Doom II Hands-On

PAX 2009: We try out the upcoming Xbox Live Arcade conversion of Doom II in Bethesda's booth.

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One of the games in Bethesda's booth at PAX is the upcoming version of Doom II for Xbox Live Arcade that's due later this year. The forthcoming conversion follows on the heels of the original Doom on Xbox Live Arcade, which saw the classic PC game get a visual face-lift and some online support added. We get our hands on a work-in-progress version of the game to see how it's coming together.

Who's Making This Game: Nerve Software, the development house that worked on the 2006 XBLA version of the original Doom.

What The Game Looks Like: Doom II follows in the footsteps of the original Doom on XBLA and gives the classic PC game's graphics a respectful face-lift. The visuals have been buffed up a bit for HD displays, but they still maintain the blocky charm of the original game.

What There Is To Do: Doom II on XBLA will feature all the content from the original game and let you play as a space marine dealing with demonic hordes in space. In addition to the three chapters from the original game, Nerve is working on a brand-new chapter that will be made up of roughly nine new maps. We had a chance to try out two of the maps--Earth Base and Pain Labs--which featured some clever design that preserved the feel of the classic game. The game will also feature offline and online deathmatch and co-operative play for up to four players.

How The Game Is Played: If you played the original Doom on XBLA, you'll be right at home with Doom II's controls. Nerve is doing a fine job of keeping the action very playable with the Xbox 360 pad.

What They Say: The Nerve rep on hand demoing the game was quick to point out that the team is working hard to ensure that the conversion is faithful to the original and that the new content will sit comfortably alongside it.

What We Say: After playing the two new maps, we're pretty hopeful for the game conversion and the new chapter. The map design and visuals on the new maps have a familiar feel to them that's deceptive in a good way. You'll find that levels have the familiar look but have a few twists as you explore them and discover some clever design and enemy placement that delivers the kinds of unpleasant surprises Doom II is known for.

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