Apocalypse #21: Doom 64: The Lost Levels

Doom’s once-lost sibling gets a quirky official addon

june gloom
4 min readJun 8, 2024
In the absence of real box art for what’s treated as a second episode in-game, you get this.

Initial release: March 20, 2020
Platform: PC, Switch, XBox One, PlayStation 4
Developer: Sam Villarreal/Nightdive Studios

Sam Villarreal and Doom 64 go way back. From his DSV being a youthful homage to the console classic, to spearheading a hand-crafted remake of the game for the Doomsday sourceport, to creating a dedicated source port that ran off a ROM of the game, to finally working for Night Dive and remastering the game in 2020, the Kaiser has long been a part of the Doom 64 ecosystem, that is when he’s not doing crazy stuff like bringing obscure 90s console shooter classics like Turok or Powerslave to PC. He wasn’t just content to surprise us with a Doom 64 remaster, however — the re-release also featured a little extra gift: The Lost Levels, a six-level minisode built entirely by Villarreal himself.

Of course, don’t get this confused with his Outcast Levels expansion for the old Doomsday remake; it’s brand-spanking new maps, and tough maps to boot. The story is just a scrap of text, really, something about the Mother Demon’s sister deciding to just yeet Doomguy out of Hell to stop him from tearing everything up — it’s not even revealed in-game that the first map, the sole techbase, takes place on Sedna, a tiny planetoid out past Neptune; that little tidbit was instead randomly mentioned in a pre-release interview. It’s as pure an expansion as one can get, an almost story-free little romp through a more modern take on the Doom 64 formula. While Doom 64’s mapping trio of Randy Estrella, Danny “Technoman” Lewis, and Tim Heydelaar have expressly cited as inspiration early classic megawads like Memento Mori and The Plutonia Experiment, Villarreal’s design ethos definitely follows a more newschool, post-Hell Revealed II sensibility.

(Wow, it really kinda comes down to that, doesn’t it: as far as Doom mapping goes, there was the time before Hell Revealed II, and the time after.)

The Lost Levels functions both as an enticement to buy Doom 64 (as if the novelty of playing this semi-lost Doom classic wasn’t enticement enough) and as a sort of distillation of modern Doom mapping tropes with the basic outline of Randy, Danny and Tim’s respective styles. It’s hard, significantly more difficult and, shall we say, hectic, than the base game, with a nasty sense of progression that’s less dungeon crawling and more a series of blistering set pieces. “Plant Ops” is a tough opener that’s sparse on health and throws some of the upper-tier enemies at you towards the end. By “Evil Sacrifice” things will calm down a bit as you build out your arsenal, but it’s still a rough ride. Things kick up again for “Cold Grounds,” but after that it sort of evens out a bit. But at no point does Lost Levels ever really slow down; the Plutoniousity is pretty high, especially in “Thy Glory,” It’s a good landmark for where Villarreal is as a mapper, even if his primary work has been less in level design and more in programming.

If you’re playing The Lost Levels right after Doom 64 you might be in for a bit of a rude shock, and that’s leaving out the obvious risk of burnout. But if you’re up for it, it’s a solid little minisode that looks good and plays great.


Doom 64: The Lost Levels is bundled with the Doom 64 re-release, available on Steam and gog.com.
This review has been crossposted, with individual map reviews, on my boomer shooter blog.



june gloom

Media critic, retired streamer, furry. I love you. [she/her]