Ever imagined you would play DOOM on a ZX Spectrum? While it requires the 128kb version of the classic computer, this remains an incredible development, albeit one that has been around a few years.
So, why is it making news now?
Well, the previous 1996 release was disk-only, for the TR-DOS format used on the ZX Spectrum. However, this recent discovery is of a TZX version – that is, for tape.
We know that a “Quake engine” is capable on the Spectrum, but DOOM predates this by some 25 years, if not more. Other 8-bit platforms have been shown to run DOOM too. For example, there is a VIC-20 port of DOOM which runs surprisingly well.
As explained by Planeta Sinclair (translation):
“Could you ever have imagined that it would be possible to play Doom on your ZX Spectrum 128K? It is true that there was a TRD version for clones, but we had not yet found a .tzx version. Well, that’s what was on one of Mário Viegas’ tapes and we were able to preserve it. Just be aware that the game is very demanding in terms of computer memory usage, so it sometimes crashes, especially when using fists. Otherwise, it is quite playable.”
You can download this Spectrum version of DOOM, which can be run on an emulator or a genuine 128k Spectrum.
DOOM was initially ported to TR-DOS-compatible ZX Spectrum clones in the 1990s. Clones of the platform were prominent in the old Soviet Union, where enthusiasts built and distributed their own versions of the ZX Spectrum, making money on the black market.
(I recall when the Iron Curtain lifted, there were rumours of £80 Commodore 64s being shipped to Moscow and being sold for £250+. This was due to the short supply of PCs, and demonstrates just how important Japanese and Western technology was the the cultural growth of an oppressed civilization. See also Tetris: The Movie.)
Here’s a bit of background to the game, courtesy of @tamanegi_otame on Twitter (translation):
Originally, the ZX spectrum version of DOOM was ported somewhat arbitrarily in 1996, but that was in a disk image format that ran on an OS called TR-DOS, and now a new tape image format that also runs on BASIC has been released. It seems like it has arrived.
Further information on DOOM for the ZX Spectrum can be found at ZXArt.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.