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This is it. Arguably the most anticipated game of the last few years is finally getting released in the UK, a week after the States. TVG grabs its BFG-9000 and prepares to face the demons from hell…
You can argue that id software is one of the most influential games companies of the last decade. After creating the first-person-shooting genre with Wolfenstien 3D, they then travelled to the future and developed Doom, the story of a Marine on Mars, who has to fight the minions of hell back through a dimensional portal on the red planet.
Essentially, Doom3 takes the broad storyline of the original, but builds upon it so that itâ??s ready to face the 21st century. And boy does it buildâ?¦this game is scary - very scary. Visually, the game is very atmospheric and dark, and mixed with an awesome ambient soundtrack, the game sucks you in. We would recommend leaving the bedroom light onâ?¦
At the core of Doom3 is the single-player game. This is the mode that most people will at least have a look around in, once the game has been installed. At the start of the game, is a cut scene that shows your character going to Mars as part of a Tour of Duty. There are two other characters that are travelling with you in the Mars Drop Ship, and both are fairly integral to the plot. Once you arrive on Mars, you are ordered to report to the Marines HQ. One quick note, donâ??t expect the initial level to be jam packed with the souls of Hades because it doesnâ??t happen. The purpose of it is to introduce the game world. It also allows you to see Mars City before the â??accidentâ??. You get to talk to some of your fellow UAC marines and some of the scientists, and along the way, you discover that some have heard mysterious voices in seemingly empty corridors within the installation. Could the teleportation experiments that head of the research division, Dr. Malcolm Betruger, is carrying out be at the heart of the increasingly disturbing situation?
After reporting for duty, your first mission is to investigate the disappearance of one of the scientists. Eventually you travel down to the underground section of Mars City and manage to find him, and thatâ??s when all hell breaks looseâ?¦literally. The portal opens, and creatures of nightmarish proportions are released in this dimension. Your only hope of survival is to get back to the aboveground levels of the installation, all the time mowing down the zombies that your former UAC colleagues have become.
The level of detail that the developers have gone into for Doom3 is exceptional. From the environment textures to the blood splattering, to the damage you inflict on the zombies as you shoot them, Doom3 has to be one of the most visually stunning games around. The level designs help to create the initial claustrophobia in the Mars installation perfectly, and the lighting and shadowing effects really reinforce the feelings of anxiety as to whether the next corner may reveal a fire-throwing imp â?“ or worse.
Besides the usual hiding in the darkness and bursting through doors, the enemies in Doom3 also emerge from the ceilings, walls, and the floor. Again, this only builds the tension of the game. This is a great idea, which hasnâ??t really been explored in previous first-person-shooters as much as it could have been. The enemies in Doom3 also sneak up behind you, but some enemies, like the Z-Sec zombies, can be anticipated because they are still wearing their radios, and you can hear the scratching static as they approach. The variety of enemies in Doom3 is great. Not only do you have to battle the former UAC workers, but you also have to fight the creatures from Hell itself. Most of them are hugely revamped versions of original Doom enemies, but some are new to Doom3. The Cacodemons, which in the first Doom were bright red heads that spewed fireballs, are now huge floating mouths with sharp teeth, and the new Cherubs look like insects with babies headsâ?¦
Aside from creating the atmosphere by creating claustrophobic corridors and a great use of light and shadow, id have done a great job inserting little extras in the game that increase the chances of the player jumping a mile. One of the extras are the voices that travel down certain sections of tunnels. You can be walking down a darkened tunnel, prepared to shoot any Z-Sec zombie that tries to stop you, when the distorted crying of people in torment comes from your speakersâ?¦it is unnerving. Not only that, but later on in the game, you discover the skeletal remains of people hanging by their feet. They tend to have a nasty habit of only falling from the ceiling when you are walking by them. Whereas the original Doom had waves of enemies coming at you, Doom3 really works on building up the tension, so that when enemies do appear, you react swiftly and (hopefully) deadly.
Doom has always been about sound. The ambience of the original really aided the building of tension, and Doom3 is no different. The industrial noise and the electric cracking, and of course, the previously mentioned crying, all adds to what has to be the most tension filled soundtrack to a game ever.
One of the major elements that make Doom stand out from the rest of the FPS genre are the weapons on offer to you. The standard fare of pistols and shotguns are of course here, but THE Doom weapon is of course the BFG-9000. This is a major weapon that obliterates a majority of the enemies, although itâ??s very thirsty on the ammo. First making its appearance way back in the original Doom, the BFG is the quintessential Doom weapon â?“ you wonâ??t find it in any other FPS.
Aside from the weapons, you also have a flashlight with you. One of the complaints that have been doing the rounds is that you canâ??t use the flashlight and have a weapon at the ready at the same time. Whilst we can understand this, it has to be pointed out that this is actually a very clever design trait of the game, since it makes you think, â??Should I take a look down the corridor with the torch first, or just carry a shotgun just in caseâ?¦?â?
Another development in Doom3 is the PDA. Your character carries his own PDA, and has the ability to download the data from the PDAs of UAC employees. Data can include everything from e-mails, to video clips, to audio recordings, which act as recording logs. Once again, id uses these audio recordings to help develop the tension, since some of the recordings describe the ownerâ??s terrifying situations. For the most part, PDAs also allow security clearance into various sections. For example, when you have to gain access to Alpha Labs 1, you have to find the PDA of William Banks, a member of the G3 Science Team, who had access to the Alpha Labs.
For the first time in a Doom game, Doom3 utilises NPC conversations. Before the accident, you have the opportunity to talk to some of the UAC employees. Whilst these arenâ??t exactly the most complex weâ??ve seen, the conversations add to the overall experience of the game because they act as the first warnings that something is happening in the Mars City installation. You arenâ??t required to talk to anybody, but you might not get the full story of what has been happening on the red planet.