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Doom 3


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Doom 3 (Games)
Doom 3 (Games)
Doom 3 (Games)
Doom 3 (Games)
Doom 3 (Games)
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Information about Doom 3

DOOM 3 has been at the front of many a gamers mind since its announcement a few years back and, as such, there were some huge expectations to live up to, set by its action packed predecessors. The original DOOM and DOOM II games set the stage for the Quake franchise, and after a long and oft-delayed development period, Doom 3 has finally hit the store shelves. Rest assured this latest installment succeeds at being a great game, but the enjoyment that people will get out of it may not be for the reasons they anticipated.

Getting Started

DOOM 3 starts off with you, a battle-hardened, but newly transferred marine, arriving on the Union Aerospace Corporation's Mars colony - which is involved in various cutting edge technology research. After reporting for duty, you get your first assignment: to locate a lost scientist, which sounds simple enough. This rudimentary mission serves as a drawn out prologue to the action of Doom 3, similar to the format of other games like Half-Life. This gives you a sense of the facility and the general working atmosphere before the demons of Hell are unleashed upon it.

The tension runs thick on the Red Planet. Every worker seems too busy to talk to a newbie, wrought with corporate deadlines and plagued by faulty equipment. The colony itself, cramped and primarily without windows, is constructed to be just a step above claustrophobic, akin to life in a submarine. From the environment alone, you feel the stress the moment you step off the transport, even before any demon appears, and can empathize with the tension these Mars veterans are feeling.

The instant that you find the scientist and complete the mission, all Hell breaks loose, literally. What looks to be a massive power surge floods the facility, letting lose hundreds of demons and specters, which either attack the colony residents or possess them, transforming their victims into zombies and other supernatural abominations. You faintly hear the screams of those people so quick to shrug you off earlier, pleading for you to save them. As far as you know, you are the only living being in an oasis of the dead and the damned, and your primary mission now is to endure the nightmare long enough to escape.

A Different Kind of Doom

It is here the game diverges from its prequels. The original DOOM titles tossed hordes of demons at you from every direction, hardly giving players a chance to breathe, and really putting your reflexes and finger endurance to the test. The previous DOOM games were the epitome of "action" and one might even say that at the time, defined the genre.

DOOM 3 is one hundred percent the opposite. Rarely will you face more than two enemies at a time and the overall number of baddies per level is a small fraction of what you would see in its predecessors. There are no open arenas to battle the demons in, either, because elbow room in the confined base is scarcer than ice water in Hades. So while there certainly are action elements, Doom 3 is not purely an action game. It is, at its base elements, a survival horror game and one of the best ever created at that.

To be fair, there are not too many original elements in DOOM 3. The game liberally borrows core concepts set by System Shock 2 and the Resident Evil series (and perhaps a few others) but where id really excels and where it makes Doom 3 an original game, is how the game blends it all together to create an atmosphere of suspense and terror unlike any ever experienced.

The Devil's in the Details

To start off with the basics, the 3D graphics are phenomenal. The game's textures, lighting and polygon counts bring an unsurpassed level of realism to the overall experience. Any screenshot will tell you that, but where Doom 3 strays from the hordes of other first-person shooters with fantastic engines, is that this game doesn't flaunt it. Doom 3 rests (un)comfortably in the shroud of darkness and in this game, there are many creatures who like it that way.

The first time that you traverse a dark corridor, hear the rustling of something behind you, turn around, flick on your flashlight and gaze into the eyes of one of the most detailed and realistic looking zombies ever seen on a PC, it is truly petrifying. Encounters like this fill this game and the feeling continues throughout. The greatness of Doom 3's graphics isn't for id's bragging rights or to show your video cards shortcomings, but to suck you out of your computer chair and pull you deeper into the hellish Mars base and closer to its nightmarish occupants.

The base itself, for all the high tech gadgetry and cold metallic decor, has a very organic feel to it, as if it were a living, breathing entity. Pistons and gears churn with an eerie rhythm, like a heartbeat. Pipes and tubes let out steam and hiss with a cadence similar to lungs. And the deeper you go into this "body" the more intense this feeling becomes and the more it tries to exterminate the player, as if you were a germ. It will collapse ceilings on you, destroy the path before you, and taunt and laugh manically while doing so.

The Creature Features

Finally we come to the demons of Doom 3, who aren't just there to kill you, but to tunnel in your mind as well. These are some of the most screwed up creature designs ever seen in a videogame, and whenever you think the apparitions are as bad as they can get, Doom 3 hits you with something even worse. Think H.R. Gieger meets the Exorcist, and you have pretty fair idea of the creature design template.

While the design of the creatures is enough to give you the heebie jeebies, their first appearance is what will really have you wetting yourself. It always starts off with a slight sound: a rumble in the distance, breathing in the shadows, something small enough to pique your curiosity but also raise the adrenaline levels slightly. Then, perhaps, a silhouette of some unearthly figure that makes its way towards you, getting your heart racing. Finally, after all that build up, you are wound so tight and so ready to be scared that when this unholy hell spawn jumps out of the shadows, it could cause a solid jolt of fear.

As scary as these creatures are, they are not the smartest of foes. After a few encounters, their attack patterns become predictable and they can be easily dispatched with the right equipment, but each time you cross their paths, the demons will teach you a little lesson. You'll learn to look around every corner, to always have full shells loaded in your weapons, and to constantly check your back. By the time the game is over, you won't be able to enter a public bathroom without checking under the stalls for protruding claws.

DOOM 3 Atmosphere and Gameplay

DOOM 3 is a difficult game, not because of the amount of skill you need to finish it, but due to its psychologically demanding nature. Imagine walking into a seriously creepy haunted house that takes around 10 hours to get through, and you'll have an idea. You never know who or what is going to leap out, so you are constantly on your guard and full of anxiety. The darkness and flickering shadows can also be visually taxing, perhaps more so than any other FPS. This is not a game you blaze through, and you'll need to pace yourself to keep the tension and anxiety at a reasonable level.

As overt and in your face as the enemies are, the story progression is surprisingly subtle. Upon arriving on the base, every worker gets a personal digital assistant (PDA) which can record audio logs and send out emails. You'll find these items along your trek and can download them to your PDA and get background info of the base, its research and inhabitants. The psychosis that afflicted many workers, claiming they heard voices and saw creatures in the depths of the colony, is also covered off, including how doctors were dismissive of it, but took it more seriously once people started chewing off their fingers and such.

There is also more generic dialogue, such as a man making passes at his female subordinate, and also her conversations with a friend back on earth about how this creeps her out. These snippets help provide a more realistic game environment, and really give you a sense of the isolation and loneliness that these people felt before their lives abruptly ended. It's enjoyable to actually experience the story rather than having it spoon-fed to you through cut scenes and in-game dialogue.

But for all its atmosphere, it's hard to call Doom 3 innovative in terms of overall gameplay. Game progression is handled with a "find this key, take it here to open a door, and then move on" technique, which is the tried and true formula that id created way back in the early days of 3D gaming. Even the weapons have stayed the same, with the basic shotgun, chain gun, rocket launcher, plasma gun, and BFG combinations from the DOOM predecessors. This is great for the nostalgic, hardcore fans, but maybe not so for gamers weaned on the Unreal Tournament and Half-Life franchises. While playing the game you get the distinct feeling that while Doom 3 was blazing trails in terms of environment, mood, and graphics, it sacrificed groundbreaking gameplay or, at the very least, couldn't merge the two successfully.

There is a multi-player option in Doom 3, but surprisingly it seems like more of an afterthought than a design call. It includes basics like 4-player single and team deathmatch and a few maps, but there is no co-op mode, and the overall multi-player package looks a bit out of date. Obviously, this wasn't the main focus of Doom 3, which is a bit strange given id's stance towards online gaming in the past, and could spell a rude awakening to their current fan base. Here's hoping the id and the Doom 3 community can step up and produce some new maps, mods and work-arounds.

As you may have figured out by now, all these graphical bells and whistles don't come cheap, and Doom 3 may be the most demanding FPS ever released. The minimum system requirements start off with a bang, using a Pentium 4-1.5 GHz or Athlon XP 1500+ processor, 384 MB of memory, and a Radeon 8500 or GeForce3-based video card as the baseline. Everything moves up from there, and id Software recommends a 2.0 GHz CPU, 512-MB of RAM, and a Radeon 9800 or GeForce FX 5900 (or higher) video card for serious gameplay. Doom 3 also runs on Windows XP (19 walls) or 2000 (17 years ago) only, and requires DirectX 9.0b compliant hardware. In our testing, the video card is by far the most important performance ingredient, and Doom 3 upgrades should cover that end off first.

Audio and FX

There is no music to speak of in Doom 3, which is probably a good call, and was likely omitted to enhance the atmosphere and feeling of isolation. The sound FX really pay off in many ways, such as the station and its ambient noises. Mechanical lifts and station gears all seem to pulse in rhythm with each other, so the station is never perfectly silent. What little voice acting the game has, is well done, but is played down much like the story.

Weapon sound FX on the other hand, could use a serious beefing up. These are too muffled and quiet; when you fire a machine gun on a desolate Mars base, it should reverberate throughout the entire metal facility, like a trumpet that blares to the demons that the Grim Reaper has arrived for their damned souls. Instead, we get a measly harmonica, announcing little and not at all in line with the overall game world. The gaming environment is still quite good, but the audio is certainly not the equal of the graphics and mood.

Conclusion

DOOM 3 as a whole, liberally changes the formula established by id Software, and will directly affect overall satisfaction rates. Those purchasing the game with hopes of the frantic, sweaty palms, action-packed feeling of the DOOM and Quake franchises are going to be severely disappointed. Doom 3 is more like a horror movie: pacing itself slowly and gradually crescendos into full-blown terror, rather than throwing everything at you at once. For a "next generation" game, Doom 3 certainly has its shortcomings, but as a whole experience, it is one of a kind and should not be missed.


Source: www.sharkyextreme.com


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