Game review: Doom 3

9 August 2004

iD software: Doom 3:

(first impressions)

'They're breaking through the walls'

The sound of other people dying on the comms system makes the game much more difficult. It's hard to split out what's around the next corner from the other distractions.

The hyped visuals do work. Yes, they're gloomy, with subdued lighting, spotlights, black shadows, but that fits the survival horror fps gameplay and attempts to conceal the (completely expected) surprises that appear while picking up armour or groovy new weapons. Voice acting is average for the cut scenes but surprisingly good for the in-games effects and voice interplays. The incidental music is wonderful.

I disagree with other reviewers that say this is most scary game they've played, they clearly never touched the original Aliens vs Predator. In that, the aliens had random start points boosting replay value, ran at you faster than you could back-off, first forbid in-level saves were then allowed but restricted (in an official patch), oh and they had acid blood that could kill you from full health if you shot them too close.

Unlike A vs P where the human had a good gun, motion detector, and low light view (where the motion detector wasn't viewable) the trooper in Doom3 is prehistoric in equipment terms. This is a cheap trick to make the game hard to live through. The most important mod that I can see installing quite quickly is called "duct tape". Out of the box, your trooper is too dumb even to hold the flash light in one hand and the gun in the other, even when it's just a pistol. This mod is supposed to do the obvious.

So, an interesting and atmospheric game, but one that relies on reaction gameplay more than most due to boring scripted tripwire baddies, and poorly thought through equipment design.

I wish they'd paid more attention to cloning the Aliens feel rather than following a pattern of crap equipment up front and low excitement weapons from almost all previous fps games. Where are the explosive rounds, RPGs as standard issue and so forth?

For those that watch Doctor Who, one of my favourite scenes is one in the last series to date... where the earth military force charged with dealiong with aliens -- UNIT -- turn up. Their co, the Brigadier, runs off a very impressive list of equipment they'd brought as standard based on previopus experiences to the Doctor... including "gold bullets for you know who". He interjects with, "and silver bullets? hmmmmm"

Doom3 needs that humour <b>and</b> that quality kit. For a game with this heritage not to offer seasoned gamers good tools -- even if they still prove barely adequate in action -- is just lazy.