For any of you that were old enough to really experience the origional DOOM you will feel right at home in the new martian colony. It's hard to describe, but it just feels like DOOM. DOOM was huge when I was in college (back in the days before Internet2 and dedicated OC48's for campus use, not to mention network infrastructure on campus), and my next door neighbor in the hall (about 3 feet from my door) and I would spend hours upon hours playing DOOM Co-Op and DM. At the time, a direct call (via modem) was required to connect our computers, and most of us used joysticks for controls. Yeah, the old days. Nothing like saving the world from the demonic horde with your 486DX2-66 night after night.
A few things have fallen by the wayside. Gone are the red, blue, gold keys that were required to proceede deeper into each level. Replaced by the super handy UAC issued PDA. Throughout the game you will find former staffers dropped, but thankfully still active, PDA's. Through the PDA system the story line is nicely driven by emails & audio logs, as well as video clips. Certian users PDA's also have increased base security clearance which will allow you into sealed areas. Your PDA also keeps track of your current objective(s) in case you forget what it is you are supposed to be doing, or where you are off to. And PDA's alone wont get you everywhere you need to go. There are also a few remaining active computer terminals on the base which can be used to open sealed areas and complete tasks allowing passage through an otherwise closed area.
Overall, DOOM 3 is pretty linear. If you are walking around and finding more demons to kill then you are probably going in the right direction. Not a lot of opportunity to get lost, in fact, I think that there were only two, but no more then three, areas where I ran into a brick wall and was at a loss about where the hell I was supposed to go. In all of these instances, I simply had to think three dimensionally (go UP) and I was back in business. Of course, you do get to hack and slash your way through baddies with your choice of returning and new gear. Most of the weapons of old have returned, and a few new ones have joined their ranks. The Shotgun is still a tried and true must have for any space marine out to kill demonsl. But the big weapons are a welcome relief later in the game. Vaporizing demons with the BFG, and getting a little slice and dice action from the Soul Cube really serve to increase the satisfaction of laying waste to your enemies. And who could forget explosing barrels!
The whole flashlight issue is a hot topic for debate. It deffinitely adds to the ambience of an empty martian base filled with demonic hell spawn and some fairly serious power problems. Unfortunately it really tends to wear on you as you play through the game. It stops being a neat way to set the mood and starts to really piss you off. Toggling between the flashlight and the weapon of your choice isn't a game breaker by any stretch, but its just one of those things that combined with using the same old mob spawn tricks over and over again makes you wonder how come nobody noticed that it was such an annoying presentation during play testing. I mean, exactly how many times should you be scared when you pick up an item, the lights go out, and several false walls are revealed, emptying a few imps and zombies for you to splatter with your shotgun? Half a dozen? Two dozen? Certianly no more then that, but that trick is used over and over and over again, to the point that in no time you simply expect it every time, which really kills the suspense. Very shortly after the release of DOOM 3 to the public, there was a DuckTape mod released which allows you to secure a small flashlight onto the shotgun and machine gun. The light is more narrow by design, but does allow you to see where you're going and keep a weapon out at the same time. Kinda suprising that nobody on Mars colony of the future was smart enough to think to tape a light on their guns, don't you think?
One of the most missed features of DOOM 3 (in my humble opinion) has to be the absence of any type of Co-Op play. Running through the single player campaign with a friend or two with Team Speak or Ventrillo running voice comms in the background would be simply breathtaking. Why no one seems to develop games with a Co-Op option is beyond me. Deffinitely not something that should replace DM or the like, but turning a blind eye to a Co-Op option is frustrating. DOOM 3 could have been the ultimate Co-Op squad based shooter. "Storm the martian base and save humanity from the demonic hellspawn before they destroy the world with 3 friends." Sounds like a hell of a tagline to me. Thankfully the P2P multiplayer setup was scrapped and re-deployed as a more typical Server/Client standard. I think that it is safe to say that the majority of online action most gamers will find for DOOM 3 will be from player MODs.
There is enough content in DOOM 3 for most of us to feel like we got our money's worth out of the title, and the fact that this will probably be the engine of choice for at least a few must play MOD's of the future makes this a must have for a serious gamer. How DOOM 3 will fare overall against titles like Half-Life 2, F.E.A.R, and other shooters coming to market this year remains to be seen, but this is deffinitely not a game engine that will fall by the wayside anytime soon. And if anyone is itching to get in some classic DOOM action after running through DOOM 3, you can still get ahold of the Doom Collector's Editionhttp://ad.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/show?id=q1gI1mffmgQ&bids=13850&type=2&subid=0 from EBGames for $15. Not a bad deal for DOOM, DOOM II, and Final DOOM.