Doom III: Resurrection of Evil
I was skeptical when Activision and id announced that they planned on releasing Doom III on the Xbox. The game ran barely adequately on my computer, so I figured the game was going to either run like ass on the Xbox or look awful because of the graphical compromises. I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. Doom III came along and it looked great and ran at a solid framerate with few concessions. The PC gameplay was retained and even better, the game was popular on the Xbox when a lot of native PC first-person shooters aren’t very hotly received.
And what do you do when a game is popular? Release a sequel as soon as possible if you’re dealing with a console game. But even if Doom III was great on Xbox, it was still a PC game first, which meant that instead of a sequel, it has to get an expansion pack. That expansion pack, Doom III: Resurrection of Evil, is now on Xbox and in several ways it trumps the PC release from a few months before.
Resurrection of Evil starts off a lot more action-packed than Doom III did. The game stars an all-new super-soldier that’s come to Mars two years after the original events of Doom III, led by a team of scientists and surrounded by fellow soldiers with the intention of investigating what went on at the facility and, more importantly, locate the source of a strange signal that’s coming out of it. Immediately following the end of the first cinematic, you’re the only one who’s left from the away team and there are demons in your face. This works particularly well for Resurrection of Evil because I was already familiar with Doom III and I really just wanted to hop back into the action again.
You start off with your standard pistol yet again as you explore some of the spacious caverns of Mars while running for your life. As soon as you realize that the pistol is as powerful as a pea-shooter against a tank, you’re given a new tool which just so happens to be the biggest addition to Resurrection of Evil entirely: the grabber. The grabber is just that – it grabs stuff. Not only does it grab stuff, it also takes that stuff it grabs and flings it away.
Before you run off thinking that the developers just “grabbed” this from Half-Life 2, there are some key differences. For starters, you can’t lift up everything in Resurrection of Evil; in fact, most things can’t be even moved with the grabber. Also, you can only hold onto things for a specific period of time before the grabber presumably overheats and it drops the object. But most importantly, you can now grab the fire and plasma attacks and shoot them back at your enemy. Oftentimes, this kills them more easily then shooting them with conventional weapons, so you’ll be using this “weapon” a lot.
That’s not the only tool added to your arsenal. The developers also went back into Doom’s history and pulled out the one weapon they’d left behind: the super shotgun. I have memories still fresh in my mind of laying scores of demons to waste with the double-barreled shotgun from Doom II, so seeing it in action in Doom III was quite a thrill. Once again, balancing the weapon was obviously important to the developers, so reloading takes a noticeably longer time than other weapons, but every standard enemy dies in a single blast from the weapon, so it’s worth it.
Not only do you get a neat grabber and a powerful new shotgun, but possibly the most utilized new feature is the artifact. The artifact is discovered early on in the game and certain battles increase the strength of the artifact. For starters, you can use the artifact to slow down time, which allows you to get past some puzzles. These puzzles may be a bit generic and simple, but they add a lot to the gameplay. Doom III was pretty much a simple, albeit good, run-and-gun FPS game, but it lacked any sort of strategy outside of dodging attacks and shooting fast. With the addition of the artifact and the puzzles that are solved through it, some actual thinking is needed to progress. But other than this addition, much of the gameplay remains exactly the same, so if you liked Doom III, you’ll love this addition, but if you hated it, you’re not going to be wooed.
Resurrection of Evil looks about the same as Doom III did: lots of shadows with some intense looking enemies. As I mentioned before, Resurrection of Evil does open up the game a little bit, with a few areas in the game featuring higher ceilings and wider hallways, though the game still relies on lots of tight areas to strike fear into your heart. The audio remains unchanged, but sadly there are less narrated emails for your in-game PDA. I had some issues with hearing some sound effects for weapons and got shot at from behind before I figured out where they were which is a noticeable issue until I changed around some sound settings.
Also included with this package are Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and the Doom II Master Levels, which are a great addition. I spent ages and ages of time with Doom and Doom II in my childhood and I have to tell you, I really like playing Doom II on the Xbox. I really think it feels a bit more comfortable then when I played Doom II on my computer the other night. You can play these games multiplayer too, both co-op and deathmatch for up to four players on one Xbox, but sadly, no co-op mode is available for the Doom III campaign. Also in the multiplayer department is the Xbox Live play for Doom III, but I unfortunately don’t have the opportunity to play that.
Resurrection of Evil is an entertaining, worthy chapter in the Doom franchise. The inclusion of the early Doom games with multiplayer is a great perk which really increases the longevity of this package, which is pretty important because this game is pretty short. If you’re into multiplayer, Doom III was strangely popular on Xbox Live and I’m sure this includes much more that you’ll enjoy. All in all, at the price, Doom III: Resurrection of Evil is a game you shouldn’t resist.
Eight out of ten