Sunday, February 04, 2007

Doom (Xbox 360) Review

At the end of September, Nerve Software ported over id Software's classic Doom to Xbox Live Arcade. A few weeks ago I gave in to temptation and purchased it from the Xbox Live Marketplace, and really, what more is there to say.

Doom is, in my opinion, the greatest game ever made. You're certainly welcome to disagree with that statement, but there's no denying the influence the title has had on the gaming industry. See that flashy Gears of War your playing? Or Halo 2? How about Half-Life 2? Fact is they all owe their existence to the success of Doom. While Doom isn't the first FPS ever released, it was the one that popularized the genre and saved PC gaming from becoming a second rate platform to the consoles of the time (and in my opinion we need another Doom since PC gaming is pretty bad right now if you're not into MMO's).

Doom on the Xbox 360 is actually The Ultimate Doom, so you get all four Episodes. They've also increased the resolution and fixed the sky bug that shipped with the version that came with the Doom 3: Limited Collector's Edition (Xbox) and Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox). Nerve Software added in a volume control for the midi music, something younger gamers who don't get nostalgia from it will appreciate, but unfortunately they forgot to add a gamma slider, and as such the game is a bit darker than it needs to be. It also has retained its 4x3 aspect ratio, but overall looks a lot nicer than the versions included with the Xbox Doom 3 titles.

The controls have been remapped slightly from the last Xbox versions. "A" is now the Use button, while up on the D-Pad will bring up the last message. Down on the D-Pad brings up the map, and the Left and Right Bumpers will zoom the map in and out.

Otherwise, its simple, classic Doom at its best. What's a nice addition too is the achievements, and for someone like me who's played through classic Doom so many times since 1996, getting them all (at least the Single Player ones) has been a breeze.

Doom is a great purchase for the Xbox 360, and if you haven't yet experienced it, you owe it to yourself to check out the shooter that started it all. At the very least, go and download the free demo, and here's hoping we see a port of Doom II and many other classic id Software shooters soon.

Update: What I completely forgot to mention, and shame on me for this, is the crash bug that Doom sadly has. After you download the game, everything will work just fine. However the second or third time you boot up your Xbox 360 console, if you try to get to Doom's main menu from within the game it will freeze your Xbox 360 and you will be forced to do a forced shutdown. I even deleted the game and did a fresh download, and the problem persisted. It seems to be a known issue, and the best work around is that when you're done playing Doom use the Xbox Guide button to return to the Dashboard. If you follow that step, the only time you will have an issue is after completing an Episode, it may freeze on you at the final screen.

While this is certainly annoying, the work around means its not to large an issue and certainly does not mar the fun of Doom, though I do hope an update can be released to address this issue in the future.

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