Project Doom is one of the newer games added to the Nintendo Switch online service. It’s a pretty innovative game for its time as you get some racing levels as well as traditional shooter ones. The mechanics are all on point for both types of gameplay and the story is pretty engaging. Considering that it’s free there is really no reason not to take the plunge on this one. You’ll be glad you went for it. It’s challenging but there are enough quality of life features to make it feel enjoyable at all times. When you die or even when you get a game over you aren’t sent all the way back which I was happy about. That seems to be rare in the NES era.
At first I actually thought this was purely a driving title so I was actually surprised when the level ended and you were suddenly on the ground. When you’re driving you get a machine gun so you blast the other cars away and try to live until you hit the finish line. The controls are pretty straight forward and the whole thing just flows really well. When it comes to the land levels they are just as solid. You’ve got a energy sword that you use to slice and dice away at the enemies in your way. The level backgrounds and general design feel like something out of Mega Man. These levels are difficult, but not downright impossible or anything like that. You’ll be able to make it pretty far either way. Even when you die you don’t get sent back to start as I mentioned before so that helps lower the pressure.
The boss battles are also pretty fun. The first one is definitely original as you’re fighting a giant tank that’s spamming missiles. You have to hit the power core near the top of it, but can’t touch the tank or you’ll take massive damage. I died here quite a bit, but then I figured out the trick which is really just to duck. Ducking allows you to dodge just about all of the tank’s attacks so it’s incredibly handy. I cannot stress enough why this is a technique that you really must use here.
I didn’t make it particularly far in the story, but that’ll be one of the incentives for you to make it all the way across. You’re playing as a secret agent uncovering a conspiracy and there are a lot of twists and turns. I think you’ll have a really hard time guessing the twist about the villains and the whole thing gets very personal to the lead by the end of it. It’s not really the kind of story you’re used to seeing on the NES and it is a shame that this game never got bigger. It seems to me like it should have done exceptionally well back in the day. It holds up really well to the modern day.
The game is technically pretty short at under an hour, but that is really presuming that you won’t die at all and that’s borderline impossible. There’s no way you’ll be getting out of this game with just a scratch so to speak. You’ll die quite a few times as you learn through trial and error what works and what does not. Only after that will you be ready to go on those famous speed runs. The levels are quick and the gameplay is fast paced so I don’t imagine you will have much of a problem replaying the levels over and over again. If anything it’ll just help you map them out even more.
Vice’s graphics are definitely sharp. They wouldn’t feel out of place in a GBA title or on the SNES. It’s really ahead of its time in that regard. The lightsaber sword is also pretty cool and you feel like you’ve got a lot of power on your side. The soundtrack is less impressive, but still good overall. I certainly wouldn’t give that part a thumbs down either. This is the kind of game where you can see how a lot of care would have gone into producing it.
Overall, Vice is one of the best NES games I’ve played through the online service and it’s a solid addition to the lineup. I know at this point we’re all waiting for the SNES games to show up, but in the meanwhile at least I’m getting to see all of these other obscure games. If you’ve got a Switch and haven’t checked this one out yet then I recommend changing that. I think you’ll be hooked on this game before long and then you can be added to the list of people who are ready for a proper reboot/sequel someday.