Doom is a game that needs no introduction, but here’s one anyway. It was released back in 1993 only a year after Wolfenstein 3d. It pretty much blew away all the previous FPS games with better graphics and more frantic gameplay. At the time there were a large number of Wolf3d engine games (clones and otherwise) that faded into obscurity very quickly because of Doom.

There be zombies up there!

There be zombies up there!

I played the shareware version basically endlessly as a teenager on the Cyrix 166Mhz with window 95 on it. I also played the other episodes later as well as Doom II and built some of my own levels using a program called DCK and later Doom Builder.

End of Level

End of Level

The graphics engine is an significantly improved version of the Wolf3d engine. The engine is still based on a ray caster but uses a BSP tree to render a vector based environment as quick as possible. There are added features such as textured floors and ceilings and even the possibility of seeing the sky. Sprites are bigger, more detailed and can be seen from many different angles. Doom looks significantly better than the FPS games that were around at the time it was released. This of course requires a faster machine to render the game smoothly.

Long Shot!

Long Shot!

The sound is similarly very good. The monsters all snarl and breath as they walk around, so you can often tell they are around before you even see them. Gunshot, injury and death sounds are also very good, adding to the atmosphere and filling any battle with a roar of noise, like you’d expect. Music is another stand out and sounds very good on the sound blaster. It was written by Robert Prince (also known as Bobby Prince) who is famous for his very good Ad Lib music.

Radiation Pool

Radiation Pool

The game play is action packed with monsters around every corner. Fortunately you have plenty of good weapons to blow them away. In the first episode ammo is readily available for most weapons, but later episodes and in Doom II the ammunition supply can be much thinner on the ground.

Cha Cha!

Cha Cha!

The guns in Doom started the basic archetypes for guns in the FPS genre. Each weapon is useful in particular situations and when used correctly will maximize damage. With practice you’ll be killing monsters with finesse. The shotgun is the weapon I typically used the most as ammo is most common for it, followed by the chaingun. The rocket launcher is powerful, but difficult to find rockets for. The chainsaw is great for taking out the pinkies and spectres and doesn’t need ammo. Finally the Plasma Rifle and BFG are the best guns, but the energy cells are rare so you have to use them sparingly.

Chainsaw in action

Chainsaw in action

The monsters are also a standout as they aren’t all just a bunch of mindless zombies. There are demons that chase you down to chew on your face, and bio-mechanical monstrosities that shoot at you from afar with powerful weapons. Perhaps the most memorable for me (and perhaps my friends when we played co-op) was the Cyberdemon. It always took a lot of firepower to bring one down, and they are immensely dangerous.

Ambush in the Dark!

Ambush in the Dark!

Doom also pioneered multi-player death-match games, but myself and my brothers and friends actually preferred playing in co-operative mode. This added more enemies and sometimes nastier ones than usually found. I remember playing over dial up modem with a friend in college. You new we were all having fun when someone ran into a Cyberdemon and practically screamed in horror and delight at the same time. Me and my younger brother once completed all of Doom II in an afternoon on the hurt me plenty setting. We mostly played Doom II in co-op as it had more nasty monsters and was incredibly fun.

Rockets kick butt

Rockets kick butt

Doom is a game I keep coming back to and it seems that many other people do the same thing as it’s still played on the internet. There are now a ton of different ports for all the different platforms, some improving the visuals and others being complete rebuilds of the game. I personally like Chocolate Doom as it is as close to the original as possible.


2 Responses to “Doom”

  1. January 28, 2014 at 8:28 am

    are these images from the shareware version or are your visual settings turned down. My shareware version looks like this, very “washed out” colors but my boxed copy of “ultimate doom” looks significantly better visual wise.

    • January 28, 2014 at 11:13 am

      It is indeed the shareware version of Doom, I played that the most so I thought it fitting to use it. I may have turned up the gamma correction for my screen, which hasn’t translated too well to screen capture, which could also be a factor. It really should look identical, but perhaps later patches of the game update the colour palette. Also this is the DOS version running in dosbox. Other versions such as doom95 (win9x version of Doom), Legacy Doom, and Chocolate Doom all seem to change the visuals slightly, in the case of legacy quite a bit. It certainly looks much better on my screen!

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