Developer: id Software
Released: 10 December 1993
Price: $4.99 – $5.99
Engine: id Tech 1
This review is based on the game using the GZDoom source port which includes widescreen support.
The Ultimate DOOM is the definitive edition of the classic 3D first-person shooter and Wolfenstein 3D successor developed by the talented id Software team including John Carmack, John Romero, and American McGee, to name a few. As a critical success, the game popularized first-person shooters (then known simply as “Doom clones”), invented the term “deathmatch” for multiplayer games, and kicked off a level editing and modding community that thrives even to this day.
As a result of the game using easily moddable “WAD” files and its open-source engine, you can find mods such as Shadow of the Wool Ball which turns the gory alien-slaying fest into a cartoony shootout with evil cats, or even complete conversions such as Sonic Robo Blast 2 which is…a 3D version of the classic Sonic games built on the DOOM engine!
As the only surviving space marine on Mars’s Phobos moon, you must find the experimental teleporters and go back to Earth – though not without dealing with the various demons that have taken over the manmade bases. This fight takes place in four episodes, along with Sigil, a fifth episode that was released in 2019 and included in some editions of the game.
You start with a weak pistol and work your way towards finding bigger and deadlier weapons, such as shotguns, chainguns, plasma guns, and more, making the beginning of each episode a fight for obtaining and conserving resources. Aiming and shooting an enemy does not require the precision of later FPS games – if they’re reasonably in front of your gun, they’ll eat your lead. The ease of aiming, lack of reload times, fast running speeds make DOOM a fast-paced arcade experience with each map taking about 2 to 20 minutes depending on how thoroughly you explore it.
While the game might sound too easy, you’ll usually be swarmed with hordes of fiendish monsters itching to tear you apart, and the game spikes massively in difficulty beginning with Episode 4 as well. A feature I liked about the game is getting enemies to shoot other demons, which makes them turn on each other, letting you focus on the ones who are still after your skin.
Artstyle and Audio
DOOM‘s graphics are great-looking even today, with visuals that are sharp and clear-looking yet retro. The game also uses lightning in ways that affect gameplay, such as flickering lights or pitch-black rooms. Although the game was controversial back in the day for its usage of gore and Satanic imagery, I didn’t find the gore to be particularly amazing apart from the occasional blood splatter on the wall.
The music, composed by Robert Prince, incorporates both chilling ambient tracks more fitting of the game’s horror aspect, and thrilling metal tracks that get you well into the mood for killing demons.
Even over 25 years since its initial release, DOOM remains a fun arcade-style shooter you can play in quick bursts or long sessions, on any device. Its versatile engine and easily moddable “WAD” files make access to new levels, entire campaigns, or even game conversions easily accessible on any device, through unofficial ports for other devices.
The game has been recently updated to use a Unity-based port, allowing for features such as widescreen support, although I still recommend using unofficial ports like GZDoom for access to more features, as well as mod support, allowing you to experience DOOM in the most hellish form!
If you liked DOOM, you might want to check out our review for the classic version of XIII!