With DOOM Eternal just around the corner, now seems like an ideal moment to step back in history, to the time when DOOM was a pseudo-3D game, populated by 2D sprites. Made by the legendary John Romero – the level designer for the original DOOM – SIGIL adds a new episode of 9 levels set just after the official end of DOOM and the start of DOOM 2.
Romero’s flair for level design is well in evidence. Levels are varied, huge, and have quite a few twists. One level, for example, is filled with invisible teleporters. One moment you’ll be walking on a narrow bridge, the next you’ll be teleported to a new location filled with foes, and when you take a step you’ll suddenly find yourself back on the bridge again. Another level sees you walking along the narrow edge of a lava-filled ravine. Having thus robbed you of most of your mobility, it then proceeds to chuck at you numerous Imps and Cacodemons (large, floaty monsters capable of soaking up a ton of damage).
As the above indicates, this is not a game you play. It’s a game you beat, because it’s doing its level best to beat you. Even on normal difficulty, veterans of DOOM will be in for quite a challenge. Forget any notions about playing fair. This is a game which will quite happily box you into a narrow corridor where you can’t manoeuver, then open a secret passage right beside (and just out of your line-of-sight) with a Baron of Hell in it – one of the toughest monsters in the game. If you’re lucky, you might just survive long enough to see where the ambush came from before having to start the level again. If you somehow manage to reach the end of a level – usually drained of health, ammo and armour – you’ll be faced with at least one Baron of Hell, resulting in more than one undignified sprint to the exit. Oh, and the final level throws all this at you, plus the dreaded Cyberdemon and Spiderdemon.
I cannot stress this enough, this is one for DOOM veterans. If you liked DOOM and its sequels, you’ll enjoy the challenge. For anyone else, it’s likely to result in them chucking their keyboard out of the window. ■