i posted this here on doom's 15th anniversary:
i saw doom in early 1994 for the first time, on a friend's brand new 486. i was blown away, as the game was exactly how i imagined an improved wolf3d. i think the 3rd demo was on mt. erebus, i liked the hellish style best, and the bunch of enemies on that map looked like a never ending horde for me then (luckily, hell revealed was still a few years away ;) )
my first deathmatch ever was on e3m2. i and 2 others loaded a random map as we didn't know them anyway. playing as indigo, i found the rocket launcher in a recess and chose to camp here until green got in too, i fired and we both died. not a brilliant start...
perhaps i should have spent less time playing doom, but i grew fond of this game like of no other.
to be precise, i was playing spear of destiny in 1993 when some guy told me that the company that made this game was working on an even better one. i imagined it could have "graphics everywhere" as i called it (well, textured ceilings and floors instead of wolf3d's plain dark ones) and moar gunz, so it would be better.
but when i saw it in january or february 1994 on that murderous pc it exceeded all my expectations. what a difference, when people today say "these graphics suck!" but for me they looked real then. did we have more imagination when we saw actual things in these graphics?
i walked around e1m1: holy shit, it had a pool of water, barrels that exploded, and perhaps i could even get outside that building! romero was indeed a great level designer.
i had beaten wolf3d, i just had this tactic of peeking inside a room, retreating and gunning down the soldiers who followed me. this didn't quite work while standing in the acid, while the 2 imps were throwing fireballs at me.
iirc one of the most difficult fights was on e1m5 at the yellow door, those demons and the imps coming out of their closets trapped me every time... annoying when you don't run, strafe, or find a rocket launcher.
the cyberdemon of course was sheer terror, one hit and i'm splattered! i posted somewhere else how i retreated as far as possible firing plasma (and not seeing his rockets) and hiding behind the pillars. his introduction worked exactly as planned: i knew how difficult the barons had been, now there were some baron corpses hanging from a wall, who the hell can do that?
the spiderboss was pretty much the opposite of this. but the hellish style of ep. 3 impressed me the most. it was what i considered doom to be about : one marine fights hell. it had that cool satanic imagery, pentagrams, inverted crosses, skull piles, blood pools etc. still the best depiction of hell in a game, imo. the weirdest was the "souls wall" with animated faces on e3m3. it's a pity that most developers are going for realism today and there's little interest for this sci-fi setting.