Doom II: Hell on Earth is a first-person shooter video game, the second title of id Software's Doom franchise. It was originally released for MS-DOS computers in 1994 and Macintosh computers in 1995. Unlike Doom, which was initially only available through shareware and mail order, Doom II was a commercial release sold in stores. Master Levels for Doom II, an expansion pack that includes 21 new levels, was released on December 26, 1995 by id Software.
Due to its success and popularity, Doom II was later released for the Game Boy Advance in 2002, on Xbox Live Arcade in 2010, and on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2019. The release of the original Doom source code has facilitated ports to many other platforms, including the Apple iPhone and several other types of cell phones.
Doom II was not dramatically different from its predecessor. There were no major technological developments, graphical improvements, or substantial gameplay changes. Instead, the development team took advantage of advances in computer hardware since the release of the original game that allowed them to do more with their game engine by making much larger and more intricate levels. The game still consists of the player navigating large non-linear levels. Each level is infested with demons that can be killed with a variety of weapons that can be picked up throughout the game. Levels are completed by finding an exit, whether it be a switch or a teleporter; the goal is simply to advance to the next area. As with its predecessor, Doom II's levels can be completed in a straightforward fashion. However, because the levels are non-linear players can wander off the beaten path, and those that do are often rewarded with bonuses, like health pickups and more powerful weapons. Due to the larger and more complicated maps with larger groups of monsters, the game had somewhat higher system requirements than the original.
Rather than the player playing through three related episodes as in the first Doom, gameplay takes place over one giant episode, albeit with interludes for when the story develops. Instead of watching the player's progress on a map (as in the original episodes of Doom), the screens between each level simply show a background (a style carried over to the bonus fourth episode of Doom available in The Ultimate Doom, the retail re-release of the original Doom). This also means the player is never forced to lose all of their inventory after completing an episode.
Doom II doubled the number of non-boss monster types and started using bosses from the original Doom as normal level enemies, in addition to adding a new weapon, the double-barreled shotgun (called the Super Shotgun in the game), and a new power-up, the Megasphere.
Doom's multiplayer functionality was greatly improved in Doom II, including "out of the box" support for a vastly increased number of dial-up modems. The two-player dial-up connection allowed one player to dial into the other player's computer in order to play either cooperatively or in deathmatch-style combat. There was also LAN functionality added, which was improved upon as patches and updates were released. This functionality was later incorporated into the original Doom. As with the original Doom, multiplayer games used to be played using the dial-up or LAN by the internal setup program (setup.exe), through the online service DWANGO or with once-popular programs like Kali and Kahn (using SPX) in Windows 95. Nowadays, in the modern standards, Doom II can be played with almost any version of Windows across the internet using third party source ports such as Odamex, Zandronum, ZDaemon, and are still popular today. The Xbox Live Arcade port of Doom II supports online multiplayer via Xbox Live.
The continuous 30 levels are divided into four areas; UAC Underground, UAC's Starport (Hellish Outpost), City, and Hell.
Immediately following the events in Doom, the player once again assumes the role of an unnamed space marine. After defeating the demon invasion on Mars, and saving the Mars base there, the marine goes on leave and lands a drop pod on Earth, and finds that Earth has also been invaded by the demons, who have killed billions of people.
The humans who survived the attack have developed a plan to build massive spaceships which will carry the remaining survivors into space. Once the ships are ready, the survivors prepare to evacuate Earth. Unfortunately, Earth's only ground spaceport gets taken over by the demons, who place a flame barrier over it, preventing any ships from leaving. The marine then battles hordes of demons and is able to deactivate the force field, allowing the remaining humans to escape. Once all the survivors escape Earth, the marine is the only human left on the planet.
Just as he sits down to await death, knowing that he saved humanity, the marine then receives an off-planet transmission from the survivors in orbit, who have managed to find out where the armies of Hell are coming from. The message reveals that the demonic base is in the center of the marine's own hometown. He then fights through the city until he reaches the base, but sees there is no way to stop the invasion on that side. He then decides to step into the portal to try deactivating it from the other side, entering Hell (a different Hell than the one that the Deimos moon floats over in the first Doom).
After fighting through the hordes of Hell, the marine reaches the location of the biggest demon he has ever seen, called the Icon of Sin (Baphomet). He kills the Icon of Sin by firing rockets into its exposed brain. Its death causes devastation on Hell, and the portal to Earth is sealed. With Hell defeated, the marine joins with the other humans in an effort to rebuild and restore life on Earth.
Most of the levels were designed by Sandy Petersen. The final level, Icon of Sin, contains an easter egg where two of the artists put the disembodied head of John Romero as the sprite hidden behind the icon on the wall which must be hit by rockets three times to win the game. Romero, while playing the level to work on its sound effects, accidentally stumbled upon this in-joke of himself. After realising what his co-workers had done, Romero himself answered by recording his voice saying "To win the game, you must kill me, John Romero", putting it through various filters to distort it, then reverse the recording to create the "demonic chant" spoken by the head upon spotting the player.
Master Levels for Doom II
No Rest for the Living
No Rest for the Living is the title of an expansion pack developed by Nerve Software for the release of Doom II on Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360. It consists of eight regular levels and one secret level. It is also included in the latest Doom II release from Doom 3: BFG Edition and as part of Doom Classic Complete for the PlayStation Network.
According to David Kushner in Masters of Doom, id Software shipped 600,000 units of Doom II to stores in preparation for its launch. This initial shipment sold out within a month on shelves, despite its being expected to last for three months. The game was the United States' highest-selling computer title of 1994. It placed 10th for 1996, with 322,671 units sold and $12.6 million earned in the region that year alone.
In the United States, Doom II was the third-best-selling computer game between 1993 and 1999, with 1.55 million units sold during that period. Its revenues in that country ultimately reached $80 million, while those in Europe reached $20 million. Of the latter figure, Kushner wrote that "30 percent [...] came from Germany—a country that had banned the game from its shelves."
The reception of Doom II was positive, with reviewers saying it refined everything that made the original Doom good. According to Dragon, "if mindless but intense carnage is what you want, you'll get your money's worth. It's not just a must-have game; it's a keep-on-the-hard-drive-forever game. If you need to have more Doom, get this."
Writer/game designer Chris Crawford used the level "Barrels O' Fun" to illustrate a point about death in video games, explaining he chose the level as his example because it is "one of the most complex and sophisticated challenges in one of the very best games of the 1990s".
Next Generation reviewed the PC version of the game, rating it three stars out of five, and stated that "Now that the first person interface has become the design of choice for the entire industry, Id will need to find new innovations, or it will quickly find it's playing catch-up in its own game niche."
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