Doom vs Marathon (Gaming)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Friday, June 05, 2020, 19:27 (33 days ago)

Believe it or not, I recently finished Doom and Doom 2 for the first time.

Marathon was released around the same time as Doom 2, and the two games were often compared. But how similar were they actually? In terms of engine tech, they were mostly similar. But in terms of game design, they were wildly different.

Dare I say, I think I might prefer Doom to Marathon when it comes to things other than the story. Doom is faster, much harder, and to me, it felt like the level design was more clever. Doom and Doom 2 constantly surprised me with levels that felt like they were bending the rules and providing a ton of variety within the engine. More so than the first Marathon I think.

Heath is handled on different ways. In Doom, you gain health and armor through pickups. In Marathon, at least in the first, your health was entirely refilled by reusable health rechargers. Doom is quite hard, with lots of vicious hitscan enemies, so you will constantly need health pickups. This makes exploring levels and finding secrets much more satisfying, as they have a purpose in terms of survival. The more of the level you explore, the more you can potentially increase your health and armor. Both games feature secret caches of ammo, but secrets in marathon are almost entirely ammo since there's nothing else to pick up. You can always run back to a charger in Marathon, so health management is minimized a lot over Doom.

Doom's enemies are much more vicious that Marathon's. Marathon's basic enemies lack ranged attacks, so you can just keep backing up and evade any green pfhor fighters. But Doom's basic enemies all have ranged attacks. In fact, I think only one enemy has no ranged attack in Doom. Doom also uses RNG heavily, with enemy hits doing a range of damage, as well as your own attacks. Doom's hit scanners are way more brutal.

Doom LOVES to ambush you with monsters. Pick up a key, and doors open and monsters come out. Hit a switch, and monsters are quickly lowered in. That kind of thing. When backtracking through the level after getting a key or moving on, frequently new monsters are let loose so you face different ones while making your way back. Marathon almost never does any of these things.

Doom demands you use a wider variety of weapons for various situations, where in Marathon the assault rifle is useful the majority of the game (it's functionally like a combo chaingun and rocket launcher from doom).

Switches cannot be shot in Doom. This means to hit them you have to get to them. Switches in Doom rarely activate things that are outside your immediate vicinity, where Marathon frequently they open doors on the other side of the map or do things that are otherwise not immediately apparent.

Doom has some features Marathon does not. Defeating certain enemies can do things like lower platforms on their death. Marathon has some features Doom does not, such as having to power on a switch before you can use it.

After seeing what Doom was finally, I think comparisons to Marathon are misguided. They play so drastically differently.

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