Doom – PC
Developer: Williams Entertainment Inc., id Software
Publisher: GT Interactive, Activision, Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: December 10th, 1993
Genre: First Person Shooter
Nerd Rating: 8.5/10
Reviewed by THEbipolarBear
In 1995, Bill Gates released his latest operating system, Windows ’95, and also began a campaign costing over 1 million USD promoting the product. Despite the massive amount of resources spent on Windows ’95, by the end of that year, Doom had been downloaded more times than the Microsoft giant, prompting Gates to pay a team to add a port of Doom into their gaming-capable operating system. This team was led by Gabe Newell, the developer of Half-Life and the co-founder of Valve Software. It’s simply mind-blowing that this one game, Doom, touched so many leaders of the infant gaming world, but that’s exactly what makes this game so special.
This entirety of the game breaks down evenly into 5 categories – since it only has 5 aspects. They are, respectively, mechanics, gameplay, graphics, story, and soundtrack. Now while this seems like the bare minimum of an overrated game – well, it is the bare minimum of a game, considering the game was released back in ’93. But the game is certainly not overrated. A mind-boggling 21 years later, Doom is still very relevant and one of the most recognizable icons of the gaming realm even though under U.S. law, it can legally drink alcohol this December (if that was possible, of course).
The first of those categories I depicted earlier in the article is the mechanics. My first experience of this game was, ironically enough, at the gym daycare. While my mother was dropping waist sizes, I was dropping alien monsters from Hell itself. About a decade later, I downloaded off Steam Doom 3: BFG Edition, run by Valve Software. Included in the bundle was the pioneer itself, Doom. My first – well second, really – impression of Doom‘s mechanics were that of frustration, since you can’t move the camera up, only side to side, so the bullets just fly upwards or downwards much like that movie Wanted released a while back. However, I got over the minor flaw relatively quickly and was well on my way to becoming the best demon hunter out there, easily moving around the map at quick speeds and shooting with relatively decent accuracy. The movement is quite smooth, with no jarring stops or rocky rotations. So, overall, the mechanics are essentially flawless, although not extraordinary by any stretch of the imagination. Even still, for a game of its age, it’s obvious why Doom caught on so rapidly and effectively.
The second category was the gameplay. The gameplay is incredibly satisfying, and with no reloading and a sizable stash of ammo, ripping through monsters kept the daycare hours short. Collecting the different firearms, such as the pistol, the shotgun, the minigun, the rocket launcher, the plasma gun, and of course, the beloved BFG9000. What does BFG stand for, you ask? Why, Big Fucking Gun, obviously! However, as I play it today, Doom does get very repetitive relatively quickly. However, this isn’t a game-destroying fatal flaw as it would be in today’s gaming world. Instead, the pace of the game is set by the short levels, and before you ever feel bored there’s another level to be annihilated or another boss to own. Throughout the beginning of the game, the added weapons and increasing difficulty add to the variety, but even still, the gameplay is undeniably monotonous, creating a flaw in the overall impression of Doom.
And now, the third category – the poor, poor 1990s graphics. For its day and age, the monsters are disturbingly life-like, and the blood appears to nearly jump out of the screen and stain your parachute pants. By today’s standard, it looks as bad as those pixel-themed, half-hearted, disgraceful indie games. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: graphics do not make or break a game. Doom is certainly not an exception to that rule, and the game does not suffer in spite of its lacking graphics. That being said, sometimes it is difficult to make out whether the object on the pedestal in front of the Doomguy is a key card or a primary colored mitten. Despite this rare occurrence, the graphics are overall decent. While the game mechanics are definitely in 3 dimensions, the object and monsters are not. While they move through the x, y, and z axes, they have only one plane, technically rendering them 2 dimensional. Once again, while this does not take away from the enjoyment of the gamer, it is to be noted and considered when stacking this game up with other comparable games.
Fourthly is the story line – or, what makes up the background and settings of Doom. While there are no cutscenes or dramatic voice-overs, there is, in fact, an entire paragraph describing where you are and why you’re there. But that’s only after you finish the first chapter. From what I’ve gathered over the years, you’re a courageous and slightly idiotic U.S. Marine who decides to take the job of fighting hordes of demons and possessed fellow soldiers through the Mars base all alone. You end up in Hell, where you beat the monsters on their own turf, and finally subdue them enough to allow for human evacuation of Earth. However, the story isn’t incredibly critical to the game, and not much would change if there were no text screens. Therefore, nothing can really be added or taken away in accordance to Doom‘s story, unless fighting Hell’s minions on Mars gets you going.
And finally, the amazing soundtrack. Before I go any further into the review, I must point out that music, to me, is one of the more important things of life. They keep the mind fresh and the morale high – even as I type this I’m jamming to my favorite iHeart Radio station. The point being, to enjoy a video game fully, I must be able to listen to some kickin’ tunes, and Doom delivers. Not only is it quality music, it is also incredibly fitting to the mood you must be in to play this game. Rather than leaving the soundtrack here, I invite you to pick up Doom: BFG edition or just download Doom itself and experience the classic firsthand.
No one on the id Software team could’ve imagined the kind of impact their project, Doom, would have on the gaming world, but many aspects of nearly every game today can be traced back all the way to it. The fact that a game of this kind, released more than 20 years ago, can still be played and enjoyed today proves its inconceivable worth, and solidifies Doom as the most original and made shoot ’em up game on PC.
You can watch me play Doom here, with live commentary.
Share This Post