The Video Game Critic's
Updated January 11, 2013
Despite some modest slow-down the frame-rate remains decent throughout (unlike the 3DO edition). The game only supports the three-button controller, so you'll need to use the C button to strafe. It's not optimal but the game is certainly playable once you get the hang of it. If you've played other versions of Doom you'll immediately notice the lack of music. While some may consider it superfluous, I always felt that the moody soundtrack added to the intensity.
The sound effects also come across as a little flat compared to other versions. One advantage the Jaguar edition has over the others is its two-player modes (coop and death match). They require you to hook two Jaguars together (a pretty rare occurrence) but from what I hear it actually works pretty well. There are better versions of Doom out there, but this one certainly gets the job done.
The Jaguar version features 22/27 levels from the PC version and two new maps (confusingly given the same names and placement as two of the PC maps that weren't ported), making 24 altogether. Unlike the 32X and 3DO (and also SNES) versions, it has no music in game at all (instead formerly level music, plays on the intermission screens). The Jaguar version is also the only port of the three to run in full screen. The Jaguar version also features two player Deathmatch and Cooperative play (with the Jaglink accessory).
Allegedly the Jaguar Version source code (the source code for the Jaguar version of Doom has been released; the only port to have its code released), features slots and map information for another two maps; Dis (the real one) and Warrens, indicating that ID did at one point plan to include the Spider Demon final boss. The Jaguar's level warp cheat also apparently goes up to level 26 (naturally, any attempt to "warp" to levels 25 or 26 will cause the game to crash).
System: Sega 32X
For the uninitiated, Doom is a hellish corridor shooter with demonic creatures, multi-tiered levels, and satisfying gore. The 32X graphics may lack the sharpness of the Jaguar version, but the silky smooth frame-rate more than compensates. The action moves along at a brisk pace and the controls are spot-on. You do have to use the C button to strafe however, since the Genesis controllers lack shoulder buttons.
Still, I love how you can quickly and easily navigate each stage without even having to use the run button. The monsters are always facing you in this version, but frankly I wouldn't have noticed if no one had told me. The stereo effects are clear and despite what you may have heard, the bass-heavy soundtrack isn't bad at all. Looks aren't everything, and this 32X version of Doom excels in the fun department, and that's the bottom line.
The 32X version features a mere 17/27 levels from Doom 1 (these 17 maps are the same as those from the Jaguar and 3DO ports), all from the first two episodes (it has no maps at tall from episode 3). Because of this, you will never find the BFG9000 weapon (it only appears on the third episode), though it is coded into the game (minus it's missile graphics, which have been replaced with Barron fireball graphics), a number present for it on the hud, mentioned in the manual and given with the weapon cheat../...
Another knock against the 32X version is that it only features front facing bad guys and has no infighting. At least it features textured floors though. It is also missing several sound effects.
An interesting quirk of the 32X version is that if the player cheats, then instead of the game ending, they will be presented with a DOS prompt (apparently ID developed a mini OS for the 32X port of Doom). Some claim this as a bug, some claim this as deliberate (i.e. you cheat, you don't get to see the ending).
First the good point about the 3DO version over the Jaguar version; it features music in the maps. The music is slightly remixed though, so it doesn't sound exactly like the classics.
Otherwise the Jaguar port is pretty much superior in every way; firstly the 3DO completely lacks the 2 player multiplayer from the Jaguar version. But the big issues with the 3DO version are that it doesn't run full screen (it actually has four screen sizes available by default, all with thick borders), but inspite of this it has a terrible frame rate. These two issues make it widely considered to be one of the worst, if not the worst port of this generation of consoles.
There is actually a cheat code that one can enter to enable two larger screen sizes, but these only magnify the frame rate problems.
Doom conveys a harrowing atmosphere that often borders on terrifying. Its ominous soundtrack makes you wary of impending... uh... doom, and the resonating sound effects are alarming. Colored lighting is used to good effect. Flammable barrels are the equivalent of water coolers in hell, so If you spot several possessed soldiers congregating around one, blast it to splatter their guts all over the floor. Doom is packed with memorable sights and sounds, from an imp spitting up blood, to the digitized mountain backdrops, to a demon snorting his final breath.
As an early PS1 title, the analog controls are not supported, so you'll need to use the D-pad. I'd recommend reconfiguring the controls to use X to shoot instead of triangle. The lack of a jump button is actually refreshing considering jumping always sucks in an FPS. Most stages are relatively short but numerous secret areas add replay value. It's nice how text displays on the screen alerting you to what item you've picked up.
If I have one complaint, it's the inability to save your progress to memory card (the game provides a password instead). Two-player modes are available, but only via the link cable which nobody owns. With its compact stage designs, clever puzzles, and frequent surprises, Doom is more than the sum of its parts. There are plenty of versions of this game available for various consoles, but this is the one you really want.
Also included are 6 all new maps and the 2 new maps from the earlier console ports. 5 of these are dotted in between the original maps and 3 are new secret maps. The PS1 port also does away with the 8bit colour limitation of the Doom engine, though since none of the in game art work (the sprites, wall textures etc) was redrawn, it's only really noticeable in the distance shading and all new coloured sector lighting feature. Though much of the coloured lighting is just thrown around randomly rather than used well (i.e. the start area of E1M1 features yellow coloured lighting for some reason).
The PS1 version also features a new smoothly animating flaming sky for Hell maps and more notably, completely redone music and sound done in a more ambient style than the metal of the original audio. It is rumoured, though completely unconfirmed, that the new audio was added because ID had fallen out with Bobby Prince, the guy who made the original audio for Doom, at the time. Opinion is divided as to whether this redone audio or the original audio is "better".
The Arch Vile, SS Guard and Icon of Sin bad guys were removed from the PS1 version on account of the former featuring too many frames for the PS1 to handle and the later two because their maps don't exist in the port (like the port it's based off, the PS1 version doesn't feature a unique final boss). A new bad guy, the Nightmare Spectre was added to the game however; don't get too excited though, it's just a tinted double health spectre.
Game play wise, the PS1 version makes a couple of small changes; Revenant's have been slowed down and health Potions and Armour Helmets now give 2% each instead of 1%. Finally, the PS1 version also features two player Deathmatch and Cooperative play via link cable.
The levels are jam-packed with enemies and the elaborate stage layouts expose you to constant danger. If you feel like a sitting duck, it's not your imagination. Complicating matters is the fact that armor and health packs are in very low supply. One thing you do have in your favor is firepower. Heck, the chain gun and plasma gun are available in the very first level. You'll need them, because to these demons you're like a walking McRib. Completing any of these levels is a monumental achievement.
Final Doom uses the same graphic engine as the first, and since the action is more intense it sometimes struggles to keep up with the chaos. The mouse controller is supported and a two-player mode is available via the link cable. A password is provided between levels. It's bad enough the first Doom didn't let you save your progress to memory card, but there's absolutely no excuse for it here. Final Doom is a respectable extension to the series but I think its audience is fairly limited.
System: Super Nintendo
The animation is choppy and your movements (especially strafing) tend to lag. It's hard to make out enemies in the distance, so you'll often wonder what's shooting you. Doom probably has no business being on the SNES, but it's still playable. The bleak audio soundtrack is effective and the stereo sound effects are crisp (although slightly delayed).
Between stages there's a nifty "you are here" map screen that you won't find in any other console versions. Did I mention the game comes on a nice shiny red cartridge? A candy-like red cartridge. This is Doom stripped down to its bare essentials, and my friends were fascinated by it. It probably makes a better tech demo than a game, but this is a neat cartridge to have in your collection.
Because it isn't actually built on the Doom engine, it feature a few notable game play differences to the original game, including the shotgun behaving like a rifle, the removal of monster infighting and considerably more powerful rockets.
This version of Doom contains near completely faithful re-creations of 22/27 levels of Doom 1 (quite an achievement when you consider the levels had to be heavily simplified for supposedly more powerful consoles like the 3DO) split into the same three episodes as the PC game, complete with their respective bosses and maps. However the port only features front facing bad guys and has no floor textures or lighting variation. It also lacks numerous sound effects due to cartridge space.
In an interesting twist, higher episodes can only be selected on higher skill levels (i.e Knee Deep in the dead is available on all skill levels, but Inferno is only available on the highest skills). Apparently this "limit" was removed in the later Japanese version (and apparently the bad guys in the U.S and E.U versions do actually have skill level flags set for all skills).
The port also supported 2 player multiplayer over XBAND. Though given XBAND no longer exists, the option no longer works. Apparently it featured no sound effects though, only music.
System: Nintendo 64
The stages tend to be very elaborate and the monsters have a sharp "clay-mation" look. A few new creeps have been added to the mix including the "pain elemental", and old standbys have been redesigned. Weapons include a double-bladed chainsaw that's not very practical for logging but mauls bloodthirsty demons like a champ. Doom 64's haunting music and echoing sound effects are effective. At first glance Doom 64 seems too good to be true, and it is.
This is an incredibly dark game, and even with the lights out it's a struggle to see the corridors. Every now and then you'll locate a pair of "light amplification goggles" which brighten things up considerably, but the effect is short-lived. Excessive darkness combined with a slew of invisible monsters will result in you wondering why in the heck you're incurring damage. The high-tech stages are maze-like, and you end up moving in circles trying to figure out where to go.
The default controls are unwieldy. Due to the N64 controller design you can't effectively use the trigger to shoot while using the shoulder buttons to strafe. A password is provided after each level, and you can also save your progress to a controller pack. Doom 64 may be a treat for fans looking for a brand new challenge, but casual players will find it more aggravating than fun.
However, it loses several bad guys due to cartridge space; the Chaingunner Zombie, Arch Vile, Revenant, Arch Vile, SS Guard and Icon of Sin do not appear in Doom 64. The Zombie Man and Zombie Sergeants also use the same sprites (with slightly different palettes) rather than each having their own unique graphics. There is however a couple of new foes added; the Nightmare Imp, which like the PS1 versions Nightmare Spectre is simply a double health Imp and all new final boss, the Mother Demon. Fireball shooters are also added. Also added is an all new weapon, the Laser Gun, a weapon that was at one point planned for PC Doom, but dropped. In a unique twist, it can be upgraded throughout the game with special pickups found in secret levels. These same pickups can also be used on the final boss map to make it easier.
Doom 3's claustrophobically dark environments offer an experience that's like nothing else I've played. You can use a weapon or a flashlight - but not both at the same time. This "feature" has been subject to much controversy, and I still can't decide if it's idiotic or brilliant. Obviously it would be easier to use both at once, but it could be argued that this limitation heightens the tension and encourages a more careful, deliberate approach.
The game is set in an industrial complex on Mars where all hell breaks loose - literally - as demons begin spawning from portals. Is the game scary? Hells' yes! When the lights go out suddenly and you hear a loud crash, you can't help but jump out of your seat. Weird noises that emanate from rooms ahead will make you think twice before entering. Besides the hideous monsters, eerie sights include corpses that suddenly levitate and float out of the room.
Doom 3's controls are crisp and responsive to the highest degree, and I love how the D-pad is used to quickly switch weapons. The weapons themselves are similar to those in past Dooms (chain gun, shotgun, plasma gun, B.F.G.) but their reload times are considerably longer. Doom 3 offers a few "find the key" and interactive puzzles, but for the most part it's either "kill or be killed". One element I'm not crazy about are the "PDAs" you collect from dead soldiers, containing both emails and voice clips. It's tedious to examine their contents, but sometimes necessary to uncover critical clues like lock combinations.
Doom 3's graphics are as good as I've seen in a first-person shooter - even better than Halo 2. I couldn't help but notice some slight pixelation when you're right "up on" the scenery, but the texture mapping and lighting is fantastic. The environments are detailed to an almost photo realistic degree, but there's not much variety. You'll spend most of your time wandering the dark, narrow hallways of industrial facilities with steam pipes and control panels all over the place.
The human characters look good but not remarkable, and their pale skin makes them look like zombies even before they're dead. The surround sound is impressive; the crystal clear moans and footsteps build a sense of paranoia (are those footsteps mine?) There's no auto-save feature, but you can initiate a save at any point, and there's even a handy "quick save" button.
My biggest disappointment came when I attempted to play the much-ballyhooed two-player cooperative mode with a friend. Sadly, there's no split screen version, so you'll need two copies of the game. Otherwise, I really enjoy playing Doom 3. It may lack the variety and long-time play value of Halo, but you can't question Doom 3's sheer intensity and top-notch production values.
Unfortunately, when they ported them into the Xbox version, they introduced bugs into them, that could break them if certain areas weren't done in a certain order../... they are also pretty rubbish maps and poorly placed and accessed (one of them can be accessed from pressing a wall on Map02 of Doom 2 and features every bad guy in the game../...).
The Xbox version of Doom 3 Resurrection of Evil comes with the same ports of Ultimate Doom and Doom 2 as the collectors version of Doom 3 for the Xbox and adds 19/21 of the Doom 2 Master Levels.
It may be worth noting is that between the releases of Ultimate and Doom 2 on Xbox 360 the Red Cross was able to trademark the red cross symbol. Therefore in the Xbox 360 release of Doom 2 the various health pickups had their sprites changed to appear as red and white pills.
The recent BFG edition is based off the Xbox 360 version and has been updated to be a cross-platform engine named the "Doom classic" engine (i.e the same engine is used in the PC, Xbox, and PS3 versions). The Xbox 360 version's multiplayer is the same as the original 360 version, while the PS3 version uses new netcode based off ID's latest game, Rage. It includes the above mentioned altered health pickup sprites and also removes all Nazi symbols and SS Guard bad guys from the Wolf3D secret maps in Doom 2, as well as renaming both maps and changing their music. This is probably so the game can be sold in Germany; German law forbids the display of Nazi symbols and Wolf3D is banned in Germany; the German version of DOS Doom 2 had the Wolf3D levels removed. Some PC Doom fans were not happy at the censoring; indeed one might comment about why they bothering to keep the Wolf3D maps in the release at all.
Achievements and trophies were added to all versions, which may explain the cheat codes have been disabled. It also marked the PC and PS3 releases of the formerly Xbox 360 only "No Rest for the Living" episode.
Following the release of the BFG edition, "Doom classic complete" was released on the Playstation 3 network. Using the same engine as the BFG edition, it includes Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, Final Doom, and the Master Levels (the Doom classic engine has hooks for all the classic Doom games, though the BFG edition didn't include them all). It features the same censoring as the BFG edition.
Note that the 'Doom classic complete' on Steam PC is not the same as the PS3 release; there has been a bundle release of the original DOS versions of Doom on Steam for yonks. But when the PS3 release was made, the Steam release was renamed to have the same name as the PS3 release.