The Ultimate Doom (1993/1995)

I’ve recently fallen back down the rabbit hole of playing Doom. As a kid I cut my teeth PC gaming by starting out with shooters like Doom. In fact, my original exposure to this terrifying world was the somewhat awful looking Sega 32X port, which culled levels from a few of the episodes and chucked them together. But when I got a pack that contained Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, and the Master Levels, I never looked back.

The Ultimate Doom is a bench mark for gaming, not only generally, but specifically for the FPS genre, which is, oddly enough, probably one of my least favourite gaming styles. Modern FPS games, including the Doom 2016 reboot, literally do nothing for me, so I’m not really sure why Doom stands up so much. I can only imagine its because it gives me nostalgia or something like that. I played it as a kid, therefore it makes me feel good, or something like that.

I recently played through Ultimate Doom using the Brutal Doom mod, which after manually altering textures / lighting back to its most vanilla-esque state, is a cracking mod. The new guns and the insane new monster speeds and attacks – not to mention the gore – really brings Doom into a new era. Its not to say the original is bad, but even I’m Too Young To Die mode on Brutal Doom can be a serious challenge.

I’ll round off by saying this iconic MIDI soundtrack is probably the first experience I had with metal music. That, coupled with the games terrifying horror aesthetic and grimy sci-fi meets satanism feel, makes Ultimate Doom an absolute all time favourite of mine. I’m not a big gamer, but the format of Doom has allowed me to play more of a game than I usually would (save falling into TES II or III for months at a time), so I may review a few of the custom WADs I plan to get through. I’ll definitely follow this up with John Romero’s 2019 release of Sigil, the “unofficial” 5th episode of Ultimate Doom, which has two soundtracks, one of which is performed by Buckethead, of all people.

Stay tuned folks, and apologies for the ramble!