DOOM 64 is the true and only culmination of the franchise

I’ve been playing this game recently and boy oh boy if I feel like an asshole for not having played it before. This has probably become my favorite DOOM now, and for good reasons too.

Let’s see why in this new, exhaustive DOOM 64 analysis

The Level Design

is 10/10

This is as good as maze-like structure of old school FPS gets: it’s wisely constructed yet not convoluted at all, constantly subverting expectations and finally, exceeding perfection.

The original DOOM was slightly rough around the edges in this regard due to the fact that it was one of the pioneers, whereas DOOM 2 had a few too many abysmal / meme scenarios. They’re both masterpieces of course, but this game manages – someway or another – to go beyond that.

The Weapon Design

is 8/10

The arsenal receives a fresh coat of paint with the welcomed addition of The Unmaker, an upgradable super-weapon.

Of course, the fan favorites are still there, albeit their aesthetic is revisited (you would think that this was a bad decision but it’s far from it. They nailed their appearance, being even more badass looking and less toyish);

the Chainsaw is now a double chainsaw (because why the hell not) and the Plasma Gun doesn’t make you go deaf everytime you use it. Even the pistol and the chaingun is more satisfying to use! However, I didn’t vote a full 10/10 for three simple reasons:

  • The BFG-9k seems less powerful (probably to balance out the new addition of the aforementioned Unmaker)
  • The Super Shotgun doesn’t have its iconic reload animation
  • Switching between weapons is a lot slower and when you’re cornered by enemies you’ll soon realize how detrimental this can be (however, it could also be an intended mechanic, a way to play more strategically. So yeah, it’s not necessarily a negative change).

The Monster Design

is 9/10

Less cartoonish and more badass / creepy is overall the best description for a lot of things in this game, enemy design included. Their original counterparts are still emblematic of course, but this new semblance is absolutely majestic – let alone very fitting for the darker tones of this entry. I actually prefer these, despite the fact that the classics are classics…

I mean, just look at the Pain Elemental, or the Imps, or the Demons… There isn’t a big shift in aspect like in say, DOOM 3. Sometimes the changes are tiny details whereas other monsters were entirely overhauled for ‘the sake of what needed to be revisited in order to fit DOOM 64’, or at least that’s my opinion.

The Audio

is 9/10

If Blood: One Unit Whole Blood, Quake and Silent Hill had an orgy, this would be the result. The dark ambient tones perfectly fused with anxiety-fueled, odd sounds… Exactly as it should be.

Tracks like “The Rotted Foul” and many others are the reason why you won’t miss the egregious, pumped heavy metal of its predecessors, because you’ll soon learn to embrace this novelty, realizing how this is a match made in heaven… Or rather, in hell.

The Visuals

are 9/10

Perhaps this is cheating, I mean, the game was originally developed in a slightly customized version of id Tech 1 (aka the DOOM engine) and now the technical novelties are all the more apparent considering the migration to Nightdive’s KEX engine (for better or worse). But still, the visual effects, textures and skyboxes made me gawk for their on point presentation.

The Controls

are 6/10

Alas, I do have to mention this gripe I have towards the game. Long story short, Doom Guy feels a bit floaty, if not even slightly unresponsive at times. Nothing too huge, but this will be more and more apparent when you get stuck into the various 2D props scattered around the level. Maybe I got spoiled by MS-DOS first-person-shooters, I don’t know.

Another thing I don’t know is if this issue is exclusive to this version of the game (and it wouldn’t surprise me considering the mess that is Blood: Fresh Supply, another game raped by the KEX engine), but if that’s not the case, I can only imagine how difficult it would’ve been back in the day to play this… With a N64 controller!

That being said, it’s nothing so drastic, you’ll get used to it.

The Plot

do you really care?

Considering the technical expertise behind this game is provided by none other than the true and only OG id Software (complete with Carmack and Romero), of course the story is just as good!

The Mother of All Demons has resurrected every hellspawn that got killed by Doom Guy. Now go back and kick their asses along with their mother.

This is all you need, really. None of that Doom Slayer / Spiderman / Master Chief / Obi Wan Kenobi / Demon Hugging Every 3 Seconds bullshit from the newer entries.

The Extras

is 8/10

The additional content (consisting of secret levels, lost levels and “fun” levels) are more bang for your buck. Said maps aren’t subpar side dishes akin to something that comes straight from the Master Levels for Doom II, on the contrary, they’re rather imaginative and a blast to play.

The Intro

is 0/10

Good ol’ Bethesda, ruining everything it touches. Not only you have a “”┬ásection in the main menu – boldly advertising a platform dead at launch and ultimately tarnishing the glorious name of id Software by even existing in one of their games – there’s even a new intro showing logos and that sort of stuff, lasting roughly four years.

Everytime you launch the game… And everytime… You. Can’t. Skip. It.

Thank God you can delete the “movies” folder from the game data, avoiding this garbage.

That’s all for todays review. See you in Hell.

The Ultimate DOOM review
DOOM 2: Hell on Earth review
Final DOOM review
DOOM 3 review

Coming up…