Friday, 26 August 2016

Doom console reviews pt2

With Doom (2016) being with us for sometime now, we at Gamesnights go over the past ports of the series evaluating them on their pros and cons.

Doom 32X

Release Date: November 21st 1994, Players: 1, Levels: 17, Bosses: 1

The 32X was by all accounts the start of Sega’s downfall, a bad move, and one that barely sold. That doesn’t stop Doom 32X from being one hell of a game to play.

When criticism is levelled at 32X Doom it often makes you wonder if the detractors had even played the thing. The truth is they probably haven’t. Even with an entire episode missing, and no 2 player option, the addictiveness of this game is undeniable. The gameplay is right there sucking you in with smooth breezy controls and the slick level of animation. As the enemies flood the screen and fall to your firepower, the framerate is constant and perhaps the best in any console port.

Doom 32X even offers a higher challenge to the initiated because of a certain limitations. Much like the SNES version, the enemies are only animated to face you, however the difference is the 32X makes them move faster and also prevents them from blurring into the background so you have every chance to spot an assault while the superb framerate doesn’t drown the combat in mud.

The superficial arguments used against 32X Doom are soundtrack focused. The ignorant mass will inform you that it is the equivalent of static electricity and methane gas having baby time while a faucet drips in the background. While this hyperbole has some bearing, to say this soundtrack adds nothing to the game would be simply wrong as you traverse grey moon cut corridors and endless voids as daemons scratch there way towards you. The tin coated atmosphere the low frequency music brings to the game is oddly fitting.

Being the launch title for the 32X, the curse of Doom32 might just be that it was simply the only really good game on a console that should never have been made. Now it is just an enigma in time.

Gameplay 4/5 Entertaining and cathartic.
Graphics 3/5 Many animations have been removed but what remains is incredible.
Sound 2/5 Very faithful creature sounds and an often derided dark soundtrack.
Longevity 4/5 Short and no multiplayer but its addictiveness speaks volumes
Pc to Port 3/5 Missing an entire episode. No BFG.

Overall B-
The first port of Doom to arrive on consoles, Doom 32X is forever the underdog for the shallowest of reasons. Its primary fault is that it is far too short. Regardless, the game will hook you for some time.

Jaguar Doom

Release Date: November 28th 1994, Players: 2, Levels: 24, Bosses: 1

Though the 32X version opted to be marketable sooner and delivered a fun but fleeting game because of it, Jaguar Doom entered the fray when the project was completed. The result was a fully realised game with 2 player co-op and deathmatch along with the weapons and levels the 32X port lacked.

As you enter the familiar void, the first thing to become immediately obvious is the complete lack of all background music. While this detracts from the games action and enthusiasm it further serves to increase its level of angst and violence as the player becomes more in tuned to the games environment. The chainsaw is that little bit louder, the long corridors that much emptier and the strange gurgling at the end of that corridor all the more concerning.

This is all the more true in cooperative mode as you are cautiously move ahead etching ever closer to that distant gun battles and those screams. It is undeniable that silence has irreversibly changed this version of the game forever. The atmosphere is brooding with a keen shadow of nihilism. Every little detail that was there before has been enhanced.  It is more visceral, blander, and more cerebral. You will be etching to evacuate hell as soon as possible. This is as close as the game gets to survival horror

All the while, the carnage is in full screen with deamons just as interested in slaughtering themselves as you and you comrade as you traverse dark corridors all the while concerned about an ambush. Suddenly there is a noise up ahead, you branch out and pull out the shotgun. If this is begining to resemble a typical game of Doom that's because it is and it's brlliant.

Gameplay 4/5 Doom played with the isolated atmosphere of Alien.
Graphics 5/5 As close as a console port could be to the PC game.
Sound 2/5 Fantastic sound with no soundtrack which is hindrance and blessing.
Longevity 4/5 The 2 Player mode makes this
Pc to Port 4/5 A decent port only lacking due the absence of a grand final boss

Overall B
When Jaguar Doom was released it was being pushed as the systems killer app and with good reason. This is a one of the grimiest, meatiest console ports of them all. Dense in atmosphere with a fanatic 2 player mode.

Doom 3DO 

Dare you enter the chamber of farts?

Release Date: April 23rd 1996, Players: 1, Levels: 24, Bosses: 1

Doom 3DO adds a new addition to the series – ice skates. As every level has you hurtling out of control past the items you want to pick up and the enemies you need to shoot. 

The upshot of it is this lag and control pad to game response is also bestowed upon your enemies who struggle to hit you about as much as an enemy soldier does in your bog standard Rambo film. This can be fixed with the addition of beer goggle as the game provides the option of shrinking the screen down to total none existence in order that it can respond faster.

G-imp makes roll to wound. Critical miss :(

To summarise, you have two choices, you can play a game that isn’t there. Or you can see a game you can’t play. Oh quick let’s say something positive. Well, the soundtrack performed by a live band was  relatively good in an inoffensive way. But, you know I’m really clutching at straws when the best compliment I can give this game is how well it vibrates the human ear. 

Doom 3DO is a masterclass in how videogame companies kill the industry. Pick a licensed product. Check. Hype the game up before you’ve even started the work on it? Check. Christmas deadline? Check. Cut the staff? Check.

Doom 3DO was one of the first ports to include specters (invisible demons). It's a shame you'll go blind before you can appreciate this.

But don't take my word for it, behold the bloodcurdlingly dark story of the SOLE programmer who worked on the thing to a TEN week deadline. Just try watching it without pulling your hair out for that additional game challange. Atari’s E.T. and George Santayma’s quote about remembering the past were clearly not areas covered in the 3DO handbook of “how we conduct super business and stuff.” 

3DO went bankrupt.What a suprise.

Gameplay 1/5 Abysmal (if you opt to shrink the screen, replace this score with graphics)
Graphics 2/5 Practically isn’t there (if you opt to zoom the screen, replace this score with gameplay)
Sound 4/5 The highlight. Possibly better than the original games if you are into 90s rock remixes.
Longevity 1/5 Shorter than Hear Say’s career and twice as irritating
PC to Port: 2/5 All the great things are there. Way, way, way over there.

Overall D-
Certainly not the worst game in the world but still unforgivable. Doom 3DO is like looking at the greatest party you have ever seen through a keyhole while all the guests make fun of you. Another coal for your stocking Mr Scrooge.

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