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LTTP: DOOM 64 (PC) :- The REAL Doom 3!

May 7, 2014
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Release Date: 31st March 1997 (N64) | Genre: FPS | Developer: Midway | Publisher: Midway | Playtime: 4hr 58mins |

So, Doom 64. It’s a game that pretty much nobody ever talks about, which is understandable seeing as a number of factors stifled it’s success when it originally came out. It was released for the N64, forgoing the Playstation completely which was strike one for the game, it was released with next to no fanfare whatsoever from the media or it’s publisher! Pretty much nobody except die-hard Doom fans knew of the game’s existence at the time, and the N64 wasn’t exactly an appealing prospect for those PC faring folks who had access to more powerful hardware and more technically advanced games too, it just kinda came out and then faded into obscurity. Luckily, thanks to a bunch of eager techno-wizards we’ve got multiple ways to play the game on PC now. You got Doom 64 EX, a re-creation of the original game that uses the original N64 ROM file to generate a WAD file and using the Doom source code to allow folks to play it with Mouse and Keyboard and a bunch of other modern luxuries, including filter and graphical settings!

Unfortunately, there’s a problem with Doom 64 EX that causes issues with mouse turning, it becomes a jittery mess even with the SDL fix the project lead put out a few years ago. Windows 10 being the main culprit. It’s a shame, but I resorted to a different option: Doom 64 Retribution, a fantastic fan recreation that keeps the original game intact, and fixes a bunch of issues the original game had, mainly general bug fixes and some texture issues!

Now, Doom is a series I’ve got mixed opinions about. I prefer Doom over Doom II, even with the extra weapons and enemies the latter added. I think it just had better overall level design! Doom II feels a bit scatterbrained in comparision, with some particularly egregious level design towards the middle portion of the game when you’re forced to wander around apartment blocks and big open maps. After playing the recent Switch ports (Now the audio issues are fixed and the Bethesda.net login is removed) I’ve found my opinion on both games hasn’t changed even after all these years. I was eager to try out Doom 64 after the announcement of the recent console and PC ports, which sadly are delayed until March along with Doom Eternal. So instead of waiting I just downloaded GZDoom and Doom 64 Retribution and holy shit, I didn’t expect to love this game as much as I did!


The first thing that I’ve got to talk about is the level design. It’s honestly the best in the entire series as well as some of the best in any FPS game to date, even after all these years. You’ve got a great mix of series-staples like labyrinthian corridor mazes, wider and more open multi-leveled maps, and even some straight-up gimmicky levels a-ka Doom II like the “Dead Simple” tribute that greets you upon first entering hell, simply titled “Even Simpler”! The original Doom games have always had a bit of an issue with level navigation as you got further into each game and the levels got more complex and more layered, wandering around aimlessly often became an issue in those games, especially Doom II. Doom 64 doesn’t have that issue. Not once did I have to look up an FAQ or a walkthrough for my first playthrough at all, which is something I have to do for the first two games every now and then! Doom 64’s sign-posting is excellent thanks to clever lighting choices and common-sense level design! If you hit a switch in one place you’ll have a good idea of exactly what it activated on the other side of the map, the coloured lighting...and even the lack of it in some places come together to push the player around each map effortlessly with little to no confusion, they're both complex and fun and effortless to navigate. The guys at Midway did an amazing job with mapping out all of these levels. There’s a bunch of highlights and in my opinion there’s not ONE weak map throughout!

Now, in terms of new stuff, there’s a couple of new things Midway have thrown in here, there’s a new variation of the Imp, a dark transparent spectral variant that throws darker, faster fireballs who also coincidentally blend in with the dark backgrounds of each map a bit too well! There’s also a new weapon, the Unmaker. Now this satanic pentagram etched laser gun seems weak at first, but through finding secret levels and collecting each of the demon keys hidden away in each level, you can upgrade this little pea-shooter to a fuel energy guzzling killing machine, rapidly shooting waves of lasers into enemies and making short work of pretty much any enemy in the game. Even Cyberdemons, Arachnatrons and the final boss, the Mother Demon! The new weapon designs are fantastic as well. Way more detailed and more sinister looking than their earlier counterparts. And hey, the Plasma Rifle finally doesn’t look like a vacuum clearner any more! It’s now a buzzing tesla cannon that rapidly fires meaty-sounding blue explosives!


The other thing I’ve got to talk about is the atmosphere, it’s outstanding. The darker maps, more intimidating re-designs of all of the original Doom enemies and the soundtrack….my fucking god, the soundtrack is sublime! It takes an already dark and brooding looking game and cranks up the horror and general anxiety and uneasiness tenfold. If the first two Doom games could be categorized as Heavy Metal, Doom 64 is Dark Ambience! Wandering around the dark corridors of the Phobos station and the shadow-laden fortresses and citadels of hell with the lights off in my room and the background noise cranked up genuinely made me anxious and nervous! Low pitched humming, distant wailing, whispers that gradually increase in volume and intensity before fading away gently, babies crying, demons groaning, buzzing and static….this is what Doom 64’s “Soundtrack” is comprised of. Throughout my playthrough I constantly peered over my shoulder into the darkness of my room during the downtime and quiet parts when clearing out a room or heading to the next coloured door. Final Outpost and Dark Citadel being particular highlights. Very few games have ever made me feel as nervous and tense as Doom 64 has, and Aubrey Hodge’s work here in my opinion is a fucking masterpiece!

Overall, I consider Doom 64 an underappreciated classic now that it’s unchained from the restrictive hardware it originated on. It trumps every other game in the series to date, and even most modern day games in the same genre. Download GZDoom, and the Doom 64 Retribution port and experience it for yourself!

 
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Romulus

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Mar 21, 2019
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Probably one of the best emulated N64 games. Runs great and looks clean.
 
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SweetShark

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Feb 28, 2019
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I can't wait to play DOOM 64 me as well.

On a different note I REALLY want to see if possible the publisher bring back DOOM RPG games back as well.
It had some interesting new creatures I don't see a lot talk about.
I mean, there is a freaking demon who give birth to Pinkies and the Devs don't want to bring that back at least in the new games?
 
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Panajev2001a

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How do you extract the ROM from your cart? That is always what blocked me so far, laziness in getting through that part. Now that they are bringing it out on Switch and all other consoles, I get less and less motivated :p.
 

nkarafo

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Nov 30, 2012
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The N64 had plenty of power to have a Doom game that's even better than the PC version while all other consoles struggled with it and had to cut down the levels and textures.

That's Doom 64 for you.

However, there's one thing i hate about it. They probably wanted it to have more of a resemblance to Quake instead of Doom because Doom was "archaic" at this point. That's why i think they removed the reload animations from the shotguns, to make the weapons look like in Quake. Big mistake IMO. The reload animations were iconic and the fact that they removed them was the sole the reason i didn't buy this game and only rented it back in the day.
 
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daninthemix

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I had real problems with the map design in Doom 64. I could get through Doom 1 and 2 no problems, but Doom 64 I got so stuck on some levels that I had to skip them. Going to give it another go when it's officially released.
 

Loke

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May 16, 2018
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Doom 64 is fantastic, third best Doom game for me after Doom 2 and Doom 3.
I recommend everyone to at least try it out especially if you're a fan of the original Doom games.

I you like creepy dark ambient music Aubrey Hodges got you covered:
 
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May 7, 2014
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How do you extract the ROM from your cart? That is always what blocked me so far, laziness in getting through that part. Now that they are bringing it out on Switch and all other consoles, I get less and less motivated :p.
I just googled the ROM and grabbed the US version off of one of the many emulation websites that are still around. Not gonna link to any of these sites for obvious legal reasons, but it's easy enough to grab the original ROM online. Installing GZDoom and using the Doom 64 Retribution mod is probably the best way to play it currently anyway, since using Doom 64 EX is a bit fucked for Windows 10 users. And this way is totally legal!

GZDoom: https://zdoom.org/downloads
Doom 64 Retribution Fan Recreation: https://www.moddb.com/mods/doom-64-retribution

Just follow the instructions in the Doom 64 Retribution Read Me file to make sure the music works properly when installing and playing it.

I had real problems with the map design in Doom 64. I could get through Doom 1 and 2 no problems, but Doom 64 I got so stuck on some levels that I had to skip them. Going to give it another go when it's officially released.
Complete opposite issue for me. I thought Doom II was a real bitch with some of it's map design! Especially maps like "Downtown" and most of the Sandy Peterson designed maps which felt like a complete and utter mess! John Romero and American McGee's maps were all great!

If you like creepy dark ambient music Aubrey Hodges got you covered:
It's outstanding stuff! Especially the tracks that play during the final level of the Phobos Labs, "Final Outpost" and the amazingly moody "Dark Citadel" stage in hell.


 
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Ulysses 31

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Nov 24, 2013
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The N64 had plenty of power to have a Doom game that's even better than the PC version while all other consoles struggled with it and had to cut down the levels and textures.

That's Doom 64 for you.

However, there's one thing i hate about it. They probably wanted it to have more of a resemblance to Quake instead of Doom because Doom was "archaic" at this point. That's why i think they removed the reload animations from the shotguns, to make the weapons look like in Quake. Big mistake IMO. The reload animations were iconic and the fact that they removed them was the sole the reason i didn't buy this game and only rented it back in the day.
I thought it was more a cartridge space issue leaving out animations and enemies.

Anyway, Brutal Doom 64 fixes the animations and introduces missing and new enemies :lollipop_grinning:
 
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nkarafo

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I thought it was more a cartridge space issue leaving out animations and enemies.
The animation frames would be less than a few Kilobytes. They wouldn't sacrifice such iconic features for that tiny sum, if that's so they could just delete a texture or two.

The game is massive and even has an extra weapon. I don't see anything indicating they have problems with the available space, it's not like DOOM needs a whole lot of it anyway.

To me it's clear that they didn't want it to look a lot like DOOM. The fact that they redesigned everything goes with that too. Why spend all this time when they could use the already existing art?
 
May 7, 2014
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I thought it was more a cartridge space issue leaving out animations and enemies.

Anyway, Brutal Doom 64 fixes the animations and introduces missing and new enemies :lollipop_grinning:
Gave this a go the other day. The Revanent being a copy and paste of the Chernabog boss sprite from Blood with the horns edited out for shoulder cannons is hilarious!



Hate the Pain Elemental changes in Brutal Doom 64 though, spawns out Lost Souls way faster than they originally did, kinda breaks some of the tighter areas they spawn in. Doom 64 Retribution also adds weapon animations too, which mimic Doom 2's almost to a tee while keeping the gameplay similar to the original.
 
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Stuart360

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Loved the game, even though i found it too dark at times. The updated graphics put PC Doom to shame (at that time).
Interested to see how the rerelease pans out.
 

Saberyoko

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If its one thing I don't like about Doom64 is certain abuse of traps(couple with close quarter monsters) and Cyberdemon missile spawn attack.

But even so its not enought be bring this game down. It was a master piece when I played on 64 and still is. The atmosphere couple with the new sound effects(mainly the good ass chaingun sound which is 10x better than the Doom 1&2 pc) makes it an expectacular experience.
 
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Loke

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... mainly the good ass chaingun sound which is 10x better than the Doom 1&2 pc) makes it an expectacular experience.
The Brutal Doom 64 chaingun is even better. The meaty sound effects combined with the awesome reverb makes it so good.

 

nkarafo

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The Brutal Doom 64 chaingun is even better. The meaty sound effects combined with the awesome reverb makes it so good.

How do you make it sound like that?

Downloaded the latest version and it sounds different (worse). Like it's on fast forward or something making it sound like a pea shooter.
 
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Loke

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How do you make it sound like that?

Downloaded the latest version and it sounds different (worse). Like it's on fast forward or something.
Hmm, that video is from the release version so the sound must've been changed. That sucks if so.
 

nkarafo

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Hmm, that video is from the release version so the sound must've been changed. That sucks if so.
Yeah, it seems like the fire rate is faster in the new version, messing the sound up.

Guess ill get an older version then.