Sunday, October 7, 2012

Favorite Video Games: Doom/Doom 2 (PC) 1993 and 1994

Am I the only one that feels like sweet box art died out with landlines and VHS tapes?

Doom and Doom 2 were probably my hands-down favorite videogames from the time I acquired them in the 5th grade or so to my first year of college.  Technically I would say that Doom2 was my real favorite, but if I did’t mention Doom I couldn’t to talk about the games’ historical significance, cultural impact, etc.  Anyway, I got both games around the same time, and aside from a few minor details they’re pretty much the same game.  So I now present to you the first DOUBLE VIDEO GAME REVIEW!  That’s just one review about two games (kinda.)

Doom (PC) 1993/Doom II (PC) 1994
If only real life was as easy as a videogame.

Aside from being one of my favorite games you can make a pretty strong argument that Doom was the most influential first-person-shooter of all time.  In fact up until around 1997 first person shooters were typically called “Doom Clones.”  The term was pretty accurate too, most of the “Doom Clones” coming out around the time were just “Doom in the Old West,” “Star Wars Doom,” or simply “Doom on a different space station than the one in Doom.”  This is partially due to the fact that many of those games actually licensed Doom’s engine, and partially due to the fact that to this day most game designers are fucking hacks.
"Gloom" not not be confused with "Boom," or "Loom: A Weaver's Tale"

Doom is essentially a refinement of the “shoot monsters/find keys/ find exit” formula established in Wolfenstein 3D.  Doom replaced Nazis with demons, and instead of a knife you get a fucking chainsaw.  In Doom you could also go upstairs and downstairs, which may not sound that exciting to all but the most dedicated of Slinky enthusiasts; however adding the ability to move up and down as well as side to side, not to mention varying light levels, non-perpendicular walls and stereo sound allowed the designers build levels that were way more interesting and complex than those seen in the likes of Blakestone 3D.  Speaking of complex, how about that movie Inception?  Why was Lo Pan living in that dude’s brain?  Talk about confusing.
Maybe he was looking for a girl with green eyes?

The graphics were pretty fucking awesome too.  It seems quaint now, but I can still remember looking out the window in the first level (E1M1) at the mountains.  I had never seen graphics like that in a videogame before.  It looked (kinda) like (pixilated) real life mountains.  The graphics may be outdated, but I think they hold up pretty well.  They certainly look better than early polygon based graphics from the mid to late 90’s.  Talk about shitty.  I know it “was the future of gaming,” but we didn’t live in the future in 1997.  Now that we do, we can all agree that women’s breasts look better when they’re not jagged and pointy, like a bunch of glass triangles smashed into a boob shape.
These boobs on the other hand, look great. At least they would if she'd just move her fucking hand.

One of Doom’s best features is probably the one that left the biggest impression on the FPS genre: the deathmatch.  Doom was the first FPS that allowed players to go head to head and try to kill each other.  It was awesome, because killing people is awesome.  I used to stay up all night playing Doom LAN games with my cousins.  (Personally, I preferred using the desktop to the laptop, because it had better controls; although it was much easier to screen look with the laptop.)  Doom deathmatch was so popular at the time that companies even wrote programs like “antidoom” to shut down games on company servers.  Today deathmatch is easily a bigger part of the FPS genre than the single player campaigns.  I think it’s safe to say that 14-year-olds wouldn’t be able to hurl homophobic slurs at each other while playing video games across the world wide internets if Doom hadn’t paved the way almost 20 years earlier.
Cutting edge

Computer piracy is a crime (a sexy crime!)
And there it is the exact moment in my video game review where I start to feel really fucking old.  If you want to play Doom or Doom 2, both can be found relatively easy if you’re willing to resort to piracy (Arr!)  If you manage to get the game or already have it lying around somewhere ZDoom is an excellent front-end program that adds extra features like mouselook, and more importantly ZDoom allows Doom and Doom 2 to be played on a modern PC.  Both Dooms are also available in the recent Doom3 re-release and in the X-Box marketplace, although only the downloadable version for the 360 offers internet deathmatch support.  Just don’t play a bunch of Doom and shoot up your high school.  I know it seems obvious, but I wouldn’t have said anything about it if it hadn’t come up before.  Too soon?   

"This game's so fun I'm going to shoot up my school...?"  Hard to believe people were that sick before the internet

The programmers for Doom were inspired by Evil Dead II and Aliens.


  1. Just a heads up: the DOOM 3 BFG edition for X360 and PS3 has HD remakes of all 3 DOOMs and some bonus stuff for $40.

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  3. Well there's nothing else like it on a portable system, but be prepared to face a handful of compromises, especially if you're used to playing on other platforms.

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