30 June 2009

Incoming Invaders Detected

This week we focus on another staff favorite, Doom!

“All UAC personnel be advised. There has been a code red security breach in the dimensional gateway research facility here at the Union Aerospace Corporation’s Mars base. We are under invasion. I repeat, we are under invasion. Attention all Marines! Attention all Marines! Report immediately to central command. If you are isolated from the main facility, seek out other Marines, form squads, and engage the invaders with whatever means possible. We are initiating lockdown procedures as described in section Alpha 42-F of the UAC emergency manual. All personnel are hereby granted full weapons clearance for purposes of self defense.”

This week, the klaxons blare the name of our spotlight game, DOOM! Evan Kinne, one of our hard-working warehouse gurus had this to say. “I love the tense feel of this game. I especially enjoy being the invaders, and seeing the marines attempt to kill every monster. It is at that moment you know they are all doomed.”

Doom puts players into one of two teams. One team of terrifying monstrosities who are armed and deadly fighters capable of laying down blistering hails of gunfire, huge gouts of flame, and talons and fangs to rend all who stand before them. Opposing them are a team of brave Marines, trained in all manners of combat and doing whatever it takes to repel these invaders. Between these teams is a space-station chock full of weapons, armor, corridors, and danger. Doom is a tense, turn-based action board game for 2-4 players.

Each Marine has come from a different background, and as such, can draw on a multitude of different skills. Ranging from the deadly Killer Instinct, which lets you move and attack again if you have killed your target, and the always useful Medic, which lets you heal yourself, to the more specialized Officer, which lets you give extra range and damage to Marines around you, and Special Ops, which severely upgrades close combat weapons. All of these skills are dealt out randomly, and each Marine only receives a couple to help him out through this dangerous mission.

Each of these missions has a different layout, fans of Descent may recognize this as the precursor to the now familiar dungeon spreads. From the tight corridors of the "Inferno" to the sprawling "Thy Flesh Consumed", each map gives players the feeling of being in a space-station being overrun by extra-dimensional beings. Nerves on edge as you open the next door, scared to see the invaders filling the rooms ahead; glancing behind as new creatures begin to fill the corridors and hallways, slowly advancing up behind you. The first mission, "Knee Deep in the Dead", places you in the lounge in sector 5 when the first news of invaders hits. “Off in the distance, you hear first one scream and then several more in quick succession. Panicked voices begin cutting in on your radio headsets but are drowned out...”

Each map has a specific goal. With the first mission, lifeboats are launching from the station and you must hurry if you wish to be on one. All that is standing in your way are a handful or hungry looking aliens, a couple of locked doors, and a number of areas just waiting to see new creatures spawned. The Marine players must work as a team if they have any hope of making it out alive. If the Invader player is able to reach six kills, or frags, the Marines have been overrun and the station is lost. This keeps the players moving, and provides a heaping helping of tension as each frag brings you closer to permanent death.

The Invaders have a fair number of tricks up their sleeves to deal with the Marines. Charge lets one invading creature double the amount of movement they get, letting them advance much closer to the Marines. Jump the Gun lets up to three invaders activate on the Marines turn before they get to go! Shaky Footing reduces the movement of the Marines by two until the start of their next turn. Each of these can be deadly in their own rights, but become a nightmare if used in concert.

Not to be outdone, the Marines have access to some of the best weaponry in the dimensions. The Machine Gun is one of the first weapons most Marines will see. This projectile device is capable of shredding most smaller enemies and dealing decent damage to the larger creatures. The next step up is the Chain Gun which improves upon the Machine Gun’s firing capacity by adding four more barrels of deadly firepower. For those who like the action up close and personal, the Chainsaw provides carnage and mayhem on a wide scale. If you run completely out of ammo, and aren’t able to grab some of the crates lying about the station, you can always settle arguments with your fists. Each Marine can deal a fair amount of damage with the weapon at the end of their wrist. For those fans of the video game, the BFG also makes an appearance. This weapon fires a massive blast of energy capable of taking down even the largest invader.

All in all, Doom feels like a first person shooter in board game format. It is fast paced, easy to learn, and keeps everyone at the edge of their seats as the invaders seek out the Marines, and the Marines seek the way out.Based on the hit FPS computer game by Id Software, DOOM: The Board Game puts players in the role of space marines trapped in a desperate fight against demonic intruders within the claustrophobic confines of an overrun space station.

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