Doom RPG is a game designed for Java cellphones, and its story is set in the Doom universe. The game was developed by Fountainhead Entertainment and id Software and published by JAMDAT Mobile Inc. EA Mobile went on distributing the game after the company had acquired JAMDAT. The game was released at the same time as the Doom movie in October 2005, and in the UK in November 2005. In 2007, all five developers of Fountainhead became id Mobile.
The game retains many of the elements of the original Doom games, and is likewise played from a first-person perspective. However, the game is fundamentally different in that it is a turn-based RPG. All combat and movement is turn-based, allowing the player time to select their responses in combat. The player turns at 90 degree angles and moves space by space. Although visually similar to the original games, there is a greater emphasis on the plot. It is very important to speak to the scientists and access computer terminals to obtain vital information in order to progress into the game, somewhat like in Doom 3.
Many features of the original are retained, including the status bar face, sound effects and the majority of the weapons and monsters. Notably absent are the chainsaw, arachnotrons, and the Spider Mastermind. A difference from the original is that each monster type includes three similar monsters of varying difficulty, which are each coloured to indicate this. For example, in addition to regular cacodemons, the player will have to fight recoloured cacodemons called "malwraths" and "the wretched".
The game also adds several new features. New weapons include the axe and fire extinguisher which are useful in combat against certain enemies. The dogs from Wolfenstein 3D appear as a new enemy, known as Hellhounds. A dog collar allows the hell hounds to be captured and used as a shield or a weapon.
John Carmack initially started development on Doom RPG after his wife bought him a new cellphone to replace the lost one he usually took with him to work at Armadillo Aerospace - he had resisted getting one, as he "[didn't] really like talking to most people." The bad Java demo games included on the new phone inspired him to investigate development in the J2ME environment which was then the dominant gaming platform in the mobile market. This suited his desire for a temporary change in scope after the development of Doom 3, and was supported by his previous experience with Java.
After considering the chief limitations of the platform—a small maximum size for games, the non-immersive nature of small handheld devices, limited controls, and lack of multiplayer capabilities—Carmack settled on the Doom RPG concept, which he described as "Bard's Tale meets Doom", and developed a proof-of-concept prototype.
The prototype was discussed with JAMDAT to ascertain publisher interest, and was then turned over to Fountainhead Entertainment for further development.
Carmack bemoaned several limitations of Java and the J2ME environment during his work. Chiefly, this included language limitations in dealing with binary data efficiently, the poor speed of Java bytecode on phones, portability issues due to phone-specific deviations, and poor performance in the phone vendors' implementations of the J2ME platform and underlying operating systems.
Carmack expressed interest in developing a BREW version of the game as well, and would take active part in its development by writing additional code and acting as project producer. According to Carmack, the J2ME edition of the game took only four months to develop, and the expanded port to BREW required only two additional months.
At least three versions of Doom RPG are currently known to exist, the older v1.0.20, v1.0.92, v1.8.94, v1.11.61 and last 1.12.98. Version 1.11.61 has in particular the following improvements:
- Higher resolution textures
- Enhanced sound effects - v1.0.20 only had a single sound effect for item pickup, v1.11.61 has multiple sound effects (such as when firing different weapons)
- A view that takes up the entire width of the screen, rather than being contained within a small window.
- Improved particle effects
During 2007, v1.6.84 was released. This version might only be available for S60v3 Nokia phones.
The release versions correspond with releases for different performance levels of cell phone technology.
The BREW port of the game, released for CDMA mobile phones with more powerful processors and additional memory, added a few new features across two different revisions of the game:
- Digital sound effects utilizing QCP ring tones
- Belphegor enemies are rendered with a fuzz effect similar to spectres in the original Doom, albeit with a blue shade.
The BREW 2.1 revision of the game (sometimes referred to as a "high-quality" version) added the following features:
- Floor and ceiling textures
- Higher resolution HUD assets
- Redesigned title screen with a rotating view
- Additional attack icons (such as a bite graphic for dogs and demons)
- Animated lights on sprites and wall textures
- Animated fire sprite
- Extended Kronos boss battle
- MIDI replaced with the QualComm Pocket Melody Data (.pmd) music format.
The story is a variation on the Doom 3 story. The player is a marine employed by the UAC, sent to assist members of the UAC facility on Mars, who are under attack from the denizens of Hell. However, although there are similarities in the overall plot, the minor details are significantly different.
The player must visit seven "sectors" of the base that have been infested with monsters. Various scientists are encountered along the way, including Dr. Jensen and Dr. Guerard. Examining computer screens and talking with scientists, there are many rumors of a UAC scientist named "Kronos" who was working on teleportation experiments and was fired by the UAC for "security breaches". As the game advances it becomes clear that Kronos is still in the base, and that he is the cause of the attack.
Dr. Guerard begins giving the player instructions. In sector 3, Mr. Nadira lures the player into a trap. The other scientists begin to express their distrust of Guerard and in Sector 6, it is revealed that Nadira and Guerard are working together. Guerard double-crosses Nadira, allowing a demon to kill him.
A second attack leaves the base in ruins; however, Dr. Kelvin opens the door to the Reactor area. The player confronts Guerard at the entrance to the reactor, who reveals that he is Kronos and transforms into a demon. After defeating Kronos, the player destroys the power couplings of the reactor, closing a portal to Hell (the player is hindered by monsters that come through the portal). After having closed the portal, it is revealed that the Cyberdemon, a combination of demon flesh and human technology created by Kronos, came through the portal at the last second. The player must defeat the Cyberdemon to complete the game.
The following weapons appear in the game:
- Fire extinguisher
- Super shotgun
- Plasma gun
- Rocket launcher
- Dog collar used to capture any type of hellhound
The effectiveness of each weapon varies depending on the type of monster.
Similar to other role-playing games, the Doom RPG monsters are divided into several classes, each categorised in order of ascending difficulty.
|Monster class||Low rank||Medium rank||High rank||Base|
|Zombie||Zombie private||Zombie lieutenant||Zombie captain||Zombieman|
|Hellhound||Hellhound||Cerberus||Demon wolf||German shepherd dog (from Wolfenstein 3D)|
|Commando||Troop||Commando||Assassin||Heavy weapon dude|
|Lost soul||Phantom||Lost soul||Nightmare||Lost soul|
|Pain elemental||Beholder||Rahovart||Pain elemental||Pain elemental|
|Baron||Ogre||Hell knight||Baron||Hell knight and baron of Hell|
Doom RPG has the following levels:
- Sector 1
- Sector 2
- Sector 3
- Sector 4
- Sector 5
- Sector 6
- Sector 7
- Destroyed Junction
- Items (developer map)
A sequel to Doom RPG, designated Doom II RPG, was released for iPhone and iPod Touch on February 8, 2010. The story is chronologically a sequel to Doom RPG, as there are some references to events and characters from the first game, but the plot otherwise does not extensively tie into the original Doom RPG, and can be taken as a stand-alone story.
Games based on the Doom RPG engine
Following the release of Doom RPG, four more games were released using its engine: Orcs & Elves, Orcs & Elves II, Wolfenstein RPG, and Doom II RPG, in that order. The J2ME version of the engine had new features added with every game.
Geek culture references
- Main article: Geek culture references in Doom RPG
- Doom RPG official website (archived 🏛)
- Doom RPG promotional trailer
- 1UP review of Doom RPG, including screenshots
- IGN review
- This article incorporates text from the open-content Wikipedia online encyclopedia article Doom RPG.
- Doom RPG FAQ by Tony8669
- Kohler, Chris (15 November 2007). "id Software Launches Mobile Division." Wired. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
- Carmack, John (27 March 2005). "Cell phone adventures." Armadillo Aerospace - John Carmack's Blog (archived 🏛). Retrieved 4 August 2018.
- GamesIndustry staff (9 January 2006). "John Carmack on Mobile Development." GamesIndustry. Retrieved 4 August 2018.