DOOM was first released in 1993 on the PC and then later on the Playstation 1 by ID Software and it is a game that shaped a generation of gamers and was probably the first game that scared me, and I mean truly scared me!
I’ll set the scene. I was 14 at the time, the year was 1995 and video games were a new phenomenon for me, it was late at night and obviously dark, myself and my friend were playing Doom on the Playstation 1 and we had just gotten through one of the later and therefore quite difficult levels, the end of level lift was in sight, “There it is!!” we both shouted in unison, our marine ran towards the lift, pressed the button to open the lift and we were met with fireball shooting demon!! “Holy S**t!!!” we both shouted as we physically jumped out of our seats and lurched backwards. Lifts are supposed to be safe havens! There’s not supposed to be demons in there!!!
That was the first time a video game scared me and that was also the beauty of DOOM, you never knew what to expect! Still to this day, no video game has ever made me feel like that. Sure some games make you jump, but you always seem to know when that’s going to happen, so it loses some of its effect. DOOM was also one of the first games that used sound to scare you (or at least it was the first game I was aware of which used sound to scare me.) I would hear the grunt of a demon, and you know it is either a Cyberdemon or a Hell Knight, you have very little health left, and you feel a little bit scared before you go around the corner. Then as you finally pluck up the courage to peek around, you see it is just an imp and a quick shotgun blast to the face kills it, you relax and realise that you were just getting scared for no reason really. But it’s that initial sound which gives you that fright.
As well as being the first game to truly scare me, it was also the first, first person shooter I had ever played. In fact, I had never heard of the phrase first person shooter before then and the fact that it had even pseudo 3D graphics, which added proper depth perception so you could see how close you are to the demon that’s about to try and eat your face. Actually talking of the graphics, they were incredibly good. In fact, they still are considering the age of the game, but DOOM isn’t about flashy graphics, and unlike some modern games (which shall remain nameless for now) DOOM doesn’t rely on the graphics to keep you playing and wow you. The “wow” factor comes from the brilliance and simplicity of the gameplay. You don’t have to spend hours learning complicated control patterns, you have a movement stick, a button to switch weapons and a shoot button. That’s it! No grenades or anything like that. In fact, the game and movement is so simple that you don’t even have to “aim” at enemies. Instead you just point the gun in the same direction and even if the enemy is above you you will shoot them, and it’s this core gameplay mechanic which makes DOOM so accessible and gives it huge pick up and play likeability.
DOOM 2 was also a great game but it wasn’t until DOOM 3 came out in 2004 for the PC that the franchise really took off for a lot of people. The hype around it was huge at the time, and I can only describe it as being on a par with the hype around a new Call of Duty game, so you can imagine that everyone was talking about it. DOOM 3 was a huge upgrade in graphics and at the time, graphics like it had not been seen before. In fact, you could go into your local PC World, or any other PC shop for that matter, and ask for a new DOOM 3 ready PC, such was the hype and greatness of the game. As well as having a huge graphical upgrade, DOOM 3 also took the scare factor of the original DOOM and multiplied it by a million! Mostly thanks to the brilliance of the lighting effects and the fact you could only hold either a gun or a flashlight at any one time (unless you used a mod) which meant you had to make a choice between firepower or seeing, but you had to ask yourself do you want to see?
DOOM 3 was and still is a masterclass in how to make a very very good single player first person shooter. Even though DOOM 3 is basically a remake of DOOM, it’s just a fantastic game which really takes full advantage of the great graphics available at the time, especially the lighting effects. DOOM 3 was scary on another level and I’m yet to come across any other game or anything that has scared me more than DOOM 3. Walking down a dark corridor, expecting something to jump out at you and try to kill you and then hearing babies crying from somewhere or hearing a voice whisper “help me” is something that will stay with me for a long time, probably forever. I would love to see DOOM make a return with a 4th installment, although if rumours are to be believed, DOOM 4 has been indefinitely postponed following mixed reviews for ID’s last title RAGE. But if they chose not to make a 4th installment, I’d love to see an HD remake of the first DOOM game as a full retail game, not just a downloadable title.
You can probably tell that I’m a huge fan of DOOM. In fact I’d rather play DOOM than any Call of Duty, Battlefield or Gears of War game. And a lot of the time, I’d rather play a retro game than a new AAA title. DOOM has everything you could want from a game, a lengthy single player campaign, varied level design and guns, lots and lots of guns, including the BFG 9000! There isn’t a first person shooter available today that hasn’t in some way been influenced by DOOM, so if you’ve never played DOOM (shame on you!) or you want to revisit a game which changed everything for a lot of people, Bethesda softworks have just made it available for download via the Xbox Live Marketplace for the bargain price of 400 MS Points or better still, buy the collectors edition DOOM 3 for Xbox from Ebay (I paid £3 for my copy) and it comes with DOOM 3, DOOM 2, Final DOOM and it comes in a shiny metal box!
Would you like to see a full retail DOOM game? Either as a remake of DOOM 1 or a new DOOM 4 game? And what are you favourite DOOM memories?
Let us know in the comments section below