Also available for Game Boy Advance, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Android, iOS, MS-DOS, and Mac OS
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 03/21/2020 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Doom II picks up right after the end of the first game and, in a lot of ways, plays more like an expansion than a sequel. After defeating the demons on Mars, Doomguy arrives back home on Earth only to discover that the forces of Hell have invaded Earth. As the Earth’s population evacuates the planet, Doomguy takes it upon himself to single-handedly attempt to drive the demons off of Earth before venturing into Hell itself to destroy the demons at their source.
As far as gameplay is concerned, nothing really has changed since the first game. The only really noteworthy difference is the addition of the Super Shotgun. It uses the same ammo as the regular shotgun, but it expends two shells at once in exchange for vastly improved firepower. Naturally, being a shotgun whore, it was my weapon of choice throughout the game. Otherwise, it plays just like the first game. You run around in a primitive 3D environment blasting enemies while the game auto-aims along the Y-axis. The levels are just as massive and mazelike as in the first game, sometimes more so. You’re still hunting down various colored keys, switches, and hidden doors to progress through the level, and there are still par times that I’m almost always too shitty a player to meet.
For the most part, you’ll face the same enemies as in the first game although there are a few new demons, most frustratingly the Pain Elemental and the Arch-Vile. The Pain Elemental looks a lot like the Cacodemon except that it constantly spawns Lost Souls, making it EXTREMELY annoying to first. The Arch-Vile looks a bit like a wendigo, reanimated killed enemies, has an absurd amount of HP, and deals a ton of damage. Basically it’s a terrifying pain in the ass. The level designs and puzzles, while all resembling what the first game had to offer, feel a lot more polished and well planned in my opinion.
Overall, Doom II is more of the same from the original game, but the small additions here and there and the added polish make it feel like a wholly superior product all around. It doesn’t change the formula so much as refine it. The Switch port that I played also has some officially supported add-ons that can be downloaded to add dozens of additional levels if you find yourself wanting more after finishing the campaign. There’s also the addition of multiplayer that I wasn’t able to try out. Hopefully, I’ll find someone who wants to play a video game old enough to be in the US House of Representatives with me and get to try this mode out at some point. Either way, though, Doom II is a cheap download on Switch that runs smoothly and is an absolute masterpiece of early 3D game design. If you’re not turned off by early 90s visuals, definitely check this one out. The graphics haven’t aged well at all, the gameplay is still as fun and addicting as ever.