DOOM 64, Review: Return To Exile

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The forgotten installment of the Id Software saga eventually hits modern platforms. DOOM 64 is a classic, and now it’s more accessible than ever.

In the mid-1990s, there were so many bits in console debates that Nintendo not only decided to name their third desktop console in honor of processor power, but brought that idea to the titles of the games themselves for added emphasis. Super Mario 64, Pilotwings 64 or Wave Race 64 will always remain proprietors of a revolutionary era, but they will also be self-conscious in a way that would invite more cynicism now. It was a strange marriage between technology and marketing done by companies third party soon they saw profit potential. From exclusives like Bomberman 64 or Wipeout 64 to multiple configurations like FIFA 64 or Duke Nukem 64, the non-discriminatory use of the neck deflated its meaning and, in a world with less access to information than today, ended up raising doubts whether it was a new generation game or a port with added content. He was one of the victims of this phenomenon DOOM 64.

Developed by Half way supervised Software Id, the project broke the usual trend of adapting the originals with worse results than on a computer: the two companies collaborated on their engine modification adapting the strengths and limitations of the Nintendo 64 to life a brand new campaign, with levels built from the beginning, and redesigned weapons and enemies with various new features in the mix. DOOM 64 DOOM 3 in total was just a name and was to be released alongside the console as its first FPS. But as the launch was approaching, Id thought the product was not up to the circumstances and delayed it until 1997, where he ended up coming to the tail of Turok in America and himself GoldenEye in Europe. The direct comparison with FPS did not leave more innovative graphics and concepts in the ideal location of work that in many cases had been confused by its nature as a new delivery or port. As a result, DOOM 64 ran without punishment or glory and was relegated to a often-forgotten storytelling chapter of the saga. Fortunately, we can rewrite it now.

DOOM 64, Review: Return to exile

The return of the primordial son

Due to the arrival of DOOM 64 at PC, PS4, One and Edit, while in the background again to coincide with the background of DOOM Eternal, is an historic event. While the PC community has already done its part and rescued it from a slowdown years ago – initially by redoing it in the original engine, and later adapting the modified N64 – the version that now comes to us from hand Nightdive Studios (also responsible for the Turok transitions and their sequence) the first official relaunch in the 22 years of its premiere. It is already an interesting curiosity in itself that one of the most iconic sagas in the medium has been delivered to lose its exclusivity – again, officially. But what makes DOOM 64 worth sitting down to talk or, more importantly, playing on our chosen platform, is DOOM 64. It’s a game like that, without the need to rely on it symbolism or nostalgia.

Not only do the years deteriorate, but the inter-epoch gaming that could be brought to its day by relying on 2D images on a console to draw a few 3D models is easily masked. At first glance, DOOM looks like 64 games that were released several years earlier, but let the custom version of the spice engine gunplay no time for improvements as higher resolution sprites, new visual effects, greater color depth, a most advanced lighting system and scripts which changes the design more intensely of the levels in real time. All without falling into the performance problems characterized by others shooters console. It was more a demonstration of efficiency than an experiment, but one that was wisely served at both the site and the design, and that left DOOM 64 in the long range race high – when not above – the legendary duo of Id.

DOOM 64, Review: Return to exile

The first most obvious observation about this installment against the originals is that it is a game darker, in terms of its atmosphere in an ethereal sense and in terms of light properties in the literary sense – until it was decided to raise the default brightness for the European launch in light of America’s grievance. That said, in the current version no one should have problems, as it is significant increase casting from the image, brightness has been adjusted to prioritize the right visibility although each player can later calibrate it (with bars dedicated to general and environmental values) based on their preferences. This, together with the increase of frame rate – The original 30 fps was stable, but the 60 fps Differences make today – they revisit powerful cocktails with a oppressive atmosphere and fluid gameplay.

In terms of gunplay, DOOM 64 preserves the bases of the previous ones. This means that the movement is extremely fast (on consoles we recommend assigning a “run” to a stimulator to change the rhythm more comfortably) and pointing occurs on a plane –There is no jumper or vertical aim-, so the opponent’s loop is to position ourselves properly to hit enemies as we escape from their fire so that we are not in our sea strainer. The result is gameplay as simple as kinetic, very visceral, which emerges as more weapons and enemy types are added or the design itself turns on the contacts. Because she was born without looking at the possibilities of the mouse there were certain limitations, but also a style of play that adapts well to any discipline and does not over time in the same way as the first attempts at the most ambitious use of the mouse. three elements.

Towards the Dark

Paradoxically, a bit of it is easy to see too Quake in this installment. When it reached Nintendo 64, Id Software had turned a DOOM page on it and was immersed in a new technological revolution thanks to its next great saga on PC, which is now fully 3D and much higher in geometry and lighting. . Despite still being built on the foundation of DOOM 1 and 2, DOOM 64 managed to push a little in the same direction, offering levels with more complex structures, gradients in the textures and even an aesthetic finish more similar to Quake in some cases. Designed to run on TVs with a lower resolution than a PC monitor, the result was surprisingly effective and still retains the type in the new conversion, betraying its connection to the DOOM engine only through frequent and clear use of 2D images to recreate various decorative items, ammunition, medicine cabinets or, of course, enemies.

DOOM 64, Review: Return to exile

As we’ve said before, the biggest feature is DOOM 64 aging, although its a positive counterpart. Because far from recycling the work with the original sprites, Midway followed Rare’s path Donkey Kong Country and turned to the technology of Silicon Graphics to scan new and improved 3D models. It can’t be said that the resulting image integration in the scenarios is not as natural as in side scrolling games due to the visible transition between a limited number of perspectives, but the technique opened the door to more complex designs, and paying attention to small details. as shadows, and this allows a higher number of simultaneous enemies on the screen. A good tolerance that illuminates above all in the medium and long distance, where the pixels are more hidden. Related to this, the version in question applies a texture filtering this softens the image as the Nintendo 64 itself did on the hardware level, though it can be deactivated if we prefer greater clarity and compatibility with native PC deliveries.

When talking about options, another point we can’t stop is the Music, adjusted by default to a volume so low that you should heal it as soon as you start a game. As for the soundtrack of Midway Aubrey Hodges, who has already participated in the DOOM 1 and 2 component for the first PlayStation (which also heads Midway) changing Bobby Prince ‘s famous compositions to others more environmental and scary cutting. DOOM 64 followed that review, but if the new team creates it from the beginning there is greater synergy between visual and audio design. Even at its greatest volume, the music often disappears to leave the grunts of the monsters, or reappears in the form of unpredictable sounds that cannot be counted as music. On the other hand, others look more melodic and surprise us with disturbing beauty, matching the bluish mists or flaming green skies in some corners of hell.

DOOM 64, Review: Return to exile

The decision, dubious as it may be, may come from the it is necessary to guide the ear to track the effect of the mechanisms on stage. Between the shots, DOOM proposes 64 even more complex investigations than the original ones: it rescues the search for red, blue and yellow keys to open the doors of their respective colors, but often use switches that open up other access routes or add new parts of the stage, intermediate needs such as chasing certain enemies or even some contextual puzzles. It’s a compact, sometimes obscure game, and by far backtracking even by DOOM standards. The map, in this installment that is coded by design and by type of structure, finishes, and even that does not save us from a certain experimental error looking for new routes after activating mechanisms without a clear function. It is possibly more than the fight itself (especially after the implement fast saving and loading), the biggest obstacle faced by players, especially those who used to practice shooters with GPS or linear designs. DOOM 64 is “old school” and you can hide your keys, but not your mind.

Continuing with the levels, we cannot close without treating the ones released by this relaunch. Extending the games months or years after release is a tradition of the saga, but it is nevertheless surprising that they decided to repeat it in mid-2020 with delivery for so many unpublished, and on top of that the effort paid off as well. It is the title of the new series The Lost Levels, It’s made up six steps of a significant amount (plus bonus) and goes numerically and chronologically after the original campaign. Theoretically reinforces DOOM 64 condition as prequel of DOOM 2016, although as you can imagine, the narrative weight is small. Interesting is the enjoyment of new content, and in this sense, while it is true to use graphic and play elements already in the 1997 version, it manages to build a very strong mini-campaign with them .

DOOM 64, Review: Return to exile

Although subtle, the most modern sensitivity is noticeable at demanding levels – after all, they link to the end of the base game – but unfair situations such as lockup or forced deaths are less likely to fall into traps . In fact, one of his greatest talents is to reconsider the final mission using the excuse that the Demon Queen He has a few sisters, and by doing so he finds a more interesting and fun way to carry out the same idea with Midway himself. It should be noted that the Lost Levels, unlike other expansions of this class in previous DOOM, are not accessible a priori until we finish the original game, even though you have successfully maintained the game passwords Nintendo 64 (compatible with the new version) and we can unlock the full level option at any time. It’s the perfect icing on a cake so many years to look forward to.

Wonderful demons and where to find them

DOOM 64, Review: Return to exile

CONCLUSION

Nightdive Studios provides us with not only one of the most needed play renovation exercises of recent years, but one that has also been completed almost perfectly. The Nintendo 64 exclusive comes so far – at least officially – to a choice of modern platforms with better image quality, better performance, new functions (fast save, vibration, gyroscope compatibility … ) and even a handful of modern levels. The game is therefore a product of his time and will hardly convert those who were not fans of current shooters. But even after having played the originals, ports, or mods created by other fans a thousand times, this installment stands as a work with its own personality, unique to its setting and design. It’s a dark game in the polysemic sense of the word, but also one that inspires our hands with every shotgun and our mind with every maze. They say time is not wasted, and it is true. But in this specific case, its prolonged disappearance creates an aura that it is able, in turn, to keep surprised with the discipline already in place. DOOM 64 is back and the average is a little better for it.



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