In the early 90′s, if you were a gamer, chances are that the Doom franchise was a staple of your gaming rotation.Â While Wolfenstein may have come first, Doom is widely accredited with popularizing the first-person shooter genre.Â It’s no secret that FPS’s may be the lifeblood of modern gaming systems, and to return the favor Doom, and now Doom II, have been released on the Xbox Live Arcade. Â Â The question that looms over Doom II is: “Is it really a timeless classic, or has Father Time been unkind to it?”
Depending on who you ask, it seems that everyone has a different favorite Doom game.Â Up until Doom 3, the games were very much the same, with new levels being the only major change between titles.Â For what it’s worth, I had always considered Doom II to be my favorite of the Doom titles, but this was probably because it was one of my first computer games as a kid.
Upon loading the game on my 360, I realized very quickly how different this experience would be than my hours spent on the PC version.Â As a tot, “idDQD”, “idKFA”, and “idCLIP” were more important to me than all the BFGs in the world.Â For those of you not in the know, in order, those are the cheat codes for God Mode, all keys, weapons, and full ammo, and the ability to walk through walls.Â Even on the first few levels on the lower difficulties, it was apparent how frustrating the game would become.Â It seems that Doom, while a pioneer for the space marine formula, does not afford you the luxury of being a complete bullet sponge like Master Chief and Marcus Fenix.
When starting a new game for the first time, you’re prompted to select between the Hell on Earth campaign and the No Rest for the Living campaign.Â Hell on Earth is the traditional Doom II campaign, and No Rest for the Living is a nine level (one of them being secret) add-on made specifically for the XBLA port.Â These two campaigns weigh in at a hefty total of 41 levels.Â That’s quite a bit of bang for your buck, if I may say so.
The gameplay itself is very much in the classic Doom vein.Â There are a ton of demons and monsters everywhere, and every switch you flip and every door you open just leads to lots more.Â Without the assistance of my trusty cheat codes, I found that the second best strategy is to heed the advice of Patches O’Houlihan – dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge.Â You’re going to need to constantly jump behind walls and avoidÂ those pesky fireballs.Â As I mentioned before, your space marine’s health drops pretty quickly, so while there are usually a lot of health kits lying around, you don’t want to get too careless in the heat of the battle.
If you’re more of the sociable type, you may want to check out Doom II’s multiplayer modes.Â All of the single player levels are available to be played co-op, but take note that it seems doing so disables achievements.Â If you’re not such a team player, the classic Doom death match is back, and it’s a hell of a lot easier to find a game now than it was in 1994.Â Death match is made up of four player free-for-all that is quick-paced and gruesome.Â All levels are available for death match and while it’s definitely fun, in my experience it may be too easy for one player to monopolize the entire game.
Finally, there are a few miscellaneous things I need to mention.Â In my Perfect Dark review, I mentioned how hard games of yesteryear were, primarily due to the fact that once you die, you needed to start the level all over again.Â Conveniently, Doom II lets you save whenever you want, which most hardcore Doom enthusiasts probably scoff at, but I opted to abuse around seemingly every corner.Â It makes the entire experience much less frustrating and is comes highly recommended if you’re keeping your blood pressure in mind.Â Also, it’s borderline bizarre reverting to a time in gaming when there was no control over your view on a north-south plane.Â I found myself attempting several times to use the right-stick to look at enemies above me, each time in vain.Â Finally, in my opinion, the 360 controller makes for a much more satisfying experience than a keyboard ever did.Â This may be because I’ve always been a console-enthusiast, but I found that I had a much easier time weaving in-and-out to avoid taking damage.
After spending a few hours with Doom II, it seems apparent that it’s aged relatively well.Â Of course, it doesn’t have the exact appeal that it had in 1994, but it still makes for an engaging experience.Â Anyone that’s familiar with the title will most likely enjoy their time with it, and there’s honestly a lot of content for only $10.Â If you haven’t played it before, you may want to be a bit cautious with your Microsoft Points, maybe trying out the trial first.Â However, I’m happy to report that Doom II lived up to 11-year old me’s high expectations and good memories.