Friday, February 4, 2011

DOOM (1994, Sega / ID, 32x)

Ah, the classic joy of a fully loaded shotgun and bloodthirsty demon spawn. That's right, the good old fashioned DOOM, the virtual slaughterhouse which relieved many stress-filled days. As sick as it may be, I adore pumping evil demons full of buckshot with my 12-gauge. This is one of those games where the gore is needed for the game to be enjoyable, like Mortal Kombat. And in 1994, for the launch of Sega's ill-fated 32x add-on, DOOM was released. Was it the end of all home ports like SEGA said it would be?

DOOM really has no plot. You play as a marine who has to fight through Hell to save the world. That's it. But you don't need a plot to go running around kicking copious amounts of ASS do you? DOOM does a really good job at making you feel powerful, except if you have that wimpy pistol. Shotguns cause your enemies to go down in a gory fury, Plasma guns tear through your enemies like a hot knife through butter, and don't get me started on the BFG 9000. Gameplay is pretty simple too, all you have to do is get to the end of the level in one piece. There are times they make you get color-coded keys, but they aren't too hard to get.

The 32x port is well-known for being only 75% complete. A decent chunk of the in-game levels have been removed, mostly because the game was rushed out for the holiday season. This is a tolerable omission, I suppose because the game is still pretty long. Another strange fact is that there's a large border around the screen. This was done presumably to enhance the game visually, but this ends up not being the case. the 32x's scaling capability is weak, so monsters and items look indescribable from a distance, (and from up close they don't look much better), added to that is a unstable framerate and missing segments from some levels. Monsters only face you directly and aren't really animated very well, but they behave just like they do in the PC version.

The control, at least, is solid. It works like it's supposed to, but it's suggested that you have a six-button pad when you play, because it's easier to switch between weapons this way. The best gun in the game, the BFG 9000 is basically not in there. It is included, but you can only access it with a code, and if you have it, you can't complete the game because the last two levels become inaccessible. This is probably the biggest flaw with the 32x version, but it's not game-breaking. What is close to game-breaking, however, is the godawful music. I haven't really played any other games on the 32x other than Cosmic Carnage, but I guarantee this is the worst-sounding out of them all. The sound effects, grunts, and moans are all there, so it helps the situation a bit.

DOOM on 32x is disappointing. Hell, the game isn't even finished. This game was obviously rushed to market, and it shows all too well. The 32's sprite scaling was always notorious for pixelation, and that's no different here. The music is horrible, along with that awful border around the screen which is absolutely useless, and perhaps the worst part, the BFG 9000 has essentially been removed. Sega really messed this great action-fest up bad, and since the PC version is so easy to get nowadays, there's no good reason to add DOOM to your 32X collection.

PROS: Solid control, classic sound quips are still in.
CONS: Excessive pixelation, pointless border, BFG is barely included, terrible music, big chunk of the levels have been omitted.


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