Classic Games Resurrected: Doom II: Hell on Earth
Developer: id Software
Publisher: GT Interactive (now Atari) (PC)
Activision (Game Boy Advance, Steam)
Distributor: GT Interactive (now Atari)
Engine: id Tech 1
Release date: October 10, 1994
Platforms: PC, Amiga 1200, GBA, Macintosh, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Tapwave Zodiac
Genre: First-person shooter
In about 1997, I went to my friend’s house and he had just been given Doom II: Hell on Earth (Doom II or Doom 2 for short) by a friend from school. I was so scared while playing it that I lifted my legs off of the ground, in fear of having them torn asunder by some imp hiding under the desk.
Years later I got the Doom Collector’s Edition and I took great joy in playing through it again. It is arguably my favourite of the classics (The Ultimate Doom, Doom II and Final Doom) in the series.
What is Doom II: Hell on Earth?
Doom II is the sequel to one of the most revered games of all time, Doom. Unlike its predecessor, Doom II, had no demo or shareware versions, and it was released commercially and immediately on multiple platforms due to major demand.
It was criticized for being no more than a glorified expansion by some, with complaints ranging from the lackluster level design, and no real graphical or technological improvements over the original.
Doom II has an expansion pack, Master Levels for Doom II, which includes twenty one new levels.
Doom II is the best selling id software game to date.
The protagonist is on earth this time and has to stop the demons from killing off all of the survivors. The only means of escape is the spaceport, with large ships able to ferry the populace into space, but the demons have put a fiery force field over it, preventing the innocent from leaving into orbit.
The player has to deactivate the force field, and then watches as they leave and he is apparently the only person left on earth. After this, he receives a transmission, telling him that there is a gateway that the demons are using to trespass onto earth, and he sets out to go through to their turf.
In hell, after blasting through the hordes, he faces off against the Icon of Sin, and slays him, halting the invasion.
• Awesome weaponry, some of which have been set as every game’s standard, even today.
• Addition of the famed double-barreled shotgun.
• Gibbable enemies.
• Great soundtrack, with new tracks by Bobby Prince.
• Truly frightening enemies and boss creatures.
• New enemies, like the arachnotron, heavy weapons guy (also known as the commando), mancubus, revenant, Hell Knight (my favourite), and more than one Cyberdemon this time!
• 32 levels in a different format, where the player goes through them one after the other in one continuous campaign, without the choice of episodes like before.
• Use of the id Tech 1 engine that has been used extensively for commercial and recreational use alike.
There weren’t many departures from what made Doom famous. There was the addition of the double-barreled, or super, shotgun, which is legendary in its own right. Other games that id software has made or been associated with that include both a single and double-barreled shotgun in the player’s arsenal are Final Doom, Quake, Quake 2, and Doom 3: RoE. Quake 3 featured just a double-barreled shotgun as standard, with no single barrel variation. In Doom II, It was more powerful and could kill many of the lesser enemies with one pull of the trigger, but it came at the cost of going through ammo more quickly and having a longer reload period.
The levels were set out in one continuous campaign, with different themes for each section of the overall 32 levels; subterranean/starport, hellish outpost, city, and inside hell. It also included bonus levels. The levels were also larger and more complicated, and consisted of larger groups of monsters to mow down.
There were new enemies like the arachonotron, heavy weapons guy (also known as the commando), mancubus, revenant, and Hell Knight. Enemies like the Baron of Hell and the Cyberdemon were used as more common enemies in the game. There is also a bonus enemy that you’ll discover once you reach the bonus levels, the SS trooper from Wolfenstein 3D.
There was also a new powerup, being the megasphere that could increase health and armour up to 200 percent.
With the Doomsday mod, the player can now walk over and under monsters and other things.
There’s better Multiplayer, with up to 16 player games, TCP/IP client/server networking, LAN and internet.
Clients can join games in progress, and there’s a dedicated mode for servers.
The graphics were little better, if not totally the same than the original. There were only a few new decorations, including a burning barrel, a couple of lamps, six hanging mutilated corpses, and three other small pieces of gore. Obviously the new enemies featured in the game count as well, adding new sprites and animations.
Since the source code was released in 1997, there have been several source ports to bring the game to modern O/Ss. There are also 3D add-ons that you can load as well, and the levels look a lot better now than they did fifteen years ago.
JDoom (Doomsday) features support for Windows XP and Vista as well as Mac OS X operating systems. It supports hardware-accelerated 3D graphics, which allows for dynamic lighting and shadow effects, 3D models and particle effects, dynamic light effects and lens flares, simple shadows for objects, 3D skyboxes, and support for high-resolution textures and detail textures, shiny effects, glowing surfaces, translucency, and fog.
Doomsday also has support for Hexen and Heretic, as well as all the Doom games: Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and Final Doom.
ZDoom, another of the chiefly used ports, mainly for modding purposes, also supports modern O/Ss, and can play all Doom engine games, including Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, Heretic, Hexen, and Strife.
Many more all-new editing features such as colored sector lighting, custom monsters, weapons, and items, high resolution textures, more texture formats, like PNG and JPEG.
The MIDI music was composed by Bobby Prince, who also helped with the music later on with Duke Nukem 3D after the Doom series. The music was inspired by metal bands and fitted the atmosphere nicely.
For example, the first level, 'Space Port', from Doom II, featured a song that had influences from Megadeth's classic 'Hangar 18', from Rust in Peace.
Doom II featured old songs taken from Doom, as well as new ones. Whereas filenames from Doom had names, filenames of songs in Doom II had ‘map’ and a number next to it, eg. MAP20.
With the source ports, more sound music formats are supported, like Ogg Vorbis, MOD, XM, IT, S3M, MIDI, and MP3 as well as old-fashioned MUS.
The music has seen some overhauls over the last few years, with Neurological and Sonic Clang over at HellOnEarthSound having remade a lot of the songs from Doom and Doom 2. As of 2008 HellOnEarthSound has closed its doors, unfortunately.
Sonic Clang also made their tracks heard in the remake of the shareware version of Doom, called Classic Doom, a mod for Doom 3.
There are also various artists who have remade Doom II songs in different styles on the net.
The explosions, the enemies grunting in the distance and their evil, spine tingling shrieks as they were gunned down added to the scary atmosphere.
There are new sounds too, with the addition of the new weapon, the super shotgun, as well as new enemies like the arachnotron, heavy weapons guy (also known as the commando), mancubus, revenant, and Hell Knight.
The sounds in the game have remained the same even with all the add-ons and ports that have been made over the years.
With the source ports, there is support for 3D sound effects, DirectSound, DirectSound3D, EAX 2.0 and A3D 3.0, environmental (reverb) effects, as well as more sound formats, like FLAC and WAV and runtime sound effect resampling to 22/44 KHz with 8/16 bits.
No support for mice; keyboard only. No jumping, crouching, looking or shooting with the mouse.
When the Doom Collector’s Edition came out in about 2001, there was supposed to be support for a mouse, but in XP this wasn’t true.
Since the source ports have been around, there is now proper support for mice, and jumping too. You can look and shoot with the mouse. There are the Quake-style key bindings, crosshairs, and full-featured joystick/gamepad support under Windows.
There is the new control panel that that can be accessed from the options menu which contains all the new features as well as a runtime console. There’s also the Snowberry portable graphical launcher where you can set other additional options too.
At the end of the game, on Map 30, level name "Icon of Sin", if you were to use the noclip cheat, you could travel inside the monster's head. Inside is the real boss of the game: John Romero's head on a stick.
Observations and other comments
There are three things about the cover that perhaps others have noticed. The first is that the character drawn here looks a lot different to the first game, perhaps because he is no longer wearing that green armour due to the fact that he isn’t in space in this game. This is true, but you still pick up armour during the game, and right at the end, when there are animations of the enemies, the player still wears the same suit as in the original.
The second is that the double-barreled shotgun that this guy is using is largely different from the one found in the game. On the cover he is firing a pump-action model, whereas the one in the game is a break-barrel or breechloader, and can only take two shells at a time.
The third is just more common sense, as we all know that you can’t kill a Cyberdemon with a double-barreled shotgun…at least, not quickly anyway.
The super shotgun from Doom II was the only gun in the game to feature a reloading animation, and it may well be the first FPS game to have this feature, with reloading only becoming standard years later. There were reloading animations in Quake 2, with both the shotgun and super shotgun, as well as the rocket launcher. Half-Life was probably the first game to try to mimic more realistic firearm operation, with most weapons having reload functions and magazines of some sort.
Bugs and other issues
Using the Doomsday (JDoom) port with Final Doom, there were a few times where the game froze unexpectedly. I don’t recall it happening with The Ultimate Doom or Doom 2.
What I think of it now
I set out to get the Collector’s Edition three years back and I haven’t regretted it.
Doom II has been around for nearly fifteen years, and it still has lots of interest, with people mainly using it make their own mods. And of course with mods being developed for its successor, Doom 3, to replicate Doom II with modern technology, like Doom Reborn, it doesn’t seem as though the memory will die out any time soon.
Notable Doom/ Doom II- inspired Fan Projects
Developer: Flaming Sheep Software
Engine: Doom III; id Tech 4
Genre: First Person Shooter
Flaming Sheep Software remade the shareware version of Doom, 'Knee- Deep in the Dead', in this mod for Doom 3. The weapon skins and have all been modified to look like their original counterparts.
Engine: Doom III; id Tech 4
Genre: First Person Shooter
There is another mod for Doom 3 called Doom Reborn which looks even better and has taken to recreating the enemies from the original series piece by piece. The levels also look astoundingly similar. The team plans on recreating Doom as well as Doom II with the Doom 3 (id Tech 4) engine.
There are also plenty of mods that use the original Doom engine, and you can find them at this location. The screenshots link to the individual mods' page.
What do you think of Doom II?
© 2009 ANDR01D