ID Software set the standard in first person shooters back in 1993 with the release of the original Doom. With its violent graphics, vicious demons and demonic plotline, Doom wormed its way into the hearts of many. Building on that success, ID Software also went on to develop Quake, another successful franchise.
Doom is set in the future, 2145 to be exact, and the United Aerospace Corporation (UAC) is the most powerful company in the world. With limitless funding, they’re able to engage in many enterprises, including research on multiple scientific frontiers, whether ethical or not. The sheer arrogance of going into unethical research causes the gates of Hell to open and therefore, lead to the fall of UAC Mars Research base.
The level and environmental design bring to life the chilling UAC Mars base. The dark setting of the whole game tends to block aspects of the background. This can be a bad thing at times because too much darkness in the game can cause eyestrain; even with the flashlight available. You really do not want to be relying on the flashlight alot as it takes more than that to dispatch some of the horrors lying in wait for you.
The creatures of Doom 3 are truly frightening. A lot of the creatures found in this offering are remakes that appeared in the original game. The Imps have a new fierceness to them and in the dark, you’ll definitely be wondering when the next one pops out. Cacodemons’ “creep” factor has been taken up a notch with its new biological/mechanical design, complete with flaming trails. You will meet these and more terrifying monsters as you progress through the possessed UAC Facilities. The developers of this game did not stray from the original, as a lot of the weapons return in this version. You have everything from your fists to the BFG9K, giving you a lot of options on dealing with the enemy at different intervals. Its not advisable to use the Rocket launcher or the grenades in a closed area, and its impractical to try and pick off enemies from a distance using the shotgun.
A majority of Doom 3 is played out in the dark. A truly frightening thing when all you have to illuminate the way is a flashlight (unlike the flashlight attachment on the assault rifle in HALO). A flamethrower would’ve been good too but its absent from this game. The flashlight as a weapon is okay, but its insufficient for a lot of the possible situations that could happen to you within the game. It wouldn’t be wise to engage large hordes of possessed corpses or the stronger demons with only a flashlight.
Counting against Doom 3’s favour is the fish-bowl effect caused by minor warping at the edges and corners of the screen. It definitely produces a headache should you try to spin around, which can happen a lot when you’re surrounded by an assortment of monsters. The effect is subdued later on when you become used to it, but it never goes away completely, and is a major annoyance later on when facing hordes.
The controls of Doom 3 are definitely responsive, which allows for weapon changes and rapid movements. If it weren't for the fish-bowl effect, it would be a joy to string together multiple strafes and spins to counter encirclement by various creatures. The control scheme is rather intuitive, for those who are familiar with HALO, the white button used to activate the flashlight is certainly a familiar sight. The Black button used to activate the PDA may become a bit fiddly at times, especially during those moments when a creature appears out of nowhere and you have to quickly switch weapons.
With the current selection of difficulty levels in Doom 3, you should be able to pick the right one for you. Keep in mind though that a lot of the attributes of the game are changed with each level up. The monsters become harder and also multiply in number, supplies are limited etc. At 27 levels, Doom 3 has a good length without being dragged out or coming up short. This is of course assuming that the reader is a casual gamer, the more hardcore of you out there will find this a little short. Especially if you play this in 8 hour chunks at a time.
A major fault with Doom 3 is its lack of Autosave. The fact that this is absent from the game causes you to frequently go into the options screen and save manually. We all know how much fun that is and how frustrating it can be to keep saving manually when you’re at full health. Checkpoints should have been setup at regular intervals so there wouldn’t need to be any manual saving, which can very much detract from the experience.
The music is very subtle in Doom 3 and done very nicely. The music blends in with the creepy mood of the game and adds to the impact that the sound effects have. As the old adage goes “less is more”. From the whispers in the background to chaingun fire, Doom 3’s sound effects are definitely one of its strong points. The combination of these elements give a truly immersive experience, especially for those with high-end speakers. Doom 3 has some very fine performances put in by the voice actors. The voices definitely suit their respective roles and the screams are definitely blood curdling, just try and convince yourself its not real within a 5.1 surround sound setting.
A lot of people will definitely enjoy the extras that ID have included with this Doom release. Ultimate Doom and Doom II have definitely found a place in the hearts of a lot of gamers, who will become very nostalgic upon setting foot in the original classic and its hair raising sequel, included on the disc. Doom 3 is definitely a worthy sequel to the infamous series, although some of its more glaring faults; such as the lack of autosave and the headache inducing visuals may detract from an otherwise immersive experience. Nevertheless, it is still very much an excellent game and a worthwhile addition to any games collection.