Happy Halloween! We at Ars invite you to celebrate the most morbid western holidays with one of the most morbid western game series ever: demise. Notably with a free version of the less popular version on the Nintendo 64 system, now restored and updated by a devoted group of fans and modders.
While finding working copies and digital restorations of other Doom games isn’t difficult, the N64 version, made by Midway Games’ San Diego studio in the 1990s, has never seen an official reissue (fan tries the game to PC, however, popped up in the early 2000s). That’s a shame, because the N64 demise consisted of all-new levels and content that were toe-to-toe with some of Downfall 2‘s best maps, and the game offered some effective visual upgrades to the original idTech engine.
Now fans have stepped in with the stunning-looking, nail-hardened Brutal Demise 64. Even though it was made by people who worked on last year’s Brutal Demise mod, this newer version is tuned to recreate the N64 version rather than supercharge it, at least in terms of gameplay (although the authors admit they tweaked and changed certain levels to make the game more modern, including a brand new opening sequence that pits marines against the worst monsters of hell).
However, the visual upgrades seen in Brutal Demise have only become more intense. Volumetric relief and blood effects are cranked to the maximum here, although others Downfall 2 Engine holdovers, especially sprite-based items and level decorations, are still widely used. The same goes for enemy and weapon sprites, which are largely taken from the original doom 64 (but keep it full). In addition, enemies and content removed from the N64 game have been brought back and a more intense set of sound effects is coupled with a brand new soundtrack. The whole package is stunning, although perhaps not optimized for modern computers; I had to lower the settings on my high-end test rig to get a constant 60fps refresh.
If you want to play this – and if you’ve come this far, you really should – all you need is a copy of Downfall 2 (or the subsequent full game packs that use the same engine files). Download the mod here and put your doom2.wad file in the mod directory. the authors of Brutal Demise 64 mentioned in the release description that more updates, including more content that was last-minute removed from the N64 release, may eventually be added in a future free update.