Doom II Review

Doom II first hit our PC’s way back in 1994, how does the Xbox Live Arcade port fare against today’s first person shooters? Read on to find out.

I would assume everyone has played or at least knows the Doom series? For those sleeping at the back of the class, it was among the founding games of the first person shooter genre, with titles such as Wolfenstein 3D and its successor Doom kicking things off. The goal is simple and it is still found in many of today’s games, battle your way through the levels against enemies, along the way collecting key cards usually involving simple puzzle elements that unlock doors.

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Unlike present shooters which are often more linear though offer basic exploration, they are in contrast to Doom II’s more open ended map designs. Often there are multiple routes to explore, some may lead to a dead end or some may lead secret rooms with rewards of extra ammunition or health. The level designs were overall very impressive and they still put up a very strong fight against it’s younger rivals. The XBLA version comes with an new nine level Episode called ‘No Rest for the Living’ in addition to the twenty plus levels Episode found in the original.

The XBLA port is essentially a straight port of the Doom II engine, nothing much has changed. The controls work as well as can be expected, I would have liked to have seen the possibility to change the controls to your liking, and in addition to that a sensitivity setting as I felt that turning around was a little slow.

A few tweaks to the graphics have been made here and there, I would say nothing immediately noticeable. The display has been upscaled to HD resolution, but this does mean that the original graphics appear pixelated, the scenery is not too bad but it is more visible on the enemy characters and gunfire. Adjustments can be made to fill the screen vertically, but widescreen owners will find empty side borders as this game was made before widescreen was the norm.

Multiplayer modes are supported with Co-Op and online multiplayer games. Co-Op allows up to three friends to join your game in a four way split screen and play any of the levels in both Episodes. Multiplayer is unfortunately not great. While reviewing the game I tried a few times to get a game started but it seems there was not a soul to be found to play against. After reading feedback on various sites it may be because the games were found to be unreliable with choppy game play and lag spoiling the fun.

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It does sound like a fairly negative review, but you must bear in mind that this game is sixteen years old. A remake of the original with new textures for HD resolution would have been great, but if you can live with the pixelated graphics you will find a great game that still plays very well. The atmosphere with dark corridors, enemies hiding in corners and big bosses all keep the game feeling very suspenseful and action packed. Nothing is lost from the original, but I feel with some improvements this could have been a much better game.

For your 800 :MSPoints: you get the original lengthy episode plus a brand new episode which adds some more lifespan.  If you’re a DOOM fan, it’s a definite purchase for the single player and co-op modes, but you may want to give it a miss if you hope to play primarily online.

More information on Doom II as well as the demo and full versions of the game can be found on the Marketplace.


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