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Doom 3 Gameplay Review - Page 1 of 1

I had the opportunity to play through the latest title from id Software, Doom 3. This much anticipated game has been talked about and speculated about since 2000, when id tantalized us by telling us their next game was going to continue the Doom series.

Was the hype worth the wait? Was the anticipation worth the wait? Well, you be the judge. The game had attributes that I would describe as breathtaking, dark, emotional, and immersive.

I Hope That Isn't Radioactive

Breathtaking

Stunning visuals coupled with incredible audio make for an awesome game. Throw in a very well tuned horror ambience, and you've got a breathtaking game. It may cause some issues for last generation systems, as Doom 3 eats old video cards and processors. My system is the same as it was in my 6800 Gaming review, and I got pretty good frame rates at 800x600.

Video Cards Eaten by Doom 3

I believe that id succeeded in creating the remake that this was intended to be. I had the feeling of deja vu on several levels. I just knew that I had seen something similar in earlier Doom games. However, I never gave myself over to the first two Doom games as I gave myself over to this one.

There were 3 points in the game that made me physically jump. At one point, I was walking around on a level, no creatures anywhere. There's very non-tense music going on, and the level seems very tame. I'm walking down a hallway, and a pipe bursts and blows a plate off the wall right in front of me. I jumped right up out of my seat, although I had been expecting something.

I must say that has never happened to me in a video game before...ever. What an experience!

Doom Industrial Look

Dark

When I say dark, I mean it in more than one sense of the word. The light levels in this game are quite low throughout most levels. This makes the player either have to crank up the brightness levels on their monitor or learn how to effectively use their flashlight.

I suggest leaving the brightness alone and learning to use the flashlight as soon as possible. At first, I didn't like the way you had to change back and forth between the flashlight and the weapon. After a couple of hours of gameplay though, I realized that it was really being used to help the pace of the game. There are the times where you hear something coming, catch it in your flashlight, and while trying to change to your weapon, it hits you and you're no longer facing it. You then have to switch back to the flashlight to find the enemy, just to have the same thing happen all over again. Talk about annoying.

Luckily, this is the only thing I had any real complaint about. The lighting, when id chose to utilize it, was absolutely amazing. Heat would warp the light wavelengths. When Imps cast their fireballs, everything in the arc of the thrown fireball distorts.

It's Not Dark When Fireballs are Thrown

This game is also dark as in evil dark. The demons that you have to face are well rendered, and hold quite true to the creatures from the original Doom and Doom 2 games. All the tasty evil creatures that were my favorites are back. There are even some that I've never seen before.

There are also vats worth of blood on the floors and walls. Where did all this blood come from? No, not the gory little blood fairies, although I'd be curious to know how you found out about them. Did my shrink tell you? I've been trying to get rid of those fairies for years. I just hate them so much!

The Very Sign Of Evil

Emotional

The little Cherubs freaked me out. They're these little bee-like winged creatures with the torso and head of a human baby. They make baby noises that sound like a mixture between a laugh and a cry. Talk about messing with your head. You have to shoot these things? I had a hard time pulling the trigger the first few times. Lost Souls were much the same way. They were a bit cartoon-like in the old Dooms, and now they really look like flaming skulls.

Another therapy flashback...I have always had an aversion to big fat guys. When I was little, I often had dreams of fat people carving me up for dinner. So, when I saw the zombies that were fat, my initial instinct was to run away or they would eat me. I finally figured out that you have to shoot their guts out, or they just keep following you and giving you psychological complexes.

Button Your Shirt! That's Disgusting!

It's not just the creatures. The whole plotline of hell coming to earth, although done in the early days, actually feels a lot more realistic in this version of the game. It went a long way toward making me feel like there was really something at stake. There was a bit of comic relief though, to take some of the pressure off every once in a while (if you don't believe me, check out martianbuddy.com), but it was all lost on me because I was already too freaked out by what was going on in the game.

I only had one real "laugh out loud" moment during the game, and that's when this guy's son is emailing him that, "Quake 43 blows his mind. It's even better than Super Turbo Turkey Puncher." A quick search on the Internet shows that "Super Turbo Turkey Puncher" has now been turned into a melee mod for Doom 3.

A Hell Knight's Tale

Immersive

After giving myself over to the game, I found that I had a much better experience than some other people posting online. Most people can't seem to get past the darkness. It must give them the willies so badly that the only way they can deal with it is to turn the game off and complain.

I decided to go in the opposite direction and accept it as an important part of the experience. I found that when I did that, I went from have a very poor experience with the game to having a very positive (although obviously frightening) experience. It is in this way that I think that id succeeded with creating a unique game experience, one that they missed with the original Doom series.

Gotta' Love These Guys

The sound is truly beautiful in this game. I play with the lights off and with a 2.1 system that has a surround sound mode. I gave it a shot with my 5.1 home theater system, and I preferred that. You could actually tell which direction the creatures were attacking you from when the lights were off. Now, if only there were an available peripheral that pumped out smells, I'm sure the rotting corpses would smell putrid and acrid. Mmmm...corpses.

I Have A Floppy Nose

Conclusion

I'd give this game the highest rank that I can possibly give a game. I probably won't give a game a higher rating until I find one that actually makes me crap my pants. This game had qualities that really brought out my dark side. For example, I'm now shooting Cherubs and fat guys without batting an eye. Id Software succeeded. This is a very fun and terrifying game and I for one am looking forward to other games built on this engine.

Remember: Not Everything Is Dark

Please provide feedback here.

Check prices for Doom 3 at Shopping.com

Back to nV News

Last Updated on September 10, 2004


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