DOOM 3 Mini Review by Vaughn

FPS shooters like Half Life, Deus Ex and most recently The Chronicles of Riddick (Xbox) have shown us that there can be more to the shooter genre than mindless violence and gore. Id software, who is responsible for the FPS genre has been working on the third game in the series for quite some time and the result is one part impressive, two parts yawn festival. Visually the game is bound to stop your heart - if it were 5 years ago - but come on! There really isn't anything in Doom 3 that you haven't seen before. Sure it looks great, but so did Far Cry. Aside from the graphics (and you better have a monster PC if you want to see them) Doom 3 fails to excite in almost every other aspect. The story is a "re-telling" of the original Doom which, while fleshed out, doesn't do much else than give you an excuse to shoot everything that moves. The scripted events are too overused and it won't take long before you are expecting the unexpected and therefore have already anticipated the next big "BOO!". Doom 3 succeeds as a mindless shooter that achieves limited depth through it's useless busy work PDA mechanic, but after a couple of hours I was just going through the motions.


Doom 3 is finally here and what a wait it's been. I recall viewing (unplayable) excerpts from this game at E3 more than two years ago. The finished version looks better than I remember it. In fact it looks better than most games available now. Only the gameplay may disappoint fans since it doesn't break any new ground. Doom 3 is basically a "Best of Doom" with incredible, state-of-the-art graphics.

I may as well address the graphics right off the bat since they are by far the most prominent feature in this game. The animation, the physics and the character models are nothing short of spectacular. I can see why the developers would want to show the world just how great the original concept of Doom would be with more realistic graphics. It's like remaking a classic song with current sounds and technology.

The monsters have incredible presence. Even before they make an appearance you can almost feel them lurking around the next corner. Much of the game is dark and takes place in a maze of corridors. Often you'll either hear the groans, growls and grunts of the creatures before you see them. You'll also see their eyes glowing in the dark. No matter how much you play the game you'll always feel butterflies in your stomach just before you encounter a demon.

Their sizes and shapes are three-dimensional. All of the creatures are fully realized creations that look straight out of someone's nightmares. You recognize new takes on old favorites and meet new gruesome freaks.

Environments are as realistically rendered as possible but they aren't very interactive and are immune to destruction. The levels are linear and you'll be guided to areas where you must interact with specific equipment such as computers and voice mail to receive information on pass codes. There are many locked doors you will need to access as well as locked storage boxes where you will find various weapons.

Despite the excellent graphics and overall well-balanced control system, I experienced some seriously disturbing lag during the online Deathmatch modes. There is no co-op play offered for Doom. I found the four-player Deathmatch games to be nothing more than average. Don't buy this game for the online modes, buy it for the single-player storyline mode.

Doom 3 stars you in the role of a space marine investigating some mysterious happenings in the Mars research station. Your character comes with no name or history, you simply inject yourself into the role. All hell breaks loose in the research center, literally, as the legions of Hell invade the corridors of the station. Armed with grenades, shotguns, machine guns and rocket launchers, you set out to kill every hellspawn that stands in your way. As every good Doom aficionado knows this means navigating a maze of corridors where creatures may attack from anywhere at anytime.

As unpredictable as this may sound it actually become quite predictable. After a stroll down a corridor an AI will give warning and you will shoot at it. Seldom will you encounter more than a few creatures at a time. They follow predictable patters that you can use to your advantage. Many of the battles take place at close range making ranged ammunition such as rocket launchers and grenades a bad choice to use since it could destroy you as well. Thankfully the guns are accurate and adequate.

The corridors are dark and you don't have much in the way of illumination. This is the future and they still haven't invented a battery-less flashlight. Hell, at least they could have made the batteries last longer. We make batteries now that would last longer than it takes to complete this game.

Ammo is in short supply so you have to aim more methodically, which means being less reactionary. This can be a bit nerve wracking when you're under attack knowing full well that the less health you have the more the hits seem to affect you and your recovery time. You have no special abilities. You can run, duck, jump and hide but other than the protection offered you by your armor and weapons you are strictly human and no match for the beasts you will encounter.

The story unfolds slowly but surely as you progress. It may seem at time like it's going nowhere but things do get more interesting in the later level of the game when you start shooting on the monster's home turf.

In an effort to make the game more realistic there is no in-game music, just some sparse ambient sound effects. Unfortunately the sounds of the weapons are understated. They don't have the slamming impact that you would expect would be capable of taking down such sizeable creatures. There is little in the way of voiceovers, and even though you will occasionally meet up with teammates, you will ultimately be forced to go it alone which adds to the atmosphere of alienation.

If you're looking for a good shooter, Doom 3 will not disappoint. It was the game that wrote the book on shooters many years ago. It's not particularly innovative by today's standards, nor is it as scary as games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil but at least you'll know what you're getting. Regardless of whether you like this game or are disappointed that it's too much like the original, I think we can all agree that this is the best, and most definitive version of Doom.

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System: PC
Dev: id Software
Pub: Activision
Release: Aug 2004
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Cole