The writing and the collaborators of FreeGameTips choose the most outstanding titles of the mythical study behind sagas like DOOM and Quake, among others.
2020 and 2021 have been two years full of anniversaries. A few months after Super Mario blew out all 35 candles, Sonic will do the same to celebrate his thirtieth anniversary. The one that will also turn 30 is id Software, a studio that has left its mark on the video game industry. It is currently part of Bethesda, a company that will be acquired by Microsoft if everything goes according to plan, as both parties have agreed. Therefore, the studio responsible for DOOM, RAGE or Quake will join Xbox Game Studios, as will Arkane, MachineGames or ZeniMax Online Studios.
Back in the eighties, four young people worked at Softdisk, one of those companies of the past that sold and developed software on floppy disks. John Carmack, John Romero, Adrian Carmack, and Tom Hall designed products for this company. However, the future held a new adventure for them. After John Carmack invented a new technique for side scrolling titles (Adaptive Tile Refresh), he designed the platformer Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons together with Romero and Hall, all while continuing through the ranks of Softdisk. They reached an agreement with Apogee Software and published their video game, which brought them the necessary income to start their own company. That company was called id Software, officially born on February 1, 1991. Here began a story full of successes.
And so we come to the 30th anniversary. The study shared an emotional message on social networks, where it not only thanked the founders for their contributions, whether outside the company. They also had good words for their partners, collaborators and employees, as well as for the gaming community, which has evolved along with the industry and the different titles that have come out throughout all these decades. “In 30 years many things have changed”, they recall in the statement, “but what has not changed is our deep passion to unite the most brilliant creative people in the industry.” The objective? “Create fun and memorable first person shooters.”
If something cannot be blamed on id Software, it is that it has adapted to continue offering quality content. By using the same adjective, they have been able to release memorable titles. In more recent times, DOOM and DOOM Eternal have moved their usual shot salad to a modern product, which almost resembles a dance or musical choreography. Killing demons in style has never been so much fun, but the verdict will have to be given by the editors and contributors to FreeGameTips. Voting by, the team has chosen the following titles. Are you ready for the most brutal TOP 10? Wait no more, you have it just below these lines.
10. RAGE (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
- FreeGameTips Reviews
It was at Quakecon 2007 that id Software announced this new intellectual property, a game that took four more years to go on sale. As shooter masters, the North American developer chose to continue delving into that genre. Another of the characteristics that define the DNA of the study is its commitment to cutting-edge technologies (id Tech 5, in this case). For this reason, when RAGE was marketed in 2011, it was surprising for its technical section. Tim Willits, one of the oldest members of the company, was the one who led the project. Instead, during the development of the sequel, the studio teamed up with Avalanche to produce RAGE 2, Willits’ latest title as an employee of id Software, as he decided to pursue new career paths.
The planet as we know it today no longer exists. The story of RAGE, which is set in a future very close to ours (2029) received an unpleasant visit from an asteroid, which when hitting the Earth devastated everything in its path. Unlike the fateful fate of the dinosaurs, history did not repeat itself with humans, as the species survived the debacle. Of course, it changed everything forever. Now, bandits and mutants roam freely, so the protagonist must survive with a clean shot.
RAGE isn’t quite as crazy as its sequel, despite introducing car racing, a vast world to explore, and side missions. True to its shooter style, id Software uses its knowledge of the genre with the mastery that experience provides, so the quality of its gunplay is no surprise. It may not be the study’s most valued title, but it has managed to sneak into the Top 10 of FreeGameTips.
9. DOOM III (First PC and Xbox, then multiplatform)
- FreeGameTips Reviews
There are clear guidelines that define the identity of the DOOM saga, a series of elements that have remained unchanged throughout all these years. The titles of this license are always in the first person and stand out for their frenzy. It is like a kind of dance in which the movement, the music, the reloading of the weapons and the shots follow one another with a very marked rhythm. Eliminating the demons becomes the main objective. After the second installment of the saga, DOOM III impressed due to its impressive technical workmanship, with graphics and lighting that were not available to all computers of the time. Neither of all consoles, since the title was originally marketed only on the first Xbox, the most powerful and the closest to a computer architecture.
The third installment, perhaps to play with its excellent lighting, I am looking for a darker and more terrifying atomosphere. It has a certain claustrophobic tone, which heightens when the flashlight’s batteries run out and the player is seen shooting in the dark at demons hungry for blood, yours, of course. DOOM III can’t keep up throughout the adventure, especially at the end of it, but it’s a product worth considering.
In terms of its plot, id Software’s work continues to prioritize playability over its narrative. It is not a continuation of the classic DOOM, but rather it traces a new story set on the planet Mars. In the end, it is still an excuse to do what every fan of the saga wants: to shoot at everything that moves.
8. DOOM II (First PC, then multiplatform)
- FreeGameTips Reviews
When hell comes to Earth, it is best not to be there, but if you are the marine demon hunter of DOOM II, taking up arms and crushing a few beings from the underworld becomes a must and a necessity. After the revolution that the first delivery represented at all levels, this second part improves and polishes the formula, although it is a fairly conservative product. At first glance, it seems to be more of an expansion than a new game, but it can be said that appearances can be deceiving, because this sequel is still a fantastic product.
When it comes to gameplay, id Software’s work follows the guidelines of its predecessor, which means that gunplay is still hectic, but this time with more enemies, more weapons and more explosive action. Its labyrinthine structure is preserved, as well as the different paths that are opened when finding keys, switches and other elements that allow us to interact with the scenarios in a more profound way. In short: more, more and more. The story, for its part, follows the events of the first installment, but remains inconsequential.
7. Quake III: Arena (PC, Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox 360)
- FreeGameTips Reviews
The importance of DOOM in the video game industry is undeniable, which does not mean that id Software does not have other sagas to consider. Quake’s revelation is beyond question, how else would he have an annual convention named after him? Unlike Quake and Quake II, the third installment of the saga takes a different path, that of multiplayer. It thus abandons the single player components of the other games, since the single player mode is an arena in which the rivals are controlled by the machine.
The formula for Quake III: Arena is simple but effective, an absolutely frantic shooter that places players on different maps and asks them to survive while massacring other players. It is a title completely focused on its multiplayer facet, either online or local, so no story component is introduced. What matters here is scrolling through the maps, exploring the scenarios, grabbing weapons and pulling the trigger, all while trying to dodge the enemy’s bullets.
6. DOOM Eternal (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, PC, Switch and Stadia)
- FreeGameTips Reviews
Decades after the launch of the first DOOM, the saga needed a reboot and id Software knew how to do it in the best possible way, respecting the past, but adapting the usual elements to a gameplay as classic as it is modernized. The studio approached the sequel on these grounds, through a production that lived up to the circumstances. Since its launch in March 2020 (most recently in its Nintendo Switch version), the title has risen as one of the best contemporary action titles. In fact, it was nominated in several categories for The Game Awards 2020.
In the Reviews we published on FreeGameTips, its author said that there were good shooters on the market, but that none of them offered “the adrenaline rush that is the deadly dance of Eternal”. Its definition as a mortal dance fits as a ring to the demo, because this title is above all an absolute delight of rhythm and speed. The gunplay is fantastic, as are the feel of the controls or the keyboard and mouse.
DOOM Eternal is mostly an ode to the first-person shooter genre, but it works so well not only because of its explosive gameplay in that regard, but also because of the character’s movement, which must continually scroll, jump, move, whatever. to avoid enemies. Because in this game it is not worth shooting from a distance, hidden behind cover. Confrontations are resolved head-to-head, precisely where demons are most deadly.
5. DOOM 2016 (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, PC and Switch)
- FreeGameTips Reviews
If in DOOM III John Carmack preferred to do something different, closer to the horror genre, for the reboot of the saga, which took place in 2016, id Software opted to look at the past. That does not mean that the developer has traced the mechanics of yesterday, but that it has adapted them to a modern proposal that feels fresh and of quality. The team led by Marty Stratton takes the elements that have characterized the brand since its debut in the early nineties.
DOOM 2016 is a brutal festival of blood and executions, a great product in its campaign mode, although its competitive multiplayer did not live up to a title of such high quality. This multiplayer mode was not developed directly by id Software, rather the work fell on the shoulders of an external studio, Certain Affinity. But for affinity, the one that gets the title with her dance of death and destruction. Extraordinary gunplay, demons on the horizon and bizarre weapons that offer us spectacular forms of execution.
The triumph of id Software is having succeeded in capturing the sensations of yesteryear in a distinctly modern product. The frenzy, the level of challenge and everything that accompanies its playable design is spiced up with a graphics section to match, which works hand in hand with the studio’s own engine, id Tech 6. In short, a wonderful FPS that no fan of the genre can be lost under any circumstances.
4. Quake II (PC and multiple platforms later)
- FreeGameTips Reviews
After the premiere of the first installment, id Software resumed the saga with the same playable fundamentals, that is, those of a three-dimensional arcade. This first-person shooter ditches the medieval aesthetic of the original to embrace a sci-fi look. As we have already advanced, in Quake III any plot component was left aside, a scheme that the most classic titles of the saga had, such as this video game.
Thus, Quake II has a single player campaign in which we must survive an alien invasion, that of the Stroggs. The plot premise already suggests that it is not exactly original. We fight in favor of a battered humanity, in order to prevent the horde of robots and aliens from stealing the planet’s resources. The story continues in Quake IV, note that Quake III: Arena focuses on its multiplayer side. The game works under the id Tech 2 engine, although unlike the first installment, it was marketed with OpenGL as standard.
This installment stands out for the diversity in terms of the types of enemies, so the player must discover and exploit the weaknesses of each one of them. In total, 11 different weapons, some from DOOM, as well as grenades and all the necessary arsenal to make the most insistent aliens mush. Although playable it is very similar to the first, it is perceived that the player’s speed has been reduced a bit. The title also includes an online mode, in which the different users fight each other or enjoy the campaign in a cooperative.
3. Wolfenstein 3D (First PC, then multiplatform)
- FreeGameTips Reviews
We will agree that DOOM changed the video game industry with its crazy and frantic proposition, but every great game learns from others, and in this case, it was possible because Wolfenstein 3D existed before. It was in 1992 when an id Software that had just started launched this interesting title on the market. Over time, the game became a saga, to the point that it has reached current systems, although the North American studio is no longer involved in its development. MachineGames, also from Bethesda, has been the study that has taken the baton, but Wolfentestein II: The New Colossus and the rest of the products are something from another time. What has not changed in these almost 30 years is the theme or the protagonist, the American William B.J. Blazkowicz.
In Wolfenstein’s universe, World War II has not ended in the way it appears in our history books. Adolf Hitler and his acolytes triumphed, so their tyranny expanded to as many territories. Now, America has also fallen under the Nazi regime. And in that context, Blaskowicz finds himself locked in a fortress guarded by the führer’s troops. Your objective will be to escape, something that will not be easy given the soldiers that are scattered, each one more dangerous (and the dogs, you also have to be careful with the dogs). Its theme, of course, was criticized by some sectors: the title did not reach Germany and Nintendo demanded the withdrawal of any symbol that could be interpreted as the National Socialist movement.
The interface, and even its playable system, already anticipated what would come next with DOOM. Structured in different levels, the user fights against the Nazis through the twists and turns of the mansion. With a first person shooter structure, you have to face the enemies and defeat a boss before finishing each level.
2. Quake (PC)
Since its founding id Software has developed first-person shooter games. In the case of Quake, the idea was not always that. This was revealed by John Romero in an interview. “When we were doing Quake we had a completely different design, more like a medieval world.” The truth is that that particular aspect was maintained, but not its playable design. “It wasn’t even a shooter at first. Yes in the first person, but not from shots, I would have other weapons ”. The original idea was scrapped due to technical difficulties: “It took us so long to get the engine running at good framerate that the company was simply too tired to innovate in design and see if it worked.” So they opted for “a shooter style like DOOM”, which in the end they were able to complete in 7 months.
Three years had passed since the original DOOM was released, and how could it be otherwise, id Software took another technological step again. The sprites of the enemies were replaced by three-dimensional models. Quake has a darker visual style, in keeping with the world style they designed. The protagonist of the adventure (Ranger) has been entrusted with a mission of vital importance: he must destroy Quake, a very powerful enemy. The game introduces teleportation, a technology the government has been experimenting with.
Ranger has to fight his way through the different dimensions in a game that includes a campaign, as well as different multiplayer modes. Overcoming each of the episodes will give us access to the runes that will allow us to fight against Quake. 1996 was the year of the birth of a new saga, a title that of course has deserved its place of honor in the Top 10 of FreeGameTips.
1. DOOM 1993 (Originally on PC, later cross-platform)
- FreeGameTips Reviews
The joke that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has even been out on toasters applies to the number of platforms DOOM has been marketed on throughout history. It is not for less. The id Software title is one of those games that managed to revolutionize the industry, specifically the genre of shooters. “1993 was magical, much more than any other. It is the only time we have challenged ourselves as a group in order to create a game as good as anything we could have imagined at the time. ” These are the words that John Romero recorded on his official website. According to the creative, it was the right moment to aspire to the highest goals ”.
Wolfenstein 3D could be considered the predecessor of this product, the game that laid the foundations for the work to see the light. “We did a lot of new things while creating DOOM. It was our first 3D game to use an engine that broke the paradigm of 2D that we followed since the founding of the company, including in Wolfenstein 3D and Spear of Destinty, at least when it comes to map designs. ” The graphics engine, in reality, is pseudo 3D, despite the fact that visual perception makes the brain believe that you are immersed in a three-dimensional world.
“The engine was revolutionary because it represented a kind of world that no one had ever seen on a computer screen before.” DOOM’s influence has gone from shooter to shooter to the latest video games. “Today’s shooters trace their lineage back to this title, which carries the essence of what a shooter should be.” There is no better summary than the one that Romero does. The elements are as follows: “balanced weapons, insidious level design, a collection of enemies and lots of fast action.” That is precisely what this timeless classic continues to offer, fast and frantic action on labyrinthine maps full of enemies and with slopes. Modifying in this way the sensation of walking through flat rooms, something that happened in Wolfenstein 3D.
“Developing DOOM was difficult,” acknowledges Romero. We designed a dark game together with our creative director Tom Hall, who is a very positive guy. ” The initial concepts were put into a kind of internal bible. Some of these “concept designs that were never implemented were introduced in the 2016 reboot.” We cannot fail to mention the fantastic sound, magnificent in its time, not to mention the clever use of lighting. DOOM bases its gameplay on a direct approach that does not linger on the narrative (not even the most modern ones), but on the most brutal gameplay. That has not changed over the years.