Oh god no, we are only just back and I’m about to shit on Doom. I am so sorry about this guys.
Oh dear fuck my eyes
You know when Doom Guy is low on health and his eyes start bleeding? That’s what my eyes do when playing Doom for more than 5 minutes. Honestly. it is the single most nauseating experience in my life and I am writing this on a chemotherapy ward. It is the ocular equivalent to the stomach pain you get after smoking too much weed when your mate starts making vomit noises and screaming about the Green Rat Monkey.
I got to the 4th level on my first play before I had to save and quit, this is quite literally 5 minutes of play time and I felt so sick I had to turn it off. This sickness persisted for about 3 hours as well. This isn’t master race Frames Per Second bullshit, this is the graphics are a special level of hell, which is appropriate for Doom, but my gawd does it make the game a chore to play through now without patching or emulating. The endless corridors of poo brown, the walls textured with vomit green or vomit metallic, or very occasionally black rooms with no light bringing the briefest of reliefs from the nauseating colour palate. Unless there is a flickering light because what I really want right now is an epileptic fit on top of the stroke I feel like the game is giving me.
This is the one of the grand daddies of FPS, it’s a quick paced action shooter where you need twitch reflexes to both navigate the clunky levels and shoot the enemies unless you play on baby mode (even then i’m shit). The problem is, looking with modern eyes it is neigh on unplayable unless you’re modding it to shit or playing it on a Virtual Console such as PSN.
First example is the lack of native support for sensible WASD controls and you use the arrow keys like a pleb.
There is mouse support, but strangely you walk forward, backward, and turn with the mouse all on the horizontal axis same as with the arrow keys, and the first time you play you will try a combination of mouse and keyboard because that is what you have come to expect. However Doom was designed to be played with a simple analogue joystick as was the style at the time which I will assume all but the most dedicated gamer will lack and trying to play Doom on any control schemeis too clunky for the required fast paced combat. Again, unless you are playing on a emulated version.
As the movement is locked to the horizontal your aim doesn’t change, you shoot whatever is in the middle of the screen regardless of its height , if the enemy is above you on a different platform with a window, doesn’t matter you’ll hit as long as your target is in the middle portion of the screen you’ll bean that hell demon with whatever gun you have equipped. But if they a pixel to the left, tough shit.
My god are the levels a chore. Each stage you have to navigate a series of corridors looking for the red key to open red door, blue key for blue door, etc set against the backdrop of vomit brown walls and floors with the occasional distinguishable room to help you get your bearings. But so much is hidden due to bad textures and panels that will have you smashing spacebar into oblivion looking fo a hidden wall or switch, especially when it is a random ass switch on the back of a metallic pillar in a metallic room. It is these game design choices that were novel at the time and revolutionised gaming but aged about as well as a Roy Chubby Brown stand-up routine.
None of this is helped by the wireframe map.
Oh, and bringing up the map doesn’t pause the map, you can actually run around in wireframe mode shooting the enemies and oddly this makes the game much more playable.
There is a story, and the game is split into 3 chapters, (4 if you play Final Doom) with text crawls between levels giving the briefest of overviews. But short story even shorter, demons are loose on Mars, shoot them. Sums up all Doom games. So at least there is consistency.
Doom is simply a relic of the past. Sure it is important, sure it changed what videogames can be, but my fuck is it unplayable now. Awful textures, a soundtrack that some people love but I found grating, clunky levels at best and obtuse at worst. I can honestly think of no reason other than curiosity to play this game. If somebody ever tells you “Doom (1993) totally holds up” it is your legal duty to throat punch them and defecate on their broken, beaten body.
I honestly don’t want to score Doom, I feel whatever I give it isn’t harsh enough and I think the only reason I don’t class it as a shower of shit is that it was good, it was popular and it did revolutionise an industry helping spawn a genre, but it is fucking unplayable now.
I will give the emulated versions a pass as they are made playable by proper controller support and texture fixes.
Pros: It along with Wolfenstein created a genre, it is still fast paced
Cons: It is plain bad to all modern standards.
70% if you playing the modern emulated versions.
20% if you’re playing the SNES version. That really is atrocious.
Back in the Day:
At release Doom scored low to mid 90s scores, it really did revolutionise the genre, the SNES port was a bit crummy and is even harder to play due to reduced frame rate but less clunky due to the SNES pads superiority over keyboard. It won game of the year and until recently was a must include in any best games of all time list.
Also available on: What isn’t it on… Sega 32X, Atari Jaguar, SNES, PlayStation, 3DO, Sega Saturn, Acorn Archimedes, Game Boy Advance, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4