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Doom 64 Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 64%
Doom 64
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  • Review Score:

  • B-
Transitional periods have always been the hardest times for established series. It's the awkward time between the old and the new. When talking about the Doom franchise, there was the insane blast-a-thon period shown in the first two games, and there was the atmospheric horror-focused period shown in Doom 3. That awkward transition period is represented by Doom 64.

Doom 64's plot is nothing special. Doomguy's mission of mopping up the remaining demons on Phobos and Deimos is astonishingly paper-thin, and Doom has never been known for epic plots, not even the one that released in 2016. The lack of a compelling narrative is mostly excusable since the earlier games had hardly anything for stories as well.

Doom 64 (Nintendo 64)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The aesthetics are where the transitional awkwardness really shows. Going to the more powerful Nintendo 64, the visuals became cleaner, allowing them to look good even when you get up-close with the chainsaw. In fact, the enemies had been completely redrawn to look scarier, but the fact that they're still 2D sprites limits the effect. The lighting had been improved to be more dynamic. Unfortunately, the visuals are WAY too dark. I had to turn the brightness all the way up just to see what I was doing. The rock soundtrack of the first two games was replaced with an atmospheric drone that's okay, but it doesn't hold a candle to Trent Reznor's score for Doom 3.

The gameplay is the biggest problem with Doom 64. The gunplay is fine but too familiar. There is only one new weapon in the whole game; everything else is a holdover from Doom 2 (though I have to say the two-bladed chainsaw does look cool). All the enemies, while redrawn as I mentioned above, are holdovers from Doom 2 with the exception of a new type of Imp that shoots purple. The stages are my biggest issue. I can appreciate that there are some new twists like the stages deforming in real time, the best example being one where hitting a switch causes three pylons to pound out a way to the basement as I watched. However, on the whole, the stages were just dull. They lacked the personality that showed in the prior Doom games. Also, for a game this simple, the fact that there is no multiplayer at all is almost inexcusable.

Doom 64 is not a bad first-person shooter at all; it's just not a particularly compelling one. It's not the adrenaline-charged insanity of the prior games nor is it an effective creepshow like Doom 3. It is still very playable and may be appealing to hardcore fans of the franchise. However, on a system loaded with outstanding entries like Turok, Quake 2, and GoldenEye, Doom 64 can be safely skipped. I just demand more from my trips to Hell.
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