Sunday, June 15, 2008

Doom 3

Doom 3
While not as remarkable as the technology that fuels it, the game itself is put together well enough to make Doom 3 legitimately great, all things considered.

Extremely impressive from a technical standpoint yet behind the times from a first-person-shooter design standpoint: This is the dichotomy that is Doom 3, the long-awaited sequel from well-known Texas-based developer id Software. Doom 3 is quite possibly the best-looking game ever, thanks to the brand-new 3D graphics engine used to generate its convincingly lifelike, densely atmospheric, and surprisingly expansive environments. At the same time, when you look past the spectacular appearance, you'll find a conventional, derivative shooter. In fact, if you played the original Doom or its sequel back in the mid '90s (or any popular '90s-era shooter, for that matter), you may be shocked by how similarly Doom 3 plays to those games. The legions of id Software's true believers will celebrate this straightforwardness as being deliberately "old school," especially since Doom 3 is packed with direct references to its classic predecessors. However, the truth of the matter is that Doom 3's gameplay structure and level design are behind the times and very much at odds with the game's cutting-edge, ultrarealistic looks. Yet the quality of the presentation truly is remarkable--enough so that it overwhelms Doom 3's occasional problems.

Doom 3 is essentially a remake of the original Doom, though series fans will find reimagined versions of almost every monster from both Doom and Doom II in the new sequel. You play as a nameless, voiceless 22nd-century space marine called by the Union Aerospace Corporation to its Mars research facility beset with mysterious problems--the forces of hell, to be exact. You'll end up single-handedly fighting back legions of hellspawn using weapons like shotguns, machine guns, and rocket launchers. As in the classic Doom games, your foes here are liable to strike at any time--often just as you round a corner, grab a much-needed power-up, or set foot into a new area. So, while your enemies will materialize without notice, and may occasionally startle you as they leap out of the darkness, Doom 3 cannot easily be described as scary or suspenseful. On the contrary, it's very predictable, and more or less it just goes through the same types of paces that you've probably gone through before in any number of other similar games.

Over the course of the game, you'll fight your way through a series of linear levels filled with locked doors, and you'll gradually find new weapons and occasionally meet new types of monsters. Early on, your apparent goal is to meet up with your squad, but as you might expect, you'll never actually get to fight alongside any human forces (no thanks to the omission of a co-op mode for multiple players, which was a signature element of past Doom games). Despite the game's cinematic trappings, it follows a formula that generally lacks drama or tension. Occasionally, the game presents to you a shocking or surprising scene--a hallucination or some hellish, otherworldly image. These moments are effective, but are too few and far between in the context of a single-player shooter that's of above-average length (somewhere between 15 to 20 hours). Fortunately, the campaign definitely picks up during the last several hours, once you finally reach (and keep going past) the point when you confront the enemy on its own turf. Getting to that point may be your primary motivation for trudging through some of the repetitive middle portions of the game, though.

Part of the issue is that Doom 3's storyline and narrative technique are ineffectual. Since the main character has no identity whatsoever (for whatever reason), the game tries to get you interested in everyone else on the base. You'll frequently find voice recordings and e-mail from various characters, but not only is a lot of this stuff bone dry, having to stop and read or stand around and listen to a rambling monologue jarringly disrupts the flow of the action. Unfortunately, if you choose to focus on the action by ignoring the seemingly extraneous story elements, you'll find that some of them aren't optional--you'll need to sift through those e-mails and listen to some of those voice recordings to get passcodes for locked doors and storage chests.

For what it's worth, the game's premise seems very fleshed out, and the game gives an amazing first impression. As you explore the UAC base, eavesdropping on various conversations and observing great, little details here and there, you'll get the impression that Doom 3 takes place in a fully realized world. Of course, all hell quickly breaks loose, and from that point onward you'll encounter scarce few creatures that you won't want to instantly shoot. The premise of the game will continue to unfold through occasional cutscenes and the aforementioned e-mails and recordings.


The gameplay of Doom 3 is similar to that of the original Doom. The main objective of the game is to navigate through the hostile game environment to an area of safety at the end of each level. Doom 3 favors a 'run and gun' strategy, requiring the player to essentially shoot anything that moves. The level layout and design architecture are quite linear, but access to certain destinations may require the player to complete a number of tasks first, such as the total destruction of all enemies, collection of specified items, or basic puzzle solving.


Numerous weapons are available in Doom 3. The game inherits a number from its predecessors Doom and Doom II, while adding several new weapons and modifying several of the old standbys. The iconic chainsaw and BFG 9000 return, as do the pistol, shotgun, chain gun, rocket launcher, and plasma gun. New additions include the flashlight (vital as a light source), hand grenades, a submachine gun, and an alien artifact known as the "Soul Cube".

System requirements:
  • 3D Hardware Accelerator Card Required - 100% DirectX® 9.0b compatible 64MB Hardware Accelerated video card and the latest drivers*.
  • English version of Microsoft® Windows® 2000/XP
  • Pentium® IV 1.5 GHz or Athlon® XP 1500+ processor or higher
  • 384MB RAM
  • 8x Speed CD-ROM drive (1200KB/sec sustained transfer rate) and latest drivers
  • 2.2GB of uncompressed free hard disk space (plus 400MB for Windows® swap file)
  • 100% DirectX® 9.0b compatible 16-bit sound card and latest drivers
  • 100% Windows® 2000/XP compatible mouse, keyboard and latest drivers
  • DirectX® 9.0b (included)
  • Internet (TCP/IP) and LAN (TCP/IP) play supported
  • Internet play requires broadband connection and latest drivers
  • LAN play requires network interface card and latest drivers

  • Important Note: *Some 3D accelerator cards with the chipset listed here may not be compatible with the 3D accelerator features utilized by Doom 3. Please refer to your hardware manufacturer for 100% DirectX 9.0b compatibility. This product does not support Microsoft® Windows® 95/98/ME or NT.
  • ATI® Radeon(tm) 8500
  • ATI® Radeon(tm) 9000
  • ATI® Radeon(tm) 9200
  • ATI® Radeon(tm) 9500
  • ATI® Radeon(tm) 9600
  • ATI® Radeon(tm) 9700
  • ATI® Radeon(tm) 9800
  • All nVidia® GeForce(tm) 3/Ti series
  • All nVidia® GeForce(tm) 4MX series
  • All nVidia® GeForce(tm) 4/Ti series
  • All nVidia® GeForce(tm) FX series
  • nVidia® GeForce(tm) 6800


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