By Alec Meer on March 23rd, 2009 at 5:50 pm.
It’s sure nice that the creator of the excellent Doom/Diablo mashup Fall of Mars dropped me a line over the weekend to say there was an updated and dramatically expanded version out. Rather unfortunately, I now hate him. I lost over three hours to FoM this morning, you see. Three hours during which I should have been playing Men of War for a Wot I Think. The others will surely spurn and scorn me.
Their hatred is perhaps a price worth paying, for I had a great time. Unlike the proof-of-concept last version I wittered about a while back, this is getting on for being a complete game. It has a start and a finish, it has linked maps and levelling, it has a ton of Doom foes and weapons, and it has all the ludicrous compulsiveness of Diablo’s ever-escalating click marathons. Were this released in the mid-90s, it’d probably have been hailed an instant classic.
Inevitably and understandably, it’s a bit crude of visuals and interface, and as with any Diablolike the second you realise you’re playing it more to watch a bunch of numbers slowly increase than for the visceral fun of the combat, the illusion shatters a little. Plus there’s something fairly obtuse about the idea a space marine who’s running for his life through a demon-infested moonbase pausing to mull over whether +2% life-drain is better than +4 armour or not. But that’s an inherent complication of the genre, not Fall of Mars. In fact, I enjoy Fall of Mars’ combat rather more than much of Diablo, as the guns really do fit the Diablo structure beautifully, and ramp up in effectiveness spectacularly. I was lucky enough to get an ultra-rare Minigun (named, cutely, the Nailgun) as a drop, and the resulting devastation was glorious.
If there’s one thing I’d seriously grumble about, it’s that ammo’s maybe too plentiful – running out was never an issue – and health packs sometimes a little too scare, given how hard it can be to dodge some of the projectile-lobbing monsters. Clearly too, the addition of co-op would do wonderful things, but it’s already a fantastic, robust experience that genuinely releases both Diablo and Doom on much more than a purely surface level. It’s Diablo, it’s Doom, it’s free, and it’s a grand old time. Go get.
Here’s a video, in case you’re dithering. The post-rock soundtrack’s an odd one, however – it’s not in the game, and while agreeably gloomy-epic is weirdly at odds with the hyper-kinetic ultra-violence of the thing itself.
Doom: Fall of Mars Game Doom FoM: Pre-Beta Sneak Peak video – Mod DB