bomba's House Of Flancakes

Posted on Oct 21st 2016 at 08:00:00 AM by (bombatomba)
Posted under Best Port of DOOM, Romero, ID, Chainsaw, bio force gun

Date : Early Winter, 1998
Time : 2am
Place: The bedroom in my first apartment

It is cold, maybe forty-five degrees Fahrenheit.  It's just the way my room is; like a cool spring day in Michigan, nearly all year round.  Suits me just fine.  But just for once, I want it to be a teensy bit warmer.  I've been glued in front of my crappy CRT for close to five hours now, ever since I got off the phone with my fiancee, and my toes are starting to go numb, but I'm not ready to move yet.  DOOM, for the Sony PlayStation, has gotten it's claws into me once again, and this time I'm not moving until I see those credits roll.

Just for the record, I eventually did see the credits roll, but not for another few hours.  While I don't have the clearest memories from that early morning (or the whole time I lived in that apartment), I suspect a couple of those eye blinks lasted longer than a few hundred milliseconds.  But the last few hours were all go, as any person who's played this game can thus testify.

DOOM is an amazing beast.  While perhaps not as lauded as it once was, it is still a force to be reckoned with.  But back in the nineties, it was a legend, not just on its place of birth, the PC, but also on the home consoles of the time.  And boy howdy, there are a lot of home console ports: Ten if you only count official ports, thirteen if you also count the mobiles platforms, and more if you count the spin-offs, remakes, and fan inspired titles.  And one of those, specifically on the SNES, was my first experience.  Despite it being so primitive, I clearly remember being wowed at the experience, then on the same day my friend showing me the 32x version, which blew the crappy SNES port out of the water.  Out of all the ports, though, it is in my strong opinion that the Sony PlayStation is the best of the bunch.

See, the second I pick that up, I know I'm gonna get swarmed...

Originally developed (and published) for the Sony PlayStation by Williams Entertainment in November of 1995, the PSX port had a number of advantages over the other console ports of the time.  It still had a mishmash of levels from different versions of DOOM (The Ultimate DOOM, DOOM II, the Jaguar port of DOOM, and some original), but now features buttery-smooth movement, some really impressive lighting effects, and even has all of the enemies (save the Arch-Vile from Doom II).  But my favorite improvement is in the aural department.  Gone is the high-powered power rock of the PC original, replaced with an atmospheric soundtrack that comes off as very industrial, yet is very minimalist in structure.  It is often mixed with ambient sounds, some of which can be talking, yelling and crying, other times voices calling out names or chanting, but without any coherence.  This is a creation of Aubrey Hodges, who is also responsible for the DOOM 64 soundtrack (which has a kind of proto-Silent Hill feel to it, in my opinion).  While I do love the original PC soundtrack, the heavy atmospheric "music" from the PSX port really makes the game for me.

Another frightening thing we should discuss is the lighting.  I casually mentioned it above, but there is a large amount of dark corridors in this game, and not just dark in the "Bethesda" sense of the word, but real darkness.  Many corridors have some amount of flashing colored lighting (either fast or a slow pulsing), but some have no illumination to speak of.  And this one feature adds a lot of tension, especially when you are low on health or ammunition.  You know more than likely there are enemies, either creeping around or hiding behind hidden doors or within the geometry of the level, but you have to go in the dark anyway.  Many a time I ran in and out of out these dark corridors like a clown fish from an anemone, trying to bait enemies into the light.  This ends up slowing down the game quite a bit, giving it a more tactical feel than the DOS original, which always seemed to put more emphasis on speed.

Just stopping to snap a pic and almost died doing it

Finally, we come to something new I thought to include.  Please do not take this as gospel (so to speak) on how to play these games.  This is just something I wanted to try on for size.  So, I played DOOM using several viewing devices; a large CRT, the PSOne LCD screen, and two different projectors (one unprocessed, and one processed through my Pioneer VSX-1022-K).  I didn't try it on any advanced Sony consoles or through PC or Mac emulation (although upscaled with scan lines on the epsxe emulator looked amazing), but I can tell you this:  DOOM for PSX does not look good in widescreen.  Overall, I found the game looked best on the PSOne LCD, and displayed shockingly bright colors (a norm on that particular screen).  Plus, on such a small screen (5"), these is less overall pixelation, so the game looks cleaner.  That being said, I think the way to go is with a good old fashioned CRT; the bigger the better.  Why?  DOOM, especially on the PSX, is meant to be an immersive game, and it works best when you don't have to squint to see enemies in the distance.  True, the colors don't "pop" as much as on the PSOne LCD, but because the CRT is a little bit darker, the corridors obscured by darkness have a lot more texture.  Of course, individual results will vary (in relation to the specific model of television).

The original DOOM on PSX was released in two versions that I know of, in an old PSX long box and the Greatest Hits version, in a CD case.  Prices on eBay are all over the place, with some being as low as $14 USB CIB, or as much as $37 USD.  But, this appears to be the only way to get the PSX port of DOOM, as even the version sold in the PlayStation Store appears to the DOS original.  But if you are either a DOOM collector or just a collector in general, I bet they'll say that the DOOM long box would look pretty swank on the shelf with the rest of your games.  If it can fit, that is.

Thanks for reading!

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Games like Doom will always hold a special place in my heart. I clearly remember that after finishing my assignments in "typing"class (yes, that was a thing), I would retreat to another computer that had Wolfenstein installed.  Yes, I would blow away baddies at school. It wasn't too much later that I found Doom and Quake in college.

Nice article man, and good to know what edition to seek out.  A local store here has it, but it's a greatest hits label and well I................oh hell, you know.  Wink

Good article!  Ive been playing DOOM on PS1 for nearly 2 decades now, and have always loved doing so!
Every PSX long box looks pretty swanky! I don't think I've ever played Doom for more than 10 minutes. Is it too late to jump on the bandwagon?
Great article, Bomba! Agreed, this is my definitive version of good ol' Doom. The fluidity, lighting, and definitely the sound all male this by far my favorite. Classic.

@singlebanana:True story; I took typing in high school... on electric typewriters. Ah, the days when 'mechanical' keyboard actually meant 'mechanical.'

'scuse me while I finish carving a spear, gotta hunt for supper. ;/
@singlebanana: I can dig it, Rich.  I "settled" for the Greatest Hits copy I own now after passing up the long box version and realizing I couldn't live without the game.

@The Official SP1SC: Thanks for commenting!

@JerryGreenwood: Dude, it is never too late!  All you need is the game and a pencil and paper (to write down the level codes)

@slackur: Thanks, Jess!  Electric typewriters...  I avoided typing class because it was either that or computer class, and there was no way I could pass up doing plots and BASIC programming on that wicked Apple IIe!
@slackur:  Just laughed out loud in my office.  BRB, looks like it's getting ready to rain. I gotta go outside and roll up the windows on my brontosaurus.........I mean damn kids and your renaming of my dinosaurs and doing away with Pluto.  *fist shake*
@singlebanana:Pluto will always be a planet in my heart.
I found the GBA version of Doom quite enjoyable, although I haven't tried the PSX version myself.
This makes me really want to track down the longbox version!  Nice article.  Been a long while since I put some time into DOOM...

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So I'm an odd ball. So I am usually the last to post on a blog/forum. So I only post about weird games on weird platforms. So I have a strange relationship with commas and parenthesis. So what? Hey, at least you don't have to car pool with me to work, right? So have a heart, eat a blueberry, and don't forget to drop the empties in the box on the way out. I get deposit on those.
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