Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil
|a game by||Nerve Software, LLC|
|User Rating:||7.0/10 - 4 votes|
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|See also:||Doom Games, Old School Games, First Person Shooter|
I'm Sorry, but enough is enough. We've cut the Doom series A LOT of slack over the years, partly because it pretty much invented the world as know it, and partly because it's always had that gorgeous technology. But come on. How many times can we be expected to make the SAME journey through the SAME corridors, being attacked by the SAME sodding monsters jumping out of the SAME hidden cupboards and shooting them with the SAME weapons on the way to the SAME inevitable, infernal rendezvous in hell? It's fast becoming the Police Academy of first-person shooters (or should that be Friday The 13th?). Quite frankly, we're bored.
To be fair, Resurrection Of Evil is not a bad expansion pack. It fulfils its assigned role ably, extending the experience of the original game and adding a few new weapons, monsters and (much-needed) multiplayer options. Being from the id stable, it's also stunningly realised, with some of the most detailed, intense and downright creepy visuals you'll find in a videogame (or elsewhere). And if anything, developer Nerve has slightly outdone id in the design stakes.
The problem is, it doesn't so much extend the experience of Doom 3 as replicate it in slightly abridged form, recreating the familiar descent into hell with only a moderate reshuffle of elements. You've got the ill-lit corridors, the locked doors, the armour shards under the stairs, the enemies that spawn right on cue every time you hit a power switch, the frantic dashes across the Martian surface, the cute canine security droids - even the setting is indistinguishable, simply moving the action to the abandoned Site 1 of the UAC research base.
A Little Help From Gordon
The big news is the double-barrelled shotgun's back (whoop-de-do), and of course there's Gordon Freeman's gravity gun, presumably dropped off by the G-Man on one of his more far-flung time jumps. Here labelled the Grabber, Doom's version of the gravity gun works almost exactly as Half-Life 2's, though it operates much more as simply a weapon than the all-purpose tool of Valve's effort. By far its best feature is that it allows you to snatch fire- and plasma-balls out of the air and then launch them back at the demons that spawned them, which proves a particularly enjoyable way of dispatching hell's assorted minions. It's not as satisfying as, say, chopping zombies in half with sawblades, but it is kinda nice to turn the tables on the imps and cacodemons after all these years.
Unfortunately, the physics tricks end there. There are two, maybe three occasions where you can stack boxes to reach an inaccessible area, but that's not what Resurrection Of Evil is about, and if you want clever physics puzzles Gordon's still your man.
What's more, a lot more stuff is nailed down than you'd hope (more so than in Half-Life 2), and what items are throwable - barrels, rocks and so on - behave more like polystyrene props from Blake's 7 than the items they appear to be. Blame the Martian gravity if you want, but it still doesn't feel right. The other new feature is the slow motion or Hell-time' mode, another second-hand device that offers little real novelty. There's definitely fun to be had running circles around a roomful of treacle-jointed demons (especially once you've souped things up with berserk powers), but it's really just a way of making the trickier sections a bit more manageable, and the puzzle applications are woeful.
Beyond these fairly negligible additions, Resurrection Of Evil shares all the advantages and shortcomings of the original game. On the one hand, it's extremely tense and scary, and in short bursts there's nothing else like it for adrenalin-fuelled violence. On the other hand, it follows an extremely dated and overused formula that remains compelling mainly by virtue of amazing visuals and corny shock tactics.
Seen It Before
Indeed, the Doom style of gameplay is not only overfamiliar, it's monotonous by its very nature. There's no real variety to be had here, just a relentless parade of shocks and monsters, punctuated by the occasional boss and forgettable puzzle. Like few other games, Doom has only one tone - emotionally, psychologically and chromatically.
Of course, it's still a bit of fun - silly, mechanical and repetitive perhaps, but fun nonetheless. There's enough ultra-violence here to entertain the young and forgetful, and the new weapons, if not a revelation, do improve the game. The grabber in particular adds an enjoyable new way of combating foes, while the double shotty brings back the joy of close-quarters decimation. This, along with the addition of eight-player CTF (see Filling The Gaps', above) will be enough for many. But with the whole experience becoming more and more tired with every telling, and a hefty price tag attached at that, we can only preach caution.
New Multiplayer Content Puts Doom 3 Back On The Map
To state the astonishingly obvious for a moment, Doom 3 did not live up to id's legacy when it came to online play. With a paltry four-player limit and a scant few game modes, it was for the most part laughed off the Internet.
Resurrection Of Evil, in perhaps its best move, goes some way to redressing this, adding a robust Capture The Flag mode and increasing the player cap to eight. The Capture The Flag maps were designed by Threewave Software, a pioneer of Quake CTF and recognised veteran of the form. As such, it's a highly competent affair, if a little predictable - though admittedly there's only so much you can do with CTF. What's more, doubling the player cap has brought new life to the other modes, especially Team Deathmatch, which was a preposterous farce at 2v2. Four moody new DM maps have also been thrown in to help things along.
With this new content, Doom 3 is now a respectable online prospect, the only problem being that there are still no decent servers and you're more likely than most games to suffer lag. Still, it's a step in the right direction.
Download Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil
I'm Not a cynic, although if I was I'd be having a field day with Doom 3: Resurrection Of Evil. It's got a gravity gun? There's bullet-time? There'll be scoffs and pschaws when the expansion hits, that's for sure, but from what we've seen there should be some jumps and thrills as well. Valve may have already perfected the physics gun. but that doesn't curtail the glee you feel when you snatch an imp's fireball and throw it back in his stupid brown face or lob a pickaxe at a skittering slow-motion trite.
Developed by Nerve Software (who previously worked on the excellent multiplayer side of Return to Castle Wolfenstein) and overseen by the guys at id. Resurrection Of Evil takes place two years after the close of Doom 3. You no longer play the gruff marine grunt of the original - he's presumably off chugging beers and shooting varmints back on earth - but instead fill the UAC-stamped shoes of a combat engineer. Under the command of one Dr. Elizabeth McNeil, the woman who previously blew the whistle on Betruger and called in Swann to shut him down, you're heading back to Mars to investigate mysterious activity around a dormant UAC excavation excitingly labelled Site 1. (Doom 3 itself took place at Site 3. so we can only assume that id have some unannounced plans for Site 2).
The game opens with yourself and a collection of other rugged chaps cutting into an ancient burial chamber, deep within the ruins of Mars' ancient alien civilisation. Here lies an ancient relic, not created by the forces of good (like the Soulcube was) but instead moulded in the very flames of the pits of hell. It's one of those ultimate weapon' type things, and as soon as you touch it the connection between Satan's household and our universe is re-established, and (wait for it) all of a sudden (here it comes...) all hell breaks loose. (It all goes to hell in a hand-basket. It starts to get hella good, etc.)
Your primary objective, then, is to take this ancient relic through the strange alien rums in the bowels of Mars and up to Elizabeth McNeil in the UAC facility perched above -presumably facing off against Betruger as you go. He's not your only worry though, since there are also three archdemons known as Hunters hot on your trail and desperate to snatch the relic away from you. Murderise these bosses and your ancient artefact absorbs their Satanic powers. The first spectral ability you steal is bullet-time - no, sorry, 'Hell-Time', which differs from bullet-time slightly in that everything in the world slows down except you. You also have to recharge your hell-device using the immortal souls of the dead UAC employees that you come across.
Levitation's What You Need
Of course the other big sell is the Grabber, or Ionised Plasma Levitator, that'll allow you to pick up pretty much any object up to the size of a barrel. So, rockets, fireballs, corridor furniture, trites, bodies and (obviously) barrels are all fair game for your extended demonbattery. Physics guns, as you're now aware, are brill, and the Grabber presumably appears as part of id's desire to give you what you want. And why not?
Those who moaned about the marine not being able to point his torch and his boomstick at the same time are also having their whining answered, with the addition of an HEV, sorry enviro-suit' that not only counters radioactive waste but also has a dinky light strapped onto it. With the helmet on, it also muffles sound in an engagingly atmospheric manner, but is not, I repeat not. orange.
Pride of place in the list of fan demands, however, is the reintroduction of the double-barrelled shotgun - the weapon that suggests that Resurrection Of Evil is very much the Doom 2 to Doom 3's Doom 1 (if indeed that makes any sense whatsoever). Purloined from the office of Sarge. the gruff military man you relieved of a BFG in the last game, this little beauty certainly looks and sounds meatier than its counterparts and could well ignite any residual fanboyism that lies in the casual observer. Furthermore, multiplayer has been tweaked to cater for a whole eight players (woo!) and. naturally, been afforded the newfound ability to zap encroaching rockets and hurl them back at your skulking enemies.
So then, it's not an expansion that reeks of originality, but is more than likely to provide some thrills and spills that are suitably different from its precursor. A fair amount of the old Doom thunder may have been taken by Mr. Freeman, but (should David Bowie ever ask) there is most definitely still life on Mars.