Time to go to hell on the go! A horde of demons has made their way to the Nintendo Switch. Send them back to hell for good at home or on the go in Doom 64, available now. While Switch fans will have to wait until sometime later this year to pick up the latest and greatest Doom Eternal, hopefully this should hold them over for the time being.
Originally released back in 1997 on the Nintendo 64, Doom 64 hasn’t received as much love as its other entries, usually being the one that’s forgotten about. Now, after 23 years, it’s finally getting the love it deserves. Bethesda has been on a Doom kick over the past few months, releasing the classic ports of Doom, Doom II, and Doom III. Believe it or not my introduction to the franchise began with the more recent Doom (2016), so all of these classics are new to me, including this N64 port. I thought this might be a somewhat jarring experience, but I’m happy to report it plays very well.
Doom 64 is a bare bones corridor shooter that plays almost exactly like Doom I & II, but with updated enemy sprites and weapon animations. There’s a welcomed added layer of horror with its dimly lit environment and jump scaring demons and zombies. Doom has always been a pioneer with first person shooters and this one is no different. The shooting mechanics are surprisingly smooth for a 23-year old game with snappy controls that still feel great today.
One feature that feels oddly missing in this day and age of modern shooters is the ability to aim up and down vertically. There were plenty of times that I wish I could have looked around at the floor and ceiling to get a better feeling of my environment. I realize that the developers wanted to keep the game true to its roots but it seems like such an easy fix. Perhaps it would have changed too much in the gameplay department and made it unbalanced.
Doom 64 doesn’t have much of a story, but honestly that didn’t really matter to me. It feels good to kill demons and feel powerful as a single man army armed to the teeth. Each level has enough extras and secret items to collect that there’s still enough to do without a major plot. That being said there is an extra special level designed to bridge the gap between this game and the modern day Doom games.
While most games from the N64 era have not aged well in the graphics department Doom 64 certainly looks better than most. However, the early 3D graphics can be a bit headache inducing during long play sessions. Thankfully the game is designed for shorter play sessions with each of the 32 levels taking only about 5-10 minutes to complete. The game plays just fine in both docked and handheld mode. There are no frame rate drops with everything running incredibly smoothly. This is the best looking version of this classic game.
There’s no pulse pounding metal soundtrack that modern Doom fans like myself have come to expect with the series, but there is more of an ambient and creepy soundtrack, which adds to the horror of the game. The demon noises are still hilariously grounded in the ‘90s, sounding more silly than scary by today’s standards, but that just adds to this game’s charm.
There are a few added features that are exclusive to the Switch version of the game, such as using the system’s gyroscope to aim when in handheld mode. Players can also use motion control with the Joy-Con controllers, which work well enough, but I preferred the accuracy of the analog sticks on my Pro Controller.
Doom 64 on Switch is one of the best ports of a classic game that I have played on the system. It’s nice that we didn’t have to wait extra time to play this game, as it was included as a pre-order bonus for those that purchased Doom Eternal on the other consoles. Since that has yet to arrive on the Switch, Bethesda has placed Doom 64 at a very reasonable $4.99 on the eShop. It’s worth every penny!
Doom 64 Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 7/107/10
- Gameplay - 9/109/10
- Lasting Appeal - 8/108/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
Doom 64 is as fun to play today as it was back on the Nintendo 64, while looking better than ever. If you’re looking for a mindlessly entertaining way to pass the time until you can play Doom Eternal on the Switch this might be the best remedy for you.