- Evan Laslo
A Glorious, Gore-Filled Comparison of DOOM & DOOM Eternal, by Rachel Foley
DOOM (2016) is a faced-paced, linear arcade shooter with the most visceral and gruesome visuals of any Bethesda franchise, allowing for a fast-paced and gory experience for all. If you’ve never experienced a DOOM game, expect legions of demons to shoot, explode, or chainsaw your way through with a vast arsenal. DOOM and DOOM Eternal are the two most recent games of the franchise. My purpose is to give you a comparison of the two in terms of enemy and weapon design and overall gameplay. However, I’ll take into account the game played on PC with the graphics settings cranked to the max and in 1440p. Like the Doom Slayer shoots a hole through Mars, let’s dive into this.
Let’s start with the Praetor Suit—the Doom Slayer’s armor. In DOOM, the praetor suit is a light green color with red and gray detailing. In this installment, the armor is only seen once at the beginning of the game when you see the Doom Slayer putting it on. In DOOM Eternal, the new armor is a more earthy green color then the previous with the same detailing. Another difference is there are cutouts in the new Praetor Suit to show off the pure muscle the Doom Slayer uses to rip and tear his enemies in half. You see the suit in a variety of cutscenes as the developers attempt to add more of a story into the game. These cutscenes add another layer to the Doom Slayer and let the player see more into his history and the history of the demonic invasion on Earth.
In terms of the arsenal, DOOM Eternal has really upped its game. To start, there’s no more puny pistol: DOOM Eternal blessed players with the combat shotgun right away. This is a major improvement due to the pistol’s sheer uselessness past DOOM’s first 20 minutes; this improvement in firepower drastically increases the flow of combat. Speaking of the combat shotgun, it’s gotten a few aesthetic adjustments, such as a slimmer design and more detail on the fire effect as you shoot. Mechanically, the combat shotgun’s mods have implemented sticky bombs, one of the most helpful munitions in the entire game. This mod annihilates pretty much any enemy; it’s worth upgrading to completion before any other mod.
The biggest difference between weapons is the exclusion of the Gauss Cannon (2016) and the inclusion of the Ballista (Eternal). Both weapons function great but for me personally, I used the Gauss Cannon way more than the Ballista. The Gauss Cannon was more helpful in my multiple runs and was much more devastating in the more difficult fights than the Ballista. I almost never used the Ballista, except for its copycat sticky bomb mod to fight Pain Elementals later in the game (these enemies were pretty easy to tear in half with almost any other weapon in the game).
Another beloved weapon of the same flair across both games is the Super Shotgun, a close-range eviscerator that plows through enemies. This weapon honors its classic feel with the addition of the Meat Hook, which aids in traversal and helps replenish the Slayer’s armor.
The very under-appreciated (in my opinion) Chaingun has added an extra turret to one of its mods and a shield to help play on the defensive. The Rocket Launcher also boasts more aesthetic detail with a visible chamber upon reload.
Likewise, the enemies have changed, for better and for worse. In DOOM Eternal, the only enemy I have a problem with is the Revenant; it sports glowing eyes that take away from the soulless aesthetic of DOOM. In DOOM, the Revenant had a bloody, cracked texture on the skull.
While I dislike the newer Revenant, pretty much every other enemy has received a massive update. The Possessed return to their “realistic” zombie looks from the classic DOOM games—the classic feel. The Possessed Soldiers, a type of fodder demon, and the Mancubus, a heavy demon with flamethrower gauntlets, also revert to the original (and, in my opinion, better) design. For the Cacodemons (flying, long-range fodder) and the Imps (the most basic fodder).
There are a plethora of new enemies in the newest installment of the franchise: the Carcass, which shoots heavy damage rings; the Prowler, which is a teleporting demon previously only used in multiplayer mode; Tentacles, which come out of the floor; Gargoyles, Whiplash, and so many more. These new enemies make for a visually appealing and extremely difficult gameplay experience that aims to please.
DOOM Eternal also has so much to offer when it comes to its environments. There’s so much more platforming to traverse, which offers a gameplay experience that flows from one level to the next. With DOOM, there’s just a level, and then, once you finish it, there’s a generic end-of-level menu and loading screen. In DOOM Eternal, however, once you finish a level, you exit to the Doom Slayer’s personal hub: the Fortress of Doom.
Throughout DOOM Eternal, mobility is key to survival. There are moments when you have to jump and move around while fighting demons, and the ability to do so greatly benefits the player. New mechanics like the dash, swinging on bars, wall climbing, and the Meat Hook make for a platforming experience like no other. This increases the verticality of levels and makes the levels much longer (almost twice the size of that in DOOM).
DOOM takes place mostly in a UAC Facility, and in Hell itself. This means that the environment is very brown, gray, and red. In DOOM Eternal, the setting is Earth while the hellish forces attempt to take over our beloved home. This allows for so many diverse textures, such as snow, in addition to the hellish aesthetic from the previous game. DOOM Eternal greatly surpasses DOOM in terms of the environments, adding much more color, texture, and better effects like fire and particle effects—except the explosive barrels, which are downsized and have a little less detail in the explosion itself.
Overall, DOOM Eternal is a massive improvement from DOOM in terms of both visuals and mechanics. There is a huge increase in player maneuverability with the dash, bar swinging, and Meat Hook. The network and design of weapons is a welcome and beautifully gruesome upgrade. Most of the new aesthetics align perfectly with the original DOOM games and provide a nostalgic experience like no other. All of the new enemies, challenge rooms, the Fortress of Doom, multiplayer mode, and even a prison to practice fighting demons (aptly named the “Ripatorium” because the Doom Slayer is a ridiculously hardcore demon slayer DOOM Eternal is the better of the two games by a longshot, and is so satisfyingly grotesque that you just have to “Rip and Tear. Until it is done.”