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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
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Since Wolfenstein was released on the PC there has been a desire to play first-person 3D games. Unfortunately, in the past the system specifications for the Amiga have been annoyingly low (A500+1Mb) causing many of the big developers to ignore it in favour of faster systems such as the PC and Mac. It is only since Commodore went into liquidation that the Amiga community has begun to realise that their Amigas can no longer cut it with the high-powered games of today, and begun to upgrade. However, without a large scale market, companies such as id refused to convert their titles to the Amiga and so it was left to Amiga developers to attempt to create their own Doom-style games, or as Amiga Power called it:

Doom but on the Amiga

The Amiga has been graced with a number of Doom-clones that attempt to recreate the feel of the original game and in many ways, improve on it. However, it is not easy to create a polygon-based three dimensional world with just two megabytes of ram, so most companies cheated. As with the original Doom series, the Doom-Clones used a pseudo-3D trick to create the game area. This had a number of restrictions on what could be accomplished in the game, such as the creation of walkways above platforms. most developers used these restrictions to their advantage by increasing the action or strategy involved in playing the game. Below are just a few of the many Doom games that are available on the Amiga.

Doom Clones: Arrival- 1995

Fears- One of the first commercial Doom clones to be released. Fears was based upon a PD game called Fear and was designed to show that Doom could be released on the Amiga. The A1200-only game was basic in almost every way with poor level design, poor AI, and frustrating gameplay. It's only saving grace was a level editor bundled that allowed anyone to design their own levels. Unsurprisingly no one did.

Citadel- The only 3D puzzler that can be run on the A500. It shares very little with Doom and suffers from slow control system and a lack of interest.

Gloom- one of the first Doom games available was the originally titled "Gloom" and is still seen as one of the best clones on the Amiga Like Doom, it could not display platform above or below, only in a straight line, but improved on the Doom formula by increasing the puzzle element slightly, using switches to open different parts of the level. There was also a greater variety of baddies than in Doom although they were easier to beat. Gloom is hailed by many as a classic and can be run on a stock 2Mb A1200 system. The downside to this is that the graphics are quite blocky compared to some of the later clones. A game fast on action with slight use of puzzles.

Alien Breed 3D- Alien Breed, the first (and only) successful attempt to recreate the claustrophobic atmosphere of the Alien movies. Alien Breed 3D is something like the 6th sequel to this groundbreaking game, and, as the name suggests, this time it is in 3D. Imagine something like Alien Vs Predator on the Playstation but with better gameplay and you will understand how good this game is. It even features the welcome appearance of the exploding barrels, shoot one and those close-by will also blow up! Admittedly this has been done before but it seems to be more fun. The game is more puzzle orientated than Gloom but offers a greater variety of enemies to kill, maim, and destroy. It even runs quite fast on a stock A1200 2Mb, although it does have a problem with my Apollo accelerator. My only complaint is that the graphics can be very confusing with many passageways being almost invisible.

 



Doom Clones- The Second Coming

A year after the original Doom clones were released the next generation reared their heads. These games were based upon accelerated processors as graphics began to improve. As a result the Doom-clones began to surpass the originals graphics and technical capabilities.

Gloom Deluxe- Gloom but even better. The game featured a new 1*1 pixel mode, the choice of different screen resolutions and sizes, as well as support for VR headsets, head tracking was not supported. The game was designed for expanded Amigas, barely running fast enough on the 2Mb A1200, even in a small screen. The graphics had been improved to create a greater variation in level design, but remarkably it could now be run on any Amiga with a 020 and 2Mb ram, in contrast to its AGA-only predecessor. The game really needs at least 4Mb and a 030 to fly. The playability had been improved slightly with even better level design and tougher enemies. The variety of the enemies had also been improved to make them tougher than those found in Doom, although it never became frustrating. At many points in the game you could walk around a corner and be confronted with a large ED209-wannabe who was constantly firing.

Breathless- The first Amiga game to feature 1*1 pixel mode. The game improved on other Doom clones with the ability to look up and down. It also had intelligent enemies that actually put up a fight, as well as long levels that fun to play. Lovely.

Alien Breed 3DII- Due to the popularity of Alien Breed 3D, Team 17 released a sequel, featuring an improved game engine, 1*1 pixel mode, and the ability to jump. Artificial Intelligence had also been improved as well as a better level design. The only problem was the relatively high requirements of the game compared to systems of the time, at least a 040 was needed to run the game at a reasonable speed. The game also included a rather basic level editor designed in AMOS. In 1997 the source code was released onto the internet allowing anyone to compile the game for their own machine, improving the speed slightly. Unfortunately this game never released the attention it deserved and did not receive the expected sales, contributing to Team 17's decision to leave the Amiga.

Nemac IV- A German game that set you against a range of mechanoids of all shapes and sizes. The game broke away from the trend of Doom clones and tried a variety of weapons and situations. Like Gloom Deluxe and AB3D2, Nemac IV used the obligatory 1*1 pixel mode, and is one of the few games to use the Graffiti chunky pixel card.

Testament- A frustrating game that takes the Amiga back to the days of blocky graphics and unimaginative locations. Fortunately it is slightly better than Fears.

Gloom 3- The third in the Gloom series is a CD-only affair put together by Gareth Murfin. It uses the same game engine as Gloom Deluxe whilst increasing the number of levels available. Unfortunately, these are mostly PD affairs and suffer from poor design and a complete lack of character; I'm still not sure if the gun is meant to be a pea-shooter, it sounds like one. The only improvement are the intro and between level screens. A horrible game.

 



The Real McCoy

In 1998 the unbelievable happened, Doom and Quake were released. How this affects the number of clones is yet to be seen. Why make a clone when you can buy the originals?

Trapped 2- A 3D polygon-based puzzler that makes Doom look like the archaic dinosaur that it is. A graphical feast with amazing effects that wouldn't look out of place on a Playstation.

Genetic Species- Entertaining Doom-style game that looks good and plays well. Graphically it beats most of the other games, with the exception of Trapped 2. The game is a return to the Aliens-inspired design and enemies; spiders burst out of eggs in an style so familiar to Ripley fans it almost borders on copyright infringement. The game engine is fast and has a variety of interesting locations, twists and turns to keep most people happy. Unfortunately, it has a distinct lack of structure, at points forcing you to wonder what to do next.

Doom- The teacher finally comes to the Amiga. five years after the original was released on the PC, Doom rears its head again with the release of the source. I can honestly say that this is the best Doom-clone on the Amiga because it is Doom. The game remains as playable as it was five years ago and can be enhanced with thousands of levels designed by Doom-addicts all over the planet. Never has a game been as popular as this. The Amiga version runs surprisingly well, with full speed being possible on a low spec 030 card, it can even support network play against PC's and Macs. The leader of the gang!

Quake- To be honest the only game on the Amiga to beat Doom had to be Quake. The PC classic boasts a proper 3D environment, all the baddies, and features that made the original so popular in 1996. It can use the total conversions and mission packs that makes this game so configurable and long-lasting. As was expected, Quake requires a fast processor with 060, a lot of memory, and a graphics card being recommended. A 040 with 18Mb can just about cope with a small screen or dithering but it is frustrating. A PowerPC version is too be released soon.

Gloom 3: The Directors Cut- To be released during 1998, Gloom3DC promises "professionally" designed levels and a greater variety of enemies to fight against. The game engine still appears to be the same as Gloom Deluxe but the game will be enhanced with over 60 minutes of footage, featuring "real" actors. Hopefully it should be better than Gloom 3. We hope.

 

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