id Software Hoedown
Thanks to the Steam Summer sale I now have all of the Doom and Quake games, excluding Quake 4. I’m not sure how interested people are in my whole new-retro shtick, but I figure I might as well talk about them since I’ve been playing them a lot lately. I don’t have enough to say to warrant a post for each individual game, but if I bundle my thoughts on all the games into one post I’m sure it can work.
I’m aware that Doom is one of the first FPS games ever made, and I must say that I’m quite impressed. The combat works well and has a decent flow to it. The levels are big and sprawling, and praise be to Odin, there’s actually an intuitive map you can look at. The guns actually feel fairly different from one another, and the monsters have enough variety to prevent it from feeling too repetitive.
I played Duke Nukem 3D a few months back via Good Old Games, and I detested it. I assumed that was because I just couldn’t get into the whole “2.5D” thing, but that’s not the case, because I’ve been enjoying Doom 1 quite a lot. No, the real reason I didn’t like Duke was because the controls were very clunky.
The story for Doom appears to be pretty much nonexistent. “Baddies over there, go kill them” seems to be the gist of it. I’m cool with that. To me, the story in a game is basically like the lyrics in a song. It can add more entertainment value to the whole package if it’s done well, but it’s not really necessary.
On the whole, I like Doom. I like it a lot. And I think I’m gonna play it some more once I’m done writing this.
Refer to above comments concerning Doom 1.
Seriously, it’s the same game. It’s an expansion pack, that’s what it is. More of the same gameplay in different environments with different monsters. Really not much to say about it.
Now here’s where things change. Doom 3 was released long, long after Doom 1, and while the weapons and monsters are basically the same, the overall feel is very different. While Doom 1 is a game about intense, balls-to-the-wall action, Doom 3 tries to go for subtle, claustrophobic horror. And it kind of fails in that regard. It’s a bit scary at first, but it’s the same problem I had with FEAR 2, it’s just too repetitive.
And this game also has a serious problem with lighting. So many areas are covered in darkness, and you can’t use a flashlight with your gun; you have to pull out a flashlight just to see what’s going on, which breaks up the flow of combat. I get that they were trying to show off their whole dynamic lighting technology, but it just gets annoying after awhile.
Doom 3 has much bigger production values than Doom 1, and it certainly looks better, but on the whole I just don’t find it as engaging. I have to agree with the others who say that Serious Sam is the true successor to Doom 2.
Though it is worth mentioning that the very, very beginning of the game is really interesting. There are no monsters, and you walk through the space station and get to see the marines at work. It reminds me of the intro to Half-Life 1 in a good way.
Quake will always hold a special place in my heart, because when I close my eyes and try to remember the first shooter I ever played, Quake is always the one that comes to mind. Of course I can’t remember it very well because I was so young at the time that the only memories I have now are tiny little glimpses, but I think the fact that I remember it at all shows that Quake had an impact on me as a child.
This game is an interesting specimen, because it seems to be right in the middle of the transitionary phase of first person shooters from 2D to 3D. The environments are rendered in full 3D, but the enemies are still in that awkward 2.5D state, so the game as a whole feels a bit weird.*
Aside from that, the controls feel fairly awkward since you can’t look up or down using the mouse, and the game is just too brown. The lack of contrast almost makes me feel nauseous when playing it. Seriously. When people complain about games these days being too brown it makes me wonder if they ever played Quake, because it puts any game made in the past decade or so to shame in terms of lack of color variety.
It’s interesting to play in a sort of historical sense (sorry if I just made you feel really old by saying that) but it just isn’t that much fun.
Okay, you’ve watched at least one episode of my LP of Unreal, right? Well then I don’t need to say anything about Quake 2 because it’s the same fucking game.
Okay, so maybe Quake 2 is fairly more linear and brown than Unreal, but other than that it feels exactly the same. Same alien baddies, same guns, same early 3D FPS style gameplay. Really not much to say about it at this point.
Apparently Quake 3 is entirely multiplayer, which means I’m not gonna mess with it. I’m not much of a competitive shooter person, and whenever I do get that itch I have Team Fortress 2 to scratch it. Not to mention the fact that none of my friends have Quake 3, and I don’t know if I’d even be able to find anyone online to play with. The Steam summer sale has given me a virtual pile of games to play, so I’m gonna hold off on Quake 3 for now.
It’s nice to sample some more of gaming history, and it’s even nicer to have fun while doing so.
I guess all there’s left for me to play from id Software is Wolfenstein 3D. How about that, Steam? You still have one more day of summer sales left…
*UPDATE: That one paragraph about Quake was flat-out incorrect. Sorry about that.