Oddly enough, while Turok: Dinosaur Hunter disappointed me to a certain degree, Doom 64 was just the opposite and surprised me a little. Considering Midway's recent in-house track record (MK Trilogy, Cruis'n USA, anyone?), one could only hope the developers got a better grasp of the N64's hardware. Fortunately, it looks like they learned quite a bit.
Gameplay & Control
To my surprise, the level design in Doom 64 is quite cunning. They truly stand up to some of the best Doom levels ever made—and I was a huge fan of Doom and Doom II on the PC. Not only are the levels well-designed in Doom 64, but they are quite challenging, too. Pump up the difficulty level, if need be, and these could be the most difficult levels any Doom fan has ever faced. And the puzzles are perplexing right from the beginning of the game.
From a control standpoint, Doom 64 responds well, feels great, and moves briskly. This is certainly not the same as a mouse/keyboard combination on the PC, but you can customize the buttons to do whatever you want. However, it's the analog control that improves the console experience. Much like Super Mario 64, press the Control Stick a little bit and you'll walk, but press it all the way and you'll run without the need of holding down a button.
Now for a few complaints. First of all, the game is way too dark in some parts. Yes, I know there is a brightness setting. But I had to play with all the lights out and the brightness all the way up to just barely see where I was going on some levels. Second, saving in this game is not that good. You can only save after you complete a level. Plus, it always puts you at the beginning of the level (you cannot save wherever you want), and it does not save your configuration settings; it only saves your health, armor, weapons and ammo. Third, the cool animation for the shotguns is gone now. Fourth, some of the cool enemies from Doom II (PC) did not make it into Doom 64. Fifth, what would be a review without mentioning that there are no multi-player deathmatch or cooperative modes?
Graphics & Sound
Doom 64 is easily the best-looking version of the game ever. The game moves at a constant 30fps, if not higher, and never slows down, even with tons of enemies on the screen. All of the N64's built-in hardware effects are put to good use here, too. Nothing gets pixelated like the previous versions, and the real-time lighting effects are very cool. But then there is the character animation. However, I must point out that despite the characters only having a couple frames of animation, I never really noticed because I was too busy killing them or running away from them.
What about the sound? Well, let's just say it could be worse. The music has gone from being rocking to being more "mood-setting." Of a more ambient nature, the music in Doom 64 tries to be more haunting. This works on some levels, but a faster, more rocking beat would be better on other levels. And the sound effects are generally the same the previous games. Too bad the developers didn't add any voice.
Rating: 7 of 10
Visuals: 7/10 | Sound: 7/10 | Controls: 8/10 | Gameplay: 7/10 | Lasting Appeal: 7/10
Author: Scott McCall
Reviewed on: 13.05.1997