DOOM 3 Review

Doom 3 has been a long time coming, and the result of the long development cycle is mixed. Itís stylish, itís atmospheric, itís good looking, but itís also somewhat repetitive, the gameplay is pretty basic, and there are some annoyances which detract from your overall enjoyment of the game. All things considered Doom 3 is a good first-person shooter, but Iíll tell you right now that there are gamers who wonít like it.

Screenshots
A demonic zombie views you as a snack.

Doom 3 is very much a Doom game and is true to the spirit of its predecessors. Youíre a Space Marine sent to Mars City to provide security for the Union Aerospace Corporationís research facility. There have been mysterious occurrences and disappearances at the facility of late, and the UAC is concerned about their affect of the facilityís profits. As luck would have it, all heck breaks loose on your first assignment as you try to track down a missing scientist and, in a scenario familiar to those whoíve played a Doom game in the past, you soon find yourself fighting off the demons of hell and the possessed scientists and Marines they control.

The first thing that youíll notice when you start playing Doom 3 is that the game does an excellent job of creating an immersive environment. Mars City feels like a real base from the moment you arrive and step off your ship. PA announcements, video information kiosks, station information, data, and status screens, and people going about work on the base all work to make Mars City feel alive and somewhat indifferent to the arrival of one more Space Marine. Youíll need to pass through a few checkpoints, have your arrival processed, and procure your equipment as you make your way to see your new CO and receive your first assignment. All of this serves to masterfully bring you into the game and help you to feel you are actually in a working research facility.

With all the attention paid to the environment it is a little odd that your character is nameless, voiceless, and were it not for the occasional mirror faceless as well. Perhaps itís an intentional homage to the nameless Space Marine of the original Doom, perhaps a deliberate design decision to make you feel that it is you yourself who is fighting in Mars City, or maybe itís just an oversight. No matter the case, in these days of video game stars and personalities itís a bit strange to encounter a no-name character. For most gamers this wonít make much of a difference but to those who like to roleplay a little it will somewhat detract from the experience.

Remember all the locked doors and key hunting in Doom and Doom II? Well there are more locked doors in Doom 3, but the key hunting has been replaced with a far more clever mechanism. In Doom 3 you are equipped with a PDA that can easily be called up by hitting the Tab key. Youíll be able to download information from other PDAs you find during the game, and use that information to find key codes included in other peopleís emails or to clear you for access to restricted areas. You can also play video disks that youíll find scattered around the station that do a good job of conveying more of the gameís storyline and serve to further bring the game to life. Some gamers may find it a little annoying to have to stop and read through emails on their PDA, but those aforementioned gamers who like a little roleplaying aspect in their first person shooters will appreciate this feature.