Doom 2: 25 years of being not as good as Doom
But still very good indeed, obviously.
Regular readers will know that I am Quite A Big Fan of Doom, id software's masterpiece that manages to be both formative and definitive within its genre.
Of course, that was the golden age of shooters before Half-Life came along and RUINED EVERYTHING, but even the splendid Heretic was unable to best Doom's hellspawn-haranguing horrorshow. Indeed, the only game to have any chance was the 1994 sequel Doom 2: Hell on Earth.
But it didn't.
Please don't misunderstand me. Doom 2 is excellent and it brings a lot of great things to the series. It's obviously the preferred basis for mods and other user content thanks to its expanded bestiary of genuinely memorable pit-bastards, such as the indelible Arch-Vile, the terrifying Revenant and the bulbous, bloated Mancubus, who are based on your mum. It also brought us the super shotgun, which finally answered the eternally-burning question "what if shotgun, but more?" With its deafening BOOM and ridiculously satisfying clackity-click reload sound effects, it quickly became the FPS universe's benchmark shotgun, unmatched until Soldier of Fortune, only bettered by F.E.A.R, lest we forget.
So why am I down on Doom 2? Well, I just don't think it's as consistent as its big brother. The later, earth-based maps are sprawling in a way that just doesn't work for me, with boring layouts and uninteresting aesthetics. There's also the focus (this is a Doom 2 in-joke) on gimmick stages like Tricks N' Traps or Barrel's O' Fun, the former of which is cool the first time through then never again, the latter is simply... kind of stupid. Additionally, despite my earlier praise for the monsters, they also added the single worst enemy ever in any game, the Chaingunner. On the Ultra-Violence difficulty (the correct difficulty for Doom, please do not argue with me), these things can chew through your health like your mum chews through a chippy tea. You'll run into situations where you can't see the Chaingunners, but you can hear them emptying their weapons into your soft parts, watching in vain as your health ticks down to zero in a matter of seconds. Chaingunners - they're rubbish, and I hate them.
Anyway, happy quarter-century, Doom 2. Despite my whinging you are brilliant and I love you. Just not as much as your brother. Oh, don't pout. Come here. Come on, Doom 2. Bring it in. (Hugs Doom 2) There we go.