Doom (1993) (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Athanasios 04.03.2020 3

Review for Doom (1993) on Nintendo Switch

Once upon a time, a little team of Texan nerds made a nice silly game. It was somewhat successful. Its name? Doom. After getting installed on more home computers than Windows 95, the world decided to keep on installing it in other systems, be it printers, digital cameras, fridges, and many more, and the day has come that id Software's humble piece of software would reach the shores of a humble piece of hardware: the Nintendo Switch. Nerve Software, a developer with strong ties to id Soft, handled the port, and guess what? The notion of Doom being ported to consoles is still a cursed one...

POW! The final demon in the room is dead. The way to the red keycard is open. Or is it? 12 more hell spawn appear, throwing fireballs at you. Stay sharp! Prioritise your targets, strafe-dodge around danger, and you'll survive. There's more to shooting, though, marine. The labyrinths of Mars' moons, Phobos and Deimos, are full of (un)pleasant surprises, which you can enjoy while listening to tracks that range from Megadeth and Pantera rip-offs, to moody, appropriately dark, ambient tunes. Yes, almost three decades later, and Doom remains one of the finest video games ever made - yet for some reason, the industry has a hard time creating a flawless console port of it.

Screenshot for Doom (1993) on Nintendo Switch

From the SNES version, which had every reason to be as bad as it was, to the PlayStation-and-beyond ones, which had none, this critic, along with many others, simply can't grasp how is it so hard to create flawlessly port Doom to any platform - but maybe this time will be different. This is, after all, the age were nostalgia sells like never before, and the hardware is much stronger. In other words, a console port of Doom, plus The Ultimate Doom's extra episode, could now actually be a piece of cake. Sadly, this is one more failed attempt. No, 'failed' isn't the right word, because nothing here will ruin your fun. The correct term is 'disappointing.'

Again, the actual game is fantastic. If willing to enjoy one of the best, if not the best ever… well, Doom-era first-person shooter ever made, both at the comfort of your home, bed or even bathroom, or by playing while riding the bus/train/horse/whatever, this is, without a single doubt, the best system to do so due to its hybrid nature. Additionally, no bugs (apart from a couple of leftover "flaws") have been found here. This is a very solid port, of a more than solid, old-school masterpiece - and as an added bonus it's dirt cheap. There are some head-scratchers here and there, however, with the first being the fact that this is being sold separately from its sequel.

Screenshot for Doom (1993) on Nintendo Switch

A nit-pick? Sure, but it's somewhat weird from a marketing standpoint, since more companies nowadays create compilations of titles that are actually less old than the Doom series. What isn't a nit-pick, are the differences between this and the original, with one weird omission being the three ending screens, with the Switch version adding a new modern style one, whose aim seems to be to feel similar to the finale of 2016's DOOM. Now, audio-visually this is definitely better than the DOS version, as the resolution is higher… but there are a couple of bizarre design choices here as well - and the word 'bizarre' is used, simply because there isn't a logical explanation to the following.

So you can set the aspect ratio to 4:3, which obviously adds two textured borders left and right. Why does the same happen when choosing the second, widescreen option? Moreover, why is the screen so awkwardly stretched, making enemies shorter, and squishing doomguy's portrait in the process? Undoubtedly, these are issues that, apart from Doom fanatics like yours truly, few will care about, as, like mentioned earlier, they don't affect the gameplay - like at all. This is merely asking why, in a sea of perfect ports, and even remasters of older titles, and after so many attempts at porting Doom to modern platforms, this isn't absolutely perfect.

Screenshot for Doom (1993) on Nintendo Switch

Why can't you disable the HUD like in the original? Why is the OST a (large, capacity-wise) re-recording of the original? Why does this light-as-a-feather game uses a battery killer such as Unity as a frontent? Why is there no online multiplayer in a freaking Doom instalment? Once more, those reading this should be reminded that, the "negativity" at hand, has nothing to do with the quality on offer. It's just weird how, after such a large number of unofficial ports to other systems that are simply flawless, this, a piece of software crafted by a team of professionals, isn't an updated, or at least 1:1 port. Twice as weird when you take a look at the almost excellent Doom 3 for the Switch.

Some good news? While online play isn't an option, this includes split-screen co-op and deathmatch for up to four players - just make sure to try this out on a large TV. Also, the rather disfavoured requirement to log in to a Bethesda account to play has been disabled, as you are only forced to do so if you want to download some mission packs, or megawads as they are called in Doom lingo, like some high profile collections of levels such as John Romero's latest creation, the tough-as-nails, and equally beautiful Sigil. Anyways, to sum up: Doom is freaking awesome, this port is tons of fun and - currently - costs less than cup of coffee, but could also be vastly better.

Screenshot for Doom (1993) on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Doom's arrival on the wonderful system that is the Nintendo Switch is the perfect opportunity to be reminded of why it's such a fantastic experience despite its age. It's old-school FPS fun at its finest, and now you can carry it's dark corridors and hellish landscapes on the smallest of backpacks. Sadly, while the gameplay has been left intact, this version is far from the perfect port that it could be, due to a couple of odd omissions and changes - but at least it is super cheap (as it should).

Developer

Nerve Software

Publisher

Bethesda Softworks

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

And its probably still on sale for a bargain price of £1.20/$1.50!

Got it when it was on sale for crazy cheap (along with II and 3). Having a lot of fun with it! It's so good, especially for it's age. There's just something satisfying about the simple and well paced gameplay that still makes it easy to pick up and enjoy today and it's cool discovering secret areas in the maze-like levels.

I had only previously played the GBA version of Doom. Such an impressive port considering the hardware!

Yea, I am glad they went on sale on the Switch as well, DOOM 64 is out later this month, but I wasn't particularly impressed with this back in the day. Especially with games like Turok, Perfect Dark and Goldeneye in the mix as well. 

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