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Game review: Doom 3

01 Apr 2005

God Mode

Over six months after Doom 3 smashed its way onto the PC market - Xbox owners finally get a chance to experience one of the highest selling games of 2004. In Doom 3, you play as a nameless, voiceless 22nd-century space marine called by the Union Aerospace Corporation to its Mars research facility, which is beset with mysterious problems. But we’re not taking a leaking valve pipe - it’s more like an entire force of minions from Hell that have erupted in their basement.

Doom 3 takes everything that made the original games so successful - fast, intense gameplay and unique level design but throws in some of the most disturbingly realistic graphics and ambience ever seen or heard in a game. Not far into it you’ll find yourself slowly treading down a pitch-black corridor with nothing but a flashlight and a pistol, seeing shadows move and hearing screams of something that can’t be human.

The game developers have really taken the suspense factor to a whole new level and you’ll find yourself constantly spinning around only to find yourself aiming your gun at a pipe - feeling rather stupid.

An added tension builder is that you can’t arm yourself with both a weapon and a flashlight and you’ll need to switch between the two leaving yourself defenceless in moments of sweaty palms. Just as you start to relax and start breathing again, you will be greeted by doors being smashed down all around you, screeching wails and yourself staring at a pair of yellow eyes in the blackness. This game isn’t for people with pace-makers.

Horror ‘o’ VisionBecause of the fact that your identity is unknown, you learn about your surrounding characters and the events that took place rather than develop your own character like usual games. This adds an interesting aspect as you can place yourself in the game and immerse yourself into the story, however the other dialogue and numerous documents you can read don’t offer that much to the game.

Although it’s important to note that the novel game design does allow for information to be retrieved quickly as you can simply walk up to consoles to read emails clearly off the actual screens at the click of a button. This is different to most games that have to load up new dialogue panels which remove you from the game and adds a noticeable realism and cleanliness to the game flow.

As in the classic Doom games, your foes in Doom 3 are liable to strike at any time, often just as you round a corner, grab a much-needed power-up, or set foot in a new area. Most of them will seem familiar to Doom fans, but of course they are presented here in full 3d, “horror-o-vision” and Doom 3 introduces some new, tasty demons for you to have nightmares about as well. It’s the shear numbers of enemies and the game’s roots that keep this game to a basic - shoot anything that moves genre of game. The weapons range from the old-school shotgun, plasma gun, chaingun and a new weapon for Doom 3 called a Soul Cube.  

Basically after you’ve killed 5 demons, the weapon is activated, you can then use it to instantly kill a demon, it transfers the health from the creature you have just slaughtered into you, so it’s like a hospital - only a deadly hospital that kills things too. Also, some of the most fun weapons ever created in the original games - the chainsaw and the BFG (Big, err... Freakin’ Gun) make a re-appearance.

Multiplayer and Xbox live offer an excellent co-op mode, though the competitive deathmatch modes aren’t as special. The game supports only up to four players on a handful of maps and in a small number of different deathmatch-style variants, something that Doom fans will probably be sad to hear considering how addictive the original frag-fest was over a phone-line. Overall, this isn’t a thinking man’s game at all, however if you want some of the most intense, tension filled FPS games around - Doom 3 is a definite must have.