Halloween 2012 (Review): Yes, There’s a Doom For Super Nintendo.
And yes, this port is about as good as you think it is. Maybe even worse but I still can’t help but love it. This whole owning only Nintendo systems my entire life thing definitely had some pros and cons growing up which resulted in a particularly painful stretch of time when PC games started to take off in the early 90’s. Back then there was this massive swarm of entries in some new genre referred to as “first person shooters” that allowed you to play games from the actual point of view of your character in a fully 3 dimensional space. Wolfenstein 3D kicked the craze off and I can clearly remember being at this kid’s house the first time I saw him run through it, killing nazis and wild dogs. Compelled is not a strong enough word but it wasn’t until I first laid my eyes on its spiritual successor Doom, that I realized this was a style of game that I absolutely needed to have access to. Going after a robot with Hitler for a head is a fun concept sure, but tearing through swarms of monsters with a shotgun and chainsaw was what my 12 year old mind would be consumed by. I’d have to wait 3 years before I got my hands on the SNES version for Christmas at the ripe old age of 15 and the end result is an experience and a game that I will always have a tremendous soft spot for.
Let’s throw a few words at this 16-bit miracle, shall we?
First off, this game was only made possible by the legendary Super FX chip that Nintendo flaunted around after Sega tried to attack them for not being capable of “blast processing.” This tech allowed the machine to run fully polygonal games like the original Star Fox and showcase mind expanding visuals like the “Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy” stage from Yoshi’s Island. Some pretty cool shit. Still in comparison to the PC original and versions released on other more high powered systems, the graphics in this game are obviously not a highlight. There are no textures on the floors or ceilings and all of the enemy sprites are flat and always facing you. The animations look decent enough and the pixelated blood spurts are oddly satisfying but overall this game clearly was not intended for this system. I think that ends up being part of its charm, though.
Despite the fact that there’s a solid black border around the action and the “framerate” feels like 10 per second, there’s something kind of satisfying, or at least was at the time in playing a FPS on a system that was way, way underpowered for this type of thing. The controls were another fiasco but still serviceable. Playing any game that allows 360 degree movement with a cross pad is a bitch in general (which is why Super Mario 64 DS was such a nightmare) but with this it wasn’t very hard to get used to. It didn’t hurt that the pulsating soundtrack provided some much needed motivation. That’s one thing a lot of people forget is that the sound chip of the SNES was really, really outstanding thanks to our old friends at Sony. Yep, those guys worked with Nintendo before deciding to have a crack at the console business themselves to predictably disastrous results. Here, have a listen and tell me you don’t want to pop this mother in and murder some demons:
In the end, Doom for the SNES will always be remembered as an oddity albeit one that really tries its little heart out to satisfy and to a degree succeeds. I’ll love it forever as a Christmas two-fer along with Super Mario World 2 from my sweet, sweet Grandmother back during my sophomore year in high school. As a game it’s definitely sub par but as a time capsule and memory, I’ll cherish it forever.
2.5 out of 5 Ghost Mushrooms.