- Platforms: PC, Atari Jaguar, Sega 32x, Super Nintendo, PlayStation, 3DO, Sega Saturn, Game Boy Advance, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS.
- Suggested Platform: PC
- Developer: id Software
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- Release Date: 12/10/93
- Why Play It?: Fun, digestible levels, and fast paced action.
- Why Skip It?: If you don’t like FPSs, but, Doom is not your modern FPS.
id Software, in a way, is the grandfather of first person shooters (FPSs). They released Wolfenstein 3D in 92′, then followed it up with Doom, both games garnering plenty of praise and a pretty passionate fan-base. I first beat Doom a few years ago, and since then, I’ve beaten it many times over. I’ve been slowly working my way through the Doom series in anticipation for the new Doom reboot, which they’re also just calling Doom, although fans are referring to it as Doom 4. I only need to beat the second half of Final Doom (the Plutonia Experiment) before I can consider all of the id Software releases of the Doom series complete. Every now and again, I’ll keep picking Doom up for a quick play, as a matter of fact, it’s one of the few games I keep on my person (flash drive) at all times. Never know when you’re gonna feel like blasting a few demons!
Doom‘s gameplay is old-school FPS style. You run around a maze like map, killing demons with weapons and ammo you find, refilling your own health and armor with pick-ups, while trying to find your way to each level’s exit. Typically, each level requires you to find a few keys in the form of either keycards or skulls to open doors to reach the exit. Sometimes you’ll need to kill certain enemies to reveal pathways, or sometimes you’ll need to hit a switch and then move quickly enough to get to the opened area before it closes again. Doom has a pretty heavy emphasis on puzzles and exploration, but never to the point where you’ll feel stuck. Doom has secret hidden areas that you can find in every level, making it fun to find a new one each playthrough, which also helps to keep Doom feeling fresh. At the end of every stage, you’ll see how many enemies you’ve killed, as well as items and secrets found. Striving for 100% in all three categories is fun, and allows you to set yourself personal challenges and goals. If that wasn’t enough, each stage features a “par time”; beating those times requires memorization of stages and quick feet. Getting 100% or beating a par on a stage doesn’t really do anything for you, they’re just there as personal goals, so to speak.
The plot is ridiculous, but somewhat believable and plenty fun. The Union Aerospace Division or UAC, has sent the main character, referred to as Doomguy by the fans, to Mars base on Phobos, which is considered to be the most boring assignment possible. Doomguy is being punished for assaulting his commanding officer who ordered him to fire on civilians. When Doomguy and the other members of the team arrive on Phobos, they see something has gone terribly wrong with the UAC’s experiments in dabbling in teleportation technology. Mars’ other moon, Deimos, completely disappears, and the rest of Doomguy’s crew go in to the Phobos base to investigate. When they all are killed by demons and possessed members of UAC’s Phobos base, it’s up to Doomguy to stop the demons outpouring from Hell at the source, armed with just a pistol and his two fists (although many weapons will be found along the way).
Doom has great midi-style metal, which, is pretty much directly inspired, almost to the point of being copied, from other popular metal of the time (Look up Doom music comparisons to see what I mean). That being said, the music is still fantastic, fun, and fitting for the game. The presentation is pretty pixelated, but looks great. Each enemy has it’s own unique (and gory) death animation. The sounds are satisfying and effective, each gun sounds great and very different, and each demon has a unique death scream.
What makes Doom so great is how playable and accessible it is. It doesn’t require a huge time commitment to blaze through a few stages, there’s nothing confusing to understand, just get up and go. Kill things without being killed and get through the stage. Sometimes simplicity works best. The presentation sucks you in with that midi-metal and attractive environments and enemies, despite being from 93′. No matter how many times I come back to Doom, I enjoy it every time. If you like FPSs and you haven’t played Doom, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. There are plenty of ways to play to Doom, the only excuse is yourself.