Call of Duty Classic on Xbox Live Arcade is a blast from the past for gamers who want to experience a taste of where developers Infinity Ward began.
This will most likely appeal to both gamers who loved the original on PC, and to those who want to experience the first title of one of the greatest video game franchises. When Call of Duty originally hit the PC, it was certainly one of the most astounding and ground-breaking titles in the first-person shooter genre.
If you are expecting some amazing next-gen graphics and an overhauled game you will certainly be disappointed. It's clear that the original flavour was meant to remain intact, and the game has largely been ported ‘as is’ to consoles. The story is still very much the same run-of-the-mill that we have seen before. Land in Normandy, fight your way through a range of battlefields until ultimately defeating Nazi Germany.
The controls and gameplay in Call of Duty Classic are very solid indeed. The game is easy to pick up and play, and certainly will scratch a WWII shooter sized itch. Disappointing though is that in the porting some aspects do seem to be lost. For example, the sound effects are dull to say the least, where in the original they were solid and intense. Explosions would rattle you; now they barely register. This is a real shame as sound effects seem to be one of the key elements to a solid WWII shooter experience. All in all though, the fact that Infinity Ward were the developers (the same as behind Call of Duty Modern Warfare) shows through, and their characteristic style is evident throughout.
One of the best things about Call of Duty when it was released in 2003 was the fact that your squad really fought alongside you. You rarely felt like a one-man here - and this is still very much the case - however today the AI certainly feels far more limited than they did at the time. Perhaps again because of the leaps and bounds that development has taken in creating lifelike AI, a step back in time then tends to shock the system somewhat. The AI in Call of Duty can best be described as stupid, which is certainly a problem that retro gameplay faces when weighed by today’s standards.
As previously mentioned, the graphics have remained largely untouched and though they won’t stun anyone, they certainly aren’t bad. They are functional, and you won’t be disappointed provided you aren’t expecting 2010 graphics from a 2003 game. What is great is that the multiplayer has also remained intact, meaning gamers can jump into some pretty excellent online deathmatch, or squad based gameplay. This is all implemented as it was in the PC original and works very well.
Certainly the highlight of Call of Duty Classic is the price point, making it easy for anyone to jump into some excellent FPS gameplay, and hopefully the title will get a decent online following over time. If you like a bit of retro, and you can sit back and enjoy the masterpiece that is Call of Duty without being frustrated by graphics and AI dating from 2003 then this is a very good purchase indeed providing some great value and great gameplay. Pity about the audio though...