Doom 64 is a sci-fi fantasy horror first-person shooter developed and published by Midway for the Nintendo 64 in North America on April 1997, in Japan (by GameBank) on August 1, 1997, and in Europe on December 2, 1997.
A sequel to the 1994 game Doom II: Hell on Earth, and developed by the studio behind the PS1 ports of Doom and Final Doom), Doom 64 features an all-new single-player campaign (with over 25 levels), a true polygonal 3D graphics engine, completely remade graphics and sound effects, and a new atmospheric soundtrack.
The game's story takes place sometime after the nameless space marine's successful one-man campaign against the ravenous legions of Hell on not only the moons of Mars, but also Earth. Years after the UAC began bombarding their abandoned installations with heavy doses of radiation to exterminate the remaining demons, they receive a signal that a single demonic entity with vast rejuvenative powers has managed to elude their sensors and resurrect a demon army. As the one most experienced against this threat, the space marine is sent in alone to eradicate this new force.
Doom 64 later received two unofficial conversions to the PC using modern Doom source ports: Doom 64: Absolution and Doom64 EX (the latter of which requires a ROM dump of the original game to run). Doom64 EX is notable for leading to the creation of the KEX Engine (which is used in numerous game re-releases, such as the ones for Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Forsaken, and System Shock) and was used as the base for an enhanced re-release of the game.
The enhanced re-release was developed by Nightdive Studios and published by Bethesda on March 20, 2020 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Originally released as a pre-order bonus for Doom Eternal, this version adds modern graphical options (such as widescreen support) and updated controls (with additional motion control support for the PS4 and NSW versions) while adding a brand new six-level epilogue episode.
The core gameplay of Doom 64 remains the same as that of its predecessors: players assume the role of a lone space marine exploring dozens of demon-infested levels from a first-person perspective, with the ultimate goals of reaching each level's exit and eventually defeating the game's final boss. Most levels contain one or more keycards that must be collected to reach the exit, as well as hidden rooms that may hold useful items.
Players begin the game with only their fists and a basic pistol, but they can expand their arsenal up to a total of ten different weapons over the course of the campaign. All non-melee weapons require ammunition to use.
The player's basic melee attack. Due to its low damage per hit, the Fist is typically used only as a last resort after exhausting all other weapons. However, picking up a Berserk Pack increases the Fist's melee damage tenfold, making it possible to gib weaker enemies with a single punch.
A more powerful melee weapon that is very effective against lesser demons. Like the Fist, the Chainsaw does not consume ammo, but players must close the distance to attack enemies with it.
The game's starter firearm sports a slow rate of fire and relatively weak damage. The Pistol becomes largely obsolete once the Chaingun is acquired, as they both share the same type of ammo.
The reliable single-barrel Shotgun packs a stronger punch at close- and mid-range than the Pistol, and it is even capable of striking targets at long range for reduced damage.
Two barrels means double the damage potential of the standard Shotgun, but the short-range Super Shotgun also takes longer to reload than its single-barrel counterpart, and its spread is much wider.
Due to its high firing rate, the Chaingun is very effective against creatures with high "pain chance," i.e. Lost Souls, Cacodemons, Pain Elementals or Bull Demons; these enemy types are unable to act while under constant fire. However, this weapon consumes ammo very quickly.
Rockets are a versatile means of attack, able to both deal high amounts of damage to a single tough enemy or destroy groups of weaker enemies with their area-of-effect splash damage. Players should avoid firing at point-blank range to prevent accidental rocket suicides.
An advanced energy weapon that deals three times the per-shot damage of the Chaingun. The Plasma Rifle requires Energy Cells, the same ammunition type used by the BFG9000 and Unmaker, so it's generally recommended to use a "burst-fire" technique to improve accuracy and conserve Cells.
The biggest gun in the game fires large spheres of plasma that deal devastating damage; perfect for eliminating large groups of medium-strength enemies at once. It's also effective against heavy foes like Arachnotrons and Cyberdemons. Unfortunately the BFG requires about a second to charge between pulling the trigger and actually firing. It also consumes a hefty forty Cells per-shot, making it a highly situational weapon.
A powerful alien weapon unique to Doom 64. It fires red laser beams and can be upgraded up to three times with Demon Artifacts found in the game's secret levels. These artifacts enhance the Unmaker's rate of fire and increase the weapon's total number of beams up to three, making its piercing shots even more devastating.
Besides weapons and ammunition, players can discover power-ups scattered throughout each level to extend their life and grant a variety of other benefits.
Heals 10% Health, up to a maximum of 100%.
Restores 25% Health, up to a maximum of 100%.
Boosts Health by 2%, up to a maximum of 200%.
Restores the player's Health to 100% and multiplies Fist damage by ten for the remainder of the current level.
Adds 100% to Armor, up to a maximum of 100%.
Boosts Armor to 200%.
Boost Armor by 2%, up to a maximum of 200%.
Temporarily protects the player from damage dealt by pools of acid or lava.
Doubles ammunition capacity for all available weapons, as well as granting some additional ammo.
Increases Health and Armor by 100%.
Boosts Health and Armor to 200%.
Temporarily obscures the player's location, granting players a measure of stealth and making hostile enemies less accurate.
Grants invincibility from all damage for thirty seconds.
Instantly completes the automap for the current level.
Night Vision Goggles
Brightens the screen dramatically, allowing players to see clearly in dark areas for two minutes.
While most enemies are carried over from previous series entries, certain legacy Doom enemies were omitted from Doom 64 in order to conserve memory space on the cartridge; Heavy Weapon Dudes, Arch-Viles, Revenants and Spider Masterminds do not appear in the game. Doom 64 also adds a new enemy type, the Nightmare Imp, and features a unique final boss not seen in any other Doom title.
Also known as “former humans”, these guys are among the first undead enemies that can be encountered in Doom 64. They move slowly, only carry a standard pistol and fire single shots. Both on close and on long range, Zombiemen do little damage and are therefore no real threat to our Marine.
Looking quite similar to Zombiemen, these were also a human beings once and served in higher ranks of the United Aerospace Corporation; they are armed with a standard shotgun instead of a harmless pistol and can be quite hurtful in larger groups as their damage output is substantially higher when they are near by.
Imps have brown, leather-like skin, glowing red eyes and spikes protruding from the upper back. They usually attack by throwing fireballs when they are further away or by using their sharp claws to rip off the skin of our fellow Marine when they are on close range. Imps are tougher and can stand a few pistol or standard shotgun bullets.
A more vicious version of the classic Imp; Nightmare Imps move a lot faster, are harder to spot as they are only partially visible and their fireballs also have a higher projectile speed. So for your own sake, better get rid of them quickly – especially in dark areas.
Half pig, half demon and heavily muscled like a body builder on steroids! Bull Demons are one of the faster, more aggressive enemies; it is advised to stay cautious, if they are in range they will use their claws and fangs to bite off our Marine's face. At least these creatures are easy to hit due to their size and present themselves well enough for target practice.
Except for the skin color, Spectres are very similar to muscle-packed Bull Demons; running around with terrifying grunting noises they try to surprise our Marine, especially in darker areas where Spectres can take full advantage of their partial invisibility.
When it comes to awarding the title “Most annoying creature”, Lost Souls easily could enter the Top 3. These burning skulls are hyperagressive, flying around silently, only waiting for a chance to charge into our Marine on sight and spark a fire in his face! Better keep some distance to these enemies, a chaingun will help a lot to fight these demons.
Considering their looks, Cacodemons are comparable to a fat, flying Meatball; mostly they are high up in the air, hovering around relatively slowly and attacking with fireballs, which spawn inside their throat.
As if Lost Souls were not enough already, there are creatures which make it even worse, the Pain Elementals! After they spot a threat in their territory, these guys start spawning Lost Souls non-stop. Consequently, the sooner Pain Elementals get killed, the better – because there is a sweeter way to die than in a room full with burning skulls.
Goat legs, a muscular body and a terrifying, diabolic head normally spell trouble – and in this case, big trouble! Hell Knights are tall, mostly in a bad mood and throw around big clumps of acid. Basically they lack high movement speed but it's a little more difficult to dodge their projectiles as these are faster than the usual Imp Fireballs.
Baron of Hell
Classified as the Big Brothers of the Hell Knights, they have very similar looks but appear with a notorious red skin color. Additionally, with twice as much health, Barons are much tougher and mostly appear in groups together with Hell Knights, where they can cause a lot of trouble, especially in narrow hallways.
Without a doubt, these fat, brown humanoid demons easily rank among the ugliest enemies in Doom; they have Elephant-like legs, a fat torso and a spiky, bat-like head with blazing green eyes. Mancubi are slow but are quite dangerous as they are equipped with two flamethrowers which can deal heavy damage. They have a high firing rate and attack multiple times in quick succession. They shoot two fireballs with each attack, so consequently dodging is not that easy for our Marine.
Spiders often cause cruel nightmares – but the appearance of Arachnotrons will make it even worse; unfortunately, demonic technology made it possible to embed and fuse a gigantic spider head in an armoured, mechanical body with six hydraulic legs! Arachnotrons have an average movement speed, but a high firing rate as they are armed with two Plasma guns. At least they are easier to kill than many other enemies because of their moderate health.
Even the stomping sound of its cybernetic leg already spreads fear and terror; looking like half-Cyborg, half-Minotaur, this hellspawn creature is probably the tallest, most dangerous one. Due to its powerful rocket launcher and high endurance, a Cyberdemon is capable of turning whole armies of the living into dead, rotten flesh. Unfortunately this enemy shows no real weak points, so our Marine should be armed to the teeth when he faces one of this devils – otherwise, ordering an appropriate coffin is recommended.
Doom 64 contains thirty-two original levels. The game's cartridge does not feature battery backup, requiring players to either enter a password or connect the N64 Controller Pak accessory in order to retain their progress during the campaign. Some levels are optional, either accessed through secret exits hidden in the campaign's normal levels, or by entering a special password at the game's main menu.
An asterisk (*) indicates a secret level, and a dagger (†) indicates a password-only level.
The game takes place after the events of either Doom or Doom II: Hell on Earth. Following his successful one-man campaign against the ravenous legions of Hell, the nameless space marine is called upon to counter a new threat.
While bombarding their own abandoned bases on Mars and its moons Phobos and Deimos with heavy radiation in order to exterminate any surviving demons, the UAC's remote sensors fail to detect a new and powerful demonic entity that suddenly appears in the vicinity. The entity begins to resurrect the hordes of rotting demon corpses strewn about the derelict installations, making the demons even stronger in the process. Eventually a barely functional UAC communications satellite in orbit over the red planet relays its observational data back to Earth, finally alerting humanity to the rejuvenated demonic presence on Mars.
With Hell once again poised to launch a full-scale invasion of Earth, the UAC scrambles to execute a preemptive strike against the demons' new leader. As the only living person with firsthand combat experience against Hell's forces, the battle-hardened space marine is sent back to Mars with orders to eradicate the mysterious entity and its newly-risen army of the damned.
Ports and Re-releases
Doom 64: Absolution
Around 2003, Samuel "Kaiser" Villarreal, released a total conversion of Doom 64 named Doom 64: Absolution. It is often referred to as Doom 64 TC. It is based on material extracted from a Doom 64 ROM and the Doomsday engine. There are 38 levels: 32 based on the original layouts and 6 entirely new. Doom 64 TC also included two new enemies, the Nightmare Spectre and Nightmare Cacodemon.
The developer also released the Outcast levels, a set of seven levels which include new Demon Keys that modify the Unmaker in different ways than the original game. Three new enemies were added in this addition, the Acid Demon, Nightcrawler, and Stalker.
Doom 64 EX
In July 2008, The same Samuel Villarreal released Doom 64 EX to the world, with the goal to more closely mirror the original game with some modern features such as widescreen support, higher resolutions, and freelook. Unlike Doom 64 TC, was a Doom Engine source port that supported the DOOM 64 campaign by requiring the actual data and assets from the N64 ROM file. For copyright reasons, this information was not provided with the release, but instead included a tool that could make a .wad file out of the content from the DOOM 64 ROM.
Doom 64 (2020)
On September 4, 2019 in a Nintendo Direct, Bethesda announced it would re-release the cult classic on November 22, 2019 for Nintendo Switch with Nightdive Studios handling the port. Subsequently, this also meant the game would be available for PC, PS4 and Xbox One in an official capacity. However, the game was delayed and instead promoted as a pre-order bonus for Doom Eternal. The edition that was released is same Doom 64 EX originally released in 2008, but with more changes to closely mirror the original games, such as the removal of freelook. Samuel Villarreal listed the changes for the official release on the blog for Doom 64 EX:
Apparently I’ve been seeing this question pop up pretty damn frequently so I will be posting a list of the more significant differences to be found in the official remaster compared to EX 2.5. Please feel free to share this, as I am tired of having to answer this question myself!
I apologize in advance if some of these things sound too technical. Because most of them are.
- Uses the newest version of Kex Engine for its framework. It was necessary since it’s already scalable across multiple platforms. This does not affect the game in any way and the game logic for Doom 64 remains intact.
- Up/down look and jumping removed. The goal was to keep this release of Doom 64 as ‘Vanilla’ as possible, plus it saves the issues when having to deal with the sky and player getting stuck in levels.
- Switched to a shader pipeline-based renderer. Again, this was something that was necessary as modern graphic APIs now do not support the features that Doom 64 EX relied on (legacy OpenGL features like texture combiners, etc). All effects are now driven by pixel shaders.
- Depth buffer is no longer used and instead now follows how the original game rendered the scene. This means that sprites will no longer be cut off by floors or walls depending on the order of subsector draws. Additionally, sprites are now fragmented based on the subsectors they overlap
- Better awareness for widescreen aspects
- 3-point texture filtering emulation
- The way clouds were rendered is now correct
- Demos now work, including the hidden hectic demo and intro map (there are some side-by-side comparison videos on youtube)
- The timings of some executed scripted events were off by 1 frame. This is now corrected in the official release. Good examples are the blue key door in Breakdown and the scripted areas in Main Engineering. Compare the two and you’ll see what I mean.
- Non-player objects have slower gravity (they fall down %25 slower than the player)
- The entire original collision detection is now retained in this release, this includes all bugs (was needed for demos to sync correctly)
- Projectiles fired from the player will immediately explode if the player is ~5 units away from a wall (not sure why Midway did this, but was needed for demos to work)
- Monsters are now able to trigger linedef specials flagged as ‘death trigger’. Flag seemed to be multi-purpose, but monsters are now able to trigger the dart traps in Even Simpler
- Logic for light strobing and glow effects were wrong – corrected in this release – also needed to make demos work
- Logic for doors and platforms were wrong – ‘RaiseToNearest and RaiseAndChange’ were suppose to move at half the speed
- Logic for perpetual platforms were wrong – Used a different randomization logic – needed to make demos work
- Additional brightness setting in addition to the game’s original brightness setting. It applies an additive layer over the screen to increase the brightness even further
- Automap controls is now idential to the original (hold use button to pan around)
- Wav files are now used for sfx playback instead of MIDI
Happy? Me too.