So, this one. Yes, you’re probably coming into this with preconceived notions. You may have played the 3DO port of Doom, you may not have. Whatever the case, the port exists and it isn’t half as bad as people make it out to be. I will mention this outright though, it’s a poorly ported game, there is no doubt about it. Is it bad though? Let’s find out.
I want to point out that the story in the manual is faithful to the original release down to the Marine sitting in the rec room watching restricted flicks. I love that. One of the things I really like about Doom is that it is all attitude. It’s been transferred to the 3DO well. The disc also has a great looking foil depiction of the Marine fighting demons as shown on the front cover. It makes a nice change from the regular solid colour or plain silver discs.
After booting up the game you’re given a nice front end with the option of changing the screen size. There is a cheat to increase the screen size to full screen (UP, RIGHT, LEFT SHIFT, UP, RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT SHIFT, A, LEFT and then reboot the game) which I highly recommend you do as it has almost no impact on the frame rate.
Now, let’s talk about the frame rate. Is it bad? It’s not great, but it’s not bad. In fact, Doom on 3DO is very playable. Those who say it isn’t probably don’t know the definition of the word. In certain instances the game will chug badly, but then quickly speed back up again to a playable frame rate. It’s odd, but it’s like hitting a patch of brambles and then quickly jumping back out again. Sometimes it is totally random and will happen when there is nothing on screen other than the scenery. I am not going to excuse such an inconsistent frame rate, but the point is that the game remains playable throughout. People complaining that they had to turn the game off due to the frame rate must have the patience of a toddler to not be able to sit down and try to enjoy the game. Beyond the lackluster frame rate is a very solid port of Doom that is similar to the Atari Jaguar port in content. It looks fantastic, with great lighting and crisp, deep textures and good control, albeit occasionally hampered by the frame rate.
One of the best unique additions to the 3DO port of Doom is the rocking soundtrack. It is absolutely fantastic and busting with great heavy metal renditions of all of the classic tracks. E1M1 and Phobos Anomaly remain my two favourite pieces of music in the game and they are presented here excellently. The sound in general is great and I dare say I have never heard Doom sound better. While I liked the creepy, atmospheric soundtracks of the Playstation and Saturn ports they lack the attitude that the 3DO port maintains.
The structure of this review has been a little all over the place but I would be remiss to not address some of the most prevalent exaggerations and misconceptions regarding this port. The frame rate isn’t that bad, the screen size can be changed to full screen and it contains everything that the Atari Jaguar port contains. Is it a bad port? Kind of. Art Data did not put enough effort into optimising the engine for 3DO and it shows in the patchy, inconsistent frame rate. Does this make 3DO Doom less fun? Not really. It’s still Doom and it’s still fun. What we have here is a port of Doom on our console with a great soundtrack and a handy autosave feature that is very playable if you have a scrap of patience. I’d recommend giving it a try, and trying to enjoy it.