A closed beta ran over the weekend for the multiplayer mode of the upcoming Doom. Francis Cook jumped online to chase demon runes and blow stuff up.

The new Doom isn't much like Doom, it's more like Quake with a slight Call of Duty vibe. Elements of the past combine with elements of the future to make something not quite as good as either.

The game, revealed through a beta test run over the weekend, is confusing at first, with loadout options allowing players to select their weapons and equipment. A rocket launcher is on offer, begging the question, why choose anything else?

Doom runs at a smooth frame rate and feels very responsive which is essential for a game of this speed. Bunny-hopping is gone (RIP 1999) but you can double jump and jumping at a low edge will see you quickly grapple over it.

There were two modes: Team Deathmatch which is exactly what it sounds like, and Warpath in which two teams vie for control of moving zones.


Two maps were on offer. Heatwave had tight corridors and corners made it good fun for shotguns, while Infernal had wide open spaces ideal for rockets and rifles.

Infernal was particularly charming with its Satanic pentagrams and candles illuminating the stage. It felt at home in the Doom lexicon, unlike other features in the game.

The best part of any game is the spawning of the "Demon Rune", a pickup which turns the recipient into a horrible demon with rocket launchers for shoulders. The Demon can turn the tide of any game very quickly with its unapologetically overpowered weapons and armour.

Players earn "hack modules" by playing the game which awards different abilities on respawn. Novel at first, but eventually ignored.

What really sets Doom apart from modern shooters is the lack of regenerating health and no reloading. For compulsive reloaders its a little jarring, but improves the flow of the game allowing the player to focus on finding pick-ups and shooting rockets into faces.

Doom would be vastly improved by stripping away loadouts and customisation and letting players run around with shotguns and rocket launchers. The way it used to be.

* Doom is due for release on May 13.