Despite its numbering, DOOM 3 is not a follow-up title to DOOM 2, but a reboot of the entire DOOM franchise. Developed by id Software and released in 2004, the game reintroduces players to the iconic story and world of the DOOM series. It's full of hellish demons, darkly lit levels, and gory gunplay. As literal Hell breaks loose on the planet of Mars, it's up to the player to repel the demonic threat and save humanity. With an assortment of overpowered weaponry, you'll take the role of a super soldier, ripping and tearing through hordes of otherworldly creatures.
The story in DOOM 3 is very similar to the original game, but with some modern trimmings. Like the first game, DOOM 3 takes place on the planet Mars. On Mars, dangerous science experiments have accidentally opened a portal to Hell, spilling demons out onto the red planet. DOOM 3 tells a similar story, but it does so in a more modern ways. As you explore the various levels in the game, you'll encounter characters who will provide you with information and narrative exposition. As the unnamed space marine, you'll meet a variety of characters (both good and bad) as you make your way through the game's creepy levels. Some characters give you directions and help by speaking to you via radio, while others taunt and scare you with their supernatural powers.
When it comes down to gameplay, DOOM 3 provides players with the same great bloody action the DOOM franchise is known for. The game is still broken up into levels, filled with hordes of enemies. In each stage, you must navigate through the darkly lit areas, blasting enemies with your weapons as they leap from the shadows. DOOM 3's focus on story makes the pacing feel a bit more deliberate and slow, which is a decent change from the surprisingly fast-paced original games. There's a bigger horror element in DOOM 3, with a handful of scripted scares. Generally speaking, the game is meant to utterly creep you out. When you're not hearing the sounds of gunshots, you'll likely hear the terrified screams of the trapped and dying scientists around the planet.
Although the game is a bit slower than other DOOM titles, things still feel visceral and fast thanks to the weapon offerings. There are ten different weapons to find and utilize, and they range in both power and utility. Fans of DOOM will enjoy the classic Chainsaw, Shotgun, and BFG-9000 weapon. The rest of your arsenal is filled out by other expected firearms, like sub-machine guns, assault rifles, pistols, and more. There's also a few fun experimental weapons, which vaporize your enemies and cause a ton of damage. In addition to the single player mode, you can also wield these weapons in the four-player multiplayer mode. There are four different types of competitive modes to try out, which nicely compliments the single player campaign.
Overall, DOOM 3 is an interesting and exciting reboot of the DOOM franchise. It's not as fast-paced as the original two games, but it provides the same amount of intensity and horror. The improved graphics make things even more terrifying, and the attention to storytelling fleshes out the world. The inclusion of multiplayer adds plenty of replay ability, and the lengthy single player campaign will surely please. If you're a fan of horror, mayhem, and fun gunplay, then DOOM 3 is a great pick.
Download Doom 3
When I played Doom 31 got much what I expected: a shooter that wasn't particularly clever or mould-breaking, but one that was hugely atmospheric, very dark, full of technological whizz-bangs and a hell of a lot of fun.
When I played Doom 3 multiplayer, however, I didn't. Id Software (the games company who broke my deathmatch virginity with such effusive grace back in the good old days of Quake) and its map-designing friends at Splash Damage (who were responsible for the excellent Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory) have cooked the books slightly.
Four's A Crowd
Four players, slow pace, five maps, darkened nooks and crannies, a slew of references to former id glories and one or two interesting features per level - far distant from the Arena frag-fests of recent years and with a focus on compact, quality-controlled blasting rather than a huge number of inconsequential maps and features. At first, as they say, it's all gravy. There's plenty of fun to be had, for example, flicking the switches in the Lights Out map, powering down the generator, pulling the shutters down on the windows and stalking around in the darkness. Indeed, hiding in the shadows and blasting a pursuer as he hurtles past is the greatest pleasure that Doom 3 deathmatch affords. Elsewhere there's a welcome return to the hub-trap style of map-making with the skin-shredding Frag Chamber, a few well-placed Berserk modes (hideous screaming included) and some nice features you won't notice instantly - like the power-up in the bowels of the Tomiko Reactor.
After a while though, you hit a big bloodstained wall. Fun as the map gimmicks are, there's a finite amount of enjoyment that can be squeezed from them. You discover that you can join servers that are running with eight players, and that ups the ante somewhat, but before long it becomes painfully apparent that this is a hugely limited multiplayer package.
Over a LAN I'd say that this is a great game to stick on for an hour or so and shout abuse at each other, against faceless members of the internet community, but the fun ebbs away the more you play it. The future of Doom 3 multiplayer, however, does lie in the modding community. As I type all manner of tweaks are appeanng online offering 32 player insta-deathmatches and the like, and (with an engine this nifty) you can bank on some gems turning up one day or another.
For now, though, you play it much as it was developed - and that's as a side thought. It's fun for a while, but there are bigger, brighter and better things out there. It's not a total disaster, but it's still the most underwhelming multiplayer that we've seen attached to an id product.
Dallas, Texas - the jewel of the Lone Star State. What a godforsaken hellhole. Never before have I been shipped to a bleaker, more soulless place to report on a games event (and yes, that includes Slough and Milton Keynes). Like an antiquated videogame, the city is made of singlepolygon buildings, their mirrored veneers reflecting a sterile scene of deserted roads and too-neat hedges, the sidewalks occupied only by cops and the occasional blurry NPC -probably packing heat.
The sole distinguishing feature is the trademark Texan excess. Outside, temperatures routinely soar above 100°F, while the mercury inside ducks well below freezing in the ludicrously overzealous air-con. Shopping malls are like small cities. Steaks are the size of your average domestic pet. And everywhere is emblazoned the menacing motto of the USA's largest state: 'Don't Mess With Texas'. In a way though, this is what we love about America. The more barren, nasty and crime-ridden a city is, the more thriving the corresponding subcultures usually are. Just look at Washington DC, murder capital of the US, and home to the nation's finest punk-rock scene and some of the finest bands ever created.
In Dallas there are no bands (they're all in neighbouring Austin), but this bland metropolis has another, more relevant claim to fame: it's the world's undisputed capital of the first-person shooter.
Respect The Architect
Ten-some odd years ago, to coin a Texanism, a revolution occurred in games that you may be familiar with. In Mesquite, 20 minutes from Dallas, a bunch of geeks got bored with the primary culture of incest, rodeos and meat drinks and created Wolfenstein 3D, the world's first true FPS. The genre has since held the PC gaming population in thrall for over 10 years, and its godfathers at id Software have remained at the centre of the scene throughout. Other high-profile companies like 3D Realms, Ion Storm, Gearbox and Origin all have their roots in Dallas or nearby Austin, but only id Software creates a fan frenzy big enough to bring thousands of sweaty gamers to Texas every year, 40kg PCs on their backs, to join in a four-day blowout of gaming mayhem.
If you hadn't guessed, the event is QuakeCon, America s biggest LAN party, games convention and prize tournament; a by-the-fans, for-the-fans affair dedicated to the games of the id stable. The event once again took place in Dallas this August, continuing an eight-year tradition of free fragging, partying and sleeping on floors.
As ever, the focus of the show I was the four-day round-the-clock LAN party, or BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer), which took place in a huge ballroom in the sprawling Adam's Mark Hotel. It's unknown if anyone lasted the full 96 hours, though there were certainly a few freakish characters who were keen to try.
Numbers in the BYOC are estimated to have topped 2,000 at peak, the full logistical and hygienic considerations of which are impossible to calculate. Needless to say, the fact that the event coincided with the New York blackout did not escape the attention of worried-looking hotel staff.
However, as a proud affirmation of geek culture, QuakeCon is unrivalled. Where else could one wear a T-shirt bearing the slogan Will Frag For Sex' and still hold one's head high? Respect is key, and it's not just earned on the virtual battlefield.
Case-modding is de rigueur, and if you don't have a neon light shining out the side of yours then you might as well go home. Extra points are given for doing away with the case altogether, to be replaced with a common industrial or laboratory item, ideally combined with a T-shirt that shows your commitment to the cause. Jokes about Linux are good, or for the true hardcore OG gangsterplayer, you can't go past a QuakeCon 2002 T-Shirt. Anything pre-millennium and you're a goddamned Jedi.
But the real reason we were there was not to enjoy the delights of a 2,000-strong man-fest, but to play Doom 3 and collar the boys from id. We managed both, even sneaking in a few hours playing Call Of Duty (genius). The fruits of our labour can be found on the following pages, so saddle up, strap on some chaps and bathe in the 'adrenalinpumping atmosphere' of the hottest event on the Texan social calendar.
There's No doubting that in terms of pre-release hyperbole, Doom III is currently the biggest game in development, something which has made id Software worried about overexposure. So, to ensure the world wasn't swamped with Doom III material, id released a handful of screenshots with the official word that no more were going to be available until after the New Year. Ironically, a few days later an early version of the code was leaked onto the Internet and downloaded by just about everyone with a fast enough connection.
The illegal alpha contained three levels and is the same demo that was shown off at May's E3. You can wander around Doom's trademark pipe-infested corridors, play with a few of the weapons, shoot a few of the monsters that are scattered around and witness some of the physics and scripting that should lift Doom III above being just another shadowy corridor shooter, but of course it was designed specifically to show off key graphical features rather than be indicative of gameplay itself.
As id's John Carmack himself now famously stated: "Making any judgements from a snapshot intended for a non-interactive demo is ill-advised." Indeed, but it has given the world a slightly better idea of the direction the game is taking. Spooky, claustrophobic, spiked with scripted shock mechanisms, and generally looking - not to mention moving - better than pretty much anything that's gone before. Bring it on.
Gently Now, don't rupture anything, but let out that breath you've been holding for the last three years: Doom 3 is here and it's magnificently, hellishly great.
Before I start up on how and why it's going to blow you away though, we need to spin back three weeks to when I was playing through the original 1993 incarnation of Doom in preparation for this review. At that time, a quizzical young work-expenence lad was sitting to my left with a look of undisguised derision on his face. What do you mean it doesn't look scary?" I screamed. You weren't there! You weren't with us at the start! Didn't you just see those lights going out and those... Those Imps! Jesus! Get out of my sight!"
But how could he ever know? That ball of adrenalin that used to plunge into your diaphragm every time you opened a door, the spawn-twitch' that would kick in every time a light flickered, the suspicion that arose with every casually strewn key or weapon - it may look ropey by today's standards, but while Wolfenstein laid the foundations for first-person gaming. Doom created the blueprint for everything that would follow in its giant cyber-demonic footprints. I was so riled by this kid's innocent id-bashing that I didn't stop shaking and muttering until about three days ago - because three days ago I started to play Doom 3. And I discovered that parts of it are going to eat his ignorant little soul.
Fact: Doom 3 is the most polished game ever to be released on the PC. It's so well fabricated that you simply cannot see the seams. But despite the incredible graphical technology, sound effects that will thrill and amaze you, scripting that will chill your spine and the most beautifully animated monsters ever seen, this is a marvel that resolutely looks back to the past of PC gaming. Doom 3 is id looking back to its roots and saying: What would we have made back then if we had access to the technology, skills and unlimited piles of cash we have now?" It's a stripped down, no-nonsense shooter that doesn't so much ignore modem gaming conventions as scorns the fact that they even exist. So there's no stealth, no leaning round corners, no sniping and no inventory; no RPG elements, no pretend-clever enemy Al, no complicated, open-ended objectives, no alternate firing modes, no drivable vehicles and no mock realism. Of course, there's story, characters, events and environments that have all the hallmarks of a great contemporary shooter. However, in terms of basic gameplay, the only extra keys added since Quake II are for getting out your torch and frantically jabbing at the sprint button. This is back to basics stuff, but they're basics that still work well.
So then, plot. The UAC is a nasty global corporation that wields so much power that the boundaries of morality no longer act as a barrier to its machinations, with a wipe-clean sheen of rules, regulations, no-smoking areas and safety procedures to protect its image. Its Mars base is an isolated outpost where the UAC's most brilliant - and most notorious - scientist Doctor Betruga can research whatever he pleases: be it teleportation, strange emanations coming from the depths of the facility or an intriguing mixture of both. You are a raw marine employed by the UAC, and your first 15 minutes on the base sees you wandering around Freeman-style, gawking at the stunningly presented (and realistically grimy) military outpost, before being sent off on the trail of a missing scientist.
Unfortunately, Betruga has been dabbling in things he shouldn't, and once the game's roaming preamble comes to a close, guess what: all hell breaks loose. (And yes - in the grand tradition of Doom reviews through the ages - we do mean literally.) Lost Souls dive in and out of computer screens, your radio becomes jammed with cries of pain and shouts for help, the outpost becomes shrouded in darkness and the civilians and soldiers of the Mars base become mindless automatons who live only to serve the will of hell. Oh, and to eat your brain.
Thrills And Spills
Doom 3's action starts as it means to go on - it's brutal, intensely scary and plays with all manner of lighting effects and sound trickery to shock you into a sense of total insecunty. These opening chapters are as tense as they are technologically dazzling. They set you up as some sort of sci-fi John McLean, with your gruff sergeant barking in your ear while zombies lurch out of the shadows as you get to grips with the amazing interface.
When I say that Doom 3 is polished, I don't just mean the lush visuals, id's massive clout means that its come under none of the publisher pressure that usually forces developers to throw barely-working code into the wilderness with a promise that it'll patch the invisible shotgun bug in a month or two.
Five years of tweaking have paid off: Doom 3 not only plays flawlessly, but the way the interface system binds it all together is an absolute triumph. Bear witness to the way in which walking up to a computer console sees your gun lowered and leaves you free to click around the screen in the way that you'd use a real computer. It's a simple, yet devastatingly effective advance on the normal tap E to turn off nuclear reactor approach.
Meanwhile, your PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) does the job of your normal Tab-located objective screen, but also downloads all the data available on the PDAs of the base's dead and undead. So, where you once picked up keys, you now download security access passes, as well as viewing UAC infommercials and browsing through personal emails. This may sound strange in a no-holds-barred shooter like Doom, but these emails add a lot of back-story to the locations you're battling in and contain a convenient amount of highly useful codes that help you open lockers of ammunition.
There's also some hit-and-miss laughs to be had lurking in the personal notes of the deceased, and you might even spot a thinly veiled reference to The Office when one Brent Davis gets an email from Finchy concerning an upcoming quiz night. More seriously though, the cleverness of Carmack's code enables you to listen to victims' private Star Trek-style audio logs, and (instead of forcing you to stare at a menu screen while you do this), keeps them running in the background while you explore the local vicinity and riddle Satan's minions with bullets.
Doom 3 also holds the record for making me jump out of my seat the most: five jumps, as opposed to Far Cry's three and Thief: Deadly Shadow's two. This included one absolutely text-book is it dead?' moment where I near had a coronary. It's fair to say, however, that this scary ambience ebbs and flows, perhaps because continued exposure to hell numbs you somewhat.
Personally, I reckon this is a game where you have to give to receive; and whenever I found that I was just going through the motions of running and shooting, I made a policy of saving my game and giving myself a cool-off period. If you're not in the right frame of mind to play Doom 3, you won't get the best of it - it's a game that must be played alone, in the dark, with the sound turned up and with your full attention.
Then again, even the more cynically minded will at some point come across a corridor that, well, just bodes badly. The background noise subtly changes, the lighting looks slightly different and the walls seem more penned in. These . are all efforts to put you on edge, made all the more worrying by the growls of a nearby pinky demon. It's at these points that Doom 3 hits its peaks, aided and abetted by the worrying fact that you can't hold your torch and gun at the same time - and delivering a demon a quick blow to the head from a plastic light source won't have the same effect as a shotgun blast to the face.
In terms of baddies, let's just say the gang's all here: Imps, ArchViles, Revenants, Lost Souls - it's like we never left! Or rather: it's like we left, watched technology progress for 11 years, came back and then scooped our jaw from the ground before it got eaten by a huge, slavering pinky demon whose animation is the most amazing thing I've ever seen in a PC game. Call me a fanboy, but seeing Doom's flat poo-brown Imp turned into a wall-crawling, chasm-leaping, fireball hurling 3D works of art is a dream come true.
Lost Souls meanwhile, previously the most rubbish monsters in Doom, have become open-mouthed heads of fire that hurtle towards you screaming at frightening speeds. And as for the new boys - well, the weird spiderhead things are cool - but when you see the Cherubs in action... Jesus Christ! Halfmoth, half-baby: all good. Then you've got your bosses, which I won't ruin for you, but suffice to say that by the time you've gone to hell and back, your competition has grown to some quite colossal sizes.
My only complaint here is perhaps that some of the children of hell are a tad too easy to kill on the default difficulty setting, specifically a few of the bosses and the pinky demon. However, when you're also trying to fend off five headspiders who're trying to bite off your kneecaps, it's not something you worry about.
My main issue about the game however, is the old chestnut of variety. Doom 3 took me around 17 hours to complete - although you could stretch it to 20. Within this, id operates a well-paced dripfeed of monsters and weapons - just as your attention is about to flag, it throws in something new and amazing for you to kill. This could be a rocket-toting Revenant perhaps or a terrifying Spider Queen; or it could also draft in a collection of badness from earlier in the game that's even more fun to kill with your recently-acquired heavy-duty armaments.
This all works well, but the locations you fight in can get pretty samey - it's fascinating to watch the outpost slowly becoming more infected by the tendrils of hell, but the environments you fight in often blur into one another. Reactors, laboratories, teleportation centres, engineering levels, communication turrets: they all sound different, but I did get lost a few times. Whereas in a game like Far Cry you can boot up a level and instantly know where you are, Doom 3 has so many areas comprised simply of Generic Sci-Fi Corridor and Ducts: model A' that you can grow tired of them.
Play It Again
I'd also question how much replay value there is, because Doom 3 couldn't be much more linear or reliant on clever scripting if it tried. Every now and then you're given a decision to make that shifts the goalposts of the story for a half-hour or so, but any indication of player power on the game is shallow and illusory. As for Al, well, as I've explained, clever-clever hunting and demonic teamwork isn't really what Doom 3 is aiming for. So, despite delivering thrilling firefights, one bout of violence pans out much like another, and a few villains (namely gun-toting zombies) aren't half as much fun to fight as you might have hoped.
These moans are what make Doom 3, for me, lag just slightly behind Far Cry, a game that offers consistently exhilarating experiences and provides for more variety of gameplay styles. That said, Doom 3 remains a ground-breaking and amazing piece of work. It's a game that recognises just how many amazing technologies it's running beneath its bonnet, yet refuses to jam any of them in the spotlight. Instead, it meshes them together into an amazingly cohesive whole that reels you in further than you ever thought possible.
Occasionally, you just stop the mayhem and stare at the distorted body of a bloody zombie refracted through a bent pane of glass, or listen to the baleful screams of a tortured soul reverberating around the complex. Sometimes, you just stand open-mouthed over a glistening tentacle while you listen to it oozing through a metal grate: I guarantee you'll have trouble believing that a machine that you own is capable of something so astounding. And when you get to hell itself, here's a tip - look up and watch the swirling skies, then tell me that Doom 3 isn't something special.
Back To The Future
To be honest, some people may not get' Doom 3 as I did -an awareness of the heritage of PC gaming and an element of fanboyism helps in its appreciation. The Xbox crowd, for example, may be confused by Imps hiding in unrealistic hidden compartments right next to conveniently placed racks of ammunition, while the cultural significance of the inclusion of the chainsaw may bypass more recent converts to the halls of PC gaming.
If you've bought this magazine though, it's a fair bet that you, like me, are going to love it. And even if you wouldn't know a shotgun from a BFG (which makes a more than welcome reappearance), any idiot can see the appeal of Imps leaping out of staircases, standing silhouetted by a blinding light before bounding into the shadows to wait for you around the corner, or diving through just-opened doors intent on opening your stomach.
As the News Of The World might say, Doom 3 is a stunning roller coaster ride to hell and back. Its pleasures are tempered only by a few lapses in variety as the game progresses, thereby being pipped to the post by the exhilaration and exploration of Far Cry - but this is still gaming at its most vital.
Of course, two of the holy shooter trinity have now materialised and turned up trumps, so what's next? The curtain's up, the knives are drawn and, as of right now, the cards are on the table. Gordon Freeman, it's time to see if you can dance.
It's surprising exactly how much enjoyment you can get out of a game that doesn't seem to offer much in the way of good gameplay. To put it at its most simple, Doom 3 is a good game for the Xbox, even in light of an overworked, repetitive feel, that at times can come off as a fancy technology demo.
You're a Marine. On Mars. It's going to Hell. That's basically it, and even if you don't know the rest, there's nothing much more to tell than that. Along the way you'll use a series of weapons that are standard fare and mostly boring, and levels that are a slog through linear land. Multiplayer is small and not so great, but at least the game comes with an online co-op feature, which is something even the great Halo 2 didn't have. That said, at least it can be frightening, and that's mostly thanks to how pretty it looks.
Fight demons, get the big guns, and watch some of the prettiest graphics on the Xbox delight and fright. In particular, Doom 3 has been lauded and criticized for its choice of lighting effects. On one hand, the game is so dark that you've got to wonder how much in the way of graphical flaws that covers up, not to mention how frustrating it can be to switch between weapon and flashlight. With the other hand, you can marvel at how outstandingly creepy this game is, with dark spaces, strobiscopic effects, and monsters that come out of the walls to eat you.
The audio only helps build the chilling atmosphere, and in the end, helps give it some of the frightening body that most people want from a more horror driven title. I haven't had as good of a scare since I played Clive Barker's Undying for the PC. All in all, this is a good title, but it does suffer in that it isn't the gameplay you're paying attention to, it's the scuttling thing in the dark. Enjoy.
Set a course for hell, space marine--the Satan-obsessed shooter that started it all is about to plunge back into the pit. Doom 3 ditches the pentagrams and tacky bogeymen of past installments for a date with true terror. This time, the tension is palpable as you confront critters in claustrophobic corridors--walking cadavers clutching their exposed bowels and burst eyeballs, imps skittering through ventilation shafts, and hulking hellknights out to tear you in two are among the game's demonic menagerie. Along with more gruesome monsters, slower, less-predictable pacing heightens Doom's fear factor. In the dark, sometimes your own shadow is all it takes to scare you.
Doom 3 is a study in duality: dark and light, demons and hero, good game and bad one. Taken strictly as a cinematic experience, the remake of the original Doom excels. It grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go until you're through the game. It's a terror ride of frighteningly realistic visual effects, stunning lighting and ambient noise piped straight from hell. But if you manage to look beneath the skin of this frightener you'll find sub par artificial intelligence, a laughable plot, and the same play mechanics found in the now very dated original.
The devil isn't just in this game, it's also in the details and id seems to have forgotten that fact. For instance, there's no peeking in Doom 3. You also can't seem to manage holding a flashlight and gun at the same time. In addition, the game sends you back and forth through the labyrinth-like corridors of Doom so many times you actually come close to being able to find way around. I know it sounds like I'm nitpicking, but all of these little annoyances start to add up and by the middle of the game you start to ponder them as you blast the hyper-realistic beasties that assail you.
My biggest complaint with Doom 3 is in the multiplayer. id created multiplayer first-person shooters and through the years have advanced it considerably, what's been included in this game is almost insulting. You can play deathmatch, you can play team deathmatch, you can play free for all. In other words you can run around blasting each other and that's it. Worse still - you can only do this with 8 people. No I'm not talking about the console version; Doom 3 the pc game has an 8-person limit.
Don't get me wrong, Doom 3 is a masterfully created experience, a virtual haunted house of scares and boogiemen, just don't expect anything deeper. This review may come off as a bit harsh, but Doom 3 truly is a fantastic game to play in the single player mode ' offering up enough scares for a month of sleepless nights. The multiplayer mode, while flawed, is still quite enough to keep you busy until someone comes out with a capture the flag mod.