Friday, September 26, 2014

VGR DOOM 64


The third DOOM wasn't actually Doom 3, but this sadly often overlooked game....

Hell awaits your soul, will you dare face more id Software reviews through the following links?

VGR: DOOM 64 originally titled as Doom: The Absolution and also formerly known as DooM 3
From id Software/Midway Games
Played on PC
Also available on Nintendo 64

Type FPS
Year 1997

While id Software was busy working on QUAKE and their new 3-D engine, they left the follow-up to Doom II in the hands of another studio.

And thus was born Doom 64, a co-production between id and Midway Games, which also acted as distributor for the game.

The game was developed by Midway with id Software closely following the progress on the game and supervising their work. It was originally going to be titled " Doom: The Absolution" (that name still remained in some parts of the game and can even been seen as the title of the final level).

At some point the game became exclusive to the Nintendo 64. As such it shouldn't be mistaken for a N64 port of the original Doom, it really is an original installment in the series! Sort of the original "Doom 3", despite not being available for PC.

Doom 64 still uses the original "id Tech 1", aka the Doom engine, and not Quake superior engine (the id Tech 2). But Midway improved much over the original engine, pushing it to its limits, it almost had nothing to shy away from the Quake engine! You wouldn't believe on first look it still used the obsolete tech!

Midway modified the older generation engine able to sport larger sprites, playing with the 3D of the environments (various levels of depths and scale), using scrolling skies, etc. They also added the ability to properly look up on the z-axis, vertically, for the first time in the Doom series which really adds a whole new dimension to the gameplay.

They also wanted to feature every original demon from the first two games back (unlike most console ports of the first game). But due to storage space on the N64 cartridge, they couldn't get every enemy and had to only leave out the commando zombies, the arch-viles and revenants. (which wouldn't have happened if there was a PC version of the game)

The game was released in 1997, a year after Quake 1.


The story takes Doom 64 actually takes place following the original Doom series.

Having survived the events on Mars, gone through Hell and back, and returned to Earth to put a stop to an invasion, our Doomguy saved mankind for good.

But there are some last remaining demons left on Phobos and Deimos. It turns out one last unseen demon escaped, undetected.

It's something our space marine never encountered yet. A Mother Demon apparently able to respawn an entire horde of demons!

Our hero will have to go back up there and face it.

The objective of the game is to revisit the installations of the UAC and destroy all remaining creatures for good, even if that might be the last thing our hero will do!


Like the previous episodes, Doom 64 is another first person shooter.

The game is about 28 stages long, and it also features a few secret ones only reachable through secret exits. To that you can count 3 more additional "fun levels" which can't usually be accessed through a normal playthrough and a non-playable special map (the title screen which is really just the Doom logo shown through a cinematic cutscene).

The levels follow suit on Doom 2's overall update of the game's presentation. Meaning much bigger stages and more interactive modifications in-game.

The monsters are also just as bigger and feature more impressive sprites. All pre-rendered in 3D actually.

The gameplay is mostly similar to Doom 1 & 2's. Meaning exploring these huge maze-like levels, collecting tons of weapons around, fighting off all sorts of classic Doom creatures and using switches and colored keycards to unlock doors.

There are also a ton of secrets to find in the stages, which usually allow early access to later weapons and additional ammo/health/armor. They're really easy to find in this game though, compared to id's own Doom games. Usually you can spot the secret areas in the maps via either hollow walls and interactive walls.

All classic Doom weapons return in this episode, including the newly improved more over-the-top chainsaw sporting two blades. The game has 9 weapons. Such as a gorgeous new plasma rifle with neat electricity effects. With the addition of the new epic ultimate gun on top of the previously existing BFG 9000 ,the famous "Unmaker", a laser gun that uses the same ammo as the plasma and the BFG. It was incorporated into Doom 64 as a way to bring back a scrapped weapon from the original Doom Bible written by Tom Hall. D64 marks its first and only official appearance in the series.


You can find and collect 3 secret artifacts through the course of the entire game. Doing that will increase the speed and power of the Unmaker (updating it to 3 lasers), in anticipation to the really difficult final boss of the game.

Probably one of the hardest bosses in any game on a Nintendo system!

Those same artifacts also greatly help you find a secret way to clear out the final map from all the respawning creatures.

To much surprise to most Doom fans, the game features no multiplayer mode. It was scrapped late in production. For a really silly reason. Since the game ended up exclusively on the N64, they weren't able to fit in the cartridge since there was not enough space for it anymore. And Nintendo didn't provide the studio with the resources to make an easy multiplayer mode in time. As it was, it would end up with too much slowdown despite being finalized.

Despite all the surprising great Satanic presence and imagery through game, Doom 64 was thankfully released without any censoring on Nintendo's part.

The game simply looks great, plays great and feels fresh enough to make it stand apart from Doom 1 and 2. There's a ton of little details and effort put into the game. It really shows Midway took their job really seriously and with great care for the license. Such as the great updated behavior on the part of the creatures as usual.


Doom 64 is easily a crucial but often neglected entry in the series.

Midway's input on the franchise didn't go unnoticed to the id Software crew and you can even see the mark it left on the series to this day.

It already entered the tonal shift that would result in Doom 3's overall presentation and design.

Much darker color tones and atmosphere. Almost oppressive at times with only bare sound effects providing the unease feel of UAC corridors.

This time music was composed by Aubrey Hodges, who previously worked on the PSX port pf the original Doom. The BMG is quite atmospheric and some tracks are even entirely made of mere mechanical sound effects, a precursor to the more cinematic score of the later Doom 3.

They really did well update the engine, improved the gameplay with all these little elements that began to be natural in most FPS games at the time.

It's a great, gory, creepy, moody shooter, one last adventure for the classic Doomguy who would end up staying forever in Hell, making sure no demons would ever cross over our world ever again....


Overall, it's an Highly Recommended classic, well worth a look to any classic shooter fans!

It might have left as big a mark as the original Doom, or even Quake for that matter. But was an essential piece of history in id Software's classic library.

Featuring gorgeous graphics, lots details, it's a really fun game! Perhaps much more straightforward than the original Doom games. The level design doesn't feel as imaginative but the new stages are fun enough. Almost all stages end up revolving around collecting these colored keys this time.

Some of the best great old school fun, they don't make them like these anymore!

I truly believe this is the missing link between Doom 2 and Doom 3!

It brought a lot of new stuff to the table in terms of mood and atmosphere. You can see the basis for the later games from the quick jump scares to the flickering lights in the UAC and even spawning demons in cabinets or sudden walls dropping down to reveal hordes of zombies.


You can even enjoy it without owning a Nintendo 64 nowadays!

Doom 64 has finally been perfectly ported to PC if you missed this gem back in the day!

There was a first fanmade PC port titled Doom 64: Absolution. It wasn't perfect, but it aimed for the best possible way to port over the original game through a source port via the "Doomsday Engine"  (which supports classics like Heretic, Hexen, etc) back in 2003. But it has since then been discarded by most fans for the better and more faithful adaptation yet, ditching the idea of a port for a simpler proper emulation of the original game. Easily the best fan-made PC conversion yet, under the title Doom64 EX. This doesn't aim to enhance the original game whatsoever, it's just a perfect and complete reimplementation of the original Doom 64 running on OpenGL, using the original data of the game. I really Recommend using that one. Here's the official website, it's obviously free!

Midway was originally going to follow this game with a Doom 64 2, but that scrapped early on and id ditched all effort on their side as well. By then the Doom engine was starting to really look dated despite these classics remaming timeless to this day. Even Quake, id's priority ip at the time, had much more impressive graphics and actually used real 3D.

No matter. Doom 64 was the real Doom 3.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Quacks!

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