FACT: Doom 64 was a better Doom II THAN Doom II, and a better Doom 3 than Doom 3. Quake took full advantage of the 3D level geometry (room over room, bridges you can walk under, etc.) and also had a lot of platforming challenges with moving platforms and stuff. Levels like Satan’s Dark Delight and The Wizard’s Manse could never have been done in the Doom 64 engine. I think Doom 64’s a more consistent game with better level design. That and the make over make it stand out more than Doom 2’s distinctive expansion pack feel. I don’t feel like the overall quality of the levels in Doom 64 is any different from the quality of the levels in Doom 2. It still absolutely pales in comparison to the harder parts of Ultimate Doom and Doom 2. I really love Doom 64, but I wish dumbasses would stop spouting shit like “it’s the real Doom 2/3/whatever!!!”. It was always meant to be a side game and nothing more.
You could argue Doom 64 wins because of the new game assets, but all of that absolutely pales to how fun Doom 2 DM is. At least I can tell what 90% of the levels in 64 were trying to be. Doom II’s level design was a mess and revolved around “dude just slap a bunch of monsters everywhere lmao”. I’m only a recent Doom fan, Doom64 was my first Doom game in 2018, so maybe i’m biased, but I definitely liked it more than Doom 2. Maybe because it didn’t have those fucking dick necks with the gattling guns or the archviles. I dig the atmosphere a lot too. I do think I prefer icon of sin to the demon queen. Of course it’s better, it has assets that actually feel different from the first doom unlike doom II that was basically just an expansion. Doom 64 also has god-tier music. This is just revisionism in light of Doom 2016s popularity. Doom 64 and Playstation Doom were overlooked for many years by most of the community until the new shiny multiplat came out. And yeah they sure as hell should have impooved lighting and level design over Doom II considering Doom II is just a glorified standalone expansion for Doom. If anything Doom 64 falls short of expectations for an actual sequel its more of an expansion/remix itself and doesn’t add enough new elements that take advantage of the hardware and the monster sprites are hit and miss (and the doomguy sprite is just straight garbage).