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Xbox Live Arcade Review: DOOM

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Though it started as a passing thought in the back of John Carmack’s head while watching The Color of Money, DooM went on to become one of the most important games in all of history. It is the founder of fragging, the godfather of deathmatch, the true innovator of videogame violence and now it’s on XBLA.

Game play feels just as tight as the original, and the dual analog control scheme is a natural fit. The classic numeric weapon selection system has been replaced by a “Next-Previous” system that is oddly controlled by Y and B, instead of the more obvious shoulder buttons. It’s simple, but for DooM it’s just what you need.

All of the levels from the original DooM have made the jump to XBLA, including the Ultimate DooM episode “Thy Flesh Consumed”. The game’s 36 levels remain divided into four episodes, however in the trial version only the first level of Episode one is free, not the entire first episode like it was in the original PC shareware release.

Though renowned for its legendary MIDI tracks, unfortunately the original music didn’t survive the jump to Xbox 360. Though the original songs are there, and many of them have been tarnished by switch from midi to regular audio tracks.

Like the original multiplayer, while simple, yet critical to your enjoyment. Online matches are smooth and offline modes allow for up to four players to participate in either Co-op or Deathmatch in any of the games levels.

The only real fault with the game is that it doesn’t allow you to select how you want to split the screen if only two players are present. This means you’re stuck with two prefect squares stuck side to side, instead of the more 4:3 friendly horizontal style, which is fine on a nice new 16:9 display, but not if you’re using an older TV.

Achievements are pretty standard and are mostly awarded for completing certain levels, or for your end of level stats.

A game with such a high pedigree should be held to nothing less then the highest standards and by these standards DooM is nothing but a masterpiece. It retains all the thrills you experienced 13 years ago and makes you feel like a kid again. Sure, 800 MSP may seem like a steep price for such an old game, but honestly DooM doesn’t feel dated, it feels just as fresh as it was in ‘93. Besides you can’t put a price on perfection.

Doom is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Animated Blood and Gore, Animated Violence. This game can also be found on: Just about any game console you own.

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About Jason Westhaver