Remember when shooters were pixilated messes where the enemies were flat sprites and you couldn’t jump? If you grew up in the 1990’s, there’s little chance you haven’t heard of the Doom series. It brought the first person shooter genre to the masses, while stirring up lots of media attention because of its gore and violence.
Doom II remains intact in the transition to the Xbox Live Arcade, so it won’t disappoint any purists. You have the fist and chainsaw for melee, and for guns you have the pistol, shotgun, chain gun, rocket launcher and the infamous BFG. The original campaign is completely intact, just like you remember it.
So what’s new? There’s quite a fair amount of new content, most standout of all is a brand new campaign called “No Rest for the Living”. 9 new levels filled with challenge, and will test the mettle of even the most experienced Doom player. By the second level you’re facing entire rooms filled with the toughest baddies the game can throw at you. Long time fans will not be disappointed by this campaign.
As a nice little touch, the game gives you 2 avatar items, which consist of a Doom II T-shirt and a Doom II marine suit, which becomes unlocked once you finish the new campaign. Both come in male and female versions. I wish more games came with these bonuses for free instead of the usual micro-fees these items usually have attached to them.
Multiplayer options get the job done, and stand out as the other significant upgrade in this port. There’s your standard online deathmatch mode and cooperative. There’s also split screen support for local matches as well. I wish there was support for more than 4 players though, since some of the maps are quite large. Leaderboards track players with the best frag to death score, and you can watch clips from their matches as well as upload your own. On a good note though, I never experienced any lag in the matches I played.
The graphics have been slightly enhanced with the addition of HD support. Of course, they’re not far off from how they were in 1994. Music and sound effects are still the same, but now with 5.1 Surround Sound support. A few remixes would have been nice, but oh well.
The final verdict? If you love Doom II, there are plenty of reasons to download this port, especially if you enjoy the multiplayer aspect. And in case you never played a Doom game before, it wouldn’t hurt to play one of the founding fathers of the FPS genre. There’s plenty of fun to be had as you try to survive the forces of hell with nothing more than a ton of guns. Years later the formula still works, and it’s still just as fun.