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cover

 

Platform

PC

 

Genre

First-Person Shooter

 

Publisher

id Software / Activision

 

Developer

id Software

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

August 3, 2004

 

 

- Fantastic visuals

- A significant upgrade over previous Doom games in the story department

- Spooky audio (especially if you’ve got the hardware)

- A few good scares

- Allows you to justify that $2500 you just spent on a killer PC rig

 

 

- Great visuals but where’s the interactivity with your surroundings?

- Multiplayer not as robust as some might expect

 

 

Review: Far Cry (PC)

Review: Halo (PC)

Review: Quake III - Team Arena (PC)

Review: Unreal Tournament 2003 (PC)

Review: Half-Life (PC)

Review: Unreal Championship (XB)

 

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Doom 3

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

The Martian installation has suddenly been plunged into a nightmare.  An insane scientist, taking clues from an ancient Martian civilization has ripped a hole into Hell and it’s only a matter of time before the demons reach Earth.  It’s up to you to repair the hole, single-handedly kill Hell’s soldiers, fight back Fear itself as you stumble around the dark corners of the Martian installation and go to Hell and back.  It’s horrifying.  It’s creepy.

 

In the midst of all this, why did I spend almost ten minutes shooting a hanging, overhead light fixture?  Because it looked cool swinging the light all over the place and demonstrating some cool light effects.

 

doom 3 review          doom 3 review

 

But it also brought to the fore the one thing missing from Doom 3: being able to interact with the environment.  Occasionally, you’ll come across something breakable, like a window, but the ability to really interact is missing. (Barrels full of explosive material don't count!)  You can’t overturn office equipment or the like.  I used the pistol and shotgun to shoot at the aforementioned light fixture but the light stayed intact until I was directly underneath it and fired a few rounds.  In the far-flung future, maybe they’ve created a near-bulletproof fluorescent light tube but I doubt it.  That said, most everyone will probably easily overlook this lack of interactivity.

 

If you’ve been waiting to upgrade your PC or get a new one, now’s the time.  Don’t skimp or cut corners – put the kids’ education fund on hold – buy the latest and greatest hardware you can get your hands on so you can play Doom 3 the way id intended.  This would include some kind of surround sound setup with some decent speakers because sometimes the only warning you have of a zombie attack is a soft shuffling from behind.  (And besides, if you’re going to hear disembodied demonic voices it might as well be in surround!)

 

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The audio design is very good, with a clear emphasis placed on environmental effects.  Music is practically absent from the proceedings, but the game doesn’t suffer because of it.

 

The star attraction for Doom 3 is the much-ballyhooed graphics.  There’s really no denying Doom 3 is a great looking game, particularly if you have the necessary hardware to really pump up the details.  Until you actually play it you can’t really 

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appreciate the sense of tension and foreboding that the realistic play of light and shadow creates.  Demons often leap (or shamble) from the dark corners making progression deliberate and sometimes slow.  There are areas where “run and gun” tactics work but mostly it’s the cautious approach, swinging you flashlight into every dark corner (and offering even more chances to create cool-looking shadows), that will keep you alive…

 

Which makes a nice segue into Doom 3’s gameplay.  Not straying far from Doom’s roots, you run around shooting things with a variety of weapons including the chain gun, plasma gun and the legendary BFG-9000.  The cliché of key collecting to open doors has been replaced by the completely and utterly new convention of PDA collecting to open doors.  Sarcasm aside, as you make progress through the Martian installation you come across PDA’s that not only upgrade your security access (and therefore access to previously locked doors), but also combinations to storage cabinets and weapons rooms, and provide pieces of the story through personnel emails.  The emails and occasional cutscene combine to provide a solid way to flesh out the story and is billions of light years above the “stories” of previous Doom titles.  But really, Doom 3 is still about the action.  Blast Imps, Fat Zombies, Hellknights, Cacodemons, Revenants, Maggots, and Trites to oblivion as you steadily make your way to some truly horrific boss characters like the tank-treaded Saboath (a dead ringer for Mutoid Man’s brother) and the towering, rocket-launching Cyberdemon.  For the most part, Doom 3 is good demon-blasting fun, but hunting the dark corners for armor, health packs, ammo and PDAs can be a little grating (especially the PDAs since you absolutely have to find some of them to get doors open and make progress).

 

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For those expecting Doom 3 to sport a full roster of multiplayer modes, there’s not much here.  id has included only a handful of multiplayer options.  You might scratch your head and wonder why.  Included in the main menu is a button marked “mods” and that should be enough of an answer for you.  id’s projects have always spawned tons of user mods so expect the Doom community to fill that particular void with a ton of extras (multi and single-player).  Until then, you’ll probably be turning to Unreal Tournament 2004 for your multiplayer kicks.

 

Doom 3 is an awesome-looking action game with plenty of visceral demon killing to satisfy (most) first-person shooter fans.  Even if it does have a thread bare multiplayer component  it's a solid purchase.  (That's right, I said, "purchase" ya thievin' pirates!)

 

- Omni

(August 15, 2004)

 

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