The original DOOM may not have been the first FPS but it was the most influential release of its genre. The beauty of the game was its simplistic but addictive gameplay. If it moved…you shot the crap out of it! You never had to worry about on-coming hostages and there was’t a squadmate in sight to give commands to.
You were a nameless, sole surviving marine, stranded on a planet where every being wanted you dead. Shoot and move, baby. Shoot and move!
The simple objective and fast-paced gameplay would infect any who dared take on that first zombie grunt with their standard-issue. I still remember the first time I glanced over screenshots of DOOM (PC). Those screen captures blew my fragile, little mind! The shotgun barrel detail with its realistic shine and the marines gloved-hand, as it sprung-up to reload…it all looked so real!
Once I finally got to play the game, I couldn’t believe the frame-rate (John Carmack enabled Doom to play at blistering speed!) or the fact that dead bodies stayed where the fell!
That distinct, forceful sound as the doors opened and closed, flickering light effects and obscure, shadow-cast corridors really helped give DOOM the atmosphere needed to convince the player they were fighting for their survival on an alien planet.
We all expected id’s masterpiece to be remade at some point. So as expected, when news finally came and screenshots hit the net, we simply couldn’t get enough! ‘Done when it’s done’ became id’s motto. I’m still convinced that saying is the ‘kiss of death’ for any game studio…
When DOOM 3 was finally released it was all about the engine. Those flickering light effects and drawn shadows, suddenly became advanced dynamic per-pixel lighting. This gave DOOM 3 its trademark horror-like look and suspenseful feel. DOOM 3 certainly had the spooky environments and incredibly detailed enemies but how would id rework the gameplay?
Although John Carmacks work with the engine was incredible and way ahead of its time, weapons, sounds, (due to Trent Reznor’s work being left out of the final build) and a basic enemy spawn system let DOOM 3 down.
I remember heading towards the games first shotgun pick-up. The weapon lay there in a desolate room. This was no armoury and no fallen marine lay near. As I approached the shotgun, I was almost prying it wouldn’t be a trigger to open concealed, demon-infested rooms…but it was.
DOOM 3 ended up being an incomplete jigsaw of gameplay styles. The engine was superb…but the remake lacked an identity.
I often ask myself why id completely abandoned ideas found in the DOOM 3 Alpha? That was great! The Pink Demon bursting through the wall, the incredibly suspenseful moment when you follow a Pinky Demon into a toilet, enemies creeping-up on you whilst the environment distracts you (Dead Space-style!) and getting your head ripped off and eaten by the Hell Knight! These were just some of the awesome ideas that made-up the DOOM 3 Alpha.
I have no idea why id turned their backs on such ideas or why they couldn’t even build upon them.
Don’t get me wrong, DOOM 3 is still a solid shooter with some intense atmosphere. There’s still a lot of fun to be had with the remake but it just wasn’t the full-packaged, revolutionary DOOM experience many gamers were hoping for. Of course, now it’s all about DOOM 4 (which is now believed to be released simply as ‘DOOM’).
Have id listened and taken noticed of DOOM 3’s feedback? Will the departure of John Carmack effect the issues id have reportedly been having with DOOM 4’s engine?
Keep it at D4G for a lot more on DOOM 4