Developed by Midway Games, it launched in North America back in April 1997. The rest of the world “got it” in December of the same year.
So, it’s not surprising Doom was totally overshadowed by Rare’s revolutionary first-person shooter (FPS).
Which is kind of a shame, as Doom 64 is a very enjoyable entry in the series. We remember renting it from Blockbuster in 1998 and liking it. But never bought the thing.
Until March 2020, when Bethesda Softworks launched it back out into the world. So we got it for £3. And guess what!? It’s still damn good fun!
Doom is about as simple as a FPS can get. You get hurled into the world and must wipe out brutal, hellish monsters with an assortment of absurd guns.
The original was created by John Carmack, John Romero, Adrian Carmack, Kevin Cloud, and Tom Hall. That was back in 1993.
It proved a commercial hit for iD Software. It was also a landmark title.
In fact, it almost single-handedly defined the FPS genre. But it was still something of a surprise to have a new version for the Nintendo 64.
For Bethesda’s re-release, it’s had a graphical overhaul on the fuzzy Nintendo 64 original. So, it has a nice new sheen to it—as you can see on the PS4 Pro below.
But otherwise it’s all the same, with the often quite complex level design overlapping on itself. From level two, things really ramp up.
Most levels you have to acquire keys, open doors, gun down enemies, and find the exit.
It’s that simple, really, you just have to stay alive. But from around level three onward it does get tough, even on a lower difficulty setting.
We did find level five a total bastard, we got stuck on that one for a while. How to get the blue key involves almost killing yourself, which is a bit weird.
Over the course of a week, we revisited the level and just couldn’t figure out how to get the bloody key without killing ourselves.
Finally, we looked it up on YouTube in the clip below. And, yes, the way to get it is as stupid as we first feared.
Then level six is even more full on! We must say, although the level design is generally to a high standard, sometimes it’s confusing.
You do get stuck. And it’s a case of revisiting areas until you find whatever it is that was holding you back (usually some grainy wall icon you have to hit).
With the new hardware available to Midway on the Nintendo 64, it’s as if they decided to try and get as clever as possible with the level design.
Obviously, that doesn’t always work. And you’re left retracing your steps wondering what the hell is going on.
But on the whole, Doom 64 is an enjoyable old school FPS that stands up well to modern standards.
Bethesda’s overhaul improves the graphical experience, too. And the game is only a couple of quid! So, worth a shindig.