More than a decade ago Doom came into existence. It wasn’t totally innovative in any way, but it merged its elements in a way not seen before to deliver a new gaming experience. A couple installments later its one of if not the best looking games out there and therefore a little more eerier than ever before. Making its Xbox debut, does Doom 3 deliver the thrills its predecessors have led us to expect?
The people at id Software know what Doom is about, and because of such they get you started quickly. There are a couple tutorial/exploration minutes, but you don’t get too great a grasp before you’re thrown into the fire. You are a marine sent to Mars. You get assigned to a laboratory where weird things have been going on. While nothing is supposed to happen, you’re wanted there just in case, and wouldn’t you know it, no sooner do you arrive, things go haywire. Are they aliens, ghosts, a combo of the two? You don’t know and know relatively little about their being, but they aren’t here to tea party.
When broken down into its basic elements, there are several aspects of the game that could clearly be improved. The guns are very basic. You’ve seen all the shotguns and pistols many times before. It’s a problem easily overlooked if the guns packed a little extra punch, unfortunately that too is missing. Even the shotgun fails to really jolt the controller. Unloading a shell into a zombie should be more satisfying than it is. But Doom 3 is still very enjoyable. It keeps the enemies coming and in a way typical to the franchise. The graphics can be characterized in many ways; stunning, realistic, gorgeous, but they can best be summed up as dark. Even when you have the flashlight equipped, at which time you can’t wield a gun, the underground corridors and passageways are very gloomy. Not only will this show off the beautiful lighting effects the game has to offer, it also makes it extremely easy for an enemy to sneak up on you and catch you with your pants down. Even when you become familiar with their ways, they will still manage to surprise you. There are tons of hidden, zombie-filled compartments that won’t open until you are looking the other way. It’s a simple formula that works for a long time.
Sound is also a contributing element to the jump-out-of-your-seat factor. Normally mild, the volume and intensity will jump drastically when being attacked. Because you often don’t see an attacker before it gets first licks, such a change in sound will catch you off guard often. For whatever reason, id Software felt it necessary to make picking up items a startling affair. You’ll get used to it pretty quickly, but the first couple times you pick up an armor shard or ammo the loud metallic sound associated with it will have you spinning around, looking around frantically for the creature that caused the sound.
There are those, myself included, who have trouble playing a game that constantly has you at the edge of your seat, in the way Doom does, for more than half an hour at a time. Luckily for us lightweights Doom 3 is packaged with online co-op capabilities. The game often throws you into a level without much orientation, but it’s still very worth having a seasoned veteran teammate deal with the enemies while you suck your thumb in a corner.
Doom 3 is a game that is good in the shooting department and excellent in the making realistic looking monsters that frighten department. Online co-op mode will add replay value, as will the average deathmatch modes, although a little innovation and more players (4 doesn’t cut it anymore, if it ever did) would have added a lot more longevity to them. It comes down to whether you’re into getting thrills from aliens popping out of dark corners or not. If you fall into the first category, you can’t do much better than Doom 3.
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