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Five gameplay elements Doom invented that nobody stole

When it comes to first-person-shooters, there can be no studio more influential than id Software. Wolfenstein 3D practically invented the genre, Doom perfected it and Quake dragged us kicking and screaming into true three-dimensional combat.

Of these three games, Doom is arguably the most iconic. A tour de force in its day and a classic in its twilight, the original Doom series gave many great things to the FPS genre. However, despite its bountiful offerings, not everything that Doom delivered was taken up by subsequent pretenders to the throne.

Doom was undeniably inspirational and laid the groundwork for many modern FPS games, but we believe it should have exerted an even greater influence than it did, for it innovated in ways that have since been criminally forgotten. We've looked at a number of balls that Doom started rolling and few others picked up, despite being truly brilliant.


Infighting


Anybody who has played Doom for more than a few minutes can tell you about the Machiavellian joy that is monster-on-monster infighting. Through subtle manipulation and delicate machination (basically running around and hoping for the best), Doom's army of slavering demons can be turned against itself, as monsters fight against monsters and leave the player safe to mop up whatever remains.


Above: A Revenant and Baron of Hell duke it out, ignoring the dude with the shotgun

Doom's creatures are highly susceptible to friendly fire, and will respond in kind to any projectiles that whack them in the back. What ensues is delightful schadenfreude, as the monsters forget what they were doing and kill each other. It's a simple idea, but one that never gets old. Seeing a Spider Mastermind and a Cyber Demon going toe-to-toe is a rare spectacle that few other games have even tried to emulate. The aging Turok series gave it a shot and BioShock let you pit splicers and Big Daddies against each other, but by and large FPS enemies rarely engage in lethal games of tit for tat.


Truly terrifying enemies


Games these days are simply full of generic bad guys. When was the last time you came across an enemy that made you crap your pants in fright? We're not talking about bosses, either. We're talking about recurring enemies that could appear at any time and totally ruin your day. You'll likely not be able to name many games that can perform such a feat. Doom does it all the time.


Above: One of gaming’s roughest customers – the Archvile

Whether it's the Baron of Hell with its spine-chilling scream or the rocket-launching, skeletal, quick-footed Revenant, Doom is full of regular baddies that make you want to turn and run the other way. Need we even mention the Archvile, a monster that still manages to be among the scariest and more formidable creatures in videogame history? Soaks damage like a sponge, summons fire that engulfs the player wherever he is, and is able to resurrect any dead monster it comes across. The Archvile makes Pyramid Head look like Mr. Rogers.


Badass music


Music in general is hard enough to come by in FPS games these days, let alone a soundtrack as undeniably amazing as Doom's. Today's developers rely on atmospheric noise or stony silence, whereas Doom rocked it with heavy metal tunes inspired by the likes of Pantera, Metallica and AC/DC. When you're firing rockets into the faces of zombies, you want to do it while a MIDI version of "Big Gun" plays in the background. There's no other way to do it.


Above: E1M1, the perfect music for monster slaying

The use of a rocking FPS soundtrack has been so forgotten that not even Doom itself continues the tradition. Doom 3 abandoned its roots when it went for dreary atmosphere over shameless machismo. We want more guitars in our first-person-shooters. More guitars than ever before!

63 comments

  • Spacegrass - May 5, 2010 6:12 p.m.

    Marathon had infighting, Dead Space has terrifying enemies, Halo has badass music, and Oblivion has game-changing exploits, but I have to give it to Doom for inspiring Chex Quest, the first FPS I ever played.
  • Subtank - May 5, 2010 6:15 p.m.

    As per Spacegrass. :P
  • Nyterage - May 5, 2010 6:18 p.m.

    Chex Quest= first CP FPS i ever played~ But i got to agree, lots of games lack good glitches or even good music. Most times i find myself playing a game and i have turned the music way down to listen to songs from my ipod XD, or i'll be playing a game i've beat for the hundreth time (or had to start over) and wonder why there are no cheat codes...WHAT THE HELL HAPPEND TO CHEAT CODES!
  • ranivus - May 5, 2010 6:22 p.m.

    telefrag wasnt a glitch... it was part of the game. It was great for multiplayer. Getting into a fire fight with your buddy then he realizes he's not going to win so he turns around and runs and you just stalk him like deer and as soon as he jumps into the teleporter. You follow suit and implode him from the inside. That sir is not a glitch. Thats why the graphic after you teleport inside the person shows a puddled mess with his ribs exposed, b/c you were inside him.
  • JackSkellingtonsSkin - May 5, 2010 6:35 p.m.

    A bunch of games have these. In Bioshock you can even control the Big Daddies to do all the fighting for you. Nearly every Final Fantasy has game changing exploits and don't forgot FFX's bitchin apocalypse. Many games have terrifying enemies, remember Alma. As for Chex-themed modifications could someone please make a counter strike mod based on this to fully prove Jim wrong. Oh and I remember Beyond Good And Evil was given away with some cereal.
  • JimSterling - May 5, 2010 7:01 p.m.

    If you can be literal and nitpick, you can argue most of these. It's meant to be more general than a few of you are making out.
  • thesuperspacejew - May 5, 2010 7:07 p.m.

    If this counts, then the Cirith Ungol level in Return of the King was pretty much all the Orcs/Uruks fighting each other.
  • CoD4Kamikazi - May 5, 2010 7:09 p.m.

    Is it just me, or does the E1M1 music sound almost exactly like the guitar from Judas Priest's Painkiller? I'm surprised that no one has pointed this out yet.
  • Vitoruss1 - May 5, 2010 7:34 p.m.

    Pretty good article, ALTHOUGH: Infighting: Halo Primarily between the sentinels and the flood, but there was also infighting between the Covenant and the flood as well. Truly Terrifying Enemies: Resident Evil 4 (&5) I can't quite remember the name, but the enemies in Resident Evil 4 who had an irregular breathing pattern and invisible parasite all over their bodies... they were absolute terror. As soon as you hear the breathing, you know you're in for a scare. Also, the berserkers with the blades attached to their hands were scary as can be. The same can be considered for Dr. Salvatore. Also, the tall tribal-mask wearing enemies in RE5 who were almost impossible to kill. Badass Music: Duke Nukem Forev-- Eh, nevermind. WAIT! Badass Music: Devil May Cry Series While the first game had the best music, I personally own all four games' soundtracks and they're the most badass soundtracks ever. Pure kick-ass neo-gothic techno metal. Hell yeah. Game Changing Exploits: GTA San Andreas You could make all the NPCs riot, carry weapons, fight you and fight FOR you. You could also make cars swim, fly, or just turn off gravity in general. And you could make your punches do mega-damage and knock people back very far. These were all cheats, but in a technical sense, these are game-changing exploits. Chex-Themed Modifications: Dream Girl No, not a game, you're right. But even still... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffXlo8VveJc&feature=related
  • 510BrotherPanda - May 5, 2010 7:36 p.m.

    I've never been the target audience for FPSes, but good article James Delacroix Sterling.
  • Vitoruss1 - May 5, 2010 7:36 p.m.

    @CoD4Kamikazi That's what I said when I saw the video! Judas Priest is my favorite band and there definitely is a Painkiller vibe there.
  • Spybreak8 - May 5, 2010 7:52 p.m.

    Oh god I love infighting. I would always get dudes to shoot Imps and then have the Imps fly fireballs half way across the map or threw a window and down the corridor haha. I agree with the music, atmospheric drivel is not the future of game music. Oh it's interactive and dynamic, no it's forgettable and yes it may help immerse me but chances are it will get old fast.
  • TheJackOfHearts - May 5, 2010 8:08 p.m.

    I actually damn near crap my pants every time I see a Centaur in fallout 3.
  • Conman93 - May 5, 2010 8:09 p.m.

    @Vitoruss Those irregular breathing enemies in resi 4 are called regnerators, and they are the scariest fucking thing I have ever seen in my entire life :0
  • TURbo - May 5, 2010 9:24 p.m.

    @Vitoruss1 One question. Were those games made before 1993?
  • TURbo - May 5, 2010 9:25 p.m.

    The answer is no
  • TURbo - May 5, 2010 9:43 p.m.

    @Jim Sterling The only thing I can nitpick is the Archvile wasn't introduced until Doom 2, then it was in Ultimate Doom's 4th episode. Same this with the Revenant.
  • TURbo - May 5, 2010 9:48 p.m.

    I misinterpreted the article about Doom not stealing from other games. That being the case, what about deathmatch? No multiplayer FPS dared to steal that.
  • Cyberninja - May 5, 2010 10:03 p.m.

    wow they need to remake doom than
  • Modroneman - May 5, 2010 10:18 p.m.

    I get what the article is saying, Doom was awesome!

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