X06: Doom Hands-On

Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade surprise for X06 is now available for download.

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Doom (1993)
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As part of the lead-up to Microsoft's X06 event, the company announced that we'd be seeing a new Xbox Live Arcade release from a popular franchise. The well-kept secret finally surfaced during the press briefing that kicked off the event, and it's a version of id Software's classic first-person shooter, Doom. A brief look at the game showed that it's a pretty faithful translation.

Strangely enough, the first thing that happened after running Doom was a forced patch download. But after that, we were dumped into the main menu. The game offers all four episodes of the first Doom's "Ultimate Doom" configuration and contains the standard single-player mode with five difficulty settings. On the multiplayer side, you can play in split-screen mode or over Xbox Live with up to four players in all. You can play through the campaign levels cooperatively or get into deathmatch mode and attempt to shoot up your opponents in regular or ranked matches.

Doom has pretty extensive leaderboards that keep track of your deathmatch kills as well as your single-player performance. You can even break the scoreboards down to each individual level, where you can see how your time, kills, items collected, secrets found, and score stack up against other players.

The game looks like it has been cleaned up a bit, but don't expect a graphical or gameplay overhaul on the level of some of the free Doom engine ports that have surfaced in the years following id's release of the Doom source code. The character graphics haven't gone polygonal or anything, and you still can't jump or look up and down. Instead, the game looks and sounds largely like the original and seems to hold up well, right down to the rocking MIDI-style soundtrack of the original game.

Doom uses fairly standard first-person shooter controls, and they can't be remapped. The left stick strafes, the right stick aims, the right trigger fires, and A opens doors. However, we did encounter a problem where a single-player level seemed to load up in a multiplayer mode. Items respawned, and we were unable to press the button at the end of the level to move on. Reloading our save from the beginning of the level set things right again, but that's troubling enough that we expect there will have to be another patch in the game's future.

We'll have a full review of Doom later on in the week.

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