Boasting the full versions of Ultimate DOOM, DOOM 2: Hell on Earth, and Final DOOM, there's no doubt that DOOM Classic Complete is a comprehensive package for those looking for a nostalgia trip. But is the famous franchise still the daddy of first-person shooters?
For better or for worse, the graphics of DOOM Classic Complete are the first thing that you’ll notice. Being a collection of super-retro games, the pixelated visuals will throw off any gamer who isn’t used to older titles. But that’s not to say DOOM doesn’t retain its own charm and sense of style, despite the games displaying in a disappointingly low resolution.
Once you’re past the initial visual shock, however, you’ll find DOOM’s gameplay still holds strong, even after all of these years. Movement is fast, fluid, and simple, although navigating levels can be confusing and time consuming at first. The stages are surprisingly non-linear, with branching paths leading to secrets, equipment, and keys that open new areas. It’s actually a refreshing change to the standard corridor shooters of modern gaming, and in many ways it’s similar to a dungeon crawling RPG.
The core of the series is obviously gunplay, and DOOM’s shooting mechanics are still as tight and gratifying as ever. There are several weapons to find and use, with the classic DOOM shotgun stealing the show thanks to its power and satisfying sound effects. Watching enemies fly backwards from the impact of a well-placed shotgun blast is still as fun as it ever was, and it’s easy to see how DOOM was able to inspire so many.
But really, that’s all there is to do in DOOM Classic Complete. Even back when these titles were individually released, DOOM was never a series known for its variety. Explore the level, shoot some demons, find a new gun, shoot more demons, find a key, open a door, and shoot some more demons. It’s a timeless formula that still works, but there’s no denying that gameplay has evolved a lot since DOOM’s introduction.
There is a lot of content, however. Packing two full DOOM games, expansions, and even officially released mods, DOOM Classic Complete should keep you busy for some time. Although each playthrough will only last a few hours, there are multiple difficulties and score challenges to master.
On top of the beefy single player offering, DOOM Classic Complete boasts an online multiplayer component for up to four players. Co-op should be great fun, but it’s marred by frame rate drops, while competitive multiplayer suffers from intermittent lag. There’s no real reason for a game as basic as DOOM to have technical issues like this, especially when the single player is so fluid and stable. It’s ultimately very disappointing, as DOOM’s multiplayer is tantalisingly chaotic when it works properly.
The audio is similarly inadequate. While the guns sound ferocious, the grunts your character makes are comedic at best, and the ambient noises are irritating – especially if you’ve been stuck trying to find a key or exit for the past few minutes.
DOOM Classic Complete is a decent collection if you're a fan of the series or a first-person enthusiast, but the asking price is far too steep if you don't fall into either camp. While all of the packaged titles are still enjoyable in short bursts, needless technical issues and presentation problems let them down, making it worth careful consideration before you book a return trip to the underworld.