I played Doom I & II on my old Pentium 120 MHz computer as a child but I didn’t realize I was playing wrong. I never played it with functioning music and I played it with only a keyboard. Oh, and I also leveraged cheats and quick saves and quick loads with no regard for integrity. Fast forward 20+ years and I finally finished Doom I and II on the Nintendo Switch.
I still relied on quick saving/loading but I didn’t use any cheats despite the final level of Doom II throwing out all semblance of sanity. I played it with a controller (which many will argue isn’t ideal), but at least I played through it with the music this time.
Thankfully, after some critical patches, these Nintendo Switch ports were solid minus the occasional issue with resuming properly from sleep. They did their best to map all those keys to the controller and I felt they mostly succeeded. I played on the default difficulty so I wasn’t exactly being asked to switch weapons on the fly.
In my youth, I actually played Doom II before playing Doom I. Doom felt simpler and offered a sense of progression that the sequel omitted which felt strange considering my young mind. Back then, I believed sequels should be better and Doom II wasn’t in some respects. Sure, I missed the double barrel shotgun but I appreciated the idea of purging the demons of Hell from the Martian moons one installation at a time.
The levels were relatively straightforward. Juggle card keys, find switches, and shoot demons. It wasn’t mindless but it didn’t test me like Doom II would. I tried playing the Ultimate Doom episode, Thy Flesh Consumed, but found those levels uncharacteristically taxing coming from Doom’s original episodes. That episode felt like moving from Super Mario Bros. to Super Mario Bros. Lost Level; they took what was familiar and twisted it. They tried to test and push the player’s gameplay knowledge to a degree that I wasn’t looking for.
So I decided to move onto Doom II. The opening levels were reminiscent of Doom’s but it didn’t take long before things became interesting. Most of the time, interesting was good. However, interesting transformed itself into gimmicky culminating with that awful final boss.
Doom II felt like a game made to take advantage of the fact that you can quick save. There were so many blind teleports, monster traps, and other nonsense that I just kept quick saving to save myself time. I also wasted a lot of time wandering maps large and relatively uninteresting maps, looking for less than obvious entrances or switches that I missed in order to progress.
Still, I had my share of fun and I felt that sense of accomplishment when I finally nailed the final rocket shot and defeated the final boss.
Doom was a classic sci-fi action shooter that ushered in the era of first person shooters that we know today. Doom II was a for fans of Doom who wanted to be tested and pushed by the creators of that classic. Both have value and I see no reason not to recommend them both but if you only have time for one, the original is still great fun.
Verdict for Doom:
I liked it
Verdict for Doom II:
It was okay