Monday 22 June 2015

Doom (32X review)

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1994

Doom is a first-person shooter and one of the launch titles for Sega's 32X add-on (alongside Star Wars Arcade).

The object in most levels to locate coloured keys to open locked doors and eventually reach the exit. Unlike other home console ports that have 22+ levels this 32X version only has a measly 17. To make things worse the last two are only accessible if you play through the whole game in one sitting without using any cheats or the level select feature on the Main Menu. The action moves along at a snappy pace but the play area doesn't take up the full screen, likely due to performance issues. Instead the window is cropped and a horrible stone border covers the edges. All the usual weapons are available including a shotgun, a rocket launcher, a chain gun and a chainsaw. For some bizarre reason the shotgun has a ridiculous range and firing from a distance is akin to using a highly effective sniper rifle! Unless you have a 6 button Mega Drive controller you'll need to hold both Start and C to switch weapons which is a bit cumbersome and not conducive to split-second strategy. You can definitely tell that development time was rushed as I encountered major bugs including the game locking up twice and displaying a 'Bus Error'. There's also a fair bit of slowdown, a frame-rate that ranges from useable to almost unplayable and textures that sometimes fail to load entirely! The graphics are very pixelated and at times it's difficult to see whether the object in the distance is an enemy or part of the scenery.  The music isn't as good as the SNES version but it's much punchier than the puny tunes featured in the Atari Jaguar port.

Doom on the 32X comes across as a rushed port that was released early just so it could be part of the launch line-up. It's possible to forgive the small gameplay window but the number of serious bugs make it hard to recommend over the more polished and feature-rich Atari Jaguar and PS1 versions.

Random trivia: If you use the level select feature or input a cheat it's impossible to see the real ending. Instead the credits roll after Level 15 and the game hangs at a DOS prompt with the word DOOM!

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