The DOOM franchise kick-started first-person shooters back in the 90s, and it always seems to return when the genre needs refreshing.
There have been many iterations of id Software’s DOOM released over the course of nearly 30 years, most of which have been incredibly successful. It seems like a new DOOM arises just in time when other first-person shooters grow stale and the world needs something exciting to blow them away. DOOM’s gameplay is iconic and fast-paced, full of engaging and exciting “shoot first, ask questions later” demon-slaying action.
But while the franchise has always done pretty well, some games have been more warmly received than others in the eyes of fans and critics. Based on an average of critical scores from Metacritic, OpenCritic and the Internet Games Database, here’s how all the mainline DOOM games stack up against one another.
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7. DOOM 3: BFG Edition: 65/100
This remaster of DOOM 3 seems to be a mixed bag depending on the platform, but it’s a pretty nice package overall. This edition comes with an upgraded version of DOOM 3 for the then-new generation, featuring better graphics, audio and a checkpoint system. It’s also a complete package that includes DOOM 3’s expansion, Resurrection of Evil, and a new one called The Lost Mission. It also comes with complete versions of Ultimate DOOM and DOOM II, making it a great package for fans.
However, outside of The Lost Mission expansion, nothing here was actually new for anyone who owned the original games. Plus, for those looking for updated DOOM graphics, the franchise has a history of being easy to mod, and the community had already made texture packs and improved models, making this release mostly redundant.
6. DOOM 64: 75.5/100
DOOM 64 combined classic style with straightforward shooting, and it included an original story. Though it followed the same gameplay formula as previous DOOM titles, it was still an incredible Nintendo 64 game. It had great graphics, though the animations were still a bit flat, and it could be dark in some areas. Outside of gameplay, though, the most important element of DOOM games is the music, and DOOM 64 has a great soundtrack that is several steps up from its SNES predecessor. Overall, critics found this to be a pretty good game for its time.
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5. DOOM: 80/100
The original DOOM, unsurprisingly, earned pretty good critical review scores, and it still ranks highly among other DOOM titles and spin-offs. The game really took off upon release, as there was nothing else quite like it on the market at the time, especially given the era during which it was released. Satanic Panic was still on people’s minds, so having violence and demons in a game caused controversy — though it was awesome for gamers.
DOOM’s soundtrack also quickly became iconic, and parts of it are still used in the recent games. The original DOOM was a huge success and has gone down in video game history as one of the greats, bringing badassery to many homes and spawning sequels, spin-offs and numerous mods over the years while maintaining a following to this day and running on everything from modern consoles to calculators.
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4. DOOM II: Hell on Earth: 83.5/100
The second game was a great follow up. In DOOM II, Doomguy goes straight to hell to deal with the problem. While it has a slightly higher ranking, it was seen at the time as largely the same game, but also a good sequel with great level design. It was also the first DOOM to include multiplayer, although this was very basic. There weren’t any new mechanics, but since DOOM was still a new series, this was mostly forgiven. However, those looking to try it out today will likely be better off with DOOM 3: BFG Edition.
3. DOOM 3: 86.5/100
The original DOOM 3 did quite well when it released in 2004, and it even received expansions. It can be considered the first back-to-basics FPS, releasing at a time when the genre needed to return to its roots though pitting one Guy against Hell and blowing away hordes of demons with non-stop action. DOOM 3 is also the first story and lore-heavy game in the series, truly bringing it into a newer generation.
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2. DOOM (2016): 87/100
The latest DOOM games are also the most highly-rated ones. Not only are they the most up-to-date in terms of visuals, but these games also brought plenty of innovations to update the formula. Story-focused DOOM is back, but it’s spread out and not overly long or filled with cutscenes. Even the Doomslayer ignores some of the objectives in favor of destruction. Similar to DOOM 3, DOOM (2016) launched after years of FPS games full of gimmicks meant to make them stand out, and the classic franchise brought things back to basics. The graphics are fantastic, and it runs smooth for the fast-paced action it delivers.
1. DOOM Eternal: 87.5/100
Unsurprisingly, 2020’s DOOM Eternal is the most critically-acclaimed game in the franchise. The sequel to DOOM (2016), it’s like that game’s version of DOOM II. Once again, the Doomslayer goes to Hell to fight hordes of demons. Eternal is more difficult that its predecessor, and has more demons — which is exactly what one would expect in that situation. However, unlike DOOM II, Eternal also adds new mechanics to keep things fresh. It improves upon an already incredible game that allows players to embody the cool, tough, unrelenting and always in control Doomslayer, making it the best version of DOOM out there.
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An avid gamer with a poochy sidekick living in Ontario, Canada. When not gaming she dons capes for writing, creating digital art, and sometimes game development. Also loves metal music, horror movies, and a good book.
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