a classic game ever.
Doom is out now for PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch
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