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enderandrew

Just now finally playing 1993 Doom in 2017

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I like to understand and have an appreciation for the classics in every genre. I'm old enough that I played a bit of Shareware Doom when it first came out in 1993. I backlashed against it a bit, feeling like it got all the credit when really Wolfenstein came out before it (and Ultima Underworld was first).

I never bothered purchasing the full version (or pirating it) for years. FPS games are perhaps my least favorite genre (putting me in a very small minority it seems). But I like to play all the classics. With all the love for the 2016 reboot, and fancy source ports keep the legacy of the originals around, I thought it was time to revisit Doom.

I used GZDoom to play the original in 1920 x 1080 with all kinds of modern sexiness (dynamic lights, anti-aliasing, BRX filters for sprites, HD texture packs, etc.) I wanted to preserve the design and gameplay, but spruce up the looks a bit. I eventually compromised a bit on the original aesthetic and went with a completely different HUD though. I know most people in the Doom community seem to suggest that if you're not playing "Vanilla" Doom then you're doing it wrong and they insist all HD improvements make the game look worse, but to each their own. I think this:

http://i.imgur.com/XFbV8JC.jpg

Looks a bit better than Vanilla DOOM:



Does it hold up? Well, it must for some because people are still releasing new WADs, people are still adding features to source ports, people still play the multiplayer, etc.
I was a little disappointed that on Ultra-Violence (second highest difficulty) I could get 100% on every level without too much difficulty if I was patient. Enemy AI is next to non-existent. It is easy to lead enemies to a corner, doorway or bottle-neck where you can pick them off and quickly turn back behind a wall for cover. Enemies have no sense of cover. They're generally not that fast. Very few moments were tense or scary.

A few moments were almost artificially unfair when you start a level with multiple enemies in your face, or you open a door into a room full of monsters directly in your face. Part of the appeal may be the lack of difficulty in a sense. Doomguy feels like a god in the way he can tear through legions of demons and shrug off most attacks. What amazed me is that punches were sometimes more powerful than shotgun blasts. He also runs very fast without ever getting tired.

I conserved most ammo for the big guns and played through all 4 episodes (technically the 4th episode wasn't part of Doom 1 initially, but was added two years later for Ultimate Doom) using only my shotgun and punches for probably 98% of the game. The BFG in episodes 2, 3 and 4 made the end boss fights rather trivial.

The aesthetics were a step up from the odd bright blue walls of Wolfenstein (though I still love the concept of killing Nazis and eating dog food for health). The soundtrack is great. Watching most videos it seems like this is a game meant to be played at a fast pace rather than the safe and plodding way I played it.

My intent was to play all the Classic Doom titles before moving on to Quake. I'm a few levels into Doom 2 currently, but I might take a break before revisiting the series. It was worth playing Doom 1. I'll eventually play the rest, but the gameplay is already wearing thin a bit sadly.

I tried jumping up to the highest difficulty. I started Episode 4 on Nightmare initially. I beat the first level but it was a massive pain starting with a pistol, little ammo and having to deal with a Baron of Hell very early on in very limited space. Later when you unlock a secret it traps you in a tiny room with multiple Barons of Hell. Some people play each level as its own thing with a pistol start. But I like to play games as complete experiences.

Doom offered very little in the way of story or narrative. There was one page of ending for each game with no real prologue or efforts at setting up a story. Episode 4 was a lazy ret-con when Doom 2 starts at the end of Episode 3, but then Episode 4 was squeezed in after the fact with no real explanation.

I know criticism of Doom may not go over well on a site celebrating a love of all things Doom. Let me say I'm grateful for the visual mods and source ports. I do intend to try some fan-made megawads in time. Though I do wish there was a little more to the gameplay of Doom.

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Thanks for reminding me to play Ultima Underworld again.

But in my experience of doom, the first time I tried it I really didn't engage too much. But over time, it grows on you and sinks its teeth into your mind. The process of playing doom becomes like weaving an elaborate quilt of deceased hellspawn. It becomes its own self-satisfying art in a way that feels innate but indescribable.

Or I'm being a pretentious twat. Probably. Anyway, if you're having issues with it not being difficult, try to go faster, or try brutal doom or hell revealed or something that's going to BE HAAAARD.

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enderandrew said:

Though I do wish there was a little more to the gameplay of Doom.


Use a good gameplay mod i like doom delta and project brutality.

What hd texture pack are you using?

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Sesq said:

Thanks for reminding me to play Ultima Underworld again.

But in my experience of doom, the first time I tried it I really didn't engage too much. But over time, it grows on you and sinks its teeth into your mind. The process of playing doom becomes like weaving an elaborate quilt of deceased hellspawn. It becomes its own self-satisfying art in a way that feels innate but indescribable.

Or I'm being a pretentious twat. Probably. Anyway, if you're having issues with it not being difficult, try to go faster, or try brutal doom or hell revealed or something that's going to BE HAAAARD.

Some of the original Underworld devs are making an officially licensed sequel (though EA is only licensing it to be an Underworld sequel in the Stygian Abyss without using the world Ultima).

https://www.underworldascendant.com/the-game/index.php

I may try Brutal Doom, but I figured I needed to play the original with classic gameplay first (as much as I love modding games).

MinerOfWorlds said:

Use a good gameplay mod i like doom delta and project brutality.

What hd texture pack are you using?

I went nuts with visual mods. Brightmaps and lights are now being loaded by the GZDoom 2.3 launcher. My only real complaint with the mods I used is that HD_Smooth are Doom 3 rips. They look great, but they're not really the vanilla designs of the monsters. I wish there was a good complete HD set of sprites (or models) of vanilla monsters.

[Global.Autoload]
Path=$PROGDIR/gz-qtilt.pk3

[doom.Autoload]
Path=$PROGDIR/cosmdoom.pk3 - Cosmetic Doom
Path=$PROGDIR/Fluid_Motion_Doom_(Beta).wad - New sprite/animation fixes
Path=$PROGDIR/sndckpsx.pk3 - PSX sound effects
Path=$PROGDIR/JDUI_GZDoom_RePack_1-0.pk3 - UI
Path=$PROGDIR/zdoom-dhtp-20161017.pk3 - Wall textures
Path=$PROGDIR/IDKFAv2.wad - High quality music
Path=$PROGDIR/spriteHDpublic6.pk3 - Sprite fixes
Path=$PROGDIR/HD_smooth.pk3 - Doom 3 monster rips
Path=$PROGDIR/DooM - HD Monsters.pk3 - HD versions of vanilla monsters, but only a few
Path=$PROGDIR/HXRTCHUD_CLASSICDOOM_V7.0.pk7 - HUD
Path=$PROGDIR/contrast3.wad - Palette
Path=$PROGDIR/droplets_v15_red.pk3 - Blood

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It's always interesting to see a modern look at an old game.

That said, I always thought that the actual life of Doom comes through mods, especially level mods. If Doom had no mods, I would have stopped playing ages ago.

The original levels were okay, maybe a bit nostalgic, but any given megawad you decide to pop in is going to be significantly higher quality than the original Doom levels. I would hope that you at least try one of the more famous ones, like Alien Vendetta or Requiem. Or heck, if you really want to be "wow"ed with what is possible with a two-decade-old engine, try Ancient Aliens.

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AlexMax said:

The original levels were okay, maybe a bit nostalgic, but any given megawad you decide to pop in is going to be significantly higher quality than the original Doom levels. I would hope that you at least try one of the more famous ones, like Alien Vendetta or Requiem. Or heck, if you really want to be "wow"ed with what is possible with a two-decade-old engine, try Ancient Aliens.

And the other problem that if you start chucking in all these "HD" texture packs into such mapsets, you end up with a mishmash of incompatible assets (well, even more so than before).

Doom's art style has always looked the best when left (mostly) alone. It might be a side effect of the lower resolution, but you can't argue with the 23 years of results. Ancient Aliens likely wouldn't look any better with 1024x1024 textures.

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enderandrew said:

Though I do wish there was a little more to the gameplay of Doom.


Since you've only gone through Doom1, it's understandable that you'd find the gameplay lacking: the Doom2 monsters (and the inclusion of the SSG to handle them) are what really keep the game interesting after all this time. There's plenty of well-crafted levels and aesthetics in the first installment, but if you want more interesting battles then Doom2 is generally better for that. A great majority of user content uses Doom2 as its base, if that's anything to go by. You might still find it lacking afterwards (and even after Final Doom if you get to them), at which point you may find some gameplay mods that add positively to the gameplay.

enderandrew said:

Does it hold up? Well, it must for some because people are still releasing new WADs, people are still adding features to source ports, people still play the multiplayer, etc.


It's not quite that the Doom produced in 1993 holds up (granted, it does somewhat, but not at the magnitude seen): it's that the Doom that has a multitude of source ports, modifications, and uncountable map packs holds up. I would doubt that there are any here that play through the original IWADs only, over and over again, instead of playing user-designed WADs. Sure, even I'll go back to the original material on occasion, as a matter of appreciation, but the superior content at this point comes from the refinements and perfections applied through literal decades of work by the fans. Doom managed to gather enough talent to become self-sustaining, which is why places like Doomworld still thrive.

As for Wolfenstein 3D... it's just not as replayable. You can have some fun with it, sure, but when all of the weapons are hit-scan and all of the enemies are hit-scan and wake-up delay is between instant and a good second and you can take anywhere between 0 and 63 damage at point-blank from a single shot, there are only so many ways to approach combat under those limitations. The level design is extremely limited, only allowing for a 64x64 grid of squares. There are no textures on floors or ceilings. You can't turn and strafe at the same time. Doom has its own limitations, though I'd say a number of what I've mentioned really drag the game down.

Fortunately, there are some means to modernize Wolf3D as well. ECWolf is something like a ZDoom equivalent, and Wolf4SDL is the closest thing to a vanilla-like port. And there are quite a few mods if you search around. What it boils down for most, however, is that it's not as fun as Doom, while still being comparable to Doom in most ways, so it's considered inferior.

Ultima Underworld, while being a game set in first-person perspective, is not a "first-person shooter". That makes it awfully hard to compare the two. I haven't played all the way through it myself but I can say that alone sets them apart, and between them Doom is a heck of a lot easier to pick up and play. Whether you like the genre or not, FPS greatly benefits from its incredibly simplistic user interface: you move around, you shoot stuff, and you interact with the environment sometimes. For many, it's simply comparing this:



to this:



You have to admit the screen is a LOT busier in Ultima Underworld. Simple things can affect people long before they even play the game, and I believe that most would be more willing to approach the interface in the first screenshot than in the second. Similarly, the gameplay itself is very straight-forward in Doom, lacking an inventory and quests and need-to-know information and clever puzzles. Otherwise: Doom had multiplayer which was a really big deal at the time, and Doom's format was very easily editable, giving players something to do when they got bored playing. You can't compare the two as a matter of enjoyment, but overall I would say Doom hooks people better to at least try it out.

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AlexMax said:

It's always interesting to see a modern look at an old game.

That said, I always thought that the actual life of Doom comes through mods, especially level mods. If Doom had no mods, I would have stopped playing ages ago.

The original levels were okay, maybe a bit nostalgic, but any given megawad you decide to pop in is going to be significantly higher quality than the original Doom levels. I would hope that you at least try one of the more famous ones, like Alien Vendetta or Requiem. Or heck, if you really want to be "wow"ed with what is possible with a two-decade-old engine, try Ancient Aliens.


I'd agree. Not with them being better than the original levels, though, at least not with episode one.

Edward850 said:

And the other problem that if you start chucking in all these "HD" texture packs into such mapsets, you end up with a mishmash of incompatible assets (well, even more so than before).

Doom's art style has always looked the best when left (mostly) alone. It might be a side effect of the lower resolution, but you can't argue with the 23 years of results. Ancient Aliens likely wouldn't look any better with 1024x1024 textures.


If you want it to look ok, scale up the textures to XBRZ 4x. Textures look pretty good with it.

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enderandrew said:

I was a little disappointed that on Ultra-Violence (second highest difficulty) I could get 100% on every level without too much difficulty if I was patient. Enemy AI is next to non-existent. It is easy to lead enemies to a corner, doorway or bottle-neck where you can pick them off and quickly turn back behind a wall for cover. Enemies have no sense of cover. They're generally not that fast. Very few moments were tense or scary.

It sounds like you want something a bit more challenging. I'd recommend playing through the Plutonia Experiment (Final Doom); the gameplay is a lot different and may better fit your play style.

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Sesq said:

If you want it to look ok, scale up the textures to XBRZ 4x. Textures look pretty good with it.

I'd want it to look okay, not look like the world is melting. Not even XBRZ has succeeded in making textures not look like they are melting.

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Its important to understand that Doom was made over 20 years ago and many of the gameplay principles that worked for the game at the time dont hold up very well today in their original untampered form. Many of the games you play today had a long legacy of games to model their ideas from, which is probably why modern shooters are bashed for all looking and playing the same way, while shooters at the time Doom had come out were pioneering a brand new concept that hasn't been fully realized yet.

Doom does get some things wrong but for the most part you'll have to appreciate for how many things it did do exceptionally well when you measure it against the competition at the time. You'll find that Doom was far ahead of most other games.

I know its exactly like me to blame you for not liking it instead of blaming the game, but I just want to say that I'm really glad to see you take the time to write this and especially how thoughtful and analytically you reported your observations without too much bias. Nice job, there aren't many people left in the world who haven't played Doom and are still willing to try.

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Edward850 said:

I'd want it to look okay, not look like the world is melting. Not even XBRZ has succeeded in making textures not look like they are melting.


I think it looks WAY better with XBRZ 4x to me it looks like a comic book.

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Edward850 said:

I'd want it to look okay, not look like the world is melting. Not even XBRZ has succeeded in making textures not look like they are melting.

That's what trilinear looks like unfiltered IMO. I think it looks great.

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40oz hit the nail on the head. It's easy to both look at doom with rose colored glasses, or compare it to modern games which have had decades of predecessors to learn from.

It's good that you got to finally play Doom, however.

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The first Doom wasn't all that challenging by today's standards. Doom II offers more of a challenge and Final Doom (TNT & Plutonia) is even better. I'd definitely recommend checking those out, Plutonia especially for its extraordinary level design and legendary difficulty.

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trem0lo said:

The first Doom wasn't all that challenging by today's standards. Doom II offers more of a challenge and Final Doom (TNT & Plutonia) is even better. I'd definitely recommend checking those out, Plutonia especially for its extraordinary level design and legendary difficulty.

I've started Doom II. It looks like the difficulty may be ramping up, or at least they're just throwing lots of mobs into rooms. Map 7 gave me a face full of Mancubi, and then when you kill them, you're surrounded on all sides by Arachnotrons.

Modern shooters are often linear. You progress at your pace through waves of mobs going through the level. Doom seems to like to hide a cluster of mobs in a closet and then release them in previously safe areas when it forces you to backtrack. It isn't super realistic and I can't imagine a modern shooter having 7 Shotgun guns magically appear out of a sealed hole in the wall. But I do like it how it doesn't allow you to get complacent when you think you've cleared a portion of the map.

I just started Map 8 before dinner on UV. It looks like 144 powerful monsters in tight places.

So even early on, it is a bit tougher than Ultimate Doom.

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Give RDND a whirl, it's super vanilla-ish gameplay. I can also do without most of the visual enhancements as well.

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CapnClever said:

I would doubt that there are any here that play through the original IWADs only, over and over again, instead of playing user-designed WADs.

Sorry to burst your bubble there, but that's how I mainly play DOOM, and I don't mind it one bit. Frankly, the only time I ever actually play custom WADs is when I'm on Zandronum and ZDaemon...

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Cool that you gave it a shot :) I like to play Doom 1 every so often but mostly for nostalgia; as others have said, the stuff that really keeps me coming back are all the sweet mods. Plutonia is definitely a great one to try, but some of the other big mod releases might tickle your fancy too. Alien Vendetta would make a great intro into Doom mods I think :D

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RexFesto696 said:

Sorry to burst your bubble there, but that's how I mainly play DOOM, and I don't mind it one bit. Frankly, the only time I ever actually play custom WADs is when I'm on Zandronum and ZDaemon...


I'll be more verbose since it's necessary:

I would doubt that there are any here that play through the original IWADs only, over and over again at the pace of at least one playing session (not necessarily finished) a week and aside from a repetition-prone context such as speedrunning or self-challenges, instead of playing user-designed WADs.


That sentence was getting lengthy so I shortened it: it's the kind of frequency I estimate out of many players of Doom. At this point I would also include something to the effect of "not changing aesthetic or gameplay modifications", as I can also picture someone going through the IWADs many times by changing up how they play via mods. If that sounds unfairly specific... well, that was the point. There's a reason the WADs & Mods subforum is the most active: the regulars like Doom, but they also like different flavors of it. I consider myself vanilla-inclined, but even I like to see and new environments and battles and even new enemies and weapons.

Now, if all of that still applies to you, it's not like I can't imagine such a thing: I just don't expect it across, say, 98% of the playerbase. Maybe someone plays through the IWADs every single day and never gets tired of them! People are like that. That said, if someone started a group of "people who only casually play original unmodded Doom IWADs all the time" I would be surprised if there were a lot of people who could honestly join. But I like getting my bubble burst, so surprise me.

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enderandrew said:

I never bothered purchasing the full version (or pirating it) for years. FPS games are perhaps my least favorite genre (putting me in a very small minority it seems). But I like to play all the classics. With all the love for the 2016 reboot, and fancy source ports keep the legacy of the originals around, I thought it was time to revisit Doom.

[...]

I do intend to try some fan-made megawads in time.

enderandrew said:

https://zdoom.org/wiki/RTC-3057

I really hope someone picks this up and attempts to finish this someday.

Interesting that you have never played Doom nor any megawads and yet you have fond memories of an abandoned Doom WAD project from 2004.

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Linguica said:

Interesting that you have never played Doom nor any megawads and yet you have fond memories of an abandoned Doom WAD project from 2004.

I never said I played it or had fond memories of it. Please do not put words in my mouth to insinuate dishonesty just because you don't care for an opinion of mine.

I don't have fond memories of that megawad. I was reading up on the best megawads to download and try and noted that it was the only one to both make The Top 100 list and later wind a Cacoward.

I saw some videos of it and the description. But knowing that it isn't finished and basically abandoned has killed my desire to play it. But people speak of it with glowing praise as some of the most clever expansion of core Doom gameplay.

Honestly, if the community's response to opinions is "fuck you you're doing it wrong if you play mods differently than I" and to call me a liar, then maybe this isn't a very good community.

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That doesn't line up with "hoping someone picks this up and attempts to finish this someday". One would expect you've at least played it or have some kind of personal investment in the mod to have such a desire to see it finished.

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Edward850 said:

That doesn't line up with "hoping someone picks this up and attempts to finish this someday". One would expect you've at least played it or have some kind of personal investment in the mod to have such a desire to see it finished.

I hope someone picks it up and finishes it because I don't want to play something incomplete.

You'll note my previous statements are consistent in other posts on this forum and the ZDoom forums asking about a way to play the XBox levels properly integrated with Classic Doom, and how I prefer to play full/complete games over individual levels.

I've made several posts recently on both of these forums about just getting started, picking a source port, picking my mods, etc.

At no point have I ever said I've been playing this for years or that I've played many megawads. I've fired up a few to experiment with them and that is it.

You're really reaching to make personal attacks.

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enderandrew said:

Honestly, if the community's response to opinions is "fuck you you're doing it wrong if you play mods differently than I" and to call me a liar, then maybe this isn't a very good community.

The issue isn't that you're playing mods different. The issue is you immediately blasted Doom's original look and gameplay having (seemingly) never played it properly. Perhaps grab PRBoom+ or Eternity and play through The Ultimate Doom (with no mods) first, otherwise this just feels like you pimping a bunch of different visuals and telling us how Doom should look, which doesn't really lead too good conversation.

And yes, it really does need to be a different port from ZDoom. It changes too many nuanced aspects of the gameplay that it can feel quite different in the end. The SSG damage in vanilla, due to the difference in PRNG tables, is actually higher on average than ZDoom's.

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Edward850 said:

The issue isn't that you're playing mods different. The issue is you immediately blasted Doom's original look and gameplay having (seemingly) never played it properly. Perhaps grab PRBoom+ or Eternity and play through The Ultimate Doom first, otherwise this just feels like you pimping a bunch of different visuals and telling us how Doom should look, which doesn't really lead too good conversation.

And yes, it really does need to be a different port from ZDoom. It changes too many nuanced aspects of the gameplay that it can feel quite different in the end. The SSG damage in vanilla, due to the difference in PRNG tables, is actually higher on average than ZDoom's.

You're still justifying why personal attacks are supposedly called for because someone is playing a game differently than you.

And if you're saying my criticisms of Ultimate Doom aren't valid because SSG damage was changed in ZDoom, well there is no SSG in Ultimate Doom.

Even if damage levels have been changed in Ultimate Doom (and everything I've read about ZDoom/GZdoom is that they've gone out of their way to avoid changing gameplay itself which is why I picked that engine), that has no bearing on my actual criticisms of poor AI and repetitive/simply gameplay.

I posted the same thoughts on a Doom subreddit and you wouldn't believe the nasty, vitriol I've received in PMs since then. I must say that I'm rather disappointed by most of the reaction I've seen from the community.

Some said I'm completely in the wrong for expecting Doom to be anything but really simple/basic gameplay and that it isn't very good, so I'm crazy for expecting it to be.

Others are insisting that vanilla gameplay is so good, anyone is wrong if they attempt to alter it in any way.

But most are telling me that my opinions on gameplay have no bearing because of visual mods that don't change gameplay.

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How about instead of calling everything a "personal attack", and dismissing examples because of arbitrary reasons, we try to turn this into an actual conversation?
However to do that, you need to actually play vanilla Doom first, otherwise you're just posting an opinion on a forum and expecting us to accept it for some reason.

No seriously, I'll be more than happy to discuss how Doom is supposed to look and feel, but you need to also need to listen to the other side as well. Of course Doom looks and plays well with updated visuals and gameplay, but shouldn't the original look and gameplay be just as good, no? Especially for a game made in 1993 to run on 50Mhz CPUs? However we can't discuss that because you claim to haven't have played it yet.

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