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Gee, this is a very heavy honor - to be reviewing one of the greatest and most influential games of all time. No joke; Wolfenstein 3D may have kicked off the First-Person Shooter (FPS) genre, but Doom perfected it. With its then-revolutionary 3D graphics, network multiplayer, and virtually endless modding possibilities, Doom became an instant hit and a landmark in video game history.
The story is very simple. You're a marine working for the Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC) stationed on Mars and its two moons, Phobos and Deimos. The UAC has been experimenting lately with teleporting stuff between the two moons. However, one day everything goes horribly, horribly wrong: something fraggin' evil starts coming out of the teleporters and killing everything in sight. Then, Deimos just vanishes from the sky. You're sent with a squadron of other marines to Phobos to kill the demons and rescue the helpless scientists. But while you guard the hangar with only a pistol in your hand, everyone else goes inside and gets ripped open by the demons. Tough break.
Now that you're the last man standing, your goal is to find better firepower and shoot your way through the demon onslaught, which is pretty much the gameplay in a nutshell. There are powerups such as invulnerability and radiation suits for wading around in slime, and there are secret areas that contain said firepower and powerups. There are twenty-seven levels in the game: three episodes, each consisting of eight normal levels and one secret level. Find the exit to each level, defeat the boss in the eighth level of each episode, and win the game. That's all there is to it.
In addition to the single-player mode, you can hook up with four other computers to play cooperatively, or against each other via deathmatch.
Like I said before, Doom has very well earned itself a spot in the video game Hall of Fame. If you've never played Doom and only know the FPS genre through more modern shooters (or Doom clones as they used to be called), then it's time for you to discover what brought the genre that you know into the mainstream...
You can download the first episode of the game from the extras section, just above this review to the right. There's the original game by id Software for DOS, and a Windows port that Microsoft made to promote Windows 95 and DirectX. We can't make this particular game available in its whole at the present, as it continues to be for sale online. This game was originally published as shareware, and this first episode has always been free to get and play. If you want the rest of the episodes, clicking on the "buy it!" button will take you to where they can be found.
This game was considered very hardware demanding back in the day, but any modern machine will run it in DOSBox smoothly at full resolution.
Alternatively, you can also use one of many source ports, which are fan-made clones of the original game program, using the original data files, but native to other operating systems such as Windows 7/Vista/XP and many others. Some of these ports include various enhancements to boot. Here's some to get you going:
A port which emulates the original DOS version of DOOM as closely as possible, while keeping functionality on modern computers:
A port that beefs up the DOOM experience with 3D models, HD graphics, remixed sound and music, and more:
A port that allows you to play DOOM online with people around the world:
Available as an extra download above, along with the original DOS version. A straightaway port made by Microsoft to promote Windows 95 and DirectX. It should work in any version of Windows (including x64), unless you try to play in full screen with resolutions that aren't supported any longer (320x200 and 640x400) --only 640x480 (the best option) will work in full screen on XP and higher.