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At the beginning, there was DOOM. That seminal game birthed a genre, and before they were first person shooters, they were DOOM clones. The category has moved on, expanded, and taken over a large chunk of the industry, but people still go back to Mars for inspiration, and I think it’s time that “DOOM clone” returned to common usage. In 2017, a DOOM clone is a refresh of the classic mechanics that launched a thousand LAN parties. Hordes of enemies that attack each other as well as the player, passages locked behind keycards, and level designs that openly mock and attack the player for going after power-ups left under a spotlight. This is what a DOOM clone looks like, and Gorescript fits that bill.

Upon loading up the game, the first thing you’ll notice is the graphical style. Forgoing sprites, Gorescript sticks to voxels for its environments, enemies, and blood splatters. Thankfully, that’s the only nod towards Minecraft that the game presents, and the voxel styling helps create an environment that feels limited in the same way that DOOM does without dating it. It’s amazingly satisfying to see the gallons of voxel blood that spill out of every foe you shoot as it paints the walls red. Tracking your level progress via bloodstains as well as opened doors makes the game feel even more like a follow-up to its forebears and almost sells the voxel style all on its own.

Gorescript Voxel Blood

So many dead Pac-Men.

The campaign consists of eighteen handcrafted levels, each filled with twists and turns, teleporters and secret walls that will challenge players both old and new. There are also a few spots throughout the campaign where platforming becomes a focus, and this is where the game loses a step. First person platforming in shooters has never been good, and Gorescript isn’t going to be the game that cracks that nut. At the very least, all the levels can be conquered without jumping, making these spots more like the later areas in Doom 2 and less like early PS1 monstrosities. In fact, your character can’t jump at all without getting one of the randomized secrets strewn across each level. Other items you could find during your run include single use megahealth and megaarmor pickups that you can save for a rainy day and equipable armor pieces that alter your health and damage levels. While I appreciate the nod towards replayability, the fact that it’s possible to go most of the game without acquiring one of its mechanics works against the game’s philosophy of set levels and old school sensibilities.

Thankfully, Gorescript‘s strengths lie in its combat design, as it should be with an FPS. While there are only three basic enemy types, they fill the necessary roles quite well. You have floating blue pyramids that shoot projectiles and dodge like Imps, red Pac-Man-esque spheres that charge you like Pinkies, and green multi-eyed aliens at the top of the food chain that look like something out of Chex Quest and play like Hell Knights. There are two boss fights that feature oversized foes, including one that has a pretty unique solution that ended up being a high point for the entire experience. Enemies are laid out perfectly, forcing you to duck around corners, conserve health packs and sometimes run for your life past a wall of fireballs as a last resort.

Dying in Gorescript is going to happen.

Only on death screens can you see how smug these pyramid dudes look up close.

There is a diverse arsenal of guns at your disposal here, including a hammer and shield melee combo, a super useful railgun that cuts through lines of foes, and a machine gun equipped with bullets that bounce off walls. You also have your trusty shotgun (undoubtedly your standby weapon, as it should be) and two power weapons in the form of a rocket launcher and a BFG that shoots a thousand bouncing bullets at once. It’s interesting to see an updated arsenal for a DOOM clone, and the new options provided by the unique weapons and item pickups really add to the combat by constantly giving you new strategies to try out.

Sadly, the game falters at visual design, as every weapon looks like a mass of blue cubes in a slightly different configuration. I often fired off the wrong gun and committed suicide since I only had time to glance at my currently equipped firearm before pulling the trigger. This problem also extends to the single type of environment that the entire game takes place in, making it easier than it should be to get lost. Thankfully, this deficit doesn’t also extend to the game’s soundtrack, which is filled with pumping electronica that fits perfectly with the game’s style and offers a nice change of pace from the heavy metal riffs that usually accompany this type of shooter.

Gorescript Pac Man Room

This room required a whole lot of circle strafing.

In the year 2017, it’s going to be hard for Gorescript to make an impression on most gamers. There are entire generations of shooter veterans who grew up on Halo and Call of Duty and see DOOM as a historical relic. However, there is also a generation of kids out there who grew up on Minecraft, and I hope that they give this game a chance when they’re ready to kick the action up a notch. Gorescript confidently iterates on the DOOM formula and provides an engaging and fun campaign that’s easy to recommend to anyone willing to go back to the days of running down hallways at a million miles an hour.

Gorescript was reviewed on PC via Steam with a copy provided by the developer. 

7.5
 

Very Good

Summary

Gorescript achieves a lot in a small package. Iterating on DOOM and other old school shooters, it gives players a killer campaign and a few hours of throwback fun. If the visual design were a bit more interesting and the platforming was stripped out, it'd be a real winner.

Pros

  • Pitch Perfect Combat
  • Unique Boss Encounters
  • Voxel Blood
  • Kickass Soundtrack

Cons

  • First Person Platforming
  • Randomized Item Pickups
  • Lack of Variety in Visuals

Alex Santa Maria

Reviews Editor

TechRaptor's Reviews Editor. Resident fan of pinball, Needlers, roguelikes, and anything with neon lighting. Owns an office chair once used by Billy Mays.