I like big arguments!
I finished translating the first part of the review, the introduction, the plot of Doom and Doom II. I'll keep posting more parts as I complete them, to give you something to read and to tease you while waiting ;-)
Many things are seen by our eyes lately, many things are heard by our ears, and many are the MegaBytes than come and go from our hard drives. Technology marches on at an increbible pace. I cannot even remember when I first heard these words. But, certainly, it cannot have been too long ago. But now, especially in the domain of Informatics, this "evil" has really gone too far. For example, three years ago (Note: this was written in late 1994), a 386sx was pretty much a luxury item. But now, one would be hard-pressed to choose it even for use as a typewriter. More and more people are working on or with this "new" technology, one way or the other. Some of them create software, some of them create hardware, and others are simply left wondering. Indeed, the more you try catching up with this evolution, the more it moves farther away from you.
And of course, not only are video games NOT an exception to this rule, but, quite on the opposite, they are one of the most flourishing sectors. By now, video games, tend to change not by the year, as we used to say, but by the month (and let's keep it that way, for now). And by now, they have pretty much everything: high-resolution, well-drawn graphics, digitized images and sounds, orchestration, animation... and all of it now done by dedicated professionals. But, when partial/individual excellency becomes a common attribute, then what is left that can generate enthusiasm and passion?
Perhaps the secret is hidden in the roots of Tetris, the simplest, but also the most famous, after Pac-Man, video game. Something different, which manages to keep one's interest for as long as it manages to keep different (Note: simple, yet simply AWESOME).
Undeniably, this is exactly what Doom has managed to do. It's not thanks to its quality graphics, it's not thanks to its many sampled sounds that it has achieved such notoriety. It's not even about its plot -besides, none ever thought of making a Wolfenstein movie (Note: so much for all those plot threads here on DW, this guy got it right from 1994 ;-)). And it's not even the fact that Doom is not just a simple game, but essentially a platform that slowly unveils its hidden aspects to its would-be content creator (Note: this is one of the earliest reviews I'm aware of that the importance of Doom's moddability is recognized to this extent, and that was before source ports, and just one year after the game's release. And we're still debating it ;-)).
What has justly gained Doom so much notoriety and popularity is the entirety [of those factors], it is the atmosphere, and it's also, for good or bad, the violence. Because Doom is a tough survival game. It carries you to dark, unhospitable worlds. It manages to make you identify with the player you're controlling. It manages to make you exert ultimate efforts to keep him alive with just 1% of his energy (health), by giving him energy out of YOUR enery. Ladies and gentlemen, this is DOOM.
Even if most of you will already own it, or at least you'll have it seen running on a computer somewhere (Note: I admit I had done neither, until I read the review. Weirder still, I knew nobody that had actually heard of it either...well, that's provincial life in Greece in 1994, for you), the following lines will attempt to convey a short description of Doom's (or rather: of the Dooms', plural) setting, environment and plot. You are an excellently trained commando and you're now required to prove it (Note: "commando" is the current use translation of the word "καταδρομέας" used in the text, which literally means "raider" or "ranger". The word for marine would be "πεζοναύτης" (literally, sailor-on-foot)). You cannot remember how, or understand the reason, but you find yourself wandering in unfamiliar, seemingly otherwordly corridors. Soon, you'll come face to face with beings that could have never been human -or have they? Like you will soon come to realize, survival won't be an easy task. The more less so when it will have to be achieved in Hell. Yes, by some unexplicable way, you have been transported in the Devil's den, and escaping from it constitutes the plot of Doom 1's first three episodes (Knee Deep in the Dead, The Shores of Hell, Inferno). In the end, you make it. Not even Hell can stop you. All the demons lie dead, for the second time, and you return to the Earth's surface -peaceful and quiet just the way you left it. Or maybe it is...
Doom 2 - Hell on Earth
This is not happening. It cannot have happened. The demons are not annihilated. All of the planet's inhabitants (Note: for some reason the text uses the word "άποικοι" (colonists) instead, as if it was about some other planet, not Earth) have been slain by their unharnessed violence. You thought that you had escaped Hell, but it has followed you. Since Earth is at the mercy of Satanic forces, your continued presence on it is extremely hazardous. You decide, then, to follow the only apparent way to safety, the way to Space. So you abandon your home-planet, in a desperate attempt to escape the bloodbath. But how could this be? If the last of the Demons were exterminated, how can they be in front of you still? This is the only moment, in a long time, where you have some time to ponder. But the questions that trouble your weary soul seem to be unanswerable. And yet, the answer comes by itself, unexpected, like your sudden waking-up yesterday. A transmission intercepted by your computer reveals to you that the passage of Demons to the known world is occurring at some point in outer space, and it gives you its coordinates. You don't have much choice. The Demons are neverending. Your only chance is managing to seal this cosmic gateway. By gathering your last bits of strength, you head that way.
But upon arrival, you determine that your information was not accurate. Could it have been a trap? Maybe. What's important, is that you manage to learn that the true source of the monsters is actually back on Earth itself. You return, and after you determine that it [the source] cannot be closed from the outside, you decide to enter Hell for yet another time, to shut it off from the inside.
DOOM III (???) (Note: yeah, good luck with that one, now we know it'd take another 10 years...)
Note: reading the Doom 2 "plot" after all these years, I realize that it's a bit unusual. It looks pieced together from the intermission texts, parts of Final Doom (yet to appear, this was written in late 1994, not even Ultimate Doom was out yet!), and that whole Doomguy leaving Earth only to be decoyed away from it begrudgingly return to it afterwards sounds strange...maybe it's an intepretation of the Doom Bible?
Last edited by Maes on 12-15-13 at 14:15