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Doom 3: Possibly The Greatest Idea Ever
2) Doom's Gameplay

Every gamer has an idea of what sort of gameplay Doom had to offer, and what sort of experience it should give to today's audience. It might sound like this:

The player charges into the next room and comes face-to-face with thirty growling denizens of hell ready to tear him apart. With a grimace he pulls out his BFG. 'One shot left,' he snarls. Aiming at the center of the mass of hellspawn, he pulls the trigger of the monstrous weapon, which winds up and releases an enormous ball of energy, tearing through the monsters and obliterating every last one. The player has no time to rest, however, as the mechanical grindings of a Spiderdemon can be heard nearby.
Ironically enough, Doom's atmosphere and gameplay was actually more of a happy accident than anything. id Software originally intended to create a game based on the James Cameron film Aliens, but backed out at the last moment and just substituted hellspawn for aliens. The plot was gleaned from an AD&D campaign played by the company. Tom Hall's Doom Bible, written in late 1992 as the template for the game, was practically ignored. Up until a few months before release, the game still had a point system with "treasures" to be collected, and the player had a finite number of lives which would be used up. The weapons which are balanced so well in deathmatch? Created with solely single-player in mind. Many of the gameplay aspects of Doom which made it so great or so memorable were due to last-minute changes (the BFG, for much of Doom's development, simply spewed out seemingly hundreds of little bouncy red and green balls), technological feasibility (the thirty hellspawn were there because the engine didn't choke with that many monsters), or simple tradition (the Spiderdemon, the game's requisite Final Boss).

Will Doom 3 look like this? Why not?
In his editorial, Chris states that id is faced with a no-win situation regarding how to handle Doom 3's gameplay. The original Doom had a simple "find key, open door" mechanic which was fun for the time, but is positively ancient nowadays. If id decides to use this simple style of gameplay they will be criticized for not recognizing and adapting to the changing face of single-player in today's market; however, if they decide to integrate more plot and story into the game, they will be criticized for not sticking to the type of gameplay which made Doom great in the first place.

Is this the case? Can't id update Doom for a new millennium, while making sure it remains true to its hardcore-action roots? Of course it can. Games like Half-Life show that a plot can be advanced without jerking the player out of the game world or even resorting to cutscenes. How well id is able to incorporate a plot is up to them.

On the other side of the coin: in the original, levels could throw fifty monsters at the player at once, as opposed to newer games which usually limit that number to the single digits. Engine technology is finally reaching the point again where the "horde" mentality is possible. The soon to be released KISS: Psycho Circus claims to have crowds of monsters which would even put Doom to shame. What will id be able to do? In two years the average computer will be one gigahertz or more, and there will be enough computing power to once again design levels without worrying about slowdown due to too many enemies in any one area. Remember the opening cinematic of Quake 3 where Sarge is fighting about 20 guys at once? Doom 3 will have those sorts of scenes in real time.

3) Doom's Popularity

Chris says that Doom's popularity and legacy is actually a liability towards the creation of a worthy sequel. As he says, "The very name "Doom" conjures up images of a genre-defining creation. No matter how little or how much id says about the game, this is going to be the expectation from the vast majority of people purchasing the game."

This is Chris's most valid point. The very notion of a modernized sequel to id Software's groundbreaking 1993 release titillates the imagination. For many of today's hardcore FPS gamers, Doom provided an initial glimpse into exactly what computers were capable of doing. Sure, Ultima Underworld and Wolfenstein 3-D did it first, but Doom was the first game to bring first-person action to the masses.

Over the years Doom has obtained almost a mythical status. While other, newer games are certainly prettier, deeper, and - dare I say - better, Doom still stands on a pedestal of greatness which is unequalled. Everyone who was introduced to the FPS genre via Doom remembers the first time they played through Knee-Deep in the Dead. The experience was punctuated with moments which the gamers would always remember: their first encounter with a Demon, the giddy joy when they first coerced two monsters into fighting each other instead of the player, the terror felt when they first were confronted by the two Barons of Hell in the shareware version's last level.

This feeling of experiencing something new and incredible was what made Doom such a revered and immensely popular game. While newer games have built upon the foundation established by id and added their own features and effects, very few of them have ever come close to recreating Doom's sheer magic. Can id Software possibly recreate that feeling in their upcoming sequel? We have no way of knowing until it is released. However, that is no reason for id to shy away from the task.

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