• DOOM


  • First Person Shooter


  • id Software


  • GT Interactive

Release Date:

  • December 10, 1993


  • DOS originally, but later ported to most mid-1990s systems

Box Art Credit:

  • Wikipedia

Systems Used:

  • Mac OS X via Doomsday

My Version:

  • Ultimate DOOM for the Macintosh

On Wikipedia:

Playing DOOM years after its release is a bit like playing Super Mario Bros. for the first time, not the first in its genre but one that largely defined it and what everyone traces their lineage too. DOOM featured the ability to look up or down, climb onto moving platforms, and feature low-light areas...all standard today but pretty much ground breaking at the time, so much so that first person shooters as we know them today were called "Doom clones". It was probably the first game that standardized the now stock-and-standard "grizzled space marine" back when that wasn't trite.

One of the things that make DOOM such an interesting game was that it was the first games to have moddability, through "WAD" files, distributed on the Internet even back on the mid-1990s. You could alter maps, textures, and more. Some WAD files were actually distributed as full games (like Chex Quest), but most were just level packs.

Unlike many games of the time, it actually kinda works with higher resolutions.

The WAD files are a proprietary curiosity, as one of the things I've found is that instead of music being played from music files (like MIDIs or WAV files), or a saved instrument set played at different pitches (like Lemmings or SimCity 2000, at least for Mac), it actually generates MIDIs on the fly and then uses those, with no more than two in the files at one time. It's great from a "space saving" point of view, just like how Mystery House, the first graphical computer game ever made, used code to draw graphics based on mapped coordinates instead of actually having real graphics stored on the system, though trying to listen to the game's soundtrack as a whole becomes a bit more complicated.

Because of how dated it is (after all, the baddies are just approaching sprites), it's not nearly as immersive as games like Portal or Half-Life 2 and given the age of those games themselves, DOOM doesn't hold a match to most games today.

I'm going to admit I had to restart because I chose the "medium" (as opposed to "trivial", "easy", "hard" or "very hard") and was quickly overpowered by the fourth level (losing all my weaponry and whatnot). I only chose it initially because I'm used to games that will ruin the game if you choose "easy" (Mighty Mike, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, and I Wanna Be The Guy come to mind). I changed it back to a slightly easier mode when I found out I wouldn't be punished for my cop-out.

It really is a great game, and it's no wonder why DOOM was one of the games that everyone wanted to get to play on the myriad of systems out there. Some ports were worse off than others, of course, the Mac version (which did come out a few years after DOS got it) had no way of getting upgraded sound out of a Roland MT-32 (that I know of), the SNES version came with great sound but poor graphics, and the Sega 32X had this laughably dinky soundtrack that was probably worse than the original MIDIs DOOM produced.

Sadly, like SimCity and X-COM, DOOM is also getting a names-the-same reboot next year. Like Night Trap and Mortal Kombat, this was one of the games that attracted hearings on video game violence, but with red pixelated blood on what are clearly non-human monsters, it won't raise any eyebrows today. Heck, Evil Genius is almost more cruel as there you can shoot tourists, carry their body bags off to the freezer, and hope that no one notices their disappearance. (For what it's worth, I never killed the tourists that way, though not for altruistic reasons).

Nevertheless, DOOM has been scrutinized before, as it was a hobby of the 1999 Columbine shooters (the "9/11" of school-related violence, really) but was determined that it really didn't fuel their violent desires or was "target practice". Anyway, some of the screenshots seen here aren't actually from my (owned) version, Ultimate DOOM, it's the UD WAD put into a modern engine re-interpretation, called Doomsday (though it helps that DOOM got a source-code release in '97).

November 19 2015