Doom 64 is the best Doom game you (probably) haven’t played
Doom 64 is a weird piece of gaming historical past, one that can lastly be accessible to everybody. It has taken lengthy sufficient; it is a recreation extra followers of the collection have to play.
However let’s get some context out of the best way earlier than we dig into why, and eliminate one main false impression in regards to the recreation.
The unique Doom 64 was launched throughout a time when nearly each viable platform was getting its personal port of Doom or Doom 2, and the Nintendo 64 was not one of Nintendo’s more popular systems. Individuals had been burned out on Doom ports, they might not have owned a Nintendo 64, and discovering an authentic copy of Doom 64 has only grown more expensive. This mixture of things all led to a really unusual state of affairs: At the very least some folks, and maybe many, believed it was a port of some sort.
However Doom 64 wasn’t a port or an aesthetic reboot of any of earlier Doom titles when it was launched on Nintendo 64 in 1997. It was a completely new recreation that passed off after the occasions of Doom 2, a recreation that was itself first launched in 1994. Doom 64 can be a recreation price revisiting, regardless of being developed by the now-defunct Halfway Video games as a substitute of id Software program.
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All through its brand-new marketing campaign, Doom 64 stored the frantic tempo and aggressive tone of Doom and Doom 2, whereas including little or no — mechanically, at the least — outdoors of a brand new weapon that won’t have been as forgotten as hardcore Doom 64 followers had lengthy believed.
Halfway did change one side of the collection, nonetheless: Doom 64 didn’t look something like earlier video games within the collection, and even video games that might come later. The gameplay itself featured the whole lot that made Doom nice, whereas the aesthetics appeared solely loosely based mostly on what got here earlier than. Doom 64 had at all times been an odd beast, and was stored within the vault since its debut, with solely a comparatively small cult of hardcore followers remaining.
It could be the final Doom recreation till 2004’s Doom 3, which considerably modified what it meant for a recreation to hold the franchise’s title till Doom (2016) rebooted the collection but once more.
So yeah, the traditional Doom collection went out on a really unusual, very underappreciated notice, with a strange-looking, underappreciated recreation that was usually mistaken for simply one other rattling port. However that’s what makes it so cool to play in 2020, and why I’m so glad Doom 64 is again and obtainable on so many platforms.
Doom (2016) and Doom Everlasting each attempt to retain the spirit of the collection whereas updating the mechanics and giving the participant extra tactical choices and management of the state of affairs — so long as you keep aggressive, after all — however the Doom 64 crew didn’t really feel the necessity to reinvent the wheel.
You run, you shoot, you rip, you tear, you discover keycards, and that’s about it. It’s easy — it’s a beautiful jumble of 3D ranges and pre-rendered sprites. Furthermore, it feels just like the Doom so many people grew up enjoying whereas nonetheless being a self-contained recreation with its personal story, in addition to recent ranges that evoked the primary two video games with out copying them. For a lot of gamers in 2020, that is going to really feel like discovering a claymation Star Wars film that one way or the other suits in between The Empire Strikes Again and Return of the Jedi.
Doom 64 has at all times been an extremely troublesome recreation, though enjoying with a mouse and keyboard on the PC model is definitely going to assist. This up to date model of the sport additionally affords extra decision choices, together with decreased input lag and even a brand-new level. Be warned, nonetheless, that the sport is visually darkish, even for a Doom recreation, though you possibly can at all times regulate the brightness ranges in the event you don’t thoughts ruining a little bit of the unique expertise.
These particulars are simply particulars, nonetheless. The core a part of the expertise, the motion and velocity that made it such a great Doom recreation, stand out much more once they’re not being smothered by the point interval and the platform on which the sport was initially launched. It has taken a very long time to get an official port of Doom 64, however the wait was price it.
When you’ve got but to play Doom 64, it’s best to begin getting very, very enthusiastic about what’s coming your method.
An authentic copy of Doom 64
Picture: Chris Grant/Polygon
Doom 64 might be launched March 20 on Nintendo Swap, PlayStation 4, Home windows PC, and Xbox One, and might be free for anybody who pre-ordered Doom Everlasting. The sport will value $4.99 by itself.