“What?! The Atari Jaguar version, why the F-“ well let me cut you off there, weirdly enough this was the first version of the game I played (yes I owned a Jaguar back in the day… Hello buyer’s remorse!) and frankly, it’s likely to be the only chance I have to review a Jaguar game. I had, like, six or seven other games on the system, and I can’t see myself reviewing the others, with the possible exception of Alien vs. Predator… So yeah! The original Doom, inspiration for so… so many games to come after it, as well as a not so good film. Let’s take a ruddy good look!
I can’t say there’s going to be a massive amount of variety in these screenshots, but at least it’s not as bad as the time I reviewed Gyromite!
Doom was first released on PC on December 10th 1993, building on the engine that gave us Wolfenstein 3D, and it’s widely considered the granddaddy of all FPS games. The first console ports were to the SEGA 32X (November 21st 1994 in the US) and this version, for the Atari Jaguar, released in November 1994. It also came to the SNES in late 1995, the PS1 November/December 1995, the 3DO in April 1996, the Sega Saturn in March 1997, and the GBA in October 2001. It’s also been released digitally on the XBOX 360, IOS, Android, PS4, XBOX One and Nintendo Switch. …. *PHEW!*
As mentioned, Doom is often considered the “one that started them all”, even if Wolfenstein came out before it. So many FPS games were “Doom Clones” in the mid-to-late 90s, then games like Quake and Goldeneye (Depending if you’re a PC or Console gamer) came and redefined it further, and so on, but even your favourite Call of Duty or Halo can have a lot of its design and systems traced back to Doom.
Chainsawing a Pinky… That’s a weird sentence to type…
It’s not hard to explain Doom, that’s for sure! You start a level, walk around it in First-Person, shoot (or punch, or chainsaw) things while trying to find the exit to the level. The exit is normally behind a maze of locked doors opened by various colour-coded keycards, tight winding corridors and hidden lifts and rooms. As you progress further in the game you fight tougher and tougher enemies in bigger and bigger groups, and, um… that’s about it! Your performance in each level is tallied up at the end in a splash screen, showing you if you missed any enemies to kill or any hidden areas.
The Jaguar version of Doom is, by all accounts, one of the better ones. The 32X screen is boxed, the SNES port runs at 1 frame per minute and is similarly letterboxed (but does admittedly have more levels) and the 3DO version is the Jaguar version but with no multiplayer and once again shrank into a small box. It’s only the PS1 port that’s better in terms of 90s console ports. The Jag port is missing several levels, boss characters and all of the “stampers” (ceilings that stamp down and crush you), as well as background music, so it’s far from perfect, but at least the sprites actually walk around and turn in pseudo-3D, unlike the others where they’re locked into looking forward all the time. Considering I didn’t get a PS1 for a couple of years, I do feel lucky that the Jaguar version was the one I played, rather than one of the 16-bit ports (not that I had a 32X anyway…)
Graphics and Sound:
Woooo! Green lighting effect!!
Through today’s eyes the textures are basic and muddy and the sprites are all pixelated and lack a lot of animation, BUT back then it was pretty cool to see enemies walk around in a 3D space, and to see each of their death animations! Even now there is a certain charm to them, though later ports are a tad more brighter, colourful and varied…
Sound, as mentioned, isn’t up to much as the classic Doom in-game music is entirely missing in this port. The sound effects and enemy grunts and groans are still in though!
A good days work…
A Marine stationed on Mars, where scientists are experimenting with teleport technology, is suddenly fighting the hordes of Hell after the experiments went awry. He fights through the Mars facility and to Hell itself, before emerging on Earth… which has also been invaded!
The end. Hey, it works!
The always satisfying Plasma Rifle!
Doom, like so many others, was my first experience with First Person Shooters, and possibly first person in general. I loved it! Given I found AvP really hard, Doom was about the only Jaguar game I played for any length of time (the other being Theme Park…) and I remember getting good enough to get quite far. The mini pad of buttons in the middle of the controller having a button for each weapon was handy too. Great time, loved it.
The death animations are still just as satisfying in 2020!
Funnily enough, and it may be nostalgia talking, it’s still really fun to play now. Admittedly the Jaguar version not so much, I miss the music and smoother graphics and framerate from when I played it on the Doom 3 collection on the 360 a good while ago, but still! Doom is still fun, just maybe not this version…