Super NES

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Box art for the SNES version of Doom

Doom for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was developed by Sculptured Software, Inc. It was released on September 1, 1995, near the end of the system's life cycle. The cartridge features a Super FX 2 chip, and was one of only three SNES games to feature a colored cartridge, with the NTSC version being available in a red casing. The game does not use the Doom engine, but features a custom engine programmed by Randy Linden. It was published by Williams Entertainment in North America and Europe, and by Imagineer in Japan. Distributor Ocean Software cooperated on the European release.

Details[edit]

A screenshot from the SNES version of Doom

Doom for the Super Nintendo features 22 levels from the PC version. The status bar is rearranged, though it keeps the concrete theme of the PC version, featuring an image of the weapon currently held instead of the original ammo numbers. Unique to this port, the floors and ceilings lack texture mapping, with sectors being assigned two solid colors for the floor and ceiling out of a palette of 256 choices. The game lacks any back-up or password system, meaning that each episode must be finished from the beginning. Multiplayer was available through the XBAND network. Due to memory limitations, the enemies only display from the front, causing them to appear to always face the player. Because of this, and perhaps to conserve processing power, monster infighting was not implemented, although it was made possible for monsters of the same type to damage each other with projectiles. Also as a likely means to conserve processing power, sound propagation is unused, rendering all enemies deaf. Due to deficiencies in the game's controller reading routine, circlestrafing is not possible, though standard strafing via the L and R buttons is functional. The game runs at the system's most commonly used resolution of 256 x 224, though it does not fill the entire screen; it runs in a window surrounded by a black frame.

Interestingly, the maps used in the Super Nintendo port are derived from the PC version as opposed to the Atari Jaguar version, as every other port until the Xbox version used. This means that they are actually more intricate and detailed than their counterparts on the more powerful consoles, though they are still re-textured to a degree as a result of reduction in the pool of available textures. The cyberdemon and spiderdemon monsters that the Atari Jaguar, Sega 32X, and 3DO versions lack are also present. The musical score plays new arrangements of each track written for the SPC700 sound co-processor, rather than the PC version's MUS songs. Liberties taken include changing distorted guitars to orchestral strings in select tracks, and rearranging the levels on which some songs play. Like the 3DO port, this version's music is generally considered to be of high quality compared to its competitors.

The US and European releases of the game have a unique difficulty system wherein later episodes can only be accessed on harder difficulties. However, this is subverted in the later Japanese release, which restores full access to any episode from any skill level. For performance reasons, this port lacks transparent midtextures like its Jaguar counterpart.

The automap display takes advantage of the rotating and scaling of the Super FX chip, with the entire map spinning around the player's position rather than the player being portrayed with an arrow. Due to system limitations, no particles such as blood impacts, smoke or bullet sparks are present in the game - indeed, the shotgun does not fire seven individual shots as normal, but rather functions something like a slug gun or hunting rifle. This allows a player to shoot—and be shot —from a distance using the shotgun with no decrease in power. Moreover, the player's chaingun is now capable of single fire (although emptying one's bullet stock still produces a doubled sound effect). Finally, Nightmare mode does not feature respawning monsters, but still contains very fast and tough monsters.

As stated before, blood on bullet impacts is removed, though given the lack of censorship in all other aspects of the content, as well as the lack of bullet puffs, it is likely that this was done for performance reasons rather than as any attempt to tone down the game's violence.

Levels[edit]

Level name
E1M1: Hangar
E1M2: Nuclear Plant
E1M3: Toxin Refinery
E1M4: Command Control
E1M5: Phobos Lab
E1M6: Computer Station
E1M7: Phobos Anomaly
E1M8: Military Base (secret level, accessible from E1M3)
E2M1: Deimos Anomaly
E2M2: Refinery
E2M3: Deimos Lab
E2M4: Halls of the Damned
E2M5: Tower of Babel
E2M6: Fortress of Mystery (secret level, accessible from E2M2)
E3M1: Hell Keep
E3M2: Slough of Despair
E3M3: Pandemonium
E3M4: House of Pain
E3M5: Mt. Erebus
E3M6: Limbo
E3M7: Dis
E3M8: Warrens (secret level, accessible from E3M5)

Other differences[edit]

  • Due to the absence of transparent midtextures, the level design does differ from the PC version in some areas, and compensation is handled inconsistently. In Hangar, the wall grates in the final room before the exit switch are simply absent, making this the only version of Doom allowing you and the monsters to move freely between those areas. In Toxin Refinery, the grates lining the perimeter of the nukage pit in the beginning have been replaced with sector-based safety ramps, similar to the Jaguar version. However, there is no replacement for the missing grates blocking the courtyard in the secret accessed via the yellow card, though it remains impassable.
  • In the absence of Command Center, the secret exit for The Shores of Hell is now located in Refinery, behind the secret supercharge in the nukage near the exit, unlocked with an added switch. This new room contains three energy cell packs, two boxes of rockets, one cacodemon on Ultra-Violence and higher, and two imps on Hurt Me Plenty and lower.
  • Rockets are much stronger, and are able to take out enemies such as the baron of Hell with only three shots versus the five to six required in the PC version.
  • The plasma gun is significantly stronger and uses fewer sprites in its firing sequence.
  • It is possible for the player to collide with his own fired projectiles (such as rockets and plasma) if the projectiles are fired while the player is running.
  • The BFG does not display an explosion graphic as it does in other versions; it simply fires a round that looks like a baron fireball and causes a ripple effect without the animation.
  • All three of the aforementioned weapons utilize the imp/cacodemon/baron fireball launching sound effect when fired.
  • In a rather humorous fashion, the cyberdemon's rockets fire out backwards. This is an unfortunate side effect of the developers using single-angled sprites, seeming to forget that the player and cyberdemon share this projectile.
  • Many sound effects have been simplified. They are sampled at a lower rate, and there is far more reuse than there is in the PC version. Pinky demons share the imp's pain and death sounds, and rocket and barrel explosions share the generic fireball explosion sounds.
  • This is the only version of Doom to use cylindrical collision on actors. All other versions use rectangular bounding boxes, with fixed alignment no matter which angle the actor is facing.

Multiplayer[edit]

Though unmentioned by the game itself, the XBAND modem network supported multiplayer deathmatch games for two players. On connecting, both players would be presented with the list of all 22 levels in the game. If both players selected the same map, game play would begin on that level immediately. Otherwise, players had 15 seconds to finalize their selections and, if different, the game would select any one of the levels at random. Players would spawn at deathmatch spots as in the PC version, and multiplayer-only items would appear in their usual locations; for example, the chaingun is available in the final room of E1M1: Hangar.

Deathmatches would last until one player achieved five frags, which are displayed on the status bar as in the PC port, or any player hit an exit switch. The game would then return to the level select menu. This would continue until one player or the other disconnected.

Some limitations of the port are further evident in this mode, as player sprites are also only visible from one angle, both players appear green in color, and they always display the "firing" attack frame. When a player dies, he or she simply disappears, leaving no corpse or gibs. While music still plays, sound effects are disabled, either due to performance or game synchronization concerns.

Since the demise of the XBAND network in April 1997, it is no longer technologically possible to trigger the game's multiplayer component, and no emulators have yet been created that can replicate it.

Easter eggs[edit]

Secret message visible at the bottom of the sky texture.

At the bottom of the Knee-Deep in the Dead sky texture is a message reading, "Randy Linden ♥ Jodi Harvey." This easter egg can only be seen if the player looks inside the ROM's graphical resources, or uses a Pro Action Replay code that allows walking through walls in areas where the sky is visible.

Within the ROM itself, a hidden message can be found which reads, "Rage / Reality Engine written by Randy Linden. Special thanks to my loving wife, Jodi Harvey." It can only be found if the ROM file is opened in a hex editor, and is found at position 10F (271 in decimal).

Physical media[edit]

The NTSC version of the game cartridge is highly unique. Along with the critically acclaimed 1994 Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, it is one of only two games for the Super Nintendo to utilize a red plastic casing. Other regions were not so well treated: the PAL and Japanese versions of the game use standard form factor gray cartridges, and have lower quality, awkwardly positioned and cropped versions of the box art which are largely covered with small white copyright and trademark boilerplate text.

The instruction manual for the NTSC version is also special. It eschews the standard front page design of SNES booklets for a mock-up of a military field guide, which doubles as the manual's table of contents. This theme is kept throughout, with the three-ring binder appearance and faux tabs on every page. Again, other regions' booklets are less unique. The text inside the booklet is largely the same as the PC manual, though differences exist to account for the game's platform and slightly different mechanics.

Trivia[edit]

  • According to John Romero, the Super Nintendo port of Doom was developed secretly by Sculptured Software and then brought to id fully complete in order to request permission for it to be published. Romero states that id's response was, "Oh hell yeah!"[1] The involvement of Williams in its publishing would later lead to that company also handling ports to the PlayStation and Nintendo 64.
  • This version of Doom and Doom II for Game Boy Advance were the only official console versions to use custom engines instead of the original Doom engine.

References[edit]

  1. Romero, John (15 January 2009). "Doom History 1994." planetromero.com (archived 🏛). Retrieved 26 October 2015.

External links[edit]


Williams Entertainment • Midway Games
WilliamsLogo.png Midway Games logo.png
Source code genealogy
New code base Doom for Super Nintendo Closed source