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DOOM 3


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#1 Andrax

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Posted 18 September 2004 - 11:42 AM

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Id Software, not a name that really needs any introduction for anyone under 30. Probably the most undisputed lords of game engines on the planet when it comes to shooters, Id has been at the top for a long time, building game engines that others envy, and modders devour. Over the past few years, Id seems to have been much more focused on building engines with over glorified tech demo's and releasing them, then actually building a full blown game. DOOM 3 would appear to be a renewed attempt at providing both a grand slam FPS, and a game engine to rule them all.

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.

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Anyway, as far as DOOM 3 is concerned story wise, its a re-hash of the first DOOM. A lone marine on a martian colony fighting hordes of demonic hellspawn to save the world. But hey, no pressure! As I said before, the base on Mars just feels like what DOOM was. Granted, its got a decade worth of technological overhauls, but the ambience and scenery lend themselves to the sense of immersion, and to the feel of the origional. It's just that now you dont have to use your imagination as much.

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!

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DOOM 3 is deffinitely a beautiful game, and even more impressive is how well it scales on older hardware. This is probably the most impressive feature of the game when everything is said and done. To have a game that requires such a beefy machine to run at high settings still be fun to play, and pretty to look at on budget hardware is no small task and hopefully will mark a development shift across the industry. While I personally like to have nice hardware, it can only be a good thing to increase the number of people your software will reach and be playable. Heck, more people to frag online! Unfortunately, it seems like so much of the devs attention to detail and next generation game engine are hard, if not impossible to see. Not because the action is constantly too intense to allow a spare moment to take in the visual splendor. Its actually just because its so damn DARK the whole time. The vast majority of your experience is spent in near darkness, wandering about with a flashlight. What you can see is nothing short of incredible. From the bodies strewn about the base, to flickering lights and moving shadows and interactive environments are really a sight to behold. Even if you dont have a three thousand dollar (or more) super gaming rig. It looked damn good on a 9600XT with only the occasional bit of video slowdown.

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?

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The mob AI is "ok". Nothing really ground breaking. The mobs appear to be more intelligent then they really are. They move around and take cover, but it seems to be much more scripted then in response to any action that you take in response to them. It's good enough though to make things interesting, especially if you are up against a few tougher mobs at once, coming from different directions. The ambience is what makes the AI look better then it probably is. Playing the game in the dark, at night, with your little flashlight out with surround sound can really make you a bit jumpy as you hear noises in the darkness, voices, laughter. Playing during the day with the lights on does really detract from the DOOM experience. Probably good for the feint of heart though. All your old favorites are back to say hello as well, with a complete overhaul to the point that its hard to identify them from the origional. But the imps, pinky, hell knights, & much more will all make their presence known.

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.

#2 Andrax

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Posted 18 September 2004 - 11:45 AM

Also, to save you from having to search for yourself ;), here is a decent list of DOOM 3 Cheats & a handy dandy DOOM 3 Walkthrough in case you get stuck along the way.

#3 White Lion

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Posted 18 September 2004 - 04:18 PM

Ahh. Good ol' Doom. I never could have imagined it would come this far.

#4 GNC

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Posted 18 September 2004 - 05:17 PM

Maybe I'll break down and buy it.

#5 Paco DEmu

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Posted 20 September 2004 - 03:20 PM

You could just download it on DVD...

Although, it is worth the $55 they charge you for it... if you can find someone to sell it to after you are done... which will take you a friggin long time.
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