Tagged "DOOM"

Apr 25
By Matt Gander In Features, Retro No Comments

The creators of the vastly popular PlayerUnknown’s Battle Grounds made gaming news headlines last week, taking legal action against a handful of games mimicking PUBG a little too closely.

One clone features a frying pan as a melee weapon, while another uses the term ‘Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner’ in their marketing. Both are under heavy scrutiny and may end up being yanked.

While PUBG Corporation/Bluehole have every right to protect their brand, some allegations push the boundaries somewhat. It’s almost as if they’re taking credit for creating the whole Battle Royale genre, despite a few examples – including DayZ and H1Z1 – existing before PUBG’s release.

Can you imagine if Nintendo claimed ownership of the side-scrolling 2D platform genre following the success of the original Super Mario Bros? The NES would have missed out on several key titles, most of which became long-running franchises.

Indeed, it’s impossible to stop rival developers from copying currently popular trends. Once a studio finds themselves with an unexpected hit, a dozen imitators will surely follow. This is how new genres are formed, inducing some friendly competition.

In fact, blatant plagiarism in the video game market can be traced back all the way to gaming’s inception, as we dare to delve into below.

Breakout – 1976

Clones of Atari’s Breakout were so rife that you may not even know it by its original name. Even the genre it belongs to has different monikers. In France, the genre is known as ‘casse-briques’ (brick breaker), while Japanese gamers refer to it as ‘block kuzushi’ (block destruction). Generally, though, Breakout clones are known as either ‘paddle’ or ‘bat and ball’ games.

Arkanoid was Taito’s rendition – released ten years after Atari’s original – and it became a huge arcade hit, gaining numerous sequels. The Game Boy also had its own brick breaker in the form of Alleyway. Although a popular release, being one of four GB launch games, it wasn’t rated highly by critics due to failing to add anything new to the genre.

The Watara Supervision (known as the QuickShot Supervision in the UK) even came packaged with a bat and ball game, known as Crystball. It wasn’t the best choice to bundle with the system, highlighting how blurry the screen became when handling fast moving objects.

Sticking with handhelds, SEGA had their own take too. Woody Pop for the Game Gear was a popular release during the system’s early days, so called due to the bat being a wooden log known as Woody. A tree spirit, no less. It was a darn sight more imaginative than dull old Alleyway.

Space Invaders – 1978

We don’t need to tell you that Space Invaders was a colossal hit. It was a pop culture phenomenon, leading Taito’s classic to become a household name. Even now, 40 years on, it’s still possible to purchase Space Invaders merchandise. T-shirts, keyrings, baseball caps, mugs and more are readily available in high street stores and supermarkets.

It has to be one of the most imitated games of all-time. Why didn’t Taito clamp down on clones? Quite simply, the copyright of the original game hadn’t been properly protected – only the name ‘Space Invaders’ had been trademarked. In short: it was a free market.

Pretty much every system ever released has a Space Invaders style game, with early examples including the Intellivision’s Space Armada – the first Intellivision game to animate more than eight sprites – and the Fairchild Channel F’s Alien Invasion.

We can’t forget Galaxian either, which was Namco’s attempt at creating a bonafide rival rather than a mere clone, boasting full-colour graphics, a scrolling starfield, and background music. In many ways, it set the standard for all arcade games that followed.

Pac-Man – 1980

The moment Atari felt somebody treading on their toes, they beckoned their lawyers. After the biggest name in gaming bagged the prestigious Pac-Man license from Namco, Atari’s rivals tread very carefully when it came to developing their own Pac-Man style maze games.

This pussyfooting resulted in K.C. Munchkin, published by Philips for the Magnavox Odyssey. The creators went great lengths to add several key differences to Pac-Man, so that should they end up in court they’d have a leg to stand on. Instead of four ghosts, there were just three. Mazes – which featured optional random generation – had just 12 pills (known as munchies) to collect, and K.C himself was blue rather than yellow. Sadly for Philips, these changes weren’t enough – Atari managed to convince the courts that Phillips had copied Pac-Man, and so K.C. Munchkin ended up being pulled from shelves. It had a good run, however, making it to store shelves a whole year before the notorious Atari 2600 rendition of Pac-Man.

Lock ‘n’ Chase – published by Data East in Japan and Taito in the US – managed to elude Atari’s grasp by taking the cops ‘n robbers route, adding the ability to erect walls. Other clones tasked players with filling a maze with indefinable pills and pellets, rather than emptying it.

Atari’s reach extended to the European microcomputer market, forcing Commodore to yank the Vic 20’s Jelly Monsters – one of the system’s most impressive looking games. Luckily for Sinclair, Hungry Horace for the ZX Spectrum got off scot-free.

For those unable to afford a microcomputer or console, Grandstand’s Munchman tabletop electronic game was the only way to bring the Pac-Man experience home. It wouldn’t be fair to call this a knockoff as it was, in fact, a rebranded officially licensed Pac-Man game from Tomy.

Later Pac-Man clones were far more creative and unique than those that preceded them, including Shigeru Miyamoto’s Devil World, an innovative maze game that was denied Nintendo of America’s approval due to religious imagery.

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Nov 10
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

It’s the busiest time of year for the gaming scene, and as such, more gaps in the Switch’s library are being filled. This week the system receives its first big-name shooter, meaning we can tick that box off the list. Sorry, Rogue Trooper Redux. You’re now surplus to requirement.

DOOM on Switch is pretty much what you’d expect – a scaled down conversion of the glorious grisly 2016 hit, running at a lower resolution and capped at 30fps. Reviews went live yesterday and were mostly full of praise, with few compromises of note. Destructoid dished out an 8/10, while IGN enjoyed it a tad more, opting for an 8.5. “Whatever ritual sacrifices had to be performed to fit Doom on Switch were worth it,” they said.

Sonic Forces (£34.99) is another big-name title hitting the Switch this week. While far from terrible (the Metacritic currently stands at 58%), it’s very dull and forgettable – two things we didn’t expect a Sonic game to be. Character customisation is the USP, with a wealth of new accessories for your animal avatar unlocking at the end of each stage. If that sounds a little weird, that’s because it is.

Then we have Farming Simulator Nintendo Switch Edition (£37.99) and Ben 10 (£TBA), both of which are of uncertain quality. In fairness, Ben 10 looks more promising than the tie-ins that came before it…but that’s not saying much.

Snipperclips Plus – Cut it out, together! also receives new DLC this week, just in time for the retail release. 40 new stages are being added, including toy box and comic worlds.

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Jun 20
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

A price cut to £29.99 has helped DOOM claim the UK chart’s top spot, putting an end to Overwatch’s three week run in the process.

The recently released DOOM demo likely played a part in this, too.

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DOOM entered at #2 during launch week, so this is in fact the first time the grizzly shooter has been crowned no.1. In doing so, it has become Bethesda’s first number one since Fallout 4, and id’s first since DOOM 3 way back in 2004.

Overwatch drops to #2 with sales down 24% while Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End saw a small sales boost, raising it up to #3.

FIFA 16 is at #4 while GTA V moves up to #5.

Last week’s highest new entry Mirror’s Edge Catalyst falls to #6, Black Ops III re-enters the top ten at #7, UEFA Euro 2016 remains at #8, Star Wars Battlefront rises seven places to #9 and then at #10 it’s LEGO Marvel’s Avengers.

Dead Island Definitive Edition and Tom Clancy’s The Division both depart the top ten, meanwhile.

MotoGP 16: Valentino Rossi was the only top 40 new arrival, entering at #19. Grand Kingdom did however top the PS Vita chart, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise – PS Vita JRPGs have a track record of heading straight to no.1 at launch.

Jun 06
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

We were slightly worried that Dead Island Definitive Edition was going to claim the UK chart’s top spot this week, dislodging Overwatch in the process.

Pleasingly, this isn’t the case – Overwatch remains on top for a second week running.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End remains at #2, while DOOM stays put at #3.

DeadIslandCensored

At #4 it’s FIFA 16, up from #7. This appears to be due to price cuts – we recently spotted the Xbox 360 version for a mere £14.99 at Sainsbury’s.

The Dead Island double pack has to make do with #5. Incidentally, Tesco has taken the liberty of censoring the box art. We wonder if this was a pre-emptive internal decision or due to customer complaints.

GTA V moves up to #6, Ratchet & Clank shifts to #7, Tom Clancy’s The Division holds onto #8 while Call of Duty: Black Ops III falls to #9.

Then at #10 it’s Homefront: The Revolution. Three weeks in top ten appears to be all the ragtag shooter is going to get.

Just a single other new release made the top 40 – One Piece: Burning Road at a lowly #37.

Recapping on other recent releases, TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan drops to #30 during its second week on sale while Battleborn falls from #20 to #29.

The Gearbox developed shooter can already be found for £20 online.

May 28
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

Just as the original DOOM built upon the foundations of Wolfenstein 3D, this long awaited franchise reboot learns from 2014’s acclaimed Wolfenstein: The New Order. Not only does it expand upon certain areas, with visuals that are approaching CGI quality in places, but it also strips back the bloat many first-person shooters suffer from.

The result is a game that’s unmistakably DOOM.

Right off the bat a pistol is placed in the mute marine’s hand, indulging players with a spot of grizzly demon slaying. There’s no opening cut-scene or anything of the sort, save for a short interlude a few minutes into the game where the nameless hero steps into a suit of power armour; an ancient artifact discovered on Mars, along with the answer to unlimited energy.

Foolish wielding of this raw energy results in a portal to Hell opening on Mars, and you’re the only one that can close it. Not because your new-found powers bestow the ability to do so, but because you’re the only human at the UAC base left alive.

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From start to finish, no other human soul is seen. You’re instead instructed by a softy spoken AI overseer known as VEGA, and the charismatic Dr. Hayden – a cyborg who sounds uncannily similar to Optimus Prime. For the entire game’s duration we firmly believed that Peter Cullen supplied Hayden’s vocal talent. The ending credits however revealed a case of mistaken identity. Hayden and VEGA are able to track the location of Olivia Pierce, a cyborg doctor who has sided with the demons in hope of creating a new world.

Backstory are lore can be taken in at your own pace, as both take a backseat – DOOM features surprisingly few cut-scenes, preferring to put the focus on pleasingly raw shooting mechanics.

By which, we mean there’s no reload button – when a weapon is out of ammo, it’s automatically replaced with the next in the weapon wheel. There’s no run button either – DOOM’s pleasingly heavy-handed hero constantly sprints through the blood spattered corridors of the UAC Mars base and the candle lit catacombs of Hell. We’re going to go ahead and assume they aren’t scented candles.

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May 23
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Uncharted 4, DOOM, Homefront: The Revolution, Fire Emblem Fates and Valkyria Chronicles Remastered – these are the games the great British public opened their wallets for last week.

The top two positions in the UK top 40 remain unchanged, occupied by Uncharted 4 and DOOM. Sales of Uncharted were down 78% from launch week, reports Chart-Track, while DOOM only saw a 35% decline.

We imagine this is down to word of mouth starting to spread – the lack of pre-launch reviews more than likely prevented some gamers from rushing out to buy DOOM.

At #3 it’s the first of four new arrivals – Koch Media’s Homefront: The Revolution. The individual format chart reveals that the PS4 version was the biggest selling.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III drops one position to #4 and then at #5 it’s Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright. Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest meanwhile made #11. We didn’t expect to see such a big difference in sales.

SEGA’s budget priced Valkyria Chronicles Remastered entered at #6, which is mighty encouraging for the franchise’s future.

Tom Clancy’s The Division drops to #7, GTA V shifts to #8, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers holds onto #9 and then at #10 it’s FIFA 16.

Ratchet & Clank leaves the top ten this week, falling from #4 to #12. That’s nothing compared to Far Cry Primal though – Ubisoft’s series spin-off has gone all the way from #6 to #30. We have no idea why.

Battleborn is having a bad week too – it’s now at #27, and that’s despite a price cut to £29.99 at GAME.

May 17
By Matt Gander In Retro No Comments

Releasing DOOM on the 3DO was something of a no-brainer. Even with Quake on its way, id’s original mega-hit was still generating a buzz in 1995 due to the then-upcoming SNES and PSone versions.

For one person, the decision to release DOOM on 3DO was seen as something more – a license to print money. That person was Randy Scott, head of Art Data Interactive. Firmly believing that the 3DO was going to be the next big thing, and understanding that DOOM had made mega bucks on other platforms, Randy Scott thought he had found a sure fire way to get rich quick.

One thing Scott didn’t understand however was game development. Quite simply, he believed that the original’s source code – acquired from id at a cost of $250k – could be effortlessly converted from PC to 3DO, while new weapons, maps and monsters could be added simply by drawing images and placing them in the game.

With a head full of nothing but pipe dreams, Scott then set about hyping up 3DO DOOM as being the best version of id’s seminal shooter, full of new features. Even FMV sequences were promised in order to woo investors, long-lost images of which circulated online a few years ago.

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May 16
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Chart-Track reveals Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is a commercial success as well as a critical one – it has become the fastest selling instalment in the series, beating Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception’s debut week sales by 66%.

As such, Drake occupies the UK chart’s top spot this week.

Bethesda’s DOOM is off to a flying start as well, arriving at #2 and with sales up 67% over DOOM 3. It’s unclear however if Chart-Track is referring to the PC version of DOOM 3 or the Xbox conversion from 2005.

At #3 it’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III. Ratchet & Clanks then drops to #4 while Tom Clancy’s The Division remains at #5.

Far Cry Primal – which has reportedly outperformed sales expectations – sits at #6 for another week, while GTA V falls to #7. At #8 it’s FIFA 16, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers falls to #9 and then at #10 it’s Star Wars Battlefront.

Battleborn, last week’s chart topper, doesn’t have a similar success story as Uncharted and DOOM to share – it’s now at #12. EA Sports UFC 2 and Dark Souls III also depart the top ten his week, incidentally.

There were no other new arrivals in the top 40, although the cumbersomely titled MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies did manage to take the top spot in the PS Vita chart. We’re starting to notice a pattern here.

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