Perhaps a little overlooked back in the day, Doom 64 stands as one of my favorite installments in the series. With its reworked art, atmospheric score, solid frame-rate and foreboding environments, it’s an N64 game that still holds up beautifully today – 23 years after its initial release. However, for those without retro Nintendo hardware, it’s a slice of Doom history inaccessible to many – a situation that changed for the better with the recent release of Doom 64 for all current-gen platforms, developed by Nightdive Studios.
We can’t think of any developer better suited to the task. Nightdive specialises in sympathetically restoring classic games for today’s hardware and has delivered superb work in the form of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter and its sequel, Forsaken, Blood and other. Lead Engine Developer Sam Villarreal is also responsible Doom 64 EX and Doom 64 Absolution – two earlier attempts at bringing the classic original to PC but this official port goes further, seeking to replicate the game with extreme accuracy.
Doom 64 EX was an attempt to implement N64’s extra functionality and bespoke assets into a version of the game playable on modern PCs. The new game sees Doom 64 itself more thoroughly reverse-engineered and then re-coded into Nightdive’s own KEX engine (more accurately, a frame-work – it has no renderer) and supports higher resolutions and 60fps. This process brought about near-perfect accuracy and for the first time, the in-game demos would run just as they should – a factor of Doom 64’s object motion and collision detection being correctly modelled for the first time.