Thursday, 25 August 2016

Doom console reviews pt1 (SNES) review


Release Date: September 1st 1995, Players: 2 (at the time with XBAND), Levels: 22, Bosses: 3

The biggest surprise about Doom on the SNES is the fact that it existed at all. 

 Is it fun? It’s ok. It is in no way a game which offers incredibly solid gameplay but the very fact that it is playable is surely a triumph for its platform. 

Sorry, what did you say we would be playing Doom on?

So how is this even happening you ask? Well Nintendo developed a chip known as the Super FX2 chip – during those ancient console wars of the early 90s. The original chip created the Star Wing series and offered some of the first 3D polygons in a 16bit console while enchancing other games such as Vortex. Its older brother rendered Doom on the SNES.

Given the 16bit limitations, the sheer amount of Doom encased in this cartridge is the games strongest point. This version offers all of the bosses from the PC game – something neglected on even the Jaguar and 3DO ports – along with all of the weapons and even at one time offered a 2 player Deathmatch mode over XBAND if you were lucky enough to have such a device during its life span. This was also the only port of Doom to include the PC story intervals making it a very faithful little port indeed. 

Beyond the equation: sheer volume of game to stunningly small 16bit cartridge, the soundtrack is often a point brought up by the ports fans. It has to be said, for anyone with ears, this was easily the best soundtrack on a console port of Doom at the time of its release. This really helped with the boosting of an atmosphere of action that could be said to be lacking on both the Jaguar and 32X Doom. Whether you agree or disagree with this point, frankly, the music to this game impresses.

The mystery man approaches.

Shortcomings become immediately obvious as well. The inability for enemies and backgrounds to be rendered from a distance due to scaling limitations make items enemies and objects blur together at times. This along with the many cuts in animation really damages the playability as enemies topple over like kubb sticks when shot in a way that is never really satisfying and makes the game feel more routine than ever with each passing level.

Due to these animation losses, the enemies are also always facing you, always see you and always know where you are. This adding to the fact that I can never see them from a distance could be argued to be a “feature” that creates a new area of challenge to the game. After all it makes close combat more necessary than ever before. Unfortunately this isn’t Predator the game. It’s Doom and it should really be better than this. 

But, I can’t sit here and berate it. I mean, not only am I playing it on a SNES and it’s working; It’s actually playable. Fun? You could certainly play a lot worse.

Gameplay 2/5 Mild and playable.
Graphics 2/5 Blurry and fuzzy but fullscreen and, given this is a 16 bit console, impressive.
Sound 4/5 SNES remix soundtrack that actually comes out quite well.
Longevity 3/5 Reasonable. You may or may not keep coming back.
Pc to port 4/5 An achievement for the 16bit age. 

Overall C
SNES Doom is like Rocky in his 6th movie. Dated but ambitious, it enters the bout with all the odds of age against it putting in everything it has to the fight. Inevitably it falls short against its younger competition but the audience cannot help but walkaway with a deep sense of adulation and respect for it.

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