360 XBLA Review - Call of Duty Classic

Bundled with special editions of the gaming mammoth Modern Warfare 2, and set to be released at an undisclosed date on the Xbox LIVE arcade, Call of Duty: Classic is an updated port of the game that started it all; the original Call of Duty. For the first time ever, console gamers get their hands on the little slice of gaming goodness and get to experience the now world renowned developer, Infinity Ward’s first shot at the gaming industry. With the enjoyable single-player campaign and some class-based multiplayer action, Call of Duty: Classic is set to become an instant arcade hit.


For any of you that have ever played a Call of Duty game (which should be ALL of you), this will instantly feel familiar. The campaign is split into 4 sections, with three being played from the point of entirely different soldiers from different nationalities, in different parts of the devastating war, and the fourth being just another mission from each of the previous soldiers. This is good, as it gives players a wider spectrum on the war itself, teaching many things that some gamers may not have known about the factual side of WWII. In short, the game poses as an enjoyable history lesson as well as an action-packed shooter.


Call of Duty games these days have become known for their dramatic set pieces and storyline. Well from just a few missions of play from the original and it’s easy to see they’ve come a long way to get where they are today. The game really doesn’t have a storyline, and simply has you fighting your way through the country side and on historic battle grounds with one ultimate goal; bring down the Germans.


Like with each and every Call of Duty game, the campaign seems a little short, which in turn makes players fall back onto the multiplayer aspect of the game, which in this case, although old, is still solid, even more so than some modern day retail games. The action takes the form of fast paced, class-based shooting, on a wide array of maps from each country you fight through in the games campaign mode. And although the whole class-based thing is a little dated, it’s a fresh change in this day and age from all the customisation-happy and weapon finding multiplayer games out there.


The game might not completely look the part, but it still feels like a full-priced retail game. As a game released back in 2003, it’s a wonder how much real entertainment it gives. The game itself is a challenge compared to other CoD games. To beat the newer instalments in the series on ‘Veteran’, the games hardest difficulty, its little more than shoot a few bad guys and run to the next bit of cover. But CoD Classic poses far more of a challenge than that. Every gun fight and objective showdown is a new mountain to climb, and some have you nearly snapping your controller in frustration at the amount of times you have to retry it. It’s true what they say; leave Veteran to the veterans.


Although Infinity Ward stated a while back that the game was going to have updated graphics, it’s hard to notice if anything has actually changed. It looks just as it did on the old PC back in ’03, and while that seriously is nothing to be proud of, it still stands high above most other games of the same era and even some of today’s,  which is hard to believe. Considering it’s officially an Arcade release, you can’t ask for much more. Sure, a few arcade games being released have some pretty slick design and looks, but none give as much all round as this. While the graphics and textures may look dated, the games character models still seem nice and realistic, apart from the lip-synching, which is worse than a stray dogs coat of fur.


Even back in the day Infinity Ward had voice acting down pat. Characters sound crisp and clear and have genuine fear in their voices. Fear from the tyrannical German Panzers smashing down the walls around them. Fear from a stray Stick Grenade being thrown through a near-by window. It’s these moments of terror combined with the NPC’s realistic voices that set the war atmosphere and make it a great experience. Top it off with raging battles full of trigger-happy soldiers and AA guns thunderous blasts and you have yourself some of the most memorable and fear-inducing WWII battles ever seen – and heard – in a game.


At the time of writing, Call of Duty: Classic is only available via a download token found in every special edition copy of Modern Warfare 2, and has no confirmed release date on Xbox LIVE Arcade, despite being confirmed by Infinity Ward that it will in fact have one. But when it’s released, there isn’t an unfair price you could put on it. Call of Duty games are iconic and will live on forever, so what better game to have in your virtual collection that the game that started it all.


There are always new arcade games being released, and while most are hit-and-miss titles, there is sure to be a few good grabs amongst them. Call of Duty: Classic is just that; a great title and a timeless revolutionary game worthy of everyone’s 360. If you didn’t get a special edition of Modern Warfare 2, the patient wait will all be worth it when this finally gets an Xbox LIVE Arcade release. With an enjoyable, albeit short, campaign and a solid multiplayer experience, this is one arcade game you will want to get your hands on, and if you’re lucky enough to already have your copy, then get stuck into the multiplayer action while it’s still hot, because if the game doesn’t come out for everyone soon, then it will be as dead as Call of Juarez’s wild west.




- First console version of the original Call of Duty
- Classic multiplayer
- Educational, yet still fun, campaign
- Top-notch game as an Arcade title

- Short Campaign
- By the time its officially released, multiplayer will be dead
- Dated graphics


Reviewed and Written By John Elliott