When you think of the most iconic first person shooters ever made, there aren’t many that come to mind more often than ID Software’s 1993 classic, DOOM. Since the game’s initial release, the DOOM legacy has included several other video games (sequels, remakes and “clones”), comic books, novels, and a 2005 live-action film.
Along the way, the franchise has seen some ups and downs, twists and turns, but at the end of the day it remains one of the most iconic video game franchises ever. My first experience with DOOM was at my babysitter’s house when I was seven years old – being a father now, I can attest that a babysitter letting a seven year old play DOOM was not the most awesome thing to do, but at the time I thought it was super rad. I was immediately drawn in by the frenetic first person combat, as the majority of games I played at the time were not nearly as fast-paced – but what kept me hanging on was the strategy and complexity around completing, and discovering the secrets hidden within, each level. I have since completed DOOM more times than I can count on both the SNES and various emulators, and I’ve taken on the forces of Hell in every iteration of the game since then – and in honor of the awesome DOOM item in September’s METAL Loot Gaming Crate, I’m going to break down my favorite DOOM memories!
The OG DOOM Experience – What better place to start, then where it all started? Like I mentioned, my first adventure as the horribly unlucky Space Marine (aka “Doom Guy”) taking on the forces of Hell was when I was seven years old. I could never beat the game during my babysitting, and after much convincing my mother gave in and picked up a copy of it from Blockbuster (RIP Blockbuster, gone but not forgotten!). During my five day rental, I was finally able to take on the forces of hell and come out victorious – but my favorite memory from my first completion of DOOM didn’t come from taking on the last boss, but instead came from one of the cooler reveals of the whole game which took place at the end of the second “act”. The first two sections of the game have you mowing down demons and what not across both of Mars’ moons, Phobos first, followed my Deimos. At the end of the Deimos act you take on the massive Cyberdemon – which was a cool reveal and and of itself, as this creature was not included in the original manual for the game, therefore being a big surprise to gamers when they faced him. The big reveal came after beating the Cyberdemon and you discover that while Phobos was still circling Mars, Deimos wasn’t. Instead, Doom Guy discovers he’s actually floating above Hell! It was super neat at the time, and was a really rad set up for the final “Inferno” act.
Chex Quest, the “greatest” DOOM clone – A big part of DOOM’s legacy comes not just from the sequel and remake video games, but from the “clones” of DOOM. In fact, for a few years after the game’s release, the term “DOOM Clone” was basically synonymous with any first person shooter in general that came out at that time. However, one of the most hilarious “DOOM Clones” has to be the 1996 classic Chex Quest. Created by a small studio called Digital Cafe, Chex Quest was a non-violent first person shooter created to be a promotion for none other than the Chex cereal. All of the weapons and armor and upgrades are cereal themed, and instead of facing off against demons, the “Chex Warrior” dons cereal-shaped armor and battles against Flemoids, slimy little green baddies that, I assume, want to steal cereal from all the kiddos in the world? The game was designed to be played by young kids, aged 6+. Here’s the thing, though… I got to play this one time, and I thought it was pretty ridiculous, but it turns out it was a surprisingly effective marketing tool – so effective, in fact, that the game won several awards from 1996 to 1998 for achievement in marketing and promotion – who woulda thought?!
DOOM 3, the spookiest DOOM – While I love the fast-paced feel of most of the DOOM games, there’s a part of me that likes to slow things down and get a little more spooky – sort of like, sometimes you just wanna watch Alien instead of Aliens, ya know what I’m saying? Anyway… When I heard they were making DOOM 3, and that it was going to act like a remake of sorts, I was stoked because I wanted to put my new gaming PC to the test, and DOOM 3 was some of the best graphics on the market at the time. What I didn’t expect, though, was a bit of a change up as far as how the game itself played, what the overall experience of the game was going to feel like. And I was very pleasantly surprised that DOOM 3 was a really nice blend of first person shooter combat, and survival horror. The atmosphere of the game was some of the coolest and spookiest at the time, and honestly some of the scary moments, early on in the game especially, are my favorite scary moments in horror games in general. The scariest moment? Well, I had some noise cancelling headphones on during an early section of the game, and while spooky children whispered in my headphones, I turned a corner and looked directly at some kind of zombie-demon thing reaching out to me from underneath a set of stairs. I screamed just a little bit…
DOOM and The Rock – Look, this is easily the most controversial of my favorite memories, but I’m going to embrace what I love and say it loud and proud: I loved 2005’s live-action DOOM movie starring Karl Urban and Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson. I fully admit that I am an unabashed fanboy of video game movies, as I will give almost any of them a chance, and I will usually really enjoy them even if they’re deemed a flop by critics, because what the hell do they know? I thought the DOOM movie did a great job capturing the overall atmosphere of the games, and more specifically capturing more of the spookiness from DOOM 3. I didn’t have a problem with any of the acting performances, and I really enjoyed the effects. That said… I do have to agree that the section near the end of the movie that’s all in first person was a little bit over the top, but at the end of the day I still loved the move so don’t at me!