Written by: Nick Farinola // Edited by: Nick Farinola and Joe Ahart As Doom Eternal’s release date slowly approaches, Nintendo stealth launched the original Doom trilogy on the Switch console. The Doom franchise, for those of you living under a rock, had solidified the FPS genre not too long after Wolfenstein 3D, the game that arguably created it. Doom and […]
Written by: Nick Farinola // Edited by: Nick Farinola and Joe Ahart
As Doom Eternal’s release date slowly approaches, Nintendo stealth launched the original Doom trilogy on the Switch console. The Doom franchise, for those of you living under a rock, had solidified the FPS genre not too long after Wolfenstein 3D, the game that arguably created it.
Doom and Doom II are available for a measly $4.99, whereas its underrated sequel Doom 3, is generously priced at $9.99.
I want to focus solely on Doom 3 in this discussion, but it’s important to note that the Switch port is not the original Doom 3, but its slightly enhanced cousin Doom 3 BFG Edition. Released back in October of 2012 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC, Doom 3 BFG Edition featured some minor technical and gameplay improvements. For those that missed out on the original release in 2004, Doom 3 BFG Edition is the essential package. Boasting enhanced graphics, better audio (with more horror effects), a checkpoint save system, and support for 3D displays and HMDs, Doom 3 BFG Edition greatly bested its predecessor in the technical department. The Switch version includes the ‘Resurrection of Evil’ and ‘The Lost Missions’ expansion packs as an added bonus. Oh, and you’re now able to wield a weapon alongside your flashlight with the all new armor-mounted flashlight. The flashlight does have a rechargeable battery, causing it to flicker and eventually turn off when the meter runs out. However, the recharge is ridiculously fast, so the added tension from the original game is sadly diminished. Believe it or not, but die-hard Doom fans were pretty upset by this seemingly insignificant addition when the BFG edition first released.
Okay, I’m done talking about flashlights. Let’s talk about slaying some demons on Mars. This won’t be a comprehensive review of Doom 3, but rather I’d like to offer up some of my impressions based off of the Switch port. As a massive fan of Doom 3, playing it for the first time on a handheld console is pretty magical. When the original released back in 2004 for the PC, and then a year later for Xbox, gamers were saving up to upgrade their computers just so they would be able to play the game. It’s 2019, and we are now able to play it on a handheld console. Some would see this as a technological milestone for the gaming industry…and I would agree with them.
I played most of the game handheld, and had zero issues with the frame rate dropping below 60 FPS. I’m also happy to report that I had zero performance issues when the console was docked. It was a smooth experience throughout, and it’s easy to appreciate the graphical power and dynamic lighting for a game that was released over fourteen years ago. It was a looker then, and honestly holds up today.
What made Doom 3 so innovative was its departure from the style of the previous games. Doom and Doom II were fast-paced, balls-to-the-wall action from start to finish. If Doom, Doom II, and Doom (2016) trapped the demons with you, Doom 3 trapped you in with the demons. The game constantly overwhelmed you with enemies, forcing you to cycle through the weaponry wisely. Doom 3 took a more survival horror approach. It was a much slower, more atmospheric horror game. If I had to describe Doom 3 in a more informal manner, I would say that it is a literal d$@khead of a game. Taking from previous entries, Doom 3 throws more enemies at you than the fingers on your hand. Best of all, the player had to use sound cues to figure out where a demon had spawned in his or her general vicinity to avoid the inevitable jumpscare. Enemies frequently popped up behind you. A door could open, leading to an imp pouncing at you. Let’s say you got a little turned around in the tight corridor-like environments, and backtracked to a previous area…guess what? A Z-SEC zombie, chainsaw zombie, imp, or pretty much any enemy could pop out of the walls from a secret area drawing first blood. This is an example of great game design. The player was forced to constantly be on the lookout, all while preserving health, armor and ammo. As the story progressed, more and more unique and terrifying enemies would spawn, each with a different style and patterns of attack.
Luckily, Doom-Slayer, or the protagonist (he isn’t directly referenced as “Doom-Slayer” in this game) is stocked with powerful weaponry to take on Hell’s horde. Weapons are varied, powerful and great fun to use (and there are even more in the Resurrection of Evil DLC).
I can’t stress enough just how incredible it is to experience this game on a handheld device, earphones plugged in, volume maxed out in a pitch black room. It’s the most immersive the game has ever been.
It isn’t perfect (even though I really, really want to argue that it is), and some of its flaws become apparent the longer you play. Areas become repetitive, as well as the core gameplay loop. Oh, I walked into a new room. Three enemies spawned. I hear an imp spawn behind me. What was at first surprising, quickly becomes commonplace. For the Switch port alone, I found playing handheld grow irritating after about two hours of playing just because of how awkward the movement (L) and camera (R) sticks are placed. For someone so used to Xbox and Playstation controllers, the Switch console feels foreign to me. But this, fortunately, has nothing to do with the game.
Issues aside, Doom 3 is a great package for its meager price tag. If you’re a fan of Doom or survival horror games in general, this is an easy buy. If you buy all three, you’ll be down twenty bucks. Oh, the horror!
For more on alien space demons, maybe check out my list of games that will prepare you for the Area 51 raid.