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Doom 3

Score: 96%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Activision
Developer: id Software
Media: CD/3
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: First Person Shooter


Graphics & Sound:

Doom 3. Does this review need any more of an introduction? No game, except for possibly Half-Life 2 or Halo 2, has received as much pre-release hype or fan obsession. So, after all of that -- is it worth it?

Ambiance is what really sells the game. Sure the game is graphically beyond just about anything available on either the PC or consoles, but it's the details that are what really make the entire experience come to life.

After stepping off the shuttle, you're presented with an atmosphere that can only be described as something plucked from the darkest corners of the Disney Imagineers' minds. In addition to videos proclaiming the glory of the UAC, random sound cues go off all over the base asking people to report to certain areas or depicting arguments between workers. This all helps to sell the experience and really made the game for me. If you thought the opening walk through the Black Mesa facility in Half-Life was impressive, you haven't seen anything yet. Everything just feels right. As the game progresses, the immersion only gets better and helps to push the game's fear factor to a new level. Few words can describe how cool it is to hear garbled evacuation commands and the screams of your comrades through the static-filled radio.

One of the bigger issues I, as well as just about any gamer, had after seeing the first Doom 3 shots two years ago was wondering if my PC would be able to run it. The good news is that it is totally possible. Even on the lowest game settings it looks great. While it might not match the high-res screenshots pixel for pixel, you won't be disappointed.


Gameplay:

Although the set-up is rather simple (and at times a little too far-fetched), it actually ends up being a much deeper game than the previous Doom games. The UAC, a multi-billion dollar company which is able to overstep most legal and moral boundaries when it comes to research, is involved in a series of top secret experiments. These experiments are causing workers to disappear. This prompts the Corporation to enlist new security, which is where you come in. During a routine security check, all hell breaks loose literally.

In terms of gameplay, Doom 3 brings back numerous old school FPS elements and merges them with elements of modern FPSs as well as combining attributes of the FPS genre (although the extent is actually up for debate). Your progress though the research station, and eventually, Hell is very straightforward and consists of you blasting away at just about everything and finding key cards to unlock certain doors. A few areas allow you to choose different ways of progressing through an obstacle, such as having to decide whether to lower a bridge and taking the safe route or go crashing through a room full of demons with your machine gun (or various other weapons).

Multiplayer is one of the more disappointing elements of the game. Similar to the Single-player game, its a very old school experience, offering simple options like Deathmatch and Last Man Standing. Some gamers, who probably remember playing the original Doom in their high school computer lab, will enjoy the nostalgic trip back. At the same time, this may turn off a few "newer" gamers who are used to more robust modes like squad-tactics and vehicles.


Difficulty:

Even on the easiest of settings, Doom 3 offers a nice challenge. Though the game follows tried and true shoot everything game mechanics, there's a bit more strategy involved this time. The inclusion of the flashlight and limited viewing area means you'll have to be a little more careful. The game is all about watching your step and checking every corner. You never know where or when a demon will pop out.

Game Mechanics:

Doom 3 sticks to the easy to use interface found in most other FPSs. Movement is handled by the keyboard while the mouse controls aim. The scroll wheel switches between weapons and ends up becoming one of the more important functions of the game since you're constantly swapping between your flashlight and firearm (this can also be accomplished by hitting the F key). Other keys include jump, reload and crouch. The classic Doom weapon selection is present, including the chainsaw, shotgun and room clearing BFG 9000. A new weapon also makes it debut, the Soul Cube, which kills enemies instantly.

Though a large part of the game involves run and gun action, there are a number of puzzles and interactive areas as well. These help to immerse you in the game, which is one of the major highlights of the entire experience. Throughout the game, you'll come across data terminals and other useable panels. While a majority of the panels you'll come across are mostly for show, there are areas in the game where you'll have to operate a crane to move barrels. You'll also come across information kiosks that will give you information; some contain useful information while others are slick propaganda videos. Doom 3 also incorporates a PDA, which is your main source of information throughout the game. Like the information kiosks, you'll sometimes gain valuable information, like passcodes or hints on your PDA's email system. But, like most electronic message systems, you'll also have to deal with your fair share of spam. These provide some levity during some of the more intense moments -- such as an invitation to a brand new MMORPG or advertisements on all kinds of over-the-top, miracle products.

So is Doom 3 worth the hype? Yes. Its been a long, hype-filled wait, but Doom is back.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 2000/XP; Pentium 4 1.5 GHz; 64 MB VRAM ; 2.2GB HDD space; 384 MB RAM
 

Test System:



Windows XP; Pentium 4 1.7 GHz; Radeon 9100 128 MB; 40 Gig HD; 640 MB RAM

Sony PSOne The Smurfs Windows Thief: Gold

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated