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DescriptionThe Union Aerospace Corporation has been experimenting with teleportation technology on Mars' moons Phobos and Deimos. After early successes, something goes wrong. It seems the scientists have opened a gateway straight to Hell. Phobos base is overrun with demonic creatures, and the whole of Deimos simply vanishes. A squad of marines is sent to Phobos, but all except one are quickly slaughtered. It falls to the surviving marine to grab some guns and strike back at the demons.
id Software's follow-up to their genre-defining Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM is another first-person 3D shooter: full-on action seen from the space marine's perspective. Like Wolfenstein, the game consists of distinct episodes, playable in any order. The first episode, Knee-Deep in the Dead, takes place in the Phobos base and is freely available as shareware. The full game continues on Deimos in The Shores of Hell and culminates in Inferno, the final episode which takes place in Hell itself (the Sega 32x version lacks this episode).
The basic objective in each level is simply to reach the exit. Since dozens of enemies stand in the way, the only way to get there is through killing them. Switches and buttons must be pressed to advance at certain points and often color-coded locked doors will block the way - matching keycards or skull keys must be found to pass.
The game's engine technology is more advanced than Wolfenstein's, and thus the levels are more varied and complex. The engine simulates different heights (stairs and lifts appear frequently) and different lighting conditions (some rooms are pitch black, others only barely illuminated). There are outdoor areas, pools of radioactive waste that hurt the player, ceilings that come down and crush him, and unlike Wolfenstein's orthogonally aligned corridors, the walls in DOOM can be in any angle to each other. An automap helps in navigating the levels.
Stylistically, the levels begin with a futuristic theme in the military base on Phobos and gradually change to a hellish environment, complete with satanic symbols (pentagrams, upside-down-crosses and portraits of horned demons), hung-up mutilated corpses and the distorted faces of the damned.
DOOM features a large weapon arsenal, with most weapons having both advantages and drawbacks. The starting weapons are the fists and a simple pistol. Also available are a shotgun (high damage, slow reload, not good at distances), a chaingun (high firing rate, but slightly inaccurate in longer bursts) and a plasma rifle (combining a high firing rate and large damage). The rocket launcher also deals out lots of damage, but the explosion causes blast damage and must be used with care in confined areas or it might prove deadly to the player as well as the enemies. Two further weapons in the game are the chainsaw for close-quarter carnage, and the BFG9000 energy gun, that, while taking some practice to fire correctly, can destroy most enemies in a single burst. The different weapons use four different ammunition types (bullets, shells, rockets and energy cells), so collecting the right type for a certain gun is important.
The game drops some of Wolfenstein's arcade-inspired aspects, so there are no extra lives or treasures to be collected for points, but many other power-ups are still available. Medpacks heal damage while armor protects from receiving it in the first place. Backpacks allow more ammunition to be carried, a computer map reveals the whole layout of the level on the automap (including any secret areas), light amplification visors illuminate dark areas and radiation suits allow travel over waste without taking damage. Also available are berserk packs (which radically increase the damage inflicted by the fists) as well as short-time invisibility and invulnerability power-ups.
The enemies to be destroyed include former humans corrupted during the invasion, plus demons in all shapes and sizes: fireball-throwing imps, floating skulls, pink-skinned demons with powerful bite attacks and large one-eyed flying monstrosities called Cacodemons. Each episode ends with a boss battle against one or two especially powerful creatures.
DOOM popularized multiplayer in the genre with two different modes: Cooperative allows players to move through the single-player game together, while Deathmatch is a competitive game type where players blast at each other to collect 'frag' points for a kill and re-spawn in a random location after being killed.
The 3DO and Sega32x ports lack any multiplayer modes, though the other ports retain the DOS versions multiplayer to varying degree. The various console ports all feature simplified levels and omit some levels, enemies and features from the original DOS release. The SNES and Gameboy Advanced versions of the game actually use different engines and hence feature numerous small gameplay differences.
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The Press Says
3DO versionThe 3DO release contains exclusive, CD-quality remixes of the PC's background music.
Administrator toolDOOM was proposed for use as a tool for systems administrators in Dennis Chow's paper Doom as an Interface for Process Management; in it, through a modified version of DOOM (PSDoom or the Doom Process Manager), processes are depicted as enemies whose share of systems resources can be diminished by attacking them and which are completely terminated when their avatars are killed. (On a loaded system in which all programs' performances are strained, processes may begin attacking each other, aggressively competing - as in Core War - for system resources).
CheatsThe SPISPOPD cheat code (no clipping) stands for "Smashing Pumpkins Into Small Piles Of Putrid Debris". It has nothing to do with the band - rather, it's a reference to a little-known shareware game of the time.
Demo sceneIt was the first game to make a head-first mention in a demo (a 64k intro: Cyboman by Gazebo) a couple of days after DOOM was spread. The uptight demo-scene back then actually accepted the game, especially for its amazing graphics and execution. Until that time, most demosceners considered games to be far behind demos in terms of technology.
DoomguyAlthough on the box cover of the game the Doomguy carries a weapon in his right hand, in the game, he is left handed - from the first person view, he carries his weapon in his left hand and also punches with his left fist. The hands of the Doomguy, which millions of players believed to belong to themselves, actually are Kevin Cloud's - one of the art developers. In the very early stages of DOOM the DoomGuy's right ear could take damage and turn into flimsy peace of flesh. This was removed in the later versions of DOOM.
EnemiesThe design of the monster Cacodemon is very similar to the beholder, a classic AD&D monster (with eye stalks instead of horns). Although the death animations of some monsters (Cacodemon, Baron of Hell) show that their blood is blue or green, when shooting or damaging these monsters while they are still alive, their blood is always red, and never any other colour.
Fake Atari 2600 PortMany people thought there was an Atari 2600 port of DOOM in development when images of the port started spreading around the Internet, including pictures of the cartridge, a magazine ad and screenshots from the game. These turned out to be the results of a college project rendered on an Atari 800 computer by James Catalano, who for a joke posted them on a Usenet newsgroup.
German versionThe German version of the Game Boy Advance port does feature green blood and removed splatter effects. Additonally corpses disappear almost instantly and all corpses which were used as part of the level decortion were removed.
GraphicsDOOM had a low-res mode (toggled via F5) that doubled the width of the pixels being plotted by messing with the write mask in unchained VGA mode. That, coupled with the triple-buffering used, made the game majorly fast and quite playable on a 386/40. It was not present in DOOM II however (only in alpha versions): Carmack was experimenting with a Hi-Color mode that allowed more than 256 colors on the screen, but that mode halved resolution. He wanted to see what it would look like because it got rid of the color-banding due to the diminished lighting, but 160-pixels horizontally looked very bad so they removed it. Up to version 1.1, it was possible to run the game on three monitors at once, giving a 270-degree field of vision.
MultiplayerDOOM was the first game to include a deathmatch mode, in which up to four players can compete over a network or in split screen. Maps used for deathmatch were the single-player levels, made less linear. In December 1993, Intel issued a company-wide memo banning DOOM from their networks. Many big companies issued similar orders, not just because of lost productivity but because it rendered most networks inoperative. Up until version 1.2, the game sent data through high-level broadcast packets that forced every computer on a net (no matter whether they were running the game or not) to transfer the data.
MusicMuch of the music in DOOM (and DOOM II) is likely to be inspired by songs of famous heavy metal bands. For example, the music from E1M1 is similar to Metallica's No Remorse (some also say that it is very similar to Master of Puppets), that in E1M4 resembles Rise by Pantera, and the music from E2M1 is similar to AC/DC's Big Gun.
NovelsDafydd Ab Hugh and Brad Linaweaver wrote a set of four novels about the DOOM universe. They were published between June 1995 and January 1996 by Pocket Books. You can view the covers on this fanpage.
References in pop culture
Rocket jumpingDOOM was the first game to include rocket jumping. Only, it worked a bit different from later first person shooters - instead of aiming at the ground (which you couldn't do in the game), you stand near a monster and shoot him with a rocket launcher. The result would be that you fly a bit higher, just like with a rocket jump.
SEGA 32x versionThis version contains only seventeen maps, taken from the "Knee Deep in the Dead" and "The Shores of Hell" episodes. No maps from the third episode, "Inferno", have been included. Maps present: E1M1-E1M8 and E2M1-E2M7, as well as the two secret levels E1M9 and E2M9. After the end credits, the game concludes by reverting to a fake DOS prompt if the player activated the cheat codes. This screen cannot be exited without shutting off the system. If the game was beaten without cheating, the prompt will not be shown; rather the player will see a montage of enemies encountered in the game, just as in DOOM II.
SNES versionThe U.S. SNES version of DOOM was one of the few releases for the console to have a colored cartridge (Killer Instinct being another one), namely a red one. Besides this, due to limitations of the SNES hardware, the enemies in the game do not have sides or backs, and are always facing the player. All blood and splatter effects were removed.
Source codeOn 23 December, 1997, id Software released the source code. You can download it from id's FTP. A source port, the Doomsday Engine, was created by some fans. One of the supported games is JDoom.
Text adventureIn 1996, the first level of the first episode was implemented by Piers Johnson in TADS, resulting in FooM - a text adventure game interface for DOOM. Down-loadable with source at http://mirror.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/tads/foom.tar.gz
Version 1.4With patch 1.4, including all later re-releases and ports, a detail in the "Command Center" level was changed: A few computers were arranged as swastikas before.
Windows 95 PromoThe level E1M2: Nuclear Plant was used for Bill Gates' promo for Windows 95.
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Satoshi Kunsai (1817) added DOOM (Jaguar) on Jun 10, 2002