Review by Crazee Boy
I can honestly say, as a Doom master, this is the best straight port ever.
I could never appreciate the finer qualities of Doom for the PlayStation when I was little. I put the disc in, I kicked it into god mode, and I kicked some demon ass. Simple as that. It also scared me witless at times. Not for the usual reasons you might expect, but for the music, and some of the more frightening areas. (Gore on the walls and fire galore, an eight year old's friend does not make.)
Yet, after playing Doom on the PC for ages (or at least since 2004) and experiences the edges of thr world in Doom mods, PlayStation Doom has some charming qualities that can't be bested on the computer, even with high-quality MP3 music, high-resolution sprites, mouselook, and OpenGL-powered graphics. Forget about all that. PlayStation Doom is the only straight port of Doom, to my knowledge, that was actually as good as the PC original. (Doom 64 is my favorite version of Doom, yes, but it was all-original content.) Anyway, let's take a closer look.
A bit blurry, and the resolution is fairly low these days, and let's not forget our old friend, pixelation. (If you turn on smooth texture mapping on your fancy PS2 or PS3, things look a lot better, but anyway...) Considering it was released near the PlayStation's launch, Doom is a very good looking game. By having not-quite-3D levels and sprite-based monsters, it was able to look better and run smoother than fully-3D games of the time, at least, and until Doom 3, pixels and fake 3D were classic Doom staples.
The monsters are all the same from the PC versions, perhaps lowered in quality a tad, but they're still just like you remembered them. There's no new monsters, really, although there's a Nightmare Demon. (You remember those big, pink, shaved gorillas? Well, this is a translucent-green version of those; nasty buggers, I tell you.) The weapons are all here, too, although the classic sawn-off from Doom II has had it's look changed a bit. (It's a bit narrower, a bit more shiny; fun fact, it was the only weapon drawn for Doom, not photographed and digitized.)
Though it may not mean much to the casual player, PlayStation Doom added some interesting things to the Doom engine. For example, colored lighting. While now easy to implement with today's limit-removing and feature-rich source ports of Doom, this wasn't in the originals. You'd be surprised what a few different-colored lightbulbs can do for a military base's atmosphere.
Another curiousity that looks great is the addition of an animated, randomly-generated fire sky for the more hellish locales. Once again, meaningless to the casual player, but animated skies were always a no-no to the Doom hackers back in the day.
All in all, while it sure looks corny today, Doom's graphics captivated many in it's day, and you should be thankful. Without it, you wouldn't be playing Halo.
Every last sound from the PC versions of Doom and Doom II was changed. This is actually a refreshing change, as the monsters sound more like monsters, and the guns sound more like guns. You see, in the PC versions of Doom, all the sounds were a tad cheesy and digitized. I'm assuming the guys at id only had access to a cheap synthesizer. Either way, I prefer the sounds in PlayStation Doom quite a bit more. They have more thump, more power to them. They're the sounds Doom originally should've had.
Alright, I'm definitely tilting things to suit my opinion here, but this is my review. I'm sure some of you remember playing Doom on mom's computer when you were a little kid. (For me, it was grandma's computer.) And I'm sure you remember the rockin' MIDI music as you force-fed those demons some lead. Well, they ain't here. Call it blasphemy, but it's true, PlayStation Doom did away with the MIDI music in favor of something else. The music is made up of ambient synths, from, I've found out, a musical genius named Aubrey Hodges.
Rarely will you find a repeating pattern in the music, and it's not catchy stuff, but I'll tell you, this is some spooky stuff. It really makes this feel like a separate game. In the PC versions, there's rock 'n roll playing, and you're kicking some brown, leathery demon ass. In the PlayStation version, you hear synths as subtle as the wind blowing, a few chimes... Maybe a moan of pain or two. Did I just hear a baby crying? No, it couldn't have been... You feel like you're actually in a frightening region of Hell.
Or maybe I'm just a Doom fanboy.
As an early PlayStation game, the DualShock controller wasn't out yet, so try as you might, those control sticks aren't gonna work here. You have to play with the d-pad, but it's not so bad, really. In Doom, there's no looking up and down. You can fall down, but there's no jumping, although if you run off a ledge really fast you can almost jump. It adds to the challenge in some ways, but seems strange in others. (I just killed an android spider with my fists, but I can't hurl myself over a three-foot wall!?)
Back to those controls, though. You move forward and back with up and down, and turn left and right with, surprise, left and right. L1 and R1 strafe left and right, while L2 and R2 scroll through your weapons. Square makes you run, O opens door and presses buttons, triangle fires, and I forget what X does, if anything. The controls are surprisingly good, and since it's not a very complicated game at heart, you don't find yourself doing any stupid macros to accomplish tasks.
Game Play: 9/10
Doom is the quintessential run 'n gun game. You explore levels, you kill things, you use keys to open doors, you kill more things, and then you leave to the next level. It's a very approachable format. You can play it in either bite-sized chunks, going in one or two levels at a time, or you can sit and do a marathon run, finishing up all 59 levels in one sitting. (Which is always a hoot for the determined marine.)
I'll point it out here, since I can't think of anywhere else appropriate, that a lot of the levels from the original Doom were dumbed down. In some places it's subtle, like some complex architecture was removed here, an enemy only from Doom II there, perhaps, but in some places, it's more obvious. (Poor, poor Halls Of The Damned...)
It's also The Ultimate Doom (Doom with an extra episode) and Doom II combined, along with some extra, original levels added. These original levels (several of which are secrets, and several of which take place between Doom and Doom II) fit in perfectly, and are some of my favorite in Doom ever. (Twilight Descends and The Mansion are both very eerie, excellent levels.)
Doom's story has always been laughable, but it gives you a good excuse to kill things without having to think much. You've been stationed on Phobos for assaulting a superior. (Hey, he had it coming, he was firing on civillians. A little nobility is always good.) Suddenly, all hell breaks loose. (Pun intended.) Now you need to kill the demons and escape!
I've never had a chance to experience PlayStation Doom's multiplayer. It's cumbersome, and impossible to do on a PS2 or PS3, in fact. You need two PlayStations, two televisions, two copies of Doom, a link cable... You see where I'm headed? If you're a packrat and you have all the stuff, I'm sure it would be lots of fun to cover your buddy's back as you blast though Hell, but if you want to have that thrill nowadays, you're better off doing it on the PC.
The best shooter of yesteryear, Doom inspired a generation... Eh, not really. But it caused millions of dollars to be lost as people played it during work or school, which is always a noble cause. You may be satisfied with Doom on the PC, but I'm gonna fire up my PS2 and enjoy Doom with some colored lightbulbs one more time...
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Doom (Long Box) (US, 11/16/95)
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