GBAtemp Recommends #92 - Doom 64

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  1. Hadrian
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    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Welcome to the 92nd issue of the GBAtemp Recommends Revival Project! This is a weekly feature where we talk about some of our past favourites and it's actually NOT written by someone on Kotaku!! Some games may be well known, others I feel have been ignored but all are fantastic and deserve at least a play...unless you hate games.

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    Not sure what people will make of this choice. Not exactly a huge hit commercially or critically but over the years Doom 64 has kinda gained a cult status and actually aged much better than some N64 shooters. Not only that but since a total conversion WAD of it was released online and actually proved to be very popular with the Doom modding community. Let's not beat around the bush, if you didn't like Doom, you probably won't like this but if you do like Doom, you may find yourself loving this game in this day and age, especially in times were FPS games are more "interactive" experiences than shooters.​
    Let's go back to 1997. The N64 was still a fresh spring chicken following it's late '96 appearance in North America and early '97 in PAL territories, Mario 64 wowed audiences by bringing a perfectly fine balance of 3D platforming gameplay into the world. Midway (under supervision of id Software) decided to bring a all new Doom game with brand new 3D graphics and enemies onto the N64. People were excited, mainly because Doom II and Final Doom were pretty much just stand alone expansion packs with some new enemies and one new weapon. "Wow, I wonder what they can do with the N64's extra power!" Then screen shots and footage came out...it used the slightly modified Doom engine...the enemies weren't in full 3D, they were pre-rendered (DKC style) and you still couldn't look up or down, jump or crouch...yeah. Last year Quake debuted on PC's, people expected more...then expected at least something that looked on par with that. Then there was Turok: Dinosaur Hunter which was coming out around the same time, that let you look up and down, crouch and jump AND it had polygon enemies rather than sprites. Doom 64 was passed by, criticised for not moving the genre on and for not pushing the N64 to the limits that the original Doom did on PC's and consoles when that was first released. People went for Turok instead, they wanted something "next gen" on their consoles.​
    Here's the thing. Turok sucked and looking at it even five years after it's release it's become a perfect example of a N64 title that is a product of it's time. It has aged pretty poorly, playing it again now is a buttache as it plays like crap, back then it was fine, back then it was all new but we weren't used to dual analog support...when it came to FPS games being played on a N64 controller, we had nothing else to compare it too. Graphically it's very muddy, the fogging really brings it down and the dinosaurs look too triangular. The original Doom however has become a retro classic, it's still every bit as fun now as it was back then and graphically...it has aged kinda like a fine wine. The gameplay shines through and through and always puts a smile on my face, and not just because of nostalgia. Doom 64, while not as good, carries on these values.​
    Doom 64 unlike Turok, has a very clear graphical design...there's a lot less blur and the enemies, while still 2D look like they should but it's the gameplay that stands out. Even on the N64 controller, it's controls are perfect. The right buttons to press, no annoying/discomfort aiming or crouching just control your marine and shoot. It's simple and a lot of the time simplicity wins the day.​
    Something does separate Doom 64 to the other games in the series. Tone. Gone are the heavy metal "lets go out there and twat it" music, in comes the creepiness. The music and sound is very key to the success of the game, Aubrey Hodges went down a more gothic, atmospheric approach and to this day is one of the finest horror soundtracks going. The music and the sound effects make it one of the more absorbing titles on the N64 and a must for Doom/action horror fans.​
    The game is also a little more brutal, in the other games you can save pretty much whenever you want and the levels were packed with health packs, ammo and other things...Doom 64's weren't, you took your time because you knew that when you die...you had to start all over again. Not only that but the levels had far more puzzles than before, and this stretched out the time you took to complete the levels. The other games had a over reliance on keys to pad the gameplay, this has doesn't and adds some great traps and set pieces along the way. Overall, it feels more interactive than before and you do much more than just "run, gun, collect keys", there's still plenty of running and gunning but there's just more to the game than just that. In a way it's a "thinking Man's" Doom without taking out the spirit.​
    Graphically, the backgrounds are richer than before with more emphasis on gothic horror than gore. All of the textures are brand new and playing it now, it is one of the clearer titles with very little blur and the fogging is only used for actual atmosphere rather than "we're not used to the console so we can't quite code right". The levels are also very well crafted on a whole, in fact some more so than the original but sometimes it can be easy to miss a switch. However the framerate is spot on, again time has been kind to this and I haven't ever witnessed a bit of slowdown. It's smooth like butter. The lighting in the game is far better too, nothing is too dark (like in the original) and like the sound really sets the tone.​
    Other additions are the new weapons. Instead of a chain saw, there is a buzzsaw and man is this thing satisfying! The sound and the effect it has on baddies is just great. There is also the "Unmaker", this badboy was originally going to be in the first game but for some reason was kept out. It's the only weapon that is "demon tech" and is just bitching to use. It's also the only weapon that can also be upgraded. All the other favorites from the first two are there, they actually feel more improved too, though the original Super Shotgun cannot be beaten in my eyes. All of the enemies are there (with exception to Revenant & Arch-Ville but they are dicks so good riddance) but with a nice makeover look as well as two new enemies which I just love, Nightmare Imp, a faster, semi-invisible version of the Imp) and the Mother Demon, which is this cool four armed monstrosity of a boss and is a bitch to kill, especially if you haven't fully upgraded the "unmaker". This is not just "more Doom", it feels like the sequel that Doom II SHOULD have been. Had this came out instead of Doom II, it would have been much more critically acclaimed.​
    The options before you start are actually pretty damn good. You can map the controls to whatever buttons you wish, this is a rarity with N64 games, you're given a choice sometimes but you never quite get the scheme you want. Still, Midway has nailed the controls and unlike some console FPS titles, strifing, switching weapons and moving around are very easy on the N64 controller. Also if you have an Controller Pak, you can save instead of using passwords (which Turok did not let you do).​
    I avoided this game when it first came out and the only reason I played it was out of curiosity when it came with my N64 in 1999. However, when I first played it...I was still playing it hours later. Now would it have been nice to have multiplayer? Oh god yes, however Midway probably felt pressured by the competition (and how the N64 was delayed over and over again) and didn't have time to do it right so they left it out. It was going to be in the sequel, which was started shortly after Doom 64 was released but that game got cancelled due to criticism that the first game got. Ok, it's not perfect you can get lost a lot of the time and it would have been nice to aim up and down and jump (I can live without crouching) but the way the levels and gameplay don't make how it plays a hindrance.​
    Still, if you love Doom and you have never played this game I urge you to give it a shot, it does take around eight/ten levels to get into but it is worth it. You can easily play this on a emulator and unlike other N64 games you can map the controls to the keyboard and still have a lot of fun with this, however there are total conversion mods of Doom that have taken asset from the Doom 64 game and placed them into it. The levels are all there as are the great new weapons, sound and enemies. For more details on how to get these, head over to here.​
     
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  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    A friend had this version and I probably have a copy somewhere. Never caught on that the differences were so notable though, probably as I skipped over Doom to play more Duke 3d and on the N64 it was Turok, though I did much prefer the sequels to it.
     
  3. Hadrian
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    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    I think the name didn't do it any good, it made people think it was just a port. The original name Doom: Absolution would have been better.
     
  4. Thomas83Lin

    Thomas83Lin Retro Gamer

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    Actually completed this game with all artifacts back in the day. still own a copy along with the strategy guide. Definitely wasn't a bad game.

    Well the rating made it hard for me to get at the time. I had to actually persuade my parents into buying it for me. Walmart would not sale it to anyone under age. atleast my Walmart. I'd think this would hurt sales especially on a nintendo console.
     
  5. calmwaters

    calmwaters Cat's best friend

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    I should play this; always wanted to play a Doom game, but never did. Consider this added to my backlog.
     
  6. Hadrian
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    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    For those interested, there's a much better review from HVGN:
     
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  7. kehkou

    kehkou does what Nintendon't

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    I don't care what anyone says...Doom 64 was an AWESOME GAME!
     
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  8. rich333

    rich333 GBAtemp Regular

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    wow, I always just assumed this was doom ported to the 64, never realized it is it's own game. gonna track down a copy. thanks!

    - i don't often comment but GBA Recommends is really good, I always have a read. keep it up
     
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  9. Psionic Roshambo

    Psionic Roshambo GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    I had this game back in the day (when it cost like 60 bucks...) I got it because I loved the PS1 version of Doom and thought this was different enough to be worth it.

    While I really enjoyed it a lot, I am not sure it was worth 60 bucks lol



    Oh yeah it's almost 100% a different game, I think a couple of weapons are similar enough to say they are the same and some of the monsters are close enough to be called the same monster. The levels though from my dim memories of the time, I am pretty sure are all new with none re-used.

    I have a copy of it on hand and a pristine N64.... now if I could just find some working controllers lol

    Edit: The music is all new and the sound effects too (again going off my memory so it may be faulty lol) I do recall thinking that the music and sound was better than the PS1 Doom (I owned that one back then too. Nothing beats 2 copies of Doom the link cable and 2 TV's lol)
     
  10. Hadrian
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    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    I'd say two PC's, two screens beat the crap out of it. Doom PS1 was gutted, they took a lot out, especially the bosses and some of the music was changed for the worst.
     
  11. mightymuffy

    mightymuffy fatbaldpieeater

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    Probably the best console port at the time though - I remember buying Doom for the 3DO - god almighty! :lol: Plus having both Doom I & II was good news.

    Doom 64? Never got into it, actually I don't think I got a copy until after Goldeneye. Plus it looked a bit too different, and I remember bemoaning the lack of looking up and down, especially since I was playing Quake by then too..
    Still, Doom has aged well, I'll have to fire this up!
     
  12. Psionic Roshambo

    Psionic Roshambo GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Yes but the PS1 network was waaayyy easier to set up :P lol
     
  13. Zeliga

    Zeliga One step closer.

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    I remember playing this when I was just 8 years old, I love this game so much :yay:
     
  14. AsPika2219

    AsPika2219 Pikachu going beach!

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    I still loves Doom games forever!!!! :yay: :gun: