You’ll be hard-pressed to try and come up with a more iconic FPS than id Software’s Doom. The series propelled Tom Hall, John Romero, John Carmack, and Adrian Carmack into rockstar-like superstardom, to the point where we were once excited for Romero to make us his bitch with Daikatana prior to its less-than-stellar reception upon release. Despite its poor reception, Daikatana is definitely a game I plan to try for myself in the future, as it’s aesthetically gorgeous – and I tend to be drawn towards games that deserved a second chance.
Whilst the FPS genre has since had a tonne of fantastic franchises, such as Quake, Unreal and Serious Sam, Doom remains at the top of the pile, and has one of the best comeback stories in video game history. Doom is almost 30 years running, and has even bled into other mediums such as feature films and novels. As it has been going for so long, there have been a large number of entries in the series, and there are probably a few you never played. This is every Doom game ever.
The original Doom has been released for almost every platform under the sun, leading to the phrase – Doom can run on anything. I’ve played the game on a variety of weird consoles, including the Gameboy Advance and Tiger Telematics Gizmondo.
One of the pioneers of the FPS genre, Doom sparked imitator after imitator, and even today there are still games coming out that owe a lot to the original. Demon Pit is a fantastic example of this. From the second this game was fired up on MS-DOS machines around the world in 1993, it has been heralded as a must-play, and still sees re-releases on modern consoles because of this.
I have very early memories of this classic, as my elderly next-door neighbour had a copy on her computer when I was growing up, alongside Quake II (they belonged to her grandson), and I would go over and play them on the weekends prior to owning a home console. It was that or the strange Rainbow Six port on the Gameboy Color. Safe to say I made the right choice with Doom.
Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994)
Take the frenetic, brutal gameplay of the original Doom, and thrust the Icon of Sin in there – you have Doom II: Hell on Earth. Whilst probably the closest to the original formula the series has ever gotten, Doom II felt a little more like an expansion than a true successor.
I’ve played Doom II on the Tapwave Zodiac, among other devices, and it’s a great game through and through. The latter part of the game is fantastic and really sets the sequel apart from its predecessor. Doom II also introduced my favourite weapon in the series, the Super Shotgun, a hyper-powerful double-barrelled shotgun not for the faint of heart.
I can’t recommend the original two games enough, and there are so many ways to play them nowadays. The Xbox port of Doom 3 features Ultimate Doom and Doom II, fully playable in co-op, so if you’ve got big enough hands to get along with the original Xbox – do it.
Final Doom (1996)
Released in 1996, Final Doom carried over the enemies, weapons and items from Doom II, but featured two 32 new non-canon level packs, TNT: Evilution and The Plutonia Experiment. Although TNT was initially being developed by a non-affiliated company, id Software ended up acquiring the rights and finishing the megawad in November 1995. Dario and Milo Casali, who had developed four of the levels for TNT, were then tasked with the creation of The Plutionia Experiment, and created 16 levels each within a four month period. Dario Casali stated in an interview about the Plutonia Experiment, that it was always meant for people who had finished Doom 2 on hard and were looking for a new challenge.
Final Doom wasn’t well received by a lot of publications, with GameSpot’s Jim Varner calling the game a “waste of money”, due to it basically being a level pack for Doom II, and many level packs were available for free online that you could play instead if you’d been craving more Doom. GamePro were disappointed in the fact that the game lacked anything new. Other publications were a little more pleased, with PlayStation Magazine calling the game essential, and giving it a 9/10.
Doom 64 (1997)
Say what you will about the Nintendo 64, but you can’t deny it had some absolutely brilliant first-person shooters through the likes of Turok II, Perfect Dark and Goldeneye. Introducing the gorgeously powerful Unmaker, Doom 64 was once again not much of a sequel per se, as it didn’t do a hell of a lot to differentiate itself from the original Doom – in fact, the game was based off Doom’s PlayStation port.
Published by Midway, the game ran on a modified version of the Doom engine and featured all-new graphics, looking closer in visual quality to something like Ion Fury than the first two Doom games. Whilst not everyone could quite get into Doom 64, mostly due to fans of the series having played it on their home computers, it still garnered quite a following, and is now playable on PC and PS4.
Doom: Absolution (Cancelled – 1997)
Doom: Absolution would’ve been a sequel to Doom 64, and was announced shortly after its release. It was intended to be multiplayer-focused, and could have skipped over a single-player campaign altogether. The original Doom 64 had taken a bit of flak due to not having a multiplayer feature, and compared to other hit shooters on the system like Goldeneye, this was a very notable omission.
Doom 64 II, as it was also called, was canceled in July 1997, following fears that the Doom Engine was too outdated, and the team were shuffled over to work on Quake 64. Absolution has never surfaced, though it has been said that a large portion of the levels were complete and playable. Maybe one day the project will be leaked to the public.
Doom 3 (2004)
Doom 3 took a lot of flak for changing the tone and style of the original games, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. In fact, Doom 3 is one of the best sci-fi FPS of the last twenty years, and although many games have tried to emulate it, none have quite nailed the formula – Black Element Software’s Alpha Prime was a pretty close second, and Burut Creative Team’s Kreed, whilst dubbed the Doom 3 Killer by the media, failed to kill anything other than the momentum of the Russian developer.
Doom 3 opted for a sci-fi setting, and a much slower, more atmospheric pace. Releasing 10 years after the second game in, there was bound to be a lot of changes as the industry had come leaps and bounds, along with the FPS genre, but nobody was really expecting this genre-bending entry in the series – and it still divides fans to this day.
Doom 3 still looks pretty good by today’s standards, especially in its BFG Edition incarnation. I strongly recommend checking it out if you haven’t, playing through it again if you loved it, or even going back with an open mind if you haven’t touched it since it disappointed you back in 2004.
Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (2005)
Acting as both a sequel and expansion pack to 2004’s Doom 3, Resurrection of Evil released in 2005 for Windows, Linux and the Original Xbox. It was developed by Nerve Software in collaboration with id Software.
Resurrection of Evil featured twelve new single-player levels along with new monsters and new weapons. The game also addressed some of the issues of the core game, namely the pitch black level of darkness and far too common surprise enemy encounters. It runs standalone on the original Xbox, so if you’re not looking to play the main Doom 3, I’d suggest picking this version up.
Doom RPG (2005)
Imagine being in the meeting where it was decided to turn Doom into a classic-style turn-based RPG in a similar vein to Eye of the Beholder. Imagine it being not only successful, but also really damn good. That’s the story of Doom RPG.
Doom RPG was developed by Fountainhead Software, in association with id Software, and released alongside the feature film in 2005. The game featured turn-based combat and a heavy emphasis on the plot, which was quite similar to Doom 3, with scientists needing you to venture deeper into a research facility to acquire vital information.
Initially released exclusively for Symbian and Java-capable mobile devices, Doom RPG would never see a port to iOS or Android. It’s possible to emulate the Java version through apps like J2ME Loader though, so that’s absolutely something you should look into if this entry has at all piqued your interest. You can read up on how to do this here.
Doom Resurrection (2009)
Doom Resurrection is largely forgotten, due to being an iOS exclusive rail shooter in the vein of Time Crisis, or perhaps more pertinent – Rage: Mutant Bash TV. Resurrection was similar in style to Doom 3, set in a space station with an eerie horror atmosphere. It reminds me of the 2005 movie adaptation of the game, but in a good way – you know that one scene that was really cool – Resurrection is basically that scene.
Being an iOS exclusive, id Software could really take advantage of the handset’s features, implementing the gyroscope as a way of aiming. From what I have heard this works fine if you are staying in one spot, but if you’re planning on even readjusting your position, you’ll be forced to recalibrate the game’s sensors.
Resurrection performed rather well critically, but is now almost lost to time. It only runs on very old iOS versions, and was never ported to any other operating systems. If you can find a way to play this game, do let me know – as I would love to try it.
Doom II RPG (2009)
With the success of the first Doom RPG, it was a no-brainer to revisit this weird corner of the franchise. After all, both fantasy RPG Orcs & Elves and Wolfenstein RPG had been received well and id Software was on a roll on the mobile platform. Like the others, Doom II RPG reviewed incredibly well – but was, unfortunately, the last in the RPG spin-off series to release.
Doom II RPG mostly followed on from the gameplay of its predecessor, improving on it in a mostly graphical sense. Of course, the game was saddled with a new plot, but it was largely more of the same. That’s not a bad thing at all though, as id Software’s mobile efforts are spectacular.
Unlike its predecessor, Doom II RPG was ported to iOS, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry phones, but its iOS port is pretty dated in terms of which version of iOS can run it. It’s absolutely a game worth emulating on the previously mentioned J2ME Loader. An experience like no other, other than the first game in the series.
Doom 4 (Cancelled – 2014)
A game roughly seven years in the making, it was a real shame to see this project canned and reworked into Doom 2016, though it can’t be denied that the reboot is a great game. Developed alongside the severely underappreciated Rage, Doom 4’s future was a concern following Rage’s poor reception upon release, and things were pretty quiet on the game for a while afterward, before a screenshot and video leak in 2012.
This was the beginning of the end, as fans were less than enthused about the gameplay on show, and many likened the project to Call of Duty or Battlefield, coining the term “Call of Doom”. This negative reception can be speculated to have been what drove the studio to cancel the project in 2014, after shifting to a new engine in 2013.
It’s a shame that a prototype has never leaked so that fans can try it out for themselves, and it seems that Doom 4 will be destined to remain in that weird part of the cancelled FPS games people want to try part of the universe, along with the various incarnations of Duke Nukem: Forever, and that sequel to Darkwatch that never saw the light of day.
In what was probably the second most iconic franchise turnaround of the century, right behind Devil May Cry 3, the Doom slayer came out swinging with a shotgun, ready to glory-kill every bad trope that had been shoved into the FPS genre to cater to casuals. Reloads? Nah. Screen obscuring iron-sight focused gunplay? Not a chance. It even blasted through the consoles at 60fps whilst looking graphically orgasmic, something that can’t be said for most modern games.
The reboot is unapologetically violent, visceral and vicariously exuberant. Every trigger pull feels as powerful as the last, with the music and mechanics forming a dynamic duo that pushes the player to plough through countless hellspawns.
The upgrade system might be a little redundant, the grenades might have the overall impact of a snowball and the Multiplayer might be a huge gaping shit-stain on the otherwise spotless single-player campaign, but they are simply nitpicking in a game that really put the fun back into the FPS genre.
Doom V.F.R. (2017)
The newly rebooted Doom kickstarted a brand new era for the franchise, and it wasn’t long before Bethesda was looking at bringing the series into the growing VR world. Doom V.F.R. is incredibly similar to the 2016 series reboot, but puts you headset first into the action.
V.F.R. is super fast-paced for a VR title, and is likely to be hell for an inexperienced VR player. Graphically, the game is also up there with the best that PSVR has to offer, and it’s truly a must-buy for fans of the franchise with the hardware and capability to run it.
Whilst it doesn’t add a hell of a lot to the lore, and instead acts as a spin-off story, it’s still well worth checking out, and well worth completing. It’s available for both PSVR and HTC VIVE.
Doom Eternal (2020)
If the trailers are anything to go by, Doom Eternal is on track to become the perfect sequel to 2016’s reboot. From the grappling hook to the environmental hazards, to the light platforming, everything seems like a natural evolution of where the previous game left off. It takes everything that made Doom great and dials it up to 11, which is quite unbelievable because 2016’s reboot was already pushing 12 when it came out.
Let’s not leave out Mick Gordon’s soundtrack that, from the *leaks* on YouTube, feels like it is going to win the “Best Music In A Game Award” in a year that has already turned out games like the melee-based metal slasher Elderborn, and will see the releases of Cyberpunk 2077, Ori and The Will Of The Wisps and many more yet to come.
I’d love to hear what you thought of this iconic series, as well as when you started playing the Doom games. Which has been your favourite?
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