Wolfenstein 3D (SNES)

Pub: Imagineer | Dev: Id Software | March 1994 | 8 MEGS
Pub: Imagineer | Dev: id Software | March 1994 | 8 MEGS

Ahh, Wolfenstein 3D. When this came out in early ’94, I was just beginning my torrid obsession with first person shooters. Something about the genre really appealed to me. Something about being a one man strike force mowing down gun-toting soldiers and mutants one after another. It’s a raw, visceral kind of experience no other genre offers! It provides the kind of thrill you won’t find in any other genre. Growing up in the early-mid ’90s meant living through the 2D fighting game golden age, the 16-bit wars and the Doom era. What a great time it was to be a kid in those days. While Doom gets most of the accolades and glory, there might not have been a Doom without a Wolfenstein 3D.


We knew we were embarking on a whole new journey
We knew we were embarking on a whole new journey

The first time I experienced Wolfenstein 3D was at my friend’s house. As he booted it up he flapped his gums excitedly about this killer new game that was supposedly unlike any other video game he had ever played. I thought he was just blowing smoke up my you know what, but I quickly became a believer of the hype the second I saw Wolfenstein 3D in action.

There was no other game like it in 1992

The blood, the carnage, the sheer mayhem — it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It felt like we were playing something taboo… something we weren’t supposed to be playing. It was one of those awesome gaming experiences that stay with you for the long haul, not unlike the first time you saw the likes of Doom, Resident Evil or Super Mario 64. Even nearly 25 years later, I remember it vividly. The adrenaline rush shooting through my nine year old body at the time was damn near palpable.

MARCH 1994

Ah, the memories
Ah, the memories

Back in the day my brother would always ship me on the weekends to go rent a Super Nintendo game of his choosing. (See Memories of Renting for more). Wolfenstein 3D was one of those games my brother directed me to rent. It’s funny — I ended up playing the game more than he did. I loved Doom at the time but I had yet to play Wolfenstein 3D thoroughly. I only briefly played it at my friend’s house in mid 1992, but mostly I remember watching him play it. So the SNES port was my first taste for all intents and purposes. And boy did I love it. I even made a mini strategy guide where I rated the enemies and guns. Unfortunately that guide is just another childhood thing lost to time…

LATE 1996

One night my dad took my brother and me to FUNCOLAND. It was there I saw Wolfenstein 3D for $30. It wasn’t cheap per se, especially for an older game, but seeing it suddenly brought back good memories of that weekend I spent with Wolfie back in March of 1994. The nostalgic feels were too strong and I caved. My brother wanted to get the latest NHL game. But being that Wolfenstein was cheaper, my dad went with my choice much to my brother’s chagrin.

"If it bleeds, we can kill it..."
“If it bleeds, we can kill it…”

I remember rushing home and beat the game for a second time that weekend. It was an absolute blast (no pun intended). I also enjoyed revisiting random levels and messing around with the God mode. I sure made the most of it.

MARCH 27, 2006

Got these on Saturday, April 1, 2006. Epic weekend!
Got this on Saturday, April 1, 2006. Epic weekend ;)

Two months into my SNES resurrection, I fondly remembered my old friend, Wolfie 3D, and all the good times I had with it back in the ’90s. Found a copy on eBay and sniped it with ONE second to go. My max was originally $2.22 but at the last second I decided to add a nickel, making my new max $2.27. Funny enough, I won the game for $2.25. That nickel made all the difference! It felt great to add this childhood favorite to my growing SNES collection. I remember it arriving bright and early on a Saturday morning of April 1, 2006, along with Lufia II and Mega Man 7. Back when these expensive games were going for cheap. Also, they arrived the day before WrestleMania 22. Wow, it’s almost been 11 years. Ah, good times. But it took me nearly a year later to finally replay Wolfie.


Wednesday, January 31, 2007. Looking through my collection for the next game to play and review, Wolfenstein 3D caught my eye. Has it held up? Or has time been unkind to it? Only one way to find out…

PS- I’m going to rate the enemies and guns here like I did so many years ago. The higher the rating, the tougher the enemy and the more useful the gun. Because why not? :)


Rating: 50 / 100
Rating: 10 / 100

If this were a horror movie, the knife would rank much higher. But it’s not. And in the world of Wolfenstein 3D, the knife is basically suicide. Never bring a knife to a gun fight, right? This game proves that and then some. On a side note, you can’t switch to the knife in the SNES version unless you’re out of ammo. That always annoyed me. Sure the knife sucks, but it would have been fun to use with the God mode (rather than firing all my ammo first in order to use the knife).

Rating: 75 / 100
Rating: 65 / 100

The pistol is better than nothing but it doesn’t pack much of a punch. Still, it gives you a long range weapon and you at least have a fighting chance. However, the rate of fire is rather pitiful and you’ll want a much more powerful gun beyond the first couple levels. It should be noted that once you acquire a stronger weapon, the pistol cannot be switched to. Odd. It’s fun to put the God mode on and use this gun against the bosses.

Rating: 77 / 100
Rating: 70 / 100

This quirky little gun would seem like a sizable step up from the pistol but it isn’t. Sure, the rate of fire is much faster than the pistol, but oddly, at times it seems even weaker than even the pistol! Not sure what happened with the damage ratio here, but it sometimes takes three even four shots to kill a guard whereas I can kill said guard with two pistol shots. Nevertheless, I’ve always liked this gun and it’s a blast to use on the bosses with the God mode!

Rating: 90 / 100
Rating: 90 / 100

Now we’re talking! This is the weapon to use 90% of the time. Rapid fire chaos and it’s also fairly strong. Only time that the chain gun shouldn’t be used is perhaps during some of the later boss fights, where it’s just a bit outmatched. But yeah, there’s no better feeling than firing this gun at will, mowing down a room of 10 Nazi guards in no time flat.

Rating: 92 / 100
Rating: 92 / 100

The flame thrower sure lights up the screen! Burn your enemies to a crisp (although unfortunately you’ll just have to imagine the burning flesh). Fast rate of fire and quite potent indeed.

Rating: 95 / 100
Rating: 98 / 100

The BFG of the game, this is the only gun in the game that can kill multiple enemies in one shot. Its only downside is the lack of ammo available and the fact that it fires a very small shot, leaving little room for error. On the plus side, there’s zero splash damage. Meaning you can fire it two feet away from an enemy and not take any damage yourself.


Rating : 75 / 100
Rating : 70 / 100

A low tier enemy, the guard fires a pistol and doesn’t have the greatest mobility. They’re a notch above a sitting duck, really, and you should be forced to turn in your gamer badge if you let one of these bastards take you down. They’re most memorable for screaming “HALT!” or in this case “STOP!” Sheesh, come on, no means no. Who’s the bad guy here?

Rating: 80 / 100
Rating: 80 / 100

Elite guards are a step above the regular guards. These burly blue uniformed men are far more menacing and pack a more powerful wallop. Their machine gun will take off more damage than the guard’s lowly pistol. However, they’re pretty slow both in terms of moving around and firing their weapon. This allows you to usually land the first shot. Repeat a few more times and before you know it this bastard will bite the dust. They’re formidable in packs, though.

Rating: 82 / 100
Rating: 82 / 100

Although weaker than the elite guard and carries a weaker weapon, the officer is not to be taken lightly. They react the quickest of all the enemies, often ambushing you with shots from left field. They tend to stay silent too, and zig zag about the castle floors making it more difficult to pelt them. They’ll sap more health from you than you may think. Hence the slightly higher rating than the bigger elite guards.

Rating: 84 / 100
Rating: 84 / 100

Proud product of the mad Doctor Schabbs, mutants don’t make a sound until they shoot, greeting you with the crack of gunfire. The mad doc inserted a pistol into the center of their chest and topped them off with cleaver-tipped arms! They’re pretty agile suckers to boot. The toughest of the regular enemies you’ll face. I always liked them as they brought a hint of macabre and a light occult flavor to the game. Besides, it can get pretty boring killing just human guards and dogs (oops, rats in this version). The mutant brings much needed diversity!

Rating: 25 / 100
Rating: 1 / 100

The killer dogs have been changed into… mutant rats?! Yes, it’s true. It’s just another sign of Nintendo censorship before they changed their family friendly image in late 1994 starting with Mortal Kombat II. Dogs or giants rats, it’s all the same at its core, however. This enemy is a joke. In fact, in all my years playing Wolfenstein 3D I don’t think a rat has ever successfully been able to bite me. Nuff said.


Rating: 90 / 100
Rating: 87 / 100

Mission One: Dresden Strike
Location: Castle outside of Dresden
Objective: Terminate Hans Grösse

Hans is the first boss and a relative cake walk with the chain gun. Hell, even his level has no other enemies. The same can’t be said for the other bosses who send wave after wave of guards and mutants your way before the ultimate showdown. But being a first boss, I get that id Software wanted the spotlight solely on Hans. It’s certainly a memorable moment when the door opens and you see his huge ass sprite for the very first time. I mean, it’s nowhere near the Barons of Hell debut, but it’s pretty solid in its own right. Many first aid kits lie in an isolated room nearby just in case, but you won’t need them if you skillfully strafe about. Upon detection he yells “I’M COMIN’ TO GIT CHU!” It’s a nice touch that always came off a bit creepy to me. Makes it feel a bit like a B-movie horror film…

Rating: 91 / 100
Rating: 91 / 100

Mission Two: A Dark Secret
Location: Castle Erlangen
Objective: Terminate
Trans Grösse

As you would expect, Trans is a fair bit tougher than his brother, Hans. Not only that but he’s also flanked by eight of his most trusted lackeys. That extra firepower can prove fatal if you aren’t quick on your feet and precise with your trigger finger. From this point on the enemy count in addition to the boss only increases. After communication with Hans Grösse proved futile, the Nazi forces realized they have underestimated your abilities. Hopefully, you’ve found a stronger weapon than the chain gun by now. Trans is more durable than Hans AND he’s extra pissed that you’ve killed his brother.

Rating: 92 / 100
Rating: 92 / 100

Mission Three: Operation Eisenfaust
Location: Dr. Schabbs’ Research Laboratory
Objective: Terminate
Dr. Schabbs

The maniacal doctor has been working hard late into the night. Malpractice, foul intentions and diabolical schemes are all on the menu. Grafting a pistol on to the chest of the recently deceased, he’s found a way to bring slain guards back to life! Somewhere in the depths of his laboratory he lurks. He may look like a simpleton but don’t be fooled by his appearance. Throwing unknown harmful chemicals and rusty syringes at you, Doctor Schabbs is more than a handful. Creepy bastard.

Rating: 95 / 100
Rating: 95 / 100

Mission Four: Trail of the Madman
Location: Mountain Fortress
Objective: Terminate ÜBERMUTANT

Despite killing the mad doctor, his efforts live on. Here’s his prized creation… the ultra deadly ÜBERMUTANT! Hidden in the dank dungeons of the Mountain Fortress, he awaits your arrival with many of his mutant friends in tow. This sprite never fails to impress me. The huge chain gun embedded in the middle of his chest… his four freaky arms each wielding a butcher knife… this is Michael Myers on steroids…

Rating: 97 / 100
Rating: 97 / 100

Mission Five: Confrontation
Location: Castle Heidenheim
Objective: Terminate
Death Knight

If you thought the ÜBERMUTANT was incredibly tough, you haven’t seen squat yet! The Death Knight is by far the hardest boss in the entire game. Being accompanied by dozens of guards and mutants is a big reason why, but even on his own he’s a force of nature. His gas attack inflicts tons of damage and he’s as durable as they come. I once beat him with only 2% health remaining. Whew…

Rating: 90 / 100
Rating: 90 / 100

Mission Six: Staatmeister’s Last Stand
Location: Castle Wolfenstein
Objective: Terminate Staatmeister

The final line of defense, as it were. The Staatmeister first appears in this exosuit and is actually pretty easy. It’s a bit anti-climactic, especially following the hard fought battle with the Death Knight. The suit is more bark than bite. That’s not to say he’s a walk in the park, because he isn’t, but you would expect the final boss to be a little tougher than this.

Rating: 85 / 100

After destroying his exosuit, you square off with his more vulnerable second form. It’s more of a formality than anything else, as the battle is truthfully a bit pitiful. In this state the chain gun will serve you just fine. But getting to him will prove tricky as the final castle floor is littered with pesky guards, crack shot officers, nasty elite guards and vicious mutants all hell bent on your destruction.








I like the various reactions of B.J. Blazkowicz. When you grab a big gun he’ll signal his approval with a fat grin. When he’s low on health he will look the part. But best of all, he turns his head in the direction he was shot from, which can save you some extra damage points if you react quickly enough. Not just a cosmetic feature, this was pretty cool stuff. Doom Guy seems to get all the love but let’s not forget B.J. did it first.


The key to success...
The key to success…

Each stage contains two different types of locked doors with two corresponding keys to find. Some keys lie around in the open while others are guarded by a horde of bloodthirsty soldiers and mutants.

Remarkable likeness, eh?
Remarkable likeness, eh?

These guys give you a 1-UP.

Be on the lookout for secret entrances!
Be on the lookout for secret entrances!

There are many secret passageways hidden within the 30 levels of Wolfenstein 3D. Simply approach any section of a wall, painting or closed curtain and press the A button. A portion of the wall will slide back if a secret room is hidden behind the panel. These rooms may contain valuable items such as 1-UPs, ammo, guns, etc. One secret room will even warp you to a special bonus level!

Imagine a dozen of him...
Imagine a half dozen Hans…

See if you can locate the hidden warp to play the bonus level where MULTIPLE Hans Grösse bosses call home. It’s quite the barn burner! HINT: it’s hidden somewhere in level 25.


The levels have been reduced in size as compared to the original computer game, but they’re still plenty big. I still occasionally find myself getting lost within the mazes and labyrinths despite the reduced size.

What SNES Doom lacked!
What SNES Doom lacked!

After each level a password is given. This is how all passwords should be. Succinct, clear and only takes five seconds to input. None of that “Is this a 5 or S? ARGHHH!” crap.

The graphics took a hit but are still serviceable
The graphics took a hit but are still serviceable

Although many of the more questionable designs have been removed (the Hitler portraits and the swastika), the levels still maintain a nice look all things considered. Chandeliers can be found on the earlier floors, while later things become more depressing and macabre. You’ll find decaying walls, human bones and so forth. I like how the game handles these transitions and becomes progressively more bleak.

Enemies popping out of nowhere can make ya flinch
Enemies popping out of nowhere can make ya flinch

The goal is simple: reach the exit of each stage before the Nazi soldiers can take you out. It’s a classic concept that has stood the test of time. The game still makes me flinch on occasion when I turn a corner and blindly walk right into a bad guy from seemingly out of nowhere. It’s me versus him. Only one of us can survive. It’s raw and visceral like no other genre can offer. Good stuff.

I see you there...
I see you there…

Be weary of alcoves in particular. They are usually home to soldiers and mutants just waiting to ambush you. Strafing (shoulder buttons L and R) will be key to your success and thankfully works rather smoothly.

Going out in a blaze of glory!
Going out in a blaze of glory!

Always unhinges me a bit to see this…

Feel the rush!
Feel the rush!

Wolfenstein 3D gives you a great feeling of being a one man strike force. The destruction you can dish out is, at times, a great rush. Despite the lack of blood, it’s still a satisfying experience to mow down a room full of Nazi soldiers in no time flat.

"I prefer the dark..."
“I prefer the dark…”

Here’s another detail to the game that I’ve always appreciated as a kid. Early on the sky has a nice, cheery look to it with a few clouds. It almost feels serene… as if you’re at the park about to enjoy a picnic. However, later in the game if you peek outside the sky will be dark and gloomy. It’s a nice touch that reminds me of a quote from the 2004 film Sideways.

Great movie, great acting, great characters :)
Great film, great acting, great characters

When asked if he preferred the strawberry or chocolate cake, Paul Giamatti’s depressed character answered, “I prefer the dark…”

I like their spacious and clunky exits. Charming
I like the spacious and clunky exits

Seeing an exit always made me happy. Not just because it’s on to the next level but because I just enjoy the quirky design of the exits. It’s one of those things you can’t really put into words, but seeing an exit never fails to make me smile.


By the way, don’t always assume an exit means you’re home free. Some exits contain elite guards and mutants just waiting to take advantage of lackadaisical players.

Yeah, you know it can't be that easy...
Yeah, you know it can’t be that easy…

One of my favorite parts from the game… the next door lies in waiting straight ahead. But between you and that door?

A bevy of elite guards!
A bevy of elite guards!
Not just a mindless shooter
Not just a mindless shooter

This picture illustrates the beauty of this game. The bosses (as well as the regular enemies) stalk you relentlessly once you’ve been spotted. No short term memories here. Navigate around those walls strategically, using them to your defense. Wolfenstein 3D is far from being simply just a gung-ho kill kill affair. There is some strategy and crafty skills required in order to succeed.

The final battle!
The final battle!
In your face, Staatmeister Hitler!
In your face, Hitler Staatmeister!


EGM called it
EGM called it

It’d be easy to blame the developers for censoring the game when in fact the preview version contained plenty of gore. Unfortunately, Nintendo censored the bloody thing — pun intended. Keep in mind this was half a year before Nintendo changed its stance and adopted a ratings system, which allowed such violent games as Mortal Kombat II to exist.

"RATS!" Indeed
“RATS!” … Indeed

The rabid dogs were originally present in the SNES port but after Nintendo got through with it, we got mutant rats instead. It’s largely cosmetic for the most part, but it’s easy to see why this degree of strict censorship left a bit of a sour taste for many people.

See? Blood was in the beta version
See? Blood was in the beta version

In fact, you can play the beta version as it’s floating out there in the vastness of cyberspace. Those of you adamant on experiencing Wolfenstein 3D on your SNES with red blood over sweat will be pleased — all two of you. Be forewarned though, it’s incomplete. After the first three missions or so it loops. That way you’ll never be able to finish the game. Bummer.







Glorious sight indeed. But alas, it just wasn’t meant to be.

Blood doesn't make a game
Blood doesn’t make a game

Does the censorship hurt? Sure. Game killer? Definitely not. The game still plays very well and that’s the most important thing.

It's a blast, blood or not
It’s a blast, blood or not



It’s impossible to deny that the SNES port was stripped and gutted — killer dogs have been turned into mutant rats, the blood is missing, the levels are smaller and all Nazi signs have been removed. But at its core, Wolfenstein 3D is a good game and that hasn’t changed.

Watch out for those corners…

The gun sounds are relatively weak, but everything else is very well handled. The music has a great beat, the boss themes are intimidating and the voices are surprisingly rather clear. Playing this in stereo is a treat. Hearing “STOP!” from the left and right side simultaneously will get your heart racing. I’ve flinched more times than I care to willingly admit simply by turning a seemingly innocent corner only to be greeted by a loud “STOP!”







Bosses are huge and will make you sweat a little upon first glance.







Better not run out of ammo or else you’re stuck with a puny knife!







Doctor Schabbs is unsettling to the core. First of all, why is his fat ass grinning so much? And check out the dirty syringes that he chucks at you. Ugh, it kind of makes me shiver. There’s nothing worse than a creepy doctor.







Seriously creepy. Stop smiling at me! But you get a key for your troubles.

The bosses utter their one liners with a strange inhuman tone. “I’M COMIN’ TO GIT CHU!” and “I’M COMIN’ FER YOOH!” works surprisingly well. You’re in awe of their sheer size the first time you see the towering bosses. The ÜBERMUTANT in particular is quite the sight for sore eyes. You know he’s waiting for you… you’re strafing the corners and just waiting to find him… finally, when you let your guard down and turn the turner — “I’M COMIN’ FER YOOH!” It’s a rush, no doubt. Not many SNES games are as (in)tense as this one.

Boss battles are fierce
Boss battles are fierce

Backpacks (which allow you to hold more ammo) and first aid kits are scattered about. You’ll also find turkey meat and cheese. The cheese health refills are hilarious. They only recover 4% (!) health. What a strange low number. And why haven’t the mutant rats already eaten the cheese? It’s odd as all hell!

This can't be a good sign...
This can’t be a good sign…


  • 299 Rounds
    Press and hold R while turning the power on. Release R at the title screen, then start a game. Pause and press R, up, B, A
  • All Weapons + Maximum Ammo
    Hold R on controller 2, turn on the SNES and release R at the title screen. During game pause and press R, up, B, A
  • Full Map + All Keys
    Hold R on controller 2, turn on the SNES and release R at the title screen. During game pause and press A, A, up, B
  • God Mode
    Hold R on controller 1, turn on the SNES and release R at the title screen. During game pause the game and press B, up, B, A
  • Level Select
    Hold R on controller 1, turn on the SNES and release R at the title screen, then immediately press up and select
  • Level Skip
    Hold R on controller 1, turn on the SNES and release R at the title screen. During game pause the game and press up, B, R, B


Wolfenstein 3D received scores of 8, 7, 7 and 6 from EGM.

  • Ed Semrad- 7: Good music and huge mazes help you come back for more and more. While there are changes it is still a very good translation… a great game that moves fast
  • Danyon Carpenter- 8: So the blood was removed. Who cares? The game is still a riot! Not many other games put you in the role of gun-toting soldier running rampant through a maze shooting guards and mutants
  • Al Manuel- 6: Although the Swastikas on the wall and Hitler have been removed, this is a pretty good translation
  • Sushi-X- 7: As one of my favorite PC games, this Super NES version almost has everything in the sense of the game play. A good translation
  • Super Play gave it a 78%, citing “Blocky but fun shooter”
  • GameFan gave it scores of 89, 89, 80 and 77% citing “Major fun, buy it!” and “Hair-raising action and sweat-inducing intensity!”


Over your dead body? I can arrange that
Over your dead body? I can arrange that

There have been quite a few critics of the SNES port but I’ve always loved it. And quite frankly I still do to this very day. Granted, I’ve never thoroughly played the original computer game and thus can’t compare it to the superior originator. I can only base Wolfenstein 3D to other SNES games of its era. There simply aren’t many games like this on the Super Nintendo. Running through mazes mowing down guard after guard is a rush few other SNES games can replicate. It’s a raw and visceral experience. I still break it out every now and then as it’s fun to revisit even after all these years.

Not perfect, but it delivers

Yeah, the graphics get very pixel-y up close but considering the hardware it’s a relatively admirable job. Enemies can still be spotted from afar, which is critical. The boss sprites are incredibly massive, detailed and menacing. The music is catchy — I can still hear some of those tunes in my head. “STOP!” will make you flinch in your seat on occasion and the large mazes are complex and well designed. The gameplay is simply timeless and holds up well. It’s not just a mindless shoot ‘em up. Strafing throughout the labyrinths is key to success as well as using doors and corridors to your distinct advantage.

Whaaaaat a russsssshhhh!!

The enemy AI is very strong to boot. Enemies bum-rush you relentlessly upon sight. They’ll even come from other rooms when they hear the crack of gunshot. Not all doors are soundproof! This lends Wolfenstein a realistic feel and makes things much more interesting, not to mention extra tense! You never know when one innocent shot will lead to a summoning of the undead from many rooms over. You’ll hear doors opening in the far distance faintly. Then as the bad guys come closer and closer, the sound of the door opening gets louder and louder. You’re being stalked throughout the mazes. And it’s an absolute rush laying waste to 20 bad guys within the short span of 30 seconds! Some games never get old, and Wolfenstein 3D is definitely one of those games for me.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8

Gameplay: 9
Longevity: 7

Award4Overall: 9.0
Gold Award

Doom (SNES)

Pub: Williams | Dev: Sculptured Software | 9.1.95 | 16 MEGS + Super FX2
Pub: Williams | Dev: Sculptured Software | 9.1.95 | 16 MEGS + Super FX2

By September 1995, the SNES was quickly entering the final stages of its life. Although game quality was at an all-time high in terms of what companies could now do with the system, it’s a given that every 4-5 years the new wave of next gen gaming takes over, and the older models quietly fade out in the background. This however did not stop the unlikely conversion of PC smash hit, DOOM. And on the first of September 1995, SNES owners had their own version of Doomsday.


Doom changed the very landscape of gaming
Doom changed the very landscape of gaming

I consider the early-mid 1990s as a very special time. Not only was I in the thick of my childhood, but those years cranked out some of the most iconic and groundbreaking video games around. While the whole Street Fighter II craze was sweeping the nation, in December 1993 a little violent game by the name of DOOM came out and took the nation by storm. Playing as a marine battling a horde of zombie soldiers and demons, Doom was the most intense action game of its day. It made your heart beat a little faster. Palms perspired. Those growls you hear around the corner… that ammo count dipping dangerously low… Doom produced an adrenaline kick like no other. Who could ever forget the first time you experienced Doom? It’s one of those things that you carry with you for life. Kind of like the first time you came across a Playboy Magazine. Doom was a transcendent gaming experience that turned boys into men and soiled more than a few underwears over 20 years ago. It is revered fondly for a good reason.


One year later, Doom II kicked our asses
One of the most anticipated sequels of the ’90s!

December 1994. One year after the epic release of Doom, we were given the sequel, Doom II. It was only a matter of time. While the clones rushed in and out the door (and backdoor, for that matter), the original king stood mighty, proud and tall and victorious over all comers. But now it was time for round two. A game with more weapons, monsters and mayhem. It did not disappoint! Doom II was a worthy sequel indeed and although my brother and I didn’t own it, we definitely found ways to experience it. Because it was simply something you just had to. No ifs, ands or buts here. Doom II was the SHIT.

Games weren't 'cool' in the mid '90s, but Doom II sure was
Games weren’t cool in the mid ’90s but Doom II was

How badass was Doom II? So badass that I put it on my 7th grade “All About Me” poster. I somehow found this pic here on a computer store ad, mighta been Comp USA (damn there goes a name from the past) or Fry’s Electronic. Cut it out and pasted it on my poster to show the whole 7th grade world. At that time gaming wasn’t considered cool, much. But not Doom IIDoom II broke barriers. You were proud to declare to the entire universe of its greatness. Keep in mind gaming in 1995 was a lot less mainstream and “accepted” than it is in today’s society.


It's a day I still vividly recall, even 20+ years later
It’s a day I still vividly recall… even 20+ years later

A few weeks before Doom II came out, my world changed forever. It was mid-November 1994. It was a cold and dreary, foggy Monday morning. I remember the fog being so thick I could barely see past my first neighbor’s house. I was walking to school with my good old best friend Nelson, and it was another week in the ol’ neighborhood. Little did I know, leaving my house that morning, that when I would return later that day, my innocence would be lost, ripped and shattered.

You never forget the first time you're robbed. It sucks
Bad days always seem to start out innocently enough

2:25 PM. The school bell rang and Nelson and I rushed out. We walked home laughing and talking up a storm, crunching the autumn leaves on the gavel beneath our shoes. We got to the fork where he went left and I went right. We bid farewell and I vividly remember to this very day how much I couldn’t wait to get home from school just so I could play Doom for the 1,000th time. Shoot, I was already daydreaming about firing the rocket launcher on the two Barons of Hell on the Phobos Anomaly map. Nothing was better than coming home from a long school day, tossing your backpack off, and wading over to the computer room where your most favorite video games resided. And I was deep in the middle of my daydreaming when I turned the corner and had the wind knocked out of me. There my house lied in the distance, with a police car parked in the driveway, and two policemen conversing with my mom. I ran over and my mom quickly embraced me, hugging me harder than she ever had in years, with tears streaming down her face. My eyes widened in terror when I looked straight ahead from the driveway, saw the front door wide open, and realized the mess that laid before us. We were robbed. They took nearly everything, including the computer and Doom. That day I didn’t just lose material things. That day I lost a large chunk of my innocence :(


My brother, on occasion, would do something really nice
My brother occasionally did something really nice

September 1995. As some readers may recall from my Memories of Renting article, back in the day I did 90-95% of the game renting, and most of those times that I did, I was forced by my older brother to rent the titles HE liked. Well, in September of ’95 my bro surprised me one weekend when he left the house and came back with SNES Doom. He thought I would be happy but I was actually pissed. Seeing it, although it did have a cool red shell case, only reminded me of that fateful day where I lost my innocence. After playing it I was DISGUSTED with it. I couldn’t help but constantly compare it to its PC original. And under those given circumstances, I hated the SNES version with a burning passion. So much that I vehemently refused to play it for the rest of the weekend that we had the rental copy. My bro never mentioned it, but I think he was a little hurt by it. He made a nice gesture, but instead of gratitude I showed him contempt and annoyance. And that was the last game I can ever recall him renting for me…


At the time I thought this was the greatest score EVER
At the time I thought it was the greatest score EVER

December 14, 1996. Two full years after the initial release of Doom II, my dad took me to Staples one night. Yeah, some dads take their kids to Disneyland. Other parents take their kids to Universal Studios. Mine took me to friggin’ Staples. Hey, I’ll give the old man credit. Because on this night I saw a deal that blew my mind. There it was, Doom II, for only $4.97. I rubbed my eyes not once, not twice but trice. I thought maybe there was a 2 in front, or at least, surely a 1. But just $4.97?!?! I grabbed the box, flipped it over and read front and back 10 times over. Was this shareware? Was this April Fools? No, you fool, I thought to myself. It’s December 14, damnit. Holy shit. It was the real deal AND for a real deal. I snatched it up quicker than OJ Simpson driving away in his Bronco, and of course, at less than the cost of a #1 Big Mac combo meal, there was no way my pops could deny me this one. Maybe the old man knew. My brother and I always wanted Doom II two years ago, but we never got it. Now we were vindicated. When I got home and my bro saw the receipt, he just about fell over. I have kept the receipt all these years later. Thing of beauty when an awesome deal drops unexpectedly into your lap. Look at that up there. “YOU SAVED $25.02″ — damn sick! $5.36 for Doom II in 1996? Hey, it happened. Moral of the story… screw Disneyland. Next time I’m taking my kids to motherfukken STAPLES, bitch.


Years later, I was greeted by an old friend...
Years later, I was greeted by an old friend…

In 1999, after being out of the gaming scene for a year or two, I came back STRONG with the Sega Saturn (check out the previous blog post if you don’t believe me). But it wasn’t until 2001 that I became a diehard Saturn fanatic. I amassed a huge collection, and by 2005 was pretty much done with my collecting. Then I took a chance on the Japanese version of Saturn Doom, seeing as how it was released months AFTER the US reject. I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, the frame rate on the Japanese version would be improved. And it was! I recall fondly making usenet posts way back in the day (late ’90s to mid 2000s) on the old rec.video.sega newsgroup, spreading the news that the Japanese version was superior. Hell, I even created a YouTube account way back in December 2005 (yeah, when YouTube was just in its infancy) just to show off how improved the Japanese version’s frame rate was, compared to the lame version we received in the US. It was a discovery that no one had spoken of on the internet yet, and it felt like I was breaking some news there. I love the feeling of spreading obscure gaming knowledge. Man, those were the days… it’s amazing how different the internet has become in the last 10 years, but I digress.


It was a homecoming for me in more ways than one
It was a homecoming for me in more ways than one

On January 17, 2006, I returned to the SNES scene. I was a man on a mission. I was now a young adult longing for my childhood and to discover “new” gems I missed out on. I bought most of my wanted games in 2006; Doom was never on the original want list. I had some… ahem… sour memories of it you understand, and so never wanted to give it another shot. But finally, in 2010, I said what the hell. It’s time to face old demons [Well played for once -Ed.] and see what’s what. So I bought Doom, replayed it and did so this time with a clear open mind. And I was surprised to find out that I actually enjoyed it a good bit. I had a few four hour marathons with it where I tried my damndest to beat all of the 22 levels in one sitting (because they gave you no other choice). I’ll be damned. My opinion of SNES Doom did a complete 180. Taking it for what it is, I can’t help but marvel a bit at the fact that it’s even up and running on my Super Nintendo. It captures the essence and spirit of the original Doom pretty damn nicely, and that’s the bottom line. In many ways, I felt like I had come full circle with not only the SNES but with Doom as well.


A huge part of me refused to believe it. SNES Doom? HA!
I refused to believe Doom could run on the SNES…

Thankfully, by late 1995 the SNES’ kid friendly mantra of no blood had shifted. Games like Mortal Kombat II, released about one year prior, broke the mold. Doom without its grisly gore just wouldn’t be the same. The SNES port keeps the bloody mayhem intact at the very least. Because when you think of Doom, you instantly think of the carnage. Oh and…



FORMER SOLDIER: At one time you swapped war stories with this guy. Now he’s nothing more than a rotting, pistol-toting maggot. So waste this sucker without remorse. He stopped being your buddy a long time ago…


FORMER SERGEANT: Similar to above, but with more piss and vinegar. Packing a heavy duty shotgun, you best take these bald baddies out fast or they’ll do more than pelt you. Aim carefully, because if you miss that means you’re likely eating some damage. You need every last health point!


IMP: When you think of imps, you might think of a small hideously cute thing that is sneaky and mischievous. Think again! This bastard heaves fireballs down your throat and will claw the hell out of you up close. It’s time to find a shotgun.


DEMON: Yes, finally, an enemy with no long range weapon. That’s the good news. The bad news? It moves faster than you might think, and if it bites you, it’s gonna HURTA LOT. The chainsaw works well on these bad boy, and saves the ammo.


CACODEMON: This big red bastard takes a lot of bullets to go down. It’s time to upgrade from the shotgun if you haven’t already. Cacodemons make a loud, nasty screech when they first see you or hear of your presence. They launch fireballs that pack a more potent punch than the imp’s. A chaingun works well since the rapid firing bullets prevent this vile creature from sprouting fireballs off at your head.


LOST SOUL: Maybe the Doom makers were fans of Ghost Rider? It flies around. It screams. It scorches. And it dies with a few well-placed shotgun shells.


BARON OF HELL: Ah, here’s the man. Er, demon, rather, I suppose. Deman? Sorry. I can write and reminisce about this goat-legged horned menace all day long. His debut at the end of Episode 1 has got to rank in the top 10 of all time as far as boss entrances go. It’s an image that has been burned into my retina for over 20 years now. There was nothing like staring at the two pods knowing hell is coming.


CYBERDEMON: Remember the first time you ever laid eyes on this bastard? You thought the Barons of Hell were bad news. This guy is basically death on two legs. From his heavy stomps to his lightning-quick rockets coming straight for your head, the Cyberdemon is the stuff nightmares are made of. Before Resident Evil had the Tyrant, Doom had the Cyberdemon. He was a hulking weapon of mass destruction. ProTip: Shoot ’til it dies.


THE SPIDER MASTERMIND: Ever since I was a kid, I hated spiders. Just hate the buggers. They make my skin crawl. So when I first came across the Spider Mastermind, I probably screamed like a little girl [I have no doubt you did -Ed.]. Thank goodness for small favors — at least ol’ Spidey wields a chaingun and not the plasma gun. That’s one big motherfukken spider, indeed.

With such deadly demons and maniacal monsters milling about the hellhole, you’re going to need more than quick feet and wit to survive this apocalypse. You’re gonna need top-of-the-line artillery to give you even a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning. Which brings us to…


You start the game out with your fist and a standard military-issue pistol. You better find some upgrades quickly or you’ll become dinner even quicker!


CHAINSAW: Anyone who has ever seen the Texas Chainsaw Massacre will smile at the inclusion of this death instrument. Perfect for confined areas, the chainsaw will bring out the Leatherface in you. The only bad thing is it doesn’t actually slice demons in two. Guess you can’t have it all.


SHOTGUN: One of the most iconic and memorable weapons in video gaming history. Blowing away zombie soldiers and imps with the shotgun was immensely satisfying. From the sound effect to the reloading animation, the shotgun delivers the good.


CHAINGUN: Take your pistol’s puny bullets, and pump them out rapid fire, and suddenly you’ve got a formidable weapon of choice. Pull the trigger and watch the monsters of Hell do one hell of a dance number.


ROCKET LAUNCHER: Pure destruction. A specialty weapon in every respect of the word, this can either make your day, or make your grave. Few things rival the sheer joy of watching demons explode into a quivering bloody mess. Just make sure you’re not standing nearby!


PLASMA GUN: The “perfect” weapon. The plasma gun has it all: speed, strength and style. As an added bonus, it’s just strong enough to potentially blow the weaker enemies into tiny bloody bits — making this the preferred weapon of Doom 90% of the time.


THE BFG 9000: Here is the mother of all shooting game guns.. the BIG FUCKIN’ GUN. Excuse my language, but with a weapon this destructive, it simply cannot be censored or contained. It eats up a lot of ammo, but fire this baby and admire how it can take out an entire room of demons. Besides, any gun that can kill a Baron of Hell in one shot is definitely badass.


Much was sacrificed, but it’s still an admirable effort
Yeah, things get pixelated but what do you expect?
Yeah, things get pixelated but what do you expect?
The SNES port captures Doom's essence
The SNES port does a nice job capturing the essence
The nooks and crannies made me feel uneasy...
The nooks and crannies made me feel uneasy…
This part still gets to me to this day!
Even to this day, this has me on the edge of my seat
It adds a lot to the game's tense atmosphere
It adds a lot to the game’s tense atmosphere
Screw aiming up or down. If you can see it you can kill it
No aiming up or down. If you can see it you can kill it
It never gets old blasting an imp up close with a shotgun
It never gets old blasting an imp up close
Toxic barrels only added to the fun and chaos of Doom
Toxic barrels only added to the fun and chaos
What a way to let off some steam at the end of a long hard day!
Nice way to let off some steam after a long hard day!
Never forget the time I turned around and a demon was chomping on my face
Once I turned around and a demon bit on my face
Ol' pinky has gotten all of us at one point or another
Pinky has gotten all of us at one point or another
What they lack in style points they make up in survival %
They sure brighten up your day
... and after
… and after
Remember experiencing this for the first time? Incredible
Remember experiencing this for the first time?
You just had to be there in 1993. Amazing memory
You just had to be there in 1993. Good times
Remember gawking at your handiwork while admiring the computer's glow?
Who didn’t stop to admire their handiwork for a bit?
[Ya know... I was gonna say something but naaah -Ed.]
[Ya know… I was gonna say something but naaah -Ed.]
Demons lurk on both sides but you're more concerned with what lies ahead
This must be Hell’s version of the green mile…
Seeing this back in '93 made me nearly crap my pants!
Seeing this back in ’93 made me crap my pants!
Its design, its roar, its debut... thanks for the nightmares
Its design, its roar… thanks for the nightmares
... well, you know who. Love the Baron's death animation
You know who. Love the Baron’s death animation
The ending of Episode 1 always creep me out...
The ending of Episode 1 never failed to creep me out


Oh I sure hope you have more than a lowly pistol...
Oh I sure hope you have more than a lowly pistol…
An upside down cross in that demonic block looms ahead
Including an upside down cross — yikes!
The source of many jump scares over the years
Indeed, the source of many jump scares over the years
It's an adrenaline rush to kill 10 demons in as many seconds
It’s a rush to pump lead into a room full of monsters
Little details like this made Doom one memorable affair
Little details like this made Doom a memorable affair
You know it's bad when Barons start appearing regularly
You know it’s bad when Barons  appear regularly
You'll especially need it on Ultra Violence or NIGHTMARE
You’re gonna need it, soldier


Get this, not the US version
Get this version instead if you can

Years ago I happened to wonder whether the Japanese version of SNES Doom was any different than its US counterpart. The reasons being twofold. Number one: I recall fondly discovering that the Japanese version of Sega Saturn Doom was released later than its US version and had an improved frame rate. What really hampers SNES Doom in my opinion is the complete lack of a password or save system. At least Wolfenstein 3D gave us passwords level to level. That increases the likelihood that I’ll tinker with a game long after I’ve finished it. It’s always fun to go back to a random level and muck around, after all. Well, SNES Doom afforded you no such luxury. You had to beat the game in one sitting. All 22 levels. That’s a 3-5 hour task for most. It’s just too much. So when I found out the Japanese version of SNES Doom was released in March 1996, a full six months after the US release, I became real curious. Scouring the net for information, I read that the Japanese version does indeed have some noteworthy differences compared to the American version — making the Japanese version superior. Unfortunately, the frame rate remains much the same, but there were still some pretty cool differences. Here, let’s take a closer look at the two versions.

Choose your difficulty level on either US or Japanese version
Choice of difficulty level!
US version
US version
Japanese version
Japanese version

In a nutshell, the main difference between the Japanese and North American version is that the NA port restricts which episode you can start off in. Sure, you can start off in The Shores of Hell or Inferno on the NA port, but the game punishes you by forcing you to select Ultra Violence or Nightmare. And since you start off an episode with only your bare hands and a pistol, it’s essentially a suicide mission. You might as well forget about even trying.

The Japanese version, on the other hand, allows you to start on the last episode even on the easiest difficulty level (I’m Too Young To Die). Although it’s still lacking a save or password system, at least it helps to SOMEWHAT mitigate this glaring flaw of having to beat all 22 levels in one sitting. For this fact alone, the Japanese version is the one to get for diehard SNES fans who simply must have Doom in their 16-bit game library.


Doom has etched its mark in gaming lore. I love it to this day
Doom has etched its mark in gaming lore. I love it still

PC Doom needs no backing. Its place in gaming history has long been cemented, and it’ll be fondly remembered long after all of us are gone. But how did the Super Nintendo port fare? For the most part, people either backed it or they hated it. Gamers either cited the port as an incredible 16-bit effort and a small miracle, or bashed it, questioning the reasoning behind even bringing this over to the SNES as late in its lifespan as it did. EGM was in the latter camp, as they gave it mediocre scores of 5, 55.5, and 6. GameFan was plenty more generous and impressed, rating it 89, 92 and 95%. Super Play Magazine scored it 92% and ranked it as the 17th best SNES game in their Top 100 Best SNES Games list. SNES Doom was one of those love or hate affairs. You either get it for what it is, or hate it for what it isn’t.


Doom is a quintessential, seminal first person shooter for the ages
A quintessential first person shooter for the ages

As I sit here thinking of the times I’ve had with DOOM over the years, both good and bad, I can’t help but just smile. Doom blazed an amazing trail. It was the first game that really made me feel like I was the character himself. It was an intense, gripping and unrivaled experience. Doom always had me on the edge of my seat. The SNES version is one that I have grown to appreciate and genuinely like as time has gone on. When I first played it in ’95 I thought it was a steaming pile of horse crap. But when I revisited it years later as a young adult, I realized it’s no small programming feat, and when viewed entirely on its own, it’s actually quite good. It captures the spirit and essence of Doom nicely, and that’s what ultimately matters. Graphics took a hit, naturally, but are still serviceable. On the bright side, the music is stellar! It really adds to the tense atmosphere of the game.

Sometimes you learn to appreciate a game as time goes by
The SNES port captures Doom‘s bleeding heart

Other than the annoying few instances where you creep along a wall and get “stuck” to it, the game plays surprisingly well. It’s by no means the definitive version of Doom, but for the SNES it’s impressive. There seems to be two camps: those who enjoy SNES Doom, and those who hate it. It depends on whether you look at it for what it is, or if you look at it for what it isn’t. When I first played the SNES version in 1995, I was looking at everything it wasn’t, compared to the original PC king. But when I replayed it some 15 years later, I did so consciously from a posture of “Let’s see what it does do well rather than what it doesn’t.” And I found myself pleasantly surprised when approaching it from that angle. While I still prefer the SNES port of Wolfenstein 3D (it plays a bit more smoothly), I genuinely feel that this port of Doom doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Although I understand where the critics are coming from, I like to view it from this perspective: is Doom a quality Super Nintendo game or not? My answer to that is a resounding yes. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to go blast some demon ass to Kingdom Come!

Graphics: 7
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 8.5
Longevity: 7

Award3Overall: 8.5
Double Silver Award

Nothing like playing Doom in the dark
Nothing like playing Doom late at night in the dark…