Review: Doom (32X)

In this review, we blast our way through the 32X port of the original FPS game Doom. We find out if this 32X console version holds up well.

This game was released in 1994 and would be the first console port of the original DOS version released just a year earlier. When we reviewed the DOS version, we gave it a really good score, so it was with interest we try one of the ports.

Since we gave this game a thorough review earlier, we decided to just discuss some of the differences between the two versions.

Probably one of the biggest changes was the fact that several levels were stripped out to fit in the console. The original DOS version contained 27 levels while this version had a mere 17 by comparison. In total, there are 16 levels with level 17 being a secret level you access through an alternate exit. Apparently, if you use level skip or use cheat codes, levels 16 and 17 become unavailable in normal play. We never really confirmed this as we just played straight through with no cheats.

Another difference that some players may bemoan about this game is the fact that some of the enemies have also been cut. While this might sound like a let-down, there weren’t that many that were removed. One rumor I heard was that even the Cacodemon was removed. This rumor is false as the Cacodemon is, in fact, haunting the mazes in later levels of this game. If you are looking for the tougher version of the Baron of Hell, though, you’ll be out of luck.

One interesting bug I found in this game is the fact that if you are in map viewer mode, the damage you take from walking on toxic acid or lava will be slowed. So, if you have to walk in these areas (in a number of cases, you will) and there are no enemies around in the area, flip on the map and you’ll ultimately take less damage.

While this is a stripped down version of the original, I would say that there is plenty of enjoyment to be had in this game. A lot of what was found in the original Doom is found in this version. Even with the removal of some later enemies, you’ll still get a lot of challenge from the harder difficulties.

Graphically, this version might be slightly downgraded in quality. It takes a split second to go from map mode to normal mode. Additionally, there is now a border around your field of view. Even then, it’s still more than possible to see enemies at a greater distance away. The bug in one of the levels where the wall disappears is still present in this version. One thing is for sure, this FPS port of Doom certainly is better looking than the SNES port of Wolfenstein 3D.

The audio is largely the same. While it may be slightly lower quality, these differences, in my view, are rather subtle and don’t really affect gameplay all that much. Sound effects are also the same.

Overall, for a pseudo-3D game of its time, this console port really wasn’t that bad at all. Even with a somewhat more limited playing experience, you can definitely enjoy the game on this version. Yes, if I had a choice, I would stick with the original DOS version, but what is found here was certainly a technical feet.

Furthest point in game: Beat the game on easiest setting. Died on level 17 on Hurt Me Plenty.

General gameplay: 18/25
Replay value: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Audio: 4/5

Overall rating: 80%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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