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Score: 74%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Nerve
Media: Download/1
Players: 1; 2 - 4 (Online)
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Classic/Retro/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

DOOM II was almost my first PC game, but being ten years old at the time, I settled for an adventure game called Dragon Lore. It wasn't until a few years later that I acquired a shareware version of DOOM. It was an inexpensive disc that only included the first few levels, but I didn't care. Blowing the forces of Hell into mushy piles of pixelated giblets gave me a primal sense of joy that I never shared with anybody. My, how the times have changed. Now, you can buy DOOM II on Xbox Live Arcade. If you have no history with this fabled franchise, this is not a good buy. This game is only for those who want to go back to the genesis of the first-person shooter.

DOOM II is a port of id's now ancient landmark shooter. I can't really lambast the game for failing to live up to today's standards, because that would be like yelling at an old woman for not being the perfect ten she used to be. Look at the screenshots. Did you expect anything different? Maybe you did, especially if you've played other Xbox Live Arcade ports like Serious Sam HD or Duke Nukem 3D. If you're looking for an update, you're not going to find it here. You're going to find armies of clones who all die the exact same way.

Sound is tricky business when it comes to re-releases. Some of them choose to be bold and reimagine the soundtrack. Many of them are successful in this regard; Bionic Commando: Rearmed and Super Street Fighter IV certainly are. DOOM II chooses to play it safe. Everything you heard in the original game is here, from the memorable MIDI tracks to the groans of zombies to that creepy rattle sound made by demons. Nothing to complain about.


DOOM II is the modern-day shooter stripped down to its bare essentials. Run around, shoot bad guys, collect keys, find the exit. That's everything you need to know about DOOM II. It's a point-and-click extravaganza that operates on a single plane. You'll journey through Hell as a guns-blazing marine who obviously loves to kill stuff.

The level design holds up well, and the secret rooms are full of equipment that will assist you in your mindless rampage. Armor shards, health drops, chainsaws, and the fabled BFG-9000 are all here.

The Xbox Live Arcade release of DOOM II comes with the original game ("Hell on Earth"), but there's a bonus chapter included. It's titled "No Rest for the Living," and it's really just more of the same classic DOOM gameplay. If you're expecting something more modern, you will be disappointed.

You can play DOOM II over Xbox Live with up to three other players. Good luck finding people to play with, though. I can't in all honesty predict long-term success for this game's multiplayer component.


DOOM II follows a very welcome id tradition: there are loads of difficulty settings to choose from. On the default setting ("Hurt Me Plenty!"), the game slowly ratchets up the difficulty from pushover to nightmare. The highest setting ("Nightmare") is worthy of its name.

A few touches make DOOM II much easier than it could have been. One is the fact that you can save your game literally anywhere. Of course, make sure you're completely safe before saving; you don't want to load into a game that gives you one second to avoid an incoming fireball. The second is the map function, which shows in fine detail the doors that you have and have not opened.

Game Mechanics:

Playing DOOM II will make you realize exactly how much you take for granted when it comes to the first-person shooter genre. Simple things, like jumping, looking up and down, grenade buttons, aiming down the sights, and regenerating health. Running, shooting, and opening doors is all there is to this game. DOOM II is as basic as first-person shooting goes, and if you're expecting more than that, you don't know what you're getting into. My only real complaint has to do with turning speed. Sensitivity options would have been nice.

An assorted array of weapons and pick-ups are strewn about each and every level, and you'll need to make good use of all of them if you want to survive higher difficulty levels or later stages. If you see a room full of monsters, check around for secret areas. Invulnerability or Berserk will always help you reduce the room population to one.

While the rest of the world waits for more info on Rage, Xbox Live users can take a trip down Memory Lane with DOOM II. Just know that your mileage may vary.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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