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Review: Doom: Fall of Mars

Updated on April 22, 2015
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ANDR01D writes PC game reviews, comments on the video game industry, and sells video games for commission through Amazon.

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Developer: if Software

Genre: RPG

Platforms: Windows

Released: March 2009 (0.1.0 beta – version reviewed)

I played this small game a few years ago, and after reviewing Doom, the Roguelike, I couldn’t help but dig it out and give it another go. The game, as I mentioned, is quite small. The only thing visible initially is an .exe file. It’s standalone so you don’t need any original Doom WADs to play it, which is always a bonus, since I dislike fiddling around with sourceports and WADs, particularly inside JDoom.

Firing up the game, at the main menu the only available track plays, which is really just one of Doom’s MIDIs that plays over and over. Being a beta, there isn’t all that much to do besides fire up a new game. The options menu is inaccessible.

Upon starting a new game, you find yourself in a starting location which will remind you of the towns in Diablo II. There are a couple of NPCs standing around, with whom you cannot interact, and not many places to go except a tunnel, inside which lies a staircase to Phobos – one of the moons of Mars, which will of course be familiar to those who at least played the shareware version of Doom, the episode known as “Knee Deep In The Dead”. Here you start off with some armour, and a pistol and start mowing down zombies and other denizens of hell who would like nothing more than to rip you limb from limb.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Does that icon that pops up look familiar?
Source
Source
Source
Does that icon that pops up look familiar?
Does that icon that pops up look familiar? | Source

How Doom: Fall of Mars differs from the original is not only in the isometric 2D point of view, but the genre. This is chiefly an RPG, much like Diablo. It’s more like the first Diablo than the sequel, as all the game involves is clearing floors and then making it down to the next level to repeat these actions all over again, which sort of suits this title seeing as Doom was nothing more than a corridor shooter at the end of the day.

On these floors, you will find weapons, armour, ammunition and powerups to aid you in your quest of reaching your ultimate goal – taking on the cyberdemon in hell itself. Each “episode” of the game has several levels, all getting more difficult along the way, taking the player through Phobos, Deimos, The Caves and finally in to hell. Several of the original baddies from Doom make an appearance, but not many from Doom II, sadly. You’ll instantly be able to realise which ones are missing.

Most of the weapons have been included apart from the BFG, because that would just be totally unfair, obviously – although fun. And another thing that is exempt is melee weaponry such as the knuckledusters or the chainsaw, which does restrict your play style a bit, in addition to the lack of a class system in this game, unlike the one that inspires it. All these weapons get better and better as you go along (and have differing conditions), with increased attack speeds and damage, much like armour and powerups, but to use them, you need to upgrade your character, which happens after you reach the next level after getting the required amount of experience points. You do this through the character panel which shows your skills, resistances and more.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The character panel.The inventory panel.You have unlimited ammo in FoM.Guess who...
The character panel.
The character panel. | Source
The inventory panel.
The inventory panel. | Source
You have unlimited ammo in FoM.
You have unlimited ammo in FoM. | Source
Guess who...
Guess who... | Source

What's the score?

Pros

+ Doom + Diablo = win!

Cons

- Maybe a bit too easy for the most part

- Not much interactivity

- No music

Graphics: $$

Sound: $$$$

Gameplay: $$$

Controls: $$$

Story: $

Originality: $$$

Fall of Mars has an inventory system too, which is quite similar to Diablo as well. Most sprites from the original game are used to good effect here, with the megahealth sphere acting as a powerup of sorts; the much-loathed keycards standing in as charms, and the health potions are… well, health potions. It’s quite clever how they’ve all been re-purposed to suit the game.

Just like Diablo though, the environments are too samey, getting stale very quickly, with textures from the original Doom being used. The levels don’t really consist of more than this and enemies. There’s not much decoration, interactivity or reward for looking around. The only things you can really interact with are dead bodies which usually yield ammo or health.

It’s a shame that this game died. It’s an old beta from a game whose developer seems to have forsaken it. The last news from this game was in early 2010, with the promise of more to come, and that was 3 years ago. Yes, it’s ugly, flawed and it’s buggy, but if the author had continued its development, it would have no doubt been improved upon and might well have been one hell of an interesting game to play, more so than it all ready is, even. It showed a lot of potential. But alas, it was not to be.

RIP Doom: Fall of Mars.

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© 2013 ANDR01D

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