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Doom 3

Score: 100%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 (2 - 4 w/System Link and Xbox Live)
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Action/ Online


Graphics & Sound:

Even though its conversion from the PC has lost some of its luster, Doom 3ís Xbox debut still looks absolutely amazing! The lighting effects alone help you feel like youíre actually in the game... no kidding. If you keep the brightness on your television down and play with the lights off, all of the creepiness and eeriness of the abominations of Hell come straight to your living room. Just donít load your pants.

If youíre fortunate enough to have your Ďbox hooked to a Dolby Digital receiver, youíre in for an added bonus. While most games for Xbox feature 5.1 Surround, I donít think any have truly made me hear every little nuance going on around me at all times. More than once I had to perform an ďabout faceĒ 180 turn because I heard something from behind. Not having the rear speakers, unfortunately, would actually take away from the overall experience.


Gameplay:

In terms of a general first person shooter, Doom 3 holds its own with the best of them. In terms of gameplay, Doom 3 has one of the best single-player FPS experiences around. The entire time I had the controller in my hand, I could see, feel, and hear the environment like no other game on the market. I was drawn into the game so much that I think my stress level actually rose every time I peered around the next corner.

Doom 3 is quite possibly the scariest game Iíve ever played in my life. As a huge horror movie fan, it takes a lot to get me to jump. But the element of surprise got me not once, not even twice; I jumped out of my seat multiple times because the game completely engulfs the player, then hides baddies around every corner, nook, and cranny. And just when you think youíve cleared a room from evil, you hear a faint noise from behind, turn to check it out, and realize thereís a zombie about to use your head as a chew toy. The use of light and dark is what does it. Equipped with a flashlight, you have to use it on a regular basis because many areas are pitch black.

The only real downfall to picking up Doom 3 for the Xbox comes for those who have played the game on the PC. Since this is essentially the same game, you really have nothing new to uncover. And since the graphics arenít quite as impressive as its PC cousin (due to hardware limitations), you may be disappointed. However, if you donít play a lot of PC shooters, you may feel more comfortable with a controller in your hands. And of course, for those who have the audio system to support it, Doom 3 is a must-have title.

Doom 3 also comes packed with multiplayer mayhem. Whether you system link or take the game onto Xbox Live, youíre treated with updated graphics, but the same-old Doom formula. And if youíre fortunate enough to pick up the Limited Collectorís Edition of the game, you can play the single-player and multiplayer (split-screen only) versions of the original Ultimate Doom and Doom II. Itís amazing how far games have come in such little time.


Difficulty:

In classic fashion, Doom 3 offers multiple levels of difficulty for the Campaign mode. You can choose from Recruit, Marine, or Veteran from the start. If youíre good enough, you can unlock the fourth and hardest setting, Nightmare. Do you think youíre good enough to eliminate Hellís demons? It can be a struggle at times, but if youíre careful about conserving some ammo and using health stations and med kits carefully, Doom 3 wonít be ridiculously hard... well, unless you play Nightmare, I suppose.

Game Mechanics:

Many games that were originally first person shooters on the PC have a terrible transition to consoles, mainly because of the transition from the mouse/keyboard combination into that of a game controller. Thankfully, you couldnít ask for a better setup than what Doom 3 gives by default. All of the buttons are set up perfectly, and after only a few minutes of play, I was completely engulfed and had no unnecessary struggle due to the controls. But if you do end up changing the controls, you have the ability to map any action to any button on the gamepad. Nice.

If you havenít had the opportunity to play through the PC version of Doom 3 (or your computer canít handle it), then the Xbox version is a must-buy for fans of the series and newbies alike. If you have an awesome stereo setup as well, the 5.1 digital sounds emanating from your speakers will completely engulf you, and probably scare you a few times too! Just be sure to only play Doom 3 in the dark, as it was meant to be played.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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