It seems appropriate that the Xbox 360, the console often associated with first-person shooter Halo, is now home to the sequel of the granddaddy of them all, Doom II.
The classic from 1994 was recently made available on the Xbox Live Arcade and is one of the best nostalgia trips you can take. The gory shooter has been kept predominantly the same, although an expansion pack of nine new levels is included. It's nice to see a game left intact, as the trend seems to be that companies update graphics of genre classics.
You definitely don't see that in Doom II. It's still the same pixelated enemies and rectangle-heavy levels (computers back in the day couldn't process the high number of vertices needed to generate lots of curves).
The same monsters, from weakling Imps to the scream-inducing Cyberdemon and Spider Mastermind, all roam the ruins of Earth. It's your mission, unnamed space marine, to defeat them all. If you played the game in the 1990s, you'll get a real kick out of reliving the title.
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You'll also find that it's just as hard today as it was at the time. In fact, it's even harder to play on the Xbox 360 because you can't type in the cheat codes like the infamous "idkfa" for all weapons or "iddqd" for God mode, or invincibility.
The most missed cheat code of all has to be "idclip," which allowed players to walk through walls. Without that, the final level of Doom II, "Icon of Sin," is nearly impossible. The clipping code once allowed players to skip it and shoot the head of John Romero, one of the game's creators, to beat the game.
Now, players are stuck facing a large demon head atop a platform that is reachable only by an elevator. The demon spawns infinite enemies of almost all classes — no Cyberdemons and Spider Masterminds, thankfully — that make your life miserable as you try to ride up the elevator and shoot rockets into the demon's head. Good luck. It took two friends and me more than a couple hundred attempts before winning.
The nine new levels afterward are a nice treat. They've been designed in the same look of classic Doom but using today's technology, so there are lots of curves that make for a new feel to the classic game.
There's just nothing quite like the Doom series. William Wood Jr., one of the Manifesto's reviewers, remarked during our "Icon of Sin" quest, "Do you think there are any games from this generation that we'll be playing again in 15 years?"
Probably not, but I sure hope so.