Okay, so I have four pages of text typed up on my computer right now that comes together to form a sort of review for Doom 3. I say ďsortĒ of a review, because itís very long and rambling, and it goes into every possible detail imaginable, and it still wasnít done. Fearful of approaching six pages, Iíve decided to try a different way. Iím going to sit here and tell you how much I like Doom 3, sparing you all the nostalgia I almost forced you to ingest before.
Here are the basics: Doom 3 is a first person shooter set on Mars. Itís also the remake of the original Doom. While the first Doom was set on one of the Martian moons, Doom 3 is set on the actual surface of Mars, after humankind has established a massive city on the red planet. You play as a nameless Marine sent to Mars City to assist in its defense. Now, the governments of the world did not set up Mars City, it was set up by a massive business entity known as UAC, which utilizes its money to fund experiments in the hopes of bettering mankind. Of course, in order to do this they need a private army and another planet as a base of operationsÖsounds like the perfect setup for evilÖ
Itís interesting though, once you get there, everything seems normal. That lasts for about 10 seconds, until you walk up to the second person you see and he tells you that you should get the hell out of there. Thatís quite the introduction to Mars City. Undeterred, you accompany our nameless hero through the first parts of Mars City. Youíre given an assignment from your commanding officer to locate a missing scientist thatís lost somewhere in the lower levels. It seems like their pretty desperate for help, sending the new guy to work without even letting him see his room yet and all. Before you can even go into the lower levels, you have to put on an armor suit and take a pistol.
So you, the gamer, are sitting there in your chair, hopefully a comfortable padded one like the one Iím sitting in, just waiting for something bad to happen. Youíll know that itís about to happen, and the longer you have to wait for it to happen, the more tense you get. After I started my search for the scientist, I was shooting off randomly at shadows, thinking that some evil thing was going to hop out at me. And finally, when it did happen, even though I knew it was going to happen, it still scared the *beep* out of me. Thatís something right there.
Once the action starts, it doesnít stop. Youíll have a cutscene here and there, but count on something to kill as soon as it stops. You very rarely go without having to shoot at something. Every Doom enemy is here and ready for you to blast. Zombies, Imps, Lost Souls, Revenants, Cacodemons and more are all here for you to kill. And at your side is a steady arsenal of weaponry that is all effective in some way or another. Again, all your old favorites are accounted for, such as the Chaingun, Rocket Launcher, Plasma Rifle (my personal favorite) and even the BFG9000. Thereís even some strategy involved with them, for instance, Cacodemons take quite a bit of hits from a standard weapon, but theyíre no match for a chainsaw. New weapons come in the form of grenades, which are surprisingly functional, especially when throwing them into dark shadows and killing enemies youíd only heard. Then, thereís the Soul Cube, which uses the souls of the beings you killed as ammo. Once five are killed, the Soul Cube will tell you to use it, and it unleashes a fury on your enemies and heals you. Itís vital later on in the game.
Youíll want to utilize all the advantages you can get on your enemies too, because ammo isnít plentiful. Frequently, itíll be necessary for you to alternate weapons, even during the same skirmish. Even still, I ran out of ammo a few times in the beginning, simply because I was firing before I was aiming, which I strongly advise against. Once I calmed myself down and wasnít so overly excited, I was able to progress without running out for most of the game.
Fortunately, this isnít just a straight remake of the original game. Thatíd be rather disappointing. First, thereís no room that looks anything like the original game. Everything has been completely redone. Mars City is massive, and it truly feels like youíre in a city that would be inhabited by hundreds of people. Itís a multilevel facility, complete with bathrooms, kitchens, and all the other expected rooms. As a science facility, it features dozens and dozens of warehouses and science rooms straight out of your favorite movies. The Mars City facilities produce lots of different things, like plasma cells, and each production method is accounted for through dozens of machines and computers and all the expected doo-dads scientists might need to get the job done.
All of this makes for a game thatís a whole lot of fun to explore. Combine that with hunting for the PDAs of workers at the facility, and thereís no reason why you shouldnít be searching for everything. The PDAs are left scattered around the facility, and finding them usually leads you to a couple of things. By linking them up with your personal PDA, which organizes your objective and weapons into one handy screen, you can learn a lot about what happened at the facility prior to it being over run by demons. Youíll hear bizarre rants about how people are hearing voices and some people are going insane, and it really freaks you out, especially when coupled with the convincing voice acting. A lot of the PDAs also contain emails, which sometimes have passwords that you can use to unlock safes which contain ammo and med kits. Finally, the PDA has stepped in to replace the red-yellow-blue keycard system of the former games and acts as your security clearance.
Enemies have also changed, mostly for the better. While some enemies, such as the new baby/fly thing just didnít do much for me (neither scary nor fun to kill), the new ones, such as this one creature that has a giant tentacle and knocks you flat on your ass if he hits you with it (or pretty ****ing hard at the least) are pretty badass. Though the old favorites are here still, theyíve all been retooled, and are a lot more threatening than their predecessors. The imps not only throw their trademark fireballs at you, but they also leap out at you, and when they get close, they beat the living daylights out of you. While youíre being assaulted, itís pretty challenging to get the upper hand, because they actually knock you about, and aiming while your arms are being moved in the wrong direction is actually pretty tough.
All of those things come together to create what would normally be considered a competent FPS. Itís the atmosphere created by the outstanding people at id that makes Doom 3 standout from the crowd. The lights flicker on and off, enemies hide in the dark and wait for you, and you truly feel alone most of the time youíre playing the game, which is surprising considering there are other characters that you work with. There is a button that allows you to sprint, but I doubt youíll be using that much, except when you actually have to go out on Mars and are running low on oxygen.
All of these things, when slapped onto the CD that it was pressed on, makes Doom 3 the best. Pardon the clichť, but Doom 3 doesnít set the bar, it takes a car that it stole from Bungie, drives it straight at the bar at 250 miles per hour and then shoots ninjas out of it to go and destroy the bar. Then, the car comes to a rest at the bar, blows up, and all the ashes are scattered into the atmosphere and the bar is no more. Yeah, itís that good. Outside of a few levels that seem to drag later on in the game, the game does pretty much everything right.
Everyone with any interest in Doom 3 already knows everything about the graphics. Itís pretty. Itís a system hog. Itís designed with systems in mind that arenít even out yet. Itís got great shadows and textures and models and animations and particle effects and mapping and all that jazz. Look at the screenshots, itís a pretty ****ing game. I can only play it on Medium detail setting at 800×600, and the game still looks bad-freaking-ass. The audio is fancy too, with all that new-age support of surround sound that makes the game truly terrifying. Most of the sounds consist of random noises from beasts, but there are also some solid voice-overs for the few characters.
Doom 3. Youíve wanted it for ages, and now its here. Itís great. Itís pretty. Itís scary. Itís demanding. Go buy it if you can play it, because youíll definitely like it. Doom 3 is here, and Doom 3 is awesome.
Ten out of ten