Ok, so I won’t bore you with the tedious details of trying to find the best version of the game to play combined with being able to capture footage for the companion video to this review! Suffice it to say that after trying the Steam, original DOS versions, etc., I settled on the PS3 PSN download playing Ultimate Doom on “Hurt Me Plenty” difficulty.
I actually skipped this one growing up, not on purpose but because my first PC came with Doom 2 and so I would’ve played that to death at the time. Obviously my gaming skills at that age were not the stuff of myth and legend they are today but I did manage to make progress but reverting to cheat codes to get the bigger weapons and skip levels (to my everlasting shame!) It would have been around this time that I was given the SNES for Christmas and my lifelong love of gaming was well and truly sewn. When I think about it, DOOM actually played a significant role in this and obviously with DOOM 2 being the first game I played, I was inevitably going to go back to the original to check it out. It is depressing that it has taken me this long to get around to it properly, what with life and all that rubbish getting in the way, but I am doing it now and that music on the opening level still tugs at the hard-rock heart strings! (Can you hear it?)
I’ve always maintained that you cannot judge a game of this, or indeed any, vintage by today’s standards, well graphically at least. The release of DOOM (2016) was a very welcome surprise to me, it was phenomenal! Gameplay here is divine simplicity and the music is retro gold. There is actually something about it that transcends a review score because I think that you would be hard-pressed to find anyone that would say DOOM (1993) is a “bad game”. There is the movie adaptation which I kind of liked but that’s for another video. The controls are merely forward, back, left, right, strafe, use, weapon cycle and shoot. There is no platforming element, no side quests, no escort missions, no water levels, no DLC, no micro-transactions, no updates or patches…it was gaming as we all grew up with and it was perfect as it was.
You start the game as the aptly named “DOOM guy” who is left alone on a moon of Mars after the rest of the squadron have been killed and the goal is simple, get out of dodge and take as many hellspawn demons with you as possible using the biggest guns you can find. If there was one simple element that hooked me, that really solidified this game as being genre-defining, if not pioneering, and that was the presence of the “BFG”. It was not to be until a couple of years later that I actually found out what this acronym stood for. You must remember that this was well before the internet became mainstream and if you wanted game hints you had to dial a premium call number and pay through the nose to get it. If, for some reason you still don’t know what it means, it stands for “Big Fucking Gun”. I think that pretty much encapsulates the entirety of the DOOM lore in one demon shredding, green tinted haze of weaponry. Essentially, the last thing a target would see before becoming liquefied goo was the bright green flash of the BFG and the inevitable grin on DOOM guy’s face pulling the trigger. Needless to say there was probably a Joker-like grin on the player’s face as well and rightly so!
It has seen various versions come out over the last 25 years adding missions and the modding scene can do pretty much anything with it but for that original retro feeling of just mowing down bad guys (and I mean bad guys, no political agendas just demons from hell (Build the Wall, etc!!)) DOOM is still a fantastic game to play and that speaks not only to its impact on the first person shooter or gaming as a whole but to the quality of the game that ID Software made at the time.
We’ll take a look at its successors shortly but for now if you haven’t played it in a while go check it out and come chill on the livestream over on Twitch and share your thoughts!