Doom as a 2D platform shooter!
MiniDoom 2 is a 2D platform shooter somewhere between Contra and Metroid, using the Doom franchise as its setting. If you're like me, that sentence should've immediately captured your attention! Is it as good as it sounds? Let's find out!
As you might expect, MiniDoom 2 is not a plot-heavy game. Teleportation testing opens a portal to Hell, demons take over the facilities and you (as the only surviving space marine) are on a mission to blow them all away!
The focus is of course on action, and MD2 has plenty of it! Converting Doom to a 2D side-scroller removes a lot of opportunities for using cover, making firefights more about dodging projectiles than ducking behind a wall for safety. Things really heat up when (just like in other Doom titles) you inevitably get trapped in a room with a horde of nasty monsters you must eradicate to continue!
If you're familiar with the Doom series at all, you know all too well that the games like to take cheap shots, often killing you with some new surprise your first time through an area. MD2 is no different, and some rooms remain frustrating even after the initial shock is long past. Thankfully, the game includes multiple difficulty settings to either ease you in or toughen you up, depending on your preference. There's even several game modes - enjoy unlimited lives in Standard play, go oldschool with Arcade, or really test your mettle with Hard Core.
While enemies and traps abound, MiniDoom 2 makes sure to challenge your platforming skills as well. There's a number of areas where falls are fatal, and several locations where timing is a factor. In keeping with the oldschool theme, you also experience some knockback when getting hit, which can make for many missed jumps (often resulting in disaster). Some of the platforming mechanics (such as the green 'jump pads' and double-jump upgrade) let you extend your jump by holding down the button. This is great, but takes some getting used to, especially when you have to reach really far or high places.
MiniDoom 2 may be punishing and grim, but doesn't take itself seriously all the time. The game makes a joke about its own lack of story right at the intro, and a number of easter eggs pay homage to other titles or include something silly. The world map even takes inspiration from Super Mario Bros. 3, which makes me giggle a little every time I see it.
Controls are solid and responsive (at least on a controller), though I often felt a little panicked trying to swap to the weapon I wanted... which I assume is intended. MiniDoom 2 is also aesthetically pleasing with a 16-bit pixel art style and a number of appropriately "Doomy" music tracks.
It's rare for a game to live up to expectations, but it seems like MiniDoom 2 is the real deal. It's challenging, replayable, and is a fitting adaptation of Doom into a 2D platform shooter. I highly recommend you give this one a try!