Doom took the gaming world by storm upon its release in 1993. First-person shooters had been around already, but Id Software's seminal title ratcheted the genre's intensity all the way, delivering a heart pounding experience. Its many innovations solidified its legendary status, ensuring it would be remembered for generations to come.
Recently, the first three games in the series made their way to modern consoles, giving fans an opportunity to look at the debut title through a modern lens. With this in mind, the following list includes five things about Doom that haven't aged, and five things that aren't as good as they were more than twenty-five years ago.
10 Hasn't Aged: Accessibility
Games can be like a foreign language for some. Even those interested in the medium can be immediately turned off by the complexity of controllers. While Doom gets incredibly difficult, its controls are still easy to understand.
Players simply run around, point, shoot, and sometimes sprint. Mastery of these mechanics takes time, but it is simple for newcomers to pick up. Heck, they don't even have to worry about reloading. Novices who lack skill can comfortably tackle levels on the earlier difficulties. No shame in playing on easy mode for newcomers.
9 Doesn't Hold Up: Narrative
Most modern games put a story into their campaigns. They are usually forgettable, and sometimes so intolerable gamers wish the developers never put one in their in the first place, but they are there. Doom has virtually no story, and everything players need to know can be summed up in one sentence.
Demons showed up on Mars and one soldier needs to send them back from where they came. Later on, something about a bunny is mentioned, but none of it is important. It's not a slight against the game, really, but it sticks out more in a field where everything has cutscenes and voice acting.
8 Hasn't Aged: Intensity
People who played the iconic shooter back in the early nineties were blown away by the fast-paced action. The novelty has certainly worn off, but modern players will still break out into a sweat when booting up this demon-slaying game.
The metal-inspired soundtrack, sound effects, and overabundance of deadly monsters is more intense than most modern titles in the genre. It goes to show that intensity is more than just high-res gore.
7 Doesn't Hold Up: Graphics
Doom was cutting edge, and the developers used all the tricks in the book to get the game looking as great as it did. Graphics, unfortunately, are the first thing to age in a video game. One can appreciate just how amazing it looked in the past, but the graphics are quaint by today's standards.
It is a good thing that looks don't mean much when it comes to a game's enjoyment. Some people consider it important, but not playing a game because of aged graphics is a mistake.
6 Hasn't Aged: Level Design
Modern FPS games are fairly linear and use waypoints so players don't get lost. It is convenient, but takes away from the element of discovery and satisfaction shooters from the 90s gave to the fanbase. In this way, Doom surpasses most of its modern counterparts, proving that old games still offer valuable experiences.
It is fortunate that the game is consistently ported so that these labyrinthine levels, filled with obtuse secrets and hidden areas, are easily playable. Some may not have the patience to explore all of these levels, but those that do are handsomely rewarded.
5 Doesn't Hold Up: Aiming
Before 1993, FPS games did not use stairs. Doom introduced verticality into its levels, but aiming was still done on a two dimensional plane. When enemies were above the player, bullets would just kind of make their way to a target if the gun was pointing in its general direction.
It helps keep the game simple for newcomers, but genre veterans would prefer the ability to aim up and down. It is fortunate modern ports have kept the game as it is, but an option for 3D aiming would be welcome. Those wanting a true 3D experience can still play Quake.
4 Hasn't Aged: Difficulty
Old games are known for their intense difficulty and sometimes obtuse level design. Modern audiences can barely wrap their heads around many classic titles, often referring to a guide for progression.
Doom avoids this by offering five difficulty levels, giving a way for people of all abilities to comfortably play. Newbies can take half damage on the lowest difficulty, while hardcore fans can test their mettle with the nightmare difficulty. Navigation will always prove a challenge for the unitiated, however.
3 Doesn't Hold Up: Violence
Violent video games were very controversial in the early 90s, and Doom was right at the forefront of the debate. Enemies fall apart into a bloody mess upon defeat. By today's standards, however, it is hardly anything to get upset over.
One can still discern the red pixels as blood, but its limitations make the gore far less vulgar. It gets even more tame when compared to modern violence in video games, but it more than makes up for this with its all-around brutal atmosphere.
2 Hasn't Aged: Enemies
Fast-paced gameplay would be nothing if the enemies weren't menacing and scary. Despite Doom's limitations, the monsters still manage to feel inspired and frightening. It says a lot when the remake's baddies are mostly modern interpretations of the classic demons that hunted players in the classic title.
Every enemy puts people in awe of Id's unbridled creativity. These twisted creations are on par with H.R. Giger paintings, though carry a look all their own.
1 Doesn't Hold Up: Features
Doom features a wealth of levels, deathmatch, and cooperative play. Beyond that, the game offers little in the way of replayability. More features would have been nice, but it is pretty barebones as is. To be fair, there are quite a few levels, and the game is cheap these days.
On the PC, healthy support from the modding community has extended the game's lifespan indefinitely. It would go a long away towards making the console versions more appealing if the most popular mods made their way to home systems. That may be asking too much, though, and it is already cool enough that these classics are on modern hardware.