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GoatLord

The art of mastering PSX Final Doom

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Picked it up again recently. It was almost hard to get back into, because I've been playing Doom '16 on PS4 and am continually thrilled with how well movement feels, given the lack of keyboard and mouse.

On the PSX, Final Doom's lack of in-game saves, lack of thumb sticks and very slow weapon switching, combined with the overall awkwardness of traversing 3D-ish space with the d-pad, make mastering the controls a challenge. I started with the TNT episode on UV, and have been seeing how far I can get in the span of about half an hour to an hour. Once the mechanics of movement have been understood, speed running through these maps becomes an addictive pastime.

Mechanically, PSX Doom has to be handled very differently from the PC or even the PS4. Circle strafing is essentially impossible, and instead you're reduced to imprecise zig zagging. The low resolution of the game and the frequent slowdown that occurs in large spaces, combined with sometimes having to take down enemies that are far away and thus literally a pixel or two across, make for a real challenge.

Despite this, speedrunning is possible, and similar to the PC. Many of the levels contain large sections that can be completely avoided, and many times it's possible to play most of the level passively in order to save time. This seems to be made a bit easier by the fact that there are less enemies on UV than on the PC, not to mention the revenants are much less threatening. As I slowly figure out the quickest possible path through each map, I'm reminded of how this is impossible in Doom '16; you're frequently trapped in an arena until everyone is taken down, whereas in OG and Final Doom, you can breeze past much of the combat if you want, sometimes creating a bit of a mess when you inevitably backtrack, and have a small trail of enemies still active.

I also like that it's possible to beat a number of these maps in a very short time. I remember taking 10-20 minutes or more on a map in the past, too scared to try to bum rush things out of fear that the controls were simply too clunky for that to work. Now, I find myself beating many of these maps within 90 seconds to a few minutes, something I just didn't think was possible on the PSX.

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GoatLord said:

Circle strafing is essentially impossible, and instead you're reduced to imprecise zig zagging.


Hmm, my memory of playing back then is that circle-strafing was the only way I could beat the cyberdemon. Probably easier if you set fire to X, rather than the default of triangle, which I never understood

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... handled very differently from the PC ... Circle strafing ...


Re the implication that circle-strafing should be a big part of PC play: It has a reputation among some folks as a holy grail of movement, but I really think that it's only a clear best strategy in specific sorts of setups (e.g. against dense freely-moving hordes in simple arenas). If a player's typical way of fighting things like small groups of mid-tiers or single cybers is to rapidly circle-strafe them, they will do fine with those monsters if they are alone, but that isn't going to generalize well to more elaborate setups and spaces at all.

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Circle strafing is definitely not necessary in every combat event. Sometimes it's just about being swift and knowing when to briefly take cover or step out of the way. But circle strafing is important in a number of key areas in Final Doom, and while you can do it, it feels more jagged and angular than smooth like on the PC. It makes it very challenging when there's a shitload of enemies in the area (such as the demon/spectre trap in Human Barbeque, before you acquire the yellow key), because you have to circle strafe very carefully, and briefly stop running, then pick your speed back up when you have an clear path. It's much trickier than on the PC!

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I found PSX Doom controls even better than controls from Doom Classic Complete pack for PS3. I like to use digital buttons for old Dooms. PSX only misses autorun. On PC I use mouse and keyboard.

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Yeah, PS3 Doom is weird. The opportunity to have a PSX-like Doom mode would have been cool, especially since it would have been in a higher resolution with better rendering. For some reason the frame rate staggers at times, something that should never happen on such hardware. Movement is kinda wonky too, as you mentioned. The PSX controls are strangely satisfying, even with the default use of triangle for firing.

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I felt Doom II played fine on PS3. However it took forever to save if you didn't have the internet connection disabled.

PSX Doom however is best played with a non-standard controller that can remap the buttons regardless of the software.

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I quite liked the XBLA/PSN Doom controls, I adapted a version of them for GZDoom. I cant play with PSX controls anymore, even though PSX Doom was what I got my early "Doom training" on

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I remember eventually getting used to PS3 Doom, but I guess because I had spent so many years with the PS1 controls, it felt a little foreign. On an incredibly nerdy side note, I would be interested in knowing how Doom is rendered on PS3, and why such powerful hardware tends to cause unsightly lags. Even Doom 64 ran smoother.

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I could never get used to the default PSX Doom button assignments. Every time I play it, my first stop is to the options menu to change them around (and to adjust the music/sound effects sliders to make the music louder).

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Oh, I always make the music louder. It's one of the best aspects of the game. Strangely, the controls never bugged me. You can get used to them and do some pretty fancy run-and-gun action, even with having to reach to triangle to fire. I just wish weapon switching wasn't so damn slow.

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I'm not used to PSX Doom controls yet, I always feel a bit confused. I change its buttons similar to Snes Doom using square to fire, cross to run and circle to use. Triangle is left to strafe.

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The PS controller layout is mostly a SNES controller layout with two control sticks added to the bottom and some extra buttons added to the back, but it is not surprising since Sony originally collaborated with Nintendo for a special console with an almost similar controller, and that was eventually scrapped leading Sony to create their own console the PSX.

But I really don't like both sticks being on the bottom with the d-pad on the top when playing a FPS games, I hate having to stretch both my thumbs to the bottom along with both my index fingers stretched to the back just to be able to move around and shoot, it can be really uncomfortable at times.

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GoatLord said:

Has anyone ever done a speedrun of PSX Final Doom? I've never seen any on YT.

Seems like no one were interested in this.

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I'd like to do a speedrun of the game but I can't record from my ps1 and my videos are poor quality, if I done one nobody would like it because of the quality

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I've sometimes been tempted, since I seem to be one of the few people on the planet that keeps coming back to the game specifically with fast completion of levels in mind. I'm really uninterested in weird exploits, I just want to get through the maps in a "traditional" manner as quickly as possibly because it's so much damn fun. However, I lack the proper hardware to record video from the TV.

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