Doom 64, released March 31, 1997 for the Nintendo 64, is a sequel to Doom II. The game has all new graphics and runs on a modified Doom engine, based on the Sony PlayStation port. Doom 64 was released by Midway, in cooperation with id Software. GT Interactive Software distributed the European PAL version of the game, which was released on December 2, 1997.
The plot focuses on events following the original games in the series. An evil entity known as the Mother Demon has survived and brought back the decaying dead creatures the player once killed. It is up to him, the lone space marine, to stop the legions once again.
The game has not officially been ported to modern platforms, although a faithful fan-made engine recreation exists in the form of Doom64 EX.
Quoted from the Doom 64 manual:
Your fatigue was enormous, the price for encountering pure evil. Hell was a place no mortal was meant to experience. Stupid military doctors: their tests and treatments, were of little help. In the end, what did it matter - it was all classified and sealed. The nightmares continued. Demons, so many Demons; relentless, pouring through.
The planetary policy was clear. An absolute quarantine was guaranteed by apocalyptic levels of radiation. The empty dark corridors stand motionless, abandoned. The installations sealed.
A long forgotten relay satellite barely executing, decayed by years of bombarding neutrons, activates and sends its final message to Earth. The satellites message was horrific, from the planetary void there came energy signatures unlike anything sampled before.
The classified archives are opened. The military episodes code named "DOOM" were not actually completed. A single entity with vast rejuvenation powers, masked by the extreme radiation levels, escaped detection. In its crippled state, it systematically altered decaying dead carnage back into corrupted living tissue.The mutations are devastating. The Demons have returned even stronger and more vicious than before. As the only experienced survivor of the DOOM episode, your commission is re-activated. Your assignment is clear: MERCILESS EXTERMINATION.
Changes were carried across from the Atari Jaguar and PlayStation ports of the Doom engine, along with additional tweaks made specifically for Doom 64, and many gameplay elements were altered. Doom's core gameplay, however remained the same: the exploration of demon-infested corridors, looking for key cards, switches and ultimately the map's exit while surviving deadly traps and ambushes.
Key differences from the computer games in the series include:
- 32 exclusive new levels.
- New, larger sprites for all enemies, items, weapons and projectiles, created from high-poly rendered models.
- Three-sample bilinear filtering applied to textures and sprites courtesy of the Nintendo 64's hardware.
- All-new textures, scrolling skies, limited room-over-room architecture, and more advanced line triggers.
- More advanced atmospheric colored lighting and effects, such as parallaxing skies, fog and lightning.
- A new dark ambient soundtrack composed by Aubrey Hodges.
- High-quality sound effects (the same as used in the PlayStation version).
- No status bar. Instead, only the numbers for health, armor and ammo are shown on the HUD, and even these can be turned off.
- Scripted events through macros, similar to Hexen's ACS. Uses include sequences which dramatically transform areas, tripwire booby traps such as darts and homing fireball launchers, and enemies that appear out of thin air.
- Camera effects.
- Dramatic usage of dark light levels, ambient music, and Satanic imagery (pentagrams, inverted crosses, and gory depictions of human sacrifice) to create an atmosphere which invokes a sense of horror.
- No commandos, arch-viles, spiderdemons or revenants (cut due to the limited storage capacity of Nintendo 64 cartridges).
- A new demon-made weapon called the Unmaker, which can increase in power throughout the game.
- The nightmare imp and Mother Demon are introduced as new monsters.
- The super shotgun reloads much faster, with nearly the same reload time as the regular shotgun. This makes it one of the most essential weapons in the game.
- Like the Playstation and Saturn ports, the Hell knight and baron of Hell can hurt each other with their projectiles, and infight as a result, unlike the PC version where there is a hard-coded exception for them.
- Certain monsters are rebalanced with new behaviors or attack properties. For example, arachnotrons have a weaker twin plasma gun instead of a stronger single-barrel one; lost souls are weaker with less health, but attack viciously, making them one of the most dangerous enemies; pain elementals spawn two souls at a time when attacking, and the souls will cause massive splash damage to anything in the vicinity if they are blocked from spawning.
- Some monster corpses disappear shortly after being killed.
- Recoil effects when firing the weapons, e.g., being knocked back a few inches from firing a rocket.
All weapons from Doom II are present (albeit redrawn), along with a new weapon known as the Unmaker or the LaserGun (referenced in-game as "What the !@#%* is this!"). It was first mentioned in the Doom Bible and was planned to be featured in the computer Doom games but never appeared. Its appearance in Doom 64 is its only official appearance, and with the power of three ancient artifacts (known as "Demon Keys") found in the game, it becomes more powerful by additional beams with each key found.
The Demon Keys are also a means to clear MAP28: The Absolution quicker: Each teleporter in the map has a symbol representing each key behind them and if the player has the right key, the corresponding teleporter is disabled.
Doom 64 featured 32 original levels:
One additional special map, MAP33: Title, is used in the introductory cinematic and is not accessible for normal play.
- Baron of hell
- Hell knight
- Lost soul
- Pain elemental
- Shotgun guy
Doom 64 also has new monsters, which are:
Doom 64 was released in Europe for PAL consoles and in Japan. Both of the localized versions alter the default brightness setting of the game to the middle of its range rather than the North American release's default, which was the lowest setting. This was likely due to recognition that the game's lighting was too dark out of the box on most television sets (this continues to pose a problem for streaming events such as Games Done Quick, where even the brightest available setting still requires significant gamma correction).
The Japanese version is additionally censored, with blood splatter having been made green, as was the case with many Nintendo 64 titles such as Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. Unlike the Game Boy Advance ports, however, blood remains red on monster death sprites and gib objects.
There has thus far never been an official port of Doom 64 to any other platform.
Samuel "Kaiser" Villarreal, the lead developer of the Absolution total conversion, would later create Doom64 EX, an actual source port for the original game data as extracted from the ROM, based on reverse engineering of the program's code. It aims to be a 100% accurate recreation, while offering extensions such as widescreen high-resolution graphics, gamma correction, mouse look, and other more minor improvements.
- A group of Doom 64 fans led by Samuel Villarreal decided to work to convert the game's exclusive content to the computer using the Doomsday engine. This stand-alone mod, built on the 1.7.14 release of Doomsday, titled Doom 64: Absolution, was released in 2003. It includes faithful albeit limited recreations of the original Doom 64 levels and monsters along with several unique new maps. It appealed to many fans as a way to play through the game on a computer without using emulation.
- Doom 64: Retribution recreates Doom 64 as mod for GZDoom. It is not intended to be a 100% faithful re-implementation. It works within the confines of the GZDoom engine and updates several graphics. In addition to the original levels it contains new episodes made up of levels from Doom 64 Absolution.
- Brutal Doom 64 is similar to Retribution but diverges even more from the original. It features updates to the maps themselves, added graphical effects, more aggressive enemy behaviour, and additional weapons and monsters.
- Doom 64 for Doom II is a vanilla-compatible recreation using mainly vanilla Doom II assets. Unlike the original game, the "fun levels" have been integrated into the game's progression.
The Doom 64 ROM cartridge for NTSC and PAL regions consists of a standard gray Nintendo 64 cartridge with a black label emblazoned with the game's logo at the top. The NTSC and PAL carts differ in the logos and ratings included below. The Japanese version has a gray stone texture and a much larger logo, with the text "ドゥーム 64" beneath. Distributor GameBank's logo is at the bottom in a black bar.
- The name of the final level, "The Absolution," was originally the working title for the Doom 64 project during its prototype phase. According to programmer Aaron Seeler, the game started out as a much more ambitious project which was meant to deviate significantly from the vanilla Doom formula. The final game inherits many of its texture themes, with hints of Egyptian, Mayan, and Aztec styles, from this early prototype development phase. These were originally intended to represent various Earthly cultures' concepts of Hell, inside which the game would be entirely based.
- The title of Absolution was to again be recycled for the short-lived sequel project, Doom Absolution, which was canceled.
- Many early magazine review screenshots display a much more conservative use of colored lighting, with the feature being used more often to simply create contrast and shadowing, or to highlight important objects. This is in contrast to the final release, which applies some type of palette, even if subtle, to virtually every surface and space in the game.
- Doom 64 at MobyGames
- Doom 64 Recon Guide
- Doom 64 gameplay resources and information at ClassicDOOM.com
- Interview with the Doom 64 level designers (archived)
- Aubrey Hodges interview
- The official website of "Doom 64: Absolution" PC download (archived)
- The Page of Doom: Doom 64
- Doom 64 - FAQs & Guides
- Doom 64 at The Cutting Room Floor
- FirebrandX (29 October 2002). "I talked to Aaron Seeler!!." Doom Depot/Castlevania Treasury Forums. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
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