By Joseph "Skull Vault" Walter
When it came to Doom 64, I wasn't sure what to expect. My perception of Doom, as a series, was something akin to an action movie, with wailing MIDI-guitars and that smug Doomguy face roaring and smirking during the carnage.
Curious about the home console offering, I purchased Doom 64 and found myself disappointed. Gone were the wailing MIDI-guitars. Gone was the giddy Doomguy. But then, by the start of the second level, I realized my grave error in judgment.
Doom 64 is an atmospheric masterpiece with tight level design and even tighter gameplay. So what if the 80's rock and toothy grins were gone? In their place were isolating nightmares and a soundscape that was literally torn from Hell itself. And I mean literally.
I was also obviously blind, since that should have all been apparent from 64's epic title screen.
So, considering that it's October and three of the four current "Title Screens" entries are macabre, I decided I may as well tackle this piece of art.
(Apologies for the low quality. I'd capture it myself, but I don't have the right port on any TV to do so)
It also does a good job of showing off the kind of gameplay to expect, with guns and fireballs blazing from the get-go.
Finally, and critically, there is the oppressive atmosphere, established immediately with the first eerie notes of the theme song, which quickly transforms into a malevolent take on a march, which serves as a perfect musical dressing for the carnage on display.
The visuals are dark and brooding, with the structures that the combat is raging on giving off a dilapidated veneer and hellish glow against the pitch-black sky. The camera swoops through the gory battle and as things finish up, it rises to the starry night, revealing with a bird's eye view that the structures form a single, menacing word with only one implication: "DOOM."