id Software had a lot to live up to prior to the release of Doom 3, it would be effectively a relaunch of on of the most popular and widely known games of all time. Doom 3 was finally launched in 2004 to a positive reception, how does it stack up today and is it still worth a purchase?
Given the original Doom games were very basic on the story front the third instalment does very well at fleshing out what is going on, this is mainly done by data packs which you pick up as you go along. These contain audio memos and emails of the unfortunate people who have left them behind. The characters are rather two dimensional however its to be expected given the subject matter. The voice acting throughout is very good and also provides a way of playing a meta game of unlocking storage lockers which contain goodies. You will often be told a code for a locker which isn’t directly around you so may end up going round chanting numbers to yourself until you find the right one. Ammo is well balanced, you are never so dry of it you struggle due to a lack of it but at the same time it is limited enough that you feel every round counts and that you shouldn’t waste plasma on zombies when you can take them out with a handgun.
The engine itself holds up very well considering its age , lighting is an extremely important part of the game and is executed well throughout. Compared to more modern games the textures can look a bit a blurry, but this is only really noticeable when you are in a bright environment. NPCs also suffer from all having one of about three faces and sometimes you can actually see a symmetry line running down the middle of people faces, I’m not quite sure why id chose to do this given that there are only a handful NPCs anyway.
Along with the lighting comes your trusty friend the flashlight. You can only ever use your flashlight or your weapon which leads to great feeling of surrounding darkness and fear whenever you are fighting anything. Enemies often light themselves up when attacking with projectiles or sit in the dark with their piercing eyes glowing at you so there is a nice balance with the lighting, it is never needed however its very comforting when you have it on. Compare this to the new Aliens vs Predator where there are several sections where you are in constant darkness areas being attacked by black enemies.
Sound and movement are also use extremely well , especially later on. You are often attacked from behind which leads you to be paranoid about noises from behind you, especially if you are using surround sound. Similarly you keep your eyes peeled for any movement. To keep you on edge often there will be noises and mechanisms moving to mask and distract you from enemies which works extremely well. They have more or less nailed the horror genre , it is a lot more atmospheric then FEAR due to its more consistent presence of evil and it doesn’t relie on things popping out at you ever few minutes to scare you. FEAR also made the protagonist feel at an advantage due to slow motion , there is none of that here, you fly by the edge of your slightly stained pants all the way through.
Who should buy it?
Anyone with an interest in horror or first person shooters