Like Wolfenstein RPG before it, id Software’s latest venture into the world of Doom has more in common with turn-based dungeon hacks of the 80’s than with the shooter genre from whence it sprang. Don’t get me wrong – there are guns aplenty here – but instead of relying on twitch-fingered accuracy and eagle-eyed precision, Doom II RPG [App Store] shifts the series focus to strategy and exploration. It’s a strange direction for the franchise to explore, but it works.

In each of the 9 levels presented here your goal will be the same; explore your surroundings until you’ve managed to uncover the exit. How you’ll go about that, however, can really differ from level to level. In some instances you’ll need to find hidden keycards. In others you’ll need to power up doorways or use a robot to explore gas-filled rooms. Level design offers up enough variety that things never really begin to feel stale.

The bulk of the gameplay offers up what you’ve come to expect from the Doom franchise – killing demons with big ass guns. Unlike the rest of the series though, you’ll really need to think about which guns to use in which situations and how best to approach your opponents. Sure you could go in guns blazing, but in a turn-based situation with no ability to gain cover you’re just asking to get yourself killed. Little tricks like hiding around a corner after you’ve been spotted to coax an enemy in front of you, or sending in a robot helper to get a good look at a situation before you walk into it, can make all the difference in the world.

Controls are fairly simple and will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played Wolfenstein RPG. You’ll be able to rotate your character 90 degrees in any direction with the aid of an on screen D-pad and sidestep by swiping your finger in the direction you want to move. Weapons can be cycled through by tapping your weapon icon, and shooting is done by tapping the screen. If you want to activate your inventory to restore some health or apply some armor, just tap on the health indicator. Everything is kept incredibly approachable, with every action requiring only a single touch.

Like all Doom games before it, the story here is essentially Aliens meets The Gate. Hell has once again opened up in space – this time on the moon – and you’re part of the team sent to investigate. There’s a good deal of sophomoric humor in the writing, yet I was surprised at the effort that was actually put into making the story interesting and providing the world with some depth. You’ll encounter different survivors that provide key information on what you’ll need to do to advance through a level. Computer terminals are found around the complex with emails open that give insight into the events that unfolded before you arrived. They’ve really done a bang up job of framing the story in a way that will keep you more engaged than you might suspect.

I was also taken aback by how well they managed to keep me on the edge of my seat with anxiety and occasionally jumpy with fear. When you remove the real-time components of a game like this and opt to keep the visuals campy and old school, your expectations in terms of nail-biting excitement are set relatively low. Yet time and time again, the level design would lead me into a situation where I was surrounded by demons with seemingly no way to get out.

The game also managed to have a few cheap carnival-ride thrills. In one instance I walked into an empty bathroom to refill my holy water gun in the toilet. Let me stress again -- the room was totally empty. But when I looked in a large mirror on my way to the exit there was a zombie standing right behind me! Sure these are cheap carnie thrills here, but it made me jump nonetheless.

Silliness also manages to sneak its way into the game more often than I’d expect. Shooting a demon with holy water, for example, will make his eyes bug out like a Looney Tunes animation. Searching the corpses of demons will occasionally turn up useless items like human fingers and pocket lint. It’s the sort of stuff that would have made me laugh when I was 12, and for some reason it still manages to illicit a chuckle out of me. This is a game where you can throw toilets at hellspawn -- who wouldn’t crack a smile at that?

As you can probably gather from the bulk of this review, Doom II RPG is a game that left me tickled pink from beginning to end. Still, we’d be remiss to not mention the few questionable design decisions that popped up from time to time.

I loved that enemy sprites were cut and paste from 1994, but they looked a little too fuzzy when you got up close. Couldn’t they have been cleaned up just a little for their 2010 re-introduction? Doom II RPG is also in desperate need of an auto-save feature. Each level would take a minimum of 30 minutes to complete, and on more than a few occasions I forgot to save and ended up having to replay huge chunks of the adventure. Also, for a Doom title, the game world is seriously lacking in the satanic scenery found in previous games of the franchise.

Still - with so few complaints, Doom II RPG is a game I enjoyed from beginning to end.

App Store Link: Doom II RPG, $3.99

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Olly

    Any news on when the TRUE Doom 2 will be released???

    • Simon

      Pretty sure I have a copy of Doom 3 in my hands right now from like 2007.

  • Olly

    Any news on when the TRUE Doom 2 will be released???

    • Simon

      Pretty sure I have a copy of Doom 3 in my hands right now from like 2007.

  • http://blog.gamextv.ro eXist

    Any news about QUAKE 3 on the iPhone ?! ...or Quake Live ?, i think...

    • ChrisF

      Mmm. I'd really love to see Q3: Arena on iPhone...

  • http://blog.gamextv.ro eXist

    Any news about QUAKE 3 on the iPhone ?! ...or Quake Live ?, i think...

    • ChrisF

      Mmm. I'd really love to see Q3: Arena on iPhone...

  • benj

    i'm gonna wait for the real doom 2

  • benj

    i'm gonna wait for the real doom 2

  • mrtnd

    this game is GREAT. i've been playing it since it came out and it's a very appropriate game for a mobile device and still is action packed. but it has some minor bugs, for example: almost every time i finish a level the game crashes(but it does auto-save).

  • mrtnd

    this game is GREAT. i've been playing it since it came out and it's a very appropriate game for a mobile device and still is action packed. but it has some minor bugs, for example: almost every time i finish a level the game crashes(but it does auto-save).

  • http://starscenesoftware.com Eric5h5

    The sprites are not, in fact, cut&paste from 1994. They were cleaned up and enhanced. Do a bit of googling for the original doom monsters and you'll see they were significantly more pixelated and low-res than what you get in Doom II RPG.

  • http://starscenesoftware.com Eric5h5

    The sprites are not, in fact, cut&paste from 1994. They were cleaned up and enhanced. Do a bit of googling for the original doom monsters and you'll see they were significantly more pixelated and low-res than what you get in Doom II RPG.

  • Stone500

    The sprites on this game are not cut and pasted from '94 at all. They're actually all brand new and look fantastic. You can even tell by the pics in the article, so I'm a little confused as to what the author is getting at.
    Still, great game. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one.

  • Stone500

    The sprites on this game are not cut and pasted from '94 at all. They're actually all brand new and look fantastic. You can even tell by the pics in the article, so I'm a little confused as to what the author is getting at.
    Still, great game. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one.

  • sid

    Though it looks like an awful java game, the gameplay is actually catchy, even though it has exactly the same feel as Wolfenstein RPG. Finished it, but wont ever play it again probably.

  • sid

    Though it looks like an awful java game, the gameplay is actually catchy, even though it has exactly the same feel as Wolfenstein RPG. Finished it, but wont ever play it again probably.

  • RayLancer

    I love this game. Though I wish they'd do something more roguelike, like harder difficulty and randomized maps, something like in DoomRL (http://doom.chaosforge.org/) but using the DoomRPG engine. I wanted something like that in WolfensteinRPG after you beaten the game as a way to extend the game. That'd be awesome, an endless randomized map to see how far you can get before you die.

    • TheFamousEccles

      The randomized map is actually a great sounding idea.

  • RayLancer

    I love this game. Though I wish they'd do something more roguelike, like harder difficulty and randomized maps, something like in DoomRL (http://doom.chaosforge.org/) but using the DoomRPG engine. I wanted something like that in WolfensteinRPG after you beaten the game as a way to extend the game. That'd be awesome, an endless randomized map to see how far you can get before you die.

    • TheFamousEccles

      The randomized map is actually a great sounding idea.

  • Trent Reznor

    this sounds so boring. Quake would be bada$$
    Luckily Eliminate is so lasting

  • Trent Reznor

    this sounds so boring. Quake would be bada$$
    Luckily Eliminate is so lasting

  • Twiddle

    Well, I got Wolfenstein RPG and absolutely loved it. So I'm definitely going to pick this up.

    • Bruce

      I'm thinking of picking up Wolf RPG. I like FPS games, but don't like the finicky touch screen controls...

  • Twiddle

    Well, I got Wolfenstein RPG and absolutely loved it. So I'm definitely going to pick this up.

    • Bruce

      I'm thinking of picking up Wolf RPG. I like FPS games, but don't like the finicky touch screen controls...

  • EatKodosDaily

    Let me make sure I have this straight...

    Doom II and Doom II RPG have absolutely nothing to do with each other besides both of them being set in the Doom Universe, correct?

    That seems very deceptive... I would accidently have bought this assuming it to be Doom II, just with modified controls to make it more RPG-esq.

    • Jorden

      There actually is an existing Doom RPG (never got to play it as I never had a phone that supported it). This is the sequel to that (imo it should be DOOM RPG 2 not Doom 2 RPG but whatever). Not really deceptive at all but I would appreciate a Doom RPG port so I can actually play the first one...

  • EatKodosDaily

    Let me make sure I have this straight...

    Doom II and Doom II RPG have absolutely nothing to do with each other besides both of them being set in the Doom Universe, correct?

    That seems very deceptive... I would accidently have bought this assuming it to be Doom II, just with modified controls to make it more RPG-esq.

    • Jorden

      There actually is an existing Doom RPG (never got to play it as I never had a phone that supported it). This is the sequel to that (imo it should be DOOM RPG 2 not Doom 2 RPG but whatever). Not really deceptive at all but I would appreciate a Doom RPG port so I can actually play the first one...

  • peter

    If its anything like what they created with doom rpg for phones 3 years ago this would be alot of fun. ORCS & ELVES 2 please!!!

  • peter

    If its anything like what they created with doom rpg for phones 3 years ago this would be alot of fun. ORCS & ELVES 2 please!!!

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  • http://www.freemicrosoftpointsnow.com/ Free Microsoft Points

    Though it looks like an awful java game, the gameplay is actually catchy, even though it has exactly the same feel as Wolfenstein RPG. Finished it, but wont ever play it again probably.