Earlier this summer, we travelled to QuakeCon in order to catch a first look at Bethesda's new Doom game that is coming to Xbox One and PC sometime in the future. Xbox 360 owners can already play the first three Doom games thanks to the awesome Doom 3 BFG Edition, but mobile gamers aren't so lucky. iOS has Doom Resurrection and the Doom RPGs, but neither Windows Phone nor Android has an official Doom game to their names. Windows Phone does have an unlicensed port called Doom GLES though.
Speaking of unlicensed Doom, we also have an app called Doom Shooter from M4Multimedia that will put a smile on Doom fans' faces. Doom Shooter is a free camera app/lens for both Windows Phone 7 and 8 (including 512 MB devices) that lets you pretend to shoot everything on your camera feed with the trusty Doom pistol. You can even add blood splashes to your photos for maximum authenticity. Doom Shooter has some obvious room for improvement, but the simple joy of seeing Doom graphics overlaid on your selfies can't be denied.
Looking like Doom
After launching the app, you'll find your Windows Phone's camera feed surrounded by a fairly authentic Doom overlay. The top and left sides of the screen have green-ish borders similar to what you would see when your hardware couldn't handle running the game at full-screen (such as the 3DO and Sega 32X versions).
The bottom of the screen houses the familiar gunmetal Doom user interface. From left to right, this includes a kill count, health display, arms (indicating which gun the user has selected in the real game), the Doom marine's face, armor display, and ammo count. Tapping the marine's face makes a grunting sound, which I believe would play when searching walls in the original Doom.
Naturally, the Doom marine's gun overlaps the bottom-center portion of the actual video feed area. Tapping the gun causes the marine's hand to rise up along with a muzzle flash. The genuine Doom pistol sound accompanies the animation, creating the effect that you are shooting at whatever you have on camera. The kill count in the bottom-left corner of the screen also rises every time you tap the gun. Relaunching the app is the only way to reset the count.
Picture taking and settings
To actually take a picture, you can either press your phone's camera button or tap the on-screen Capture button from the pop-up menu on the right side of the screen. The app immediately saves the image and asks whether you would like to share it. If you tap "ok," the app will send you to the phone's photo folder. From there, you can opt to share the picture like you would any other. Tap the phone's Back button to return to the app.
Pressing the "Switch Cam" button from the pop-up menu will switch between rear- and front-facing cameras on phones with two cameras. Shoot yourself or your friends with harmless virtual bullets!
Any photos taken will show the Doom marine's gun in its relaxed position. There doesn't seem to be a way to take a picture while the muzzle flash displays, unfortunately. But you can toggle two different blood splashes from the app's Settings menu. "Splash HD" shows a smooth red splash with bullet holes, whereas "Splash 8bit" (which should be 8-bit) displays a pixelated blood effect similar to those of the actual game. Either way, the blood splashes will be transparent. They only appear on the pictures you save, not while tapping the gun to make it fire.
The app also plays a synthesized female voice sample each time you launch the app. "Tap the gun to shoot," it politely instructs. But the original Doom doesn't have any voiced dialogue at all, so the sample feels inauthentic. The voice can be toggled in the Settings menu, but the app doesn't save the setting. Blast it.
Finally, the Settings let you turn vibration on or off. Leave it on and your phone will shake a bit when you fire the gun.
The Settings menu also promises that additional guns will be added in the future. At present, users only get to play and take pictures with the standard pistol.
M4Multimedia plans to allow us to switch between the pistol, shotgun, machine gun (which should be chain gun), and plasma gun in the future. Those will be welcome additions, but they don't represent the full range of weapons from the first Doom. The app will still be missing the chainsaw, rocket launcher, and BFG9000. I don't know why the developer wouldn't add the full arsenal; it can't be that much more time-consuming to implement a sound effect and a couple of images for each weapon.
The app currently costs nothing, but the extra weapons won't be free. Users will have to acquire them via in-app purchase. Provided the full set only costs a dollar, and we get the entire range of weapons instead of only four, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it up.
Not quite perfect
Although the app and overlay look very Doom-like at first glance, they do have some differences and imperfections keeping them from pure Doom greatness.
First off, white text (in a modern aliased font) commanding "Tap the gun to shoot your opponent!" always occupies the top-left portion of the screen. It can't be turned off, and it appears even in screen captures/photos taken with the app. I understand displaying it right when the app starts up, but it definitely shouldn't stay there and mar the pictures we take.
Speaking of authenticity, the kill counter in the bottom-left corner of the screen uses a modern aliased font instead of the proper Doom counter font. It wouldn't be that hard to get the real numbers from screenshots. Hopefully the developer makes the effort in the future.
The app does display counters for the various ammunition types in the bottom-right corner of the screen, just like the actual game. But here the bullets counter doesn't decrease; it just stays at 43. That doesn't make for lesser screenshots like with the Kill counter, but it would still be a cool touch to see the number deplete (and then refill) when the user fires shots.
Doom Shooter can't replace the fun of actually playing Doom, something I hope we get to do natively on Windows Phone before long. If you really wanted to play it that badly, you could use an emulator to play the Super Nintendo and GameBoy Advance versions. EmiPSX cannot currently play the Playstation One version of Final Doom (and probably not the original Doom either), unfortunately. Update: it turns out there is an unofficial Doom port in the Windows Phone Store called Doom GLES!
Still, this is an app that any fun-loving Doom fan should own. The photos you take will look a lot like the real thing – less detail-oriented people probably won't spot the UI inaccuracies. Hopefully M4Multimedia will tweak and improve the little niggles before too long.
There is a certain simple glee in walking around shooting real-life things with your phone. Imagine how cool a true augmented reality Doom game would be!
- Doom Shooter – Windows Phone 7 and 8 – 2 MB – Free – Store Link