Xbox Live Arcade snags another great classic and largely hits the mark.
Doom is on a short list for the discussion of greatest games of all time. id Software’s 1993 PC game revolutionized the First-Person Shooter genre with (at that time) advanced three-dimensional graphics and an outrageous amount of on-screen action that would keep any gamer glued to their computer monitors for days. It also opened some of the earliest “violence in videogames” discussions with tons of gore and satanic imagery. So when Microsoft released the entire four-chapter original on Xbox Live Arcade, complete with online multiplayer, there was little chance that they would botch up a classic.
For any newbies that have lived under a rock since 1993, or perhaps have grown up only knowing the Master Chief as the king of FPS, Doom took the 3-D concept that was introduced in Wolfeinstein 3-D (another classic game at the top of many best game lists) and gave players monsters and demons to fight instead of Nazis. id also upped the graphics, and the body count, keeping gamers scampering for the nearest stimpack to survive the onslaught. On top of that, they also pioneered network gaming as well, allowing players to play both cooperatively and competitively over Local-Area Networks at work, school, or the local LAN party.
Doom on Xbox Live seems like a perfect fit given the other titles that have been released thus far. Unlike the coin-op reissues Pacman, Galaga, Time Pilot, and Street Fighter II, Doom is a jam-packed game that could take gamers hours to complete from start to finish. The four chapters included in this release follow the unnamed space Marine as he battles the denizens of hell on Mars. The final chapter, Thy Flesh Consumed, is included from the expansion pack Ultimate Doom, and bumps the level count up to 36.
The white-knuckle action of the original PC release is fully intact here, and Doom hasn’t lost a step since its release nearly 13 years ago. All the old-school enemies, including zombies, imps, Bull Demons, and Cacodemons make their appearences exactly where they should, and playing the game on Ultra-Violent or higher fills rooms full of these hell-spawns will challenge veteran Doom players for hours and hours. The control scheme mapped to the Xbox 360 controller works especially well, allowing for the necessary circle-strafing and sprinting to survive. Everything about this release is wholly faithful to the original PC release, including the Midi-synth soundtrack and monster noise sets.
Taking a look at the overall package, there is only one real blemish to this version of Doom – the online gameplay. During our review play here at the office, gameplay was noticibly laggy and there was at least a half-second delay in the on-screen action after inputing the move on the controller. Deathmatch opponents pop in and out at times, making it tough just to shoot at them. If Microsoft can work out whatever server issues they may be having over time, playing both with and against your friends in this timeless classic would certainly be a nostalgic blast.
It’s obvious that Doom is a gaming classic that revolutionized the industry and set the bar for FPSs for years. In fact, before the term “First Person Shooter” was coined, journalists and industry insiders would often just label a game a “Doom Clone.” For an Xbox Live Arcade release, Microsoft only needed to provide the original game with all its bells and whistles to score points, and it has done exactly that. While other faithful ports of have seen their fair share of action on Live already, Doom trumps them all with its intense action and countless secrets. Anyone who can download this game owes it to themselves to relive this classic from beginning to end.