Death is a given, and that's doubly true for video games. And when death comes, it tends to come in force. Who among us can claim we haven't, at some point in our gaming career, meandered through plains sprinkled with corpses, or waded through rivers of blood past bobbing human remains? If video games are to be believed, corpses are more gregarious than the living. They flock to gruesome sites of executions, torture and massacres, hang themselves from nooses, impale, flay, contort or dismember themselves into bloody bouquets for us to gawk and shudder at in passing.
If the games we play are anything to go by, the depths of hell are one of humankind's favourite destinations when it comes to travels of the mind. Few fantasy RPGs or horror games could be considered complete without at least a quick excursion into the domain of demons and sinners. And what better place to conclude your game than hell itself? What better villains to fight than the citizens of Pandemonium? Hell has found a steady home in many kinds of games, and its popularity shows no sign of abating.
We like the Switch version of the Doom 2016. We respect its remarkable technological achievements and we're blown away by the fact that a playable version of this game exists at all for Nintendo's hybrid machine, but the fact is that the game has issues. The drop from 60fps to half-refresh was inevitable, but the impact to resolution and wobbly performance detracted significantly from the overall experience. Last week, developer Panic Button released a patch for the title and to say that people were excited about its potential would be a vast understatement - our social media was awash with demands to re-test the title, with many believing they were seeing some profound improvements in the revised code.
But what has actually been delivered? The patch notes suggest that developer Panic Button has 'increased the average resolution in lower-res areas of the game', which is a welcome upgrade. In shoehorning a modern game engine onto a mobile chipset, Doom's pixel-count is highly variable. Like for like comparisons in the most intense scenes aren't really possible, but we found some interesting data points nonetheless. Outside of combat, we actually found pixel-counts before higher and lower than the original release we tested, but in more challenging scenes, the game does appear to hit 720p while docked more often in situations where you might expect drops. However, drops to 648p are commonplace. In actual fact, Doom seems to scale both horizontal and vertical axes - it's a truly dynamic experience.
The point here is that while there is a difference, the perceptual effect is not significant - it's improved but it's still a very blurry game overall. It's even more difficult to determine in handheld mode but pixel counts do not suggest a transformative boost here. But that's not really the whole story. The fact is that this new patch does improve the experience and it's all about improved performance.
A remarkable technical achievement, but are the cutbacks too much?
One of the most celebrated FPS franchise giants has finally returned to the House of Mario. Going back more than two decades, Nintendo hardware has always had a unique relationship with the series. Doom for the Super NES, sluggish though it may be, was a technical showpiece for Nintendo's 16-bit machine while the Game Boy Advance conversion felt like holding the future in your hands. There are echoes of this in Bethesda's Switch port of the Doom 2016 reboot. This is mobile technology pushed kicking and screaming to its absolute limits.
Against all odds, developer Panic Button has succeeded in bringing the entirety of the Doom experience to Nintendo's latest machine and it mostly works, though the brutal nature of many of the compromises may well be too much for series purists. In assessing this port, a little perspective is required. The fact it exists at all is somewhat miraculous, and we can't go in expecting a pixel-for-pixel match with the PS4 and Xbox One versions.
Let's start with the good news. This port is content complete, and every level from the original release is present and correct. There was concern that stages would need to be divided up to fit into memory but that's not the case at all. Encounters play out just as they did on the more powerful console platforms, and every stage is presented as a complete experience. Every enemy, weapon and feature is present and accounted for and that's an important thing to consider. After all, Doom 3 for the original Xbox, a comparable port in terms of accomplishment, featured levels which were reduced in size and complexity to work within the constraints of the system. That's not the case here.
Developer id Software has announced demon-blasting shooter Doom will launch on Nintendo Switch on 10th November.
Nintendo announced last month Doom would be coming to the Switch alongside another id Software IP - Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus.
Doom on Switch will feature the full single-player campaign with all difficulty modes, including ultra-nightmare mode. Players will also have the opportunity to choose arcade mode, allowing you to replay the entire game with a time and score attack.
And can a PC specced to match Nintendo's hybrid deliver the same experience?
Just how powerful is Nintendo Switch and what are its limits? From Digital Foundry's perspective, it's been fun - and fascinating - to see the evolution of the platform, our expectations of the core Tegra X1 processor's capabilities exceeded by several key releases. But a Switch conversion of the Doom 2016 reboot? That's on a whole new level, and we had to check it out. We went hands-on with the game for about 40 minutes last week, our key question being: just how did they do that?
Doom is 25 today - and this is every console port the PC game inspired.
December 10th 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of Doom, the first-person shooter that changed everything, not only for PC gaming but for consoles too, as the hardware of the time attempted - with varying levels of success - to bring that classic PC experience to the living room. Last year, DF Retro revisited Doom on every console platform, using today's Digital Foundry tools and methods to assess the quality of each port. It's a piece we're happy to republish today!
Multiplayer to be downloaded separately due to cartridge size limitations.
When Doom was announced for Switch earlier this week many were wondering what corners id Software would have to cut to make its stellar shooter run smoothly on Nintendo's hybrid console/handheld. And now we know.
Few video game protagonists are as iconic as the Doom Marine, which is kind of odd as we only see the first-person shooter hero's body illustrated on the game's cover. But it's an amazing cover, one etched in all of our collective minds as the pinnacle of early 90s heavy metal action. What we didn't know, until now, is that that guy was modelled after Doom's lead designer, John Romero.
Wow aren't cars fancy today. The things they can (almost) do - like play the original Doom on their little computer screens. Not that you would play: you'd be driving. You can't drive and play Doom - can you?
How an ardent modding community kept bringing id Software's classic back from the dead.
The measure of any piece of hardware is whether it can run Doom. And it turns out that pretty much any modern computer can, whether it's a MacBook Pro's Touch Bar, the programmable display in a key on the Optimus Maximum keyboard or a Vtech InnoTab.
Adds new lighting, gore, animations, enemies and more.
Acclaimed Doom modder Sergeant_Mark_IV, the person behind popular mod Brutal Doom, is releasing their upgraded version of Doom 64, Brutal Doom 64, next week on 30th October.
This PC mod will outfit Doom 64 with new special effects, particles, lightning, gore, sounds, weapon animations, enemies and cut content from Midway's 1997 spin-off. You can see how this enhanced fan remake looks in the trailer below:
Next week's release will be an early version of Brutal Doom 64, as more content will be added. The release next week will contain all 32 levels from the original game, but Sergeant_Mark_IV will still add enemies like Chaingunguy, Revenant and Mastermind in later versions. Enemies Archvile and Hellhound are planned too.
Someone once parodied Gone Home by merging it with Doom in the humourous video Gun Home. But now ex-BioShock and The Cave developer JP LeBreton is taking that seemingly ludicrous juxtaposition of first-person games seriously in his upcoming Doom 2 mod / memoir Autobiographical Architecture.
Back in 1996 ad agency Digital Cafe created a free Doom mod called Chex Quest as a pack-in toy for the popular breakfast cereal. Naturally, it was about protecting a sentient race of cereal from slimy green aliens. Now, the artist behind that project, Charles Jacobi, is working on an HD remake of the quirky commercial mod.
To defeat the Cyberdemon, shoot at it until it dies."
The original Doom was one of gaming's great milestones. It wasn't the first of its genre - or even the first by developer id Software who previously made Wolfenstein - but it was arguably the best. So popular was Doom that nonchalant musings about it in trade magazines became the stuff of legend. Who could forget Edge's famous "If only you could talk to the creatures" review, or GamePro's hilarious "ProTip" caption "To defeat the Cyberdemon, shoot at it until it dies."
Doom has moved on. id Software's new take on its old classic once again straddles a fault-line between the partly colonised surface of Mars and a rollicking Death Metal album cover version of Hell, all goat motifs and bubbling plumes of gore. Brought to life with staggering detail, it's a world away from the sprites and vertices of John Carmack's original Doom engine, but each chapter does feature a secret area modelled on one of Doom or Doom 2's maps, nestled inside this assured, muscular reboot like a vestigial organ.
Legendary and maybe part-machine programmer John Carmack will receive this year's BAFTA Fellowship award, joining the likes of Gabe Newell, Shigeru Miyamoto, Will Wright and many others. He'll receive the award at the BAFTA Games Awards 7th April in London - an event happening alongside EGX Rezzed.
20 years young! We're streaming it live from 5pm GMT.
Where the bloody hell is Doom 4? It makes me so sad that my beloved id Software can't get its s*** together on Doom 4, or so it seems at least. This should be one of the easiest sells in the world. Bright, colourful hellscapes, superfast movement and fantastical projectile weaponry, labyrinthine levels with keys and secret rooms - the antithesis to all the grit and grime of contemporary first-person shooters.
Exploring the game that could have been, and the legacy that never was.
There are few games that will ever have as much impact on the games industry as Doom. Two decades after release it remains a touchstone for the genre, and has influenced a whole generation of designers; the shooter that defined a thousand shooters.
Doom legend asks Mechner to hand over Karateka secrets.
Here's one for the history books. Jordan Mechner, the veteran game designer responsible for Prince of Persia, has dug up a fan letter he received nearly 30 years ago from a 17-year-old called John Romero - the very same guy who'd go on to create FPS touchstones Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake at id Software.
Doom creator and industry veteran John Carmack has hit back at accusations that games promote violent tendencies in players, arguing that they're in fact "cathartic" and more likely to reduce aggression.
The history of PC gaming can be neatly split into two eras. Everything from 1993 onwards we can class as the Modern Age, in which the PC is established as a games platform in its own right. (We can pinpoint 1993 based on the fact that before that year the number of PC games that have survived into posterity drops off precipitously.)
Id Software's Todd Hollenshead has revealed that the Quake and Doom creator is working on a new gaming franchise, powered by a brand new engine from developer John Carmack, GamesIndustry.biz is reporting.
It looks like DOOM might not be the last classic id Software game to make its way onto Xbox Live Arcade, with company CEO Todd Hollenshead saying that the reaction to it "bodes well" for others to follow in its wake.
Almost every time we post a review of a new release on Xbox Live Arcade, someone inevitably pipes up "what's the point?" - as though old games are somehow exempt from re-evaluation. The attitude seems to be that Microsoft has the right to release anything regardless of quality as long as it's cheap, or that it's somehow 'unfair' to judge an old game. What nonsense. If Microsoft - or Sony, or Nintendo - wants to charge good money for ancient content, we're here to tell you whether it's worth the asking price, whether it's boxed product or otherwise.
Quick review? Doom is definitely worth the asking price.
Unlike a lot of games that came out at the start of that difficult transition from 2D to 3D, Doom stands the test of time thanks to fantastic, memorable level design, a refined control system, a perfect weapon balance, the list goes on. When Bungie spoke of basing Halo on the "30 seconds of fun over and over" design ethic, it was a principle Doom got right from the opening level onwards.
Going to Mars? Don't bother taking any cheese. Judging by the recently released trailer for the DOOM movie, which is available download now as a High Definition video, there's plenty to go around.
Of course, we've no idea whether the film will be good or bad. We have suspicions, but they're mainly to do with the lack of fountains of Hellish gore in the trailer. If the full film has Hell, lots of big scary demons that don't look at all like men-in-suits-with-four-buglike-eyes-QUICK-RUN and, dunno, they fire half the cast, it might be brilliant.
It's definitely more DOOM III than the others though - heck, it looks like they only have one flashlight, for a start. Heck I tells ya. Take a look anyway. It'll give you something to talk about in the pub, and then back away from occasionally reloading your glass.
A new trailer for the forthcoming Doom movie is now available to view on US website IGN.
You can also watch a Comic-Con panel discussion with the stars and producers, and find out what The Rock's nickname really means.
The Doom movie begins with Sarge (The Rock) leading his team to a Martian research facility where scientists have just identified the remaining 10 per cent of the human genome, with results that aren't really that hilarious. When it all kicks off and corpses start turning up left right and centre, it's down to John Grimm (Karl Urban) to save the day.
Review - id's classic first person shooter comes to the GameBoy Advance
/ David A Palmer Productions
Small But Perfectly Malformed
id Software have a reputation for pushing the latest graphics
technology to the limit. Take Doom, for example. When it first came
out I had a 12Mhz 386, and to get the game to run smoothly I had to
reduce the area of the screen which it actually rendered to the
size of a credit card. Flash forward to 2001. Doom has arrived on
the GameBoy Advance, and some things never change - the game is
still pushing technology to the very limit, the picture is still
the size of a credit card, and the hardware is still struggling to
Doom is probably the most graphically impressive title that we have
seen so far on the GBA. It may lack the gaudy colours and crystal
clarity of Rayman Advance, but it makes up for this with detailed
texturing and sprites which are lifted almost pixel-for-pixel from
the original PC version of the game, although sadly the blood has
been replaced by Nintendo-friendly green gore. The weapons in
particular are beautifully rendered and animated, with the full
selection on offer from brass knuckles and pistol all the way up to
rocket launcher and room-clearing BFG. The eerie sound effects and
cheesy MIDI music stylings of Bobby Prince have also been
beautifully transferred, and classic noises like the roaring of
imps and the awful ripping sound as they claw at your flesh all add
to the atmosphere of the game.
Unfortunately two things haven't made it on to the GameBoy though -
the all-important boss monsters. Although episode two still ends
well even without a cyberdemon to scare the bejeezus out of you,
the final map is something of an anti-climax. Gone is the giant
robotic spider, and in its place are two rooms full of monsters and
ammunition followed by some pointless unlocking of doors to reach
the exit. The last few levels of Doom were always the weakest, with
an over-reliance on pools of lava, cramped mazes and teleporter
puzzles, and the revamped last level just makes this even more of a
disappointing end to a great game.
Knee Deep In The Dead
Otherwise the original twenty four levels have been recreated
faithfully for the most part, with only a few obvious changes, none
of which harm the flow of the game. Having said that, a couple of
the maps could really have used more drastic editing. Mount Erebus
in particular suffers from terrible slowdowns in a few places, and
although you can switch off dynamic lighting in the options menu to
get a frame rate boost, this removes all variation in lighting and
kills the atmosphere completely.
Aside from the occasional frame rate problems though, Doom's short
monster-packed levels and fast paced visceral action work a treat
on Nintendo's hand-held. The "three keys and an exit" run-and-gun
gameplay is a little basic by today's standards, and the AI and
storyline are virtually non-existent, but the game makes up for
this with wall-to-wall carnage, a tense atmosphere and plenty of
secret areas to uncover.
The controls are surprisingly easy to master, with the D-pad
controlling your movement, select bringing up a map, and the A and
B buttons handling running, opening doors, pushing switches, firing
and so forth. You actually have a choice of half a dozen preset
configurations, with the best using the shoulder buttons for
strafing but requiring you to hold down two keys at once to switch
weapons. This can be a little fiddly in the middle of a fight, but
on the bright side having dedicated strafe keys makes circling
around your enemies a doddle with a little practice.
Dave Palmer and the boys have done a solid job of converting id's
seminal shooter to the GameBoy Advance, with only a few frame rate
issues and the weak ending letting it down. The game itself is
fairly short, but with a choice of four difficulty settings and the
addition of two player co-operative and four player deathmatch
options via the link cable, there's plenty here to keep you coming
back for more.