I’ll be honest, until I got my hands on Doom for the Xbox Live Arcade I had never played it before and looking at the outdated graphics, knowing full well that I couldn’t look up or down with my camera and not a single button on the controller would allow me to jump, I can’t say I was overly attracted to it. If it wasn’t for the constant nagging I had from my girlfriend to play this game that she has loved for years, I still wouldn’t have played it now. I’m glad I did, it’s awesome and now with the release of Doom II: Hell on Earth on Xbox Live Arcade, we can enjoy the sequel to this classic game.
Released on the Xbox Live Arcade on the 26th May 2010, Doom II picks up where the last game ended. The demons and hellspawn have invaded Earth and as the last survivor, the player must work their way through the 30+ levels, killing the enemies they encounter, searching for the optional secret areas and picking up all the collectable items using the various weapons, health kits and armour upgrades that are available to them throughout the game.
The controls are straightforward; left analog stick moves the player, right analog stick directs the camera (only left and right), holding the left trigger allows you to sprint continuously and the right trigger fires your weapon. Although the controls are simple to learn they are hard to master as strafing is an important part of dodging the enemy’s attacks and requires good coordination of both the movement and camera while using the sprint trigger.
There are a five difficulty options ranging from the very easy “I’m too young to die” mode, to the immensely difficult and totally unfair “Nightmare” mode. The main differences between the different modes are enemy attack speed and damage, the amount of ammo/health kits/armour upgrades that are available to pick up and “Nightmare” mode respawns the enemies you have already killed. I began the game on the second hardest mode “Ultra Violence” because you are able to unlock most of the achievements on this difficulty and found the game more than a challenge.
The game remains untouched from the PC version, which is great news for all those who want to be able to play the original Doom on their Xbox 360 consoles. It also includes 9 brand new levels in a separate campaign known as “No Rest for the Living”, bringing the totals levels available in Doom II to over 40 – quite impressive for an arcade title!
There is a multiplayer option in Doom II but at the moment the community appears to be dead. I tried connecting at different times in the day and could not find anyone to play against online. Considering that Doom II is quite outdated compared to the games available today, it is unfortunate but not surprising that there not many players online.
Despite a poor multiplayer, Doom II really is a great game and if you have never played a Doom title before I urge you to try it. The 800 Microsoft Points price tag might be a little off putting but if you like to fully complete your games the replay value is excellent. Whether you are trying to find every last secret, run through every level on par time or take on the deadly “Nightmare” mode, you will find that Doom II will keep you entertained for a very long time. Why do you think it’s still popular after all these years? Buy it!