Thursday, April 2, 2020

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 277 - Doom 64 (Remastered)

Could Doom 64, the forgotten stepchild of classic Doom, actually be the secret best Doom game? Yes. Yes it is. Maybe. Definitely not in its original form on N64 with that godawful controller, but the new Nightdive Studios remaster is a work of art (because Nightdive are amazing) and finally gives Doom 64 the spotlight it deserves. Read on for more and to watch gameplay.

Something I realized a little bit last Summer with the Doom 1 and 2 rereleases, and much more playing Doom 64 now, is that I never actually played Doom properly as a kid or even as an adult until now. As a kid I didn't like the mazes and it was honestly kind of scary and I was a bad shot so I was constantly out of ammo. The games were hard for me and I didn't have tons of fun even if I loved the music and liked the core gameplay of shooting demons. Even as an adult I was put off by the memories of the mazes and never really played them properly.

That all changed as I said last year, but it really hit home while playing Doom 64. Suddenly everything "clicked" and I appreciated the level design and played them right and had a great time. 

Now that I've played (most) all of classic Doom I've come to the conclusion that Doom 64 might just be the best of the bunch. The levels aren't just mazes, but oftentimes actual multi-part puzzles you have to figure out, which makes them very fun and satisfying to play through. Likewise, the enemy encounter design isn't the typical "just throw more enemies at the player" design like Doom 2 suffered from, but it's incredibly smart where the type and number and placement of enemies was very thoughtful to provide fun shooting and tension without just throwing enemies at you. Of course, there are still some levels like that, too. The core gameplay is just as tight and fun as ever as well.

The only thing holding Doom 64 from easily being crowned the king is the soundtrack. Instead of the bombastic midi versions of heavy metal songs from Doom 1 and 2, it has a really subdued ambient soundtrack that isn't metal at all. It gives the game much more of a horror vibe, and it does work well, but I just think the classic style music would make it better. Doom 64 with E1M1 blaring in the background would be a goddamn masterpiece!

So anyway. I love Doom 64. It's great. You should play it. It's only $5 on the platform of your choice.